Jeffco Open Space is inching closer to approving its Conservation Greenprint, a strategic framework that sets the organization’s goals for the next five years.
Open Space staff briefed the commissioners about the Conservation Greenprint during a July 14 staff briefing. The matter will come before the Board of County Commissioners for a public hearing and a final vote in the coming weeks.
Developing the plan takes time. Jeffco began work in 2018, consulting with the Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee, staff, park goers, volunteers, local park and recreation districts and more.
“It really does concentrate on all of the elements of our operation from acquisitions to maintenance and restoration and everything in between,” Open Space spokesman Matt Robbins said.
“A huge part of this is caring for what we have,” Deputy Director Hillary Merritt told the commissioners during last week’s briefing. “I really like to believe, in these tough times, that the future is so bright.”
The plan separates 10 goals into three categories: healthy environment, healthy lands, healthy people. The goals include:
• Visitor stewardship
• Information sharing
• Personal involvement
• Land acquisition
• War on weeds
• Forest health
• Habitat restoration
• Easy and equitable access
• Park system trail expansion
• Quality visitor experience
Each of those overarching themes comes with a specific, quantifiable goal. For example, in its war on weeds, Jeffco Open Space aims to treat 48,000 acres of Open Space land for harmful and invasive species, and in its trail expansion, the organization plans to build 50 new miles of trails and increase designated use trails from 27 to 48 miles.
Creating measurable goals may have been the hardest part of the process.
“It’s a challenge to make sure that you can come up with goals that you can measure and you can report on,” Robbins said.
Of those goals, Robbins emphasized the importance of information sharing.
“This is the commitment to the community that we’re going to reach out to them and involve them (in) decisions,” he said, adding that Jeffco would listen, refine and work toward the best possible solution. “That’s pretty darn special and important as well.”
Of course, Robbins said he hopes the Conservation Greenprint resonates with the public and that it can appreciate the thought and effort that went into developing each of the goals.
“They speak to every facet of who we are as an open space agency but also to the visitor experience — starting with land acquisitions and working our way through,” he said.
For more information or to view the plan, visit www.jeffco.us/3892/Conservation-Greenprint-Survey.
Jeffco Open Space set to purchase Mount Glennon-Adkins property
Jeffco Open Space is set to purchase a 6.3-acre property on Soda Lakes Road near Morrison Road and C-470.
The property, which is bounded by the organization’s Mount Glennon property, will cost $585,000, according to information presented in a July 14 staff briefing with county commissioners. Jeffco Open Space has a letter agreement with the landowner to purchase the land by Aug. 31.
A home, garage and several other structures are included with the property. Jeffco said these structures could serve as a future site for parking and a trailhead to help expand public access to the currently undeveloped park.
“It checks many of the boxes that we look at including heritage preservation and connectivity,” Deputy Director Hillary Merritt said.
Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.