Durango, CO June 14, 2004 - In an effort to permanently protect open space in north La Plata County, Durango Mountain Resort has donated a conservation easement to the Animas Conservancy, a Colorado non-profit land trust. The conservation easement was developed specifically to provide scenic corridors between areas of development and the roadways. Animas Conservancy will provide stewardship to ensure that the conservation easement areas will be retained forever in their natural, scenic, forested, and open space condition.
The initial donation consists of 6.98 acres in the new Tacoma and Engineer Villages along Highway 550, just across from DMR's main entrance. The majority of the land type is forest, with some wetland areas. A low-impact walking trail will be built within the easement areas to allow public access.
According to Jeanne Trupiano, executive director with the Animas Conservancy, "We look forward to an on-going relationship with DMR, to ensure the proper stewardship of the scenic corridors and natural area buffers. Animas Conservancy applauds DMR for taking the opportunity to include the protection of natural values as part of the planning process for the new development."
In total, 80-100 acres will be permanently protected under the conservation easement. Homeowners may also elect to donate land on their properties, further reducing the environmental footprint of new development. At build out, more then 40 percent of the 612 acres delineated by DMR's 25-year Master Plan will remain open space.
"We would like to thank the Animas Conservancy for their efforts in helping us protect this beautiful area," said resort CEO Gary Derck. "From the initial land swap in 1991 designed to protect the Hermosa Park area, bringing the land along Highway 550 to the resort, to our current Master Plan that is among the most environmentally progressive in Colorado, we are setting the standard for responsible growth." Among other efforts, DMR has installed a $2 million air quality monitoring system and is currently involved in a pilot program for biodiesel in southern Colorado.
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner (DMR & property owners) and a land trust (Animas Conservancy), which limits the development of the land in perpetuity in order to protect its conservation values.
The Animas Conservancy holds a total of 17 easements in La Plata County including the new Durango Mountain Resort easement. For more information on the Animas Conservancy go online at www.animasconservancy.org.