• 20200914-151017-6245484d67

The future conservation goals for Jefferson County have been set after the board of commissioners approved the five-year plan in a July 28 meeting. 

The plan, formed over about a year and a half, lays out 10 goals to be completed by 2025, including acquiring more open space and parkland, reducing invasive plant species and adding new trails.

These goals come from a large-scale survey sent out to 10,000 residents. About 1,600 responded to the survey and an additional 3,000 people reached out with feedback in other ways.

“They all played a big role in the development of this plan,” said Matt Robbins, community connections manager for Jeffco Open Space. 

The county committed nearly $136 million to the completion of the plan. This funding comes from the county’s half cent sales tax dedicated to open space. Two-thirds of this funding goes to the county’s open space program, Robbins said.

About 40% of that funding is going toward building new trails in the county. More details on where these trails will be located can be found at jeffco.us/1585/plans-projects.

About $3 million will go to reducing tree density and fuel sources on 1,000 acres of forested lands.

“It has been identified that portions of our county are at severe risk of catastrophic fire,” Robbins said.

Another goal listed in the plan is increasing community involvement to 270,000 hours of volunteering per year. This will equate to the work of 136 full time employees if achieved, he said.

One of the county’s top priorities is to acquire 3,000 more acres of public open space and parkland, according to the plan

“93% of residents and visitors agreed we need to keep buying land,” Robbins said. “That sends a very clear message that our job is not done.” 

Other goals include engaging with the community on conservation, habitat restoration, increasing access to trails and adding trailheads. The county is planning to work with its 12 municipalities to provide access to anyone in the urban parts of the county a trail within a 10 minute walk and anyone in the rural areas a trail within a 10-minute drive.