• History of Jefferson County Open Space


  • Jefferson County Open Space is the nation’s first sales tax-funded county open space program. It has grassroots beginnings, dating back to 1972, with two pivotal organizations: PLAN Jeffco and The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County.

    These organizations proposed a unique concept to the Board of County Commissioners to preserve the scenic vistas and open lands within the county using the collection of one half of one percent tax on sales in Jefferson County to fund the program. The voters agreed, thereby ensuring perpetual land conservation, stewardship of open space and parklands, and access for public enjoyment.

    Since 1972, Jeffco Open Space has acquired over 53,000 acres of land with approximately one-fifth dedicated to cities or districts that provide park and recreation services and open space purposes. Throughout the unincorporated county, 29 Open Space Parks provide trail-based outdoor recreation, nature and history education hubs, and conservation of scenic landscapes, natural resources, historic sites and wildlife habitat. Additionally, 3,177 acres have been preserved through conservation easements on privately owned lands.