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    Jeffco Open Space Surpasses 53,000 Acre Mark

    On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Jefferson County and the Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners completed a Non-Simultaneous Exchange, or cash for land, transaction adding 800 acres to the Jeffco Open Space system bringing the total amount of land preserved since 1972 to 53,617 acres.

    According to Tom Hoby, Director of Jeffco Open Space, “this acquisition continues our conservation work that began over four decades ago and adds scenic and natural resource rich lands to Hildebrand Ranch and Coal Creek Open Space Parks. With our recently adopted Master Plan goal to acquire at least 1,700 acres over the next five years, the acquisition of 800 acres puts us well on the way to reaching that goal.” Jeffco Open Space paid $3,000,000 from sales tax revenue for these lands in an 1165 transaction allowing the State Land Board to transfer land directly to another governmental agency. These types of transactions are limited to two per year by state statute.

    According to Christopher Smith, Real Estate Section Manager for the State Land Board, “Transferring the Blue Mountain and Deer Creek parcels to Jefferson County not only indirectly supports our largest beneficiary, Colorado’s schoolchildren, by providing more access to open space, but it allows for our agency to reinvest acquisition funds into parcels that better align with our mission to produce reasonable and consistent revenue.”

    As the second largest landowner in Colorado behind the Federal Government, the Colorado State Land Board manages nearly 3 million acres of land and 4 million acres of mineral estate in Colorado. Revenues are generated primarily through leases of land and mineral estate for Colorado’s public schools and other public institutions.

    The two properties acquired by Jeffco Open Space include Blue Mountain, a scenic, rugged parcel of 640 acres adjacent to Golden Gate Canyon State Park and existing Conservation Easements held by Jefferson County. The second property of 160 acres is bordered by Jefferson County’s Hildebrand Ranch Park and the Lockheed Martin campus in the Deer Creek area. This property has classic hogback topography with rock outcroppings and a grassland prairie rich in biological diversity.

    Other properties that have been acquired by Jeffco Open Space from the State Land Board include a 440-acre addition to Alderfer/Three Sisters Park in 2005, and the 2012 collaborative acquisition in partnership with the City of Boulder and Boulder County to preserve 617 acres at Rocky Flats for management by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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    Jeffco Open Space was founded as a land conservation organization in 1972 to preserve land, protect park and natural resources and provide healthy nature-based experiences. We are funded with a one-half of one percent sales tax that has preserved over 53,000 acres and created 28 regional parks and 227 miles of trails in Jefferson County.

    The Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners (also known as the State Land Board) was established at statehood in 1876 to manage trust assets including more than 3 million acres of land and 4 million acres of mineral rights. These lands were granted by the Federal government to Colorado to generate revenue largely for public schools. The majority of revenues from trust assets are earned through minerals leasing, agricultural leasing, and commercial real estate, with almost $125 million total revenues generated in FY 2012-13.

    Contact: Melissa Yoder, Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners
                 303-866-3454 x 3330, melissa.yoder@state.co.us

    Thea Rock
    Communications Manager

    April 7, 2014

    Last Updated: 4-17-2014