In addition to the 76 miles of trail winding through 12,000-plus acres of public open space in Douglas County, the County has a vested interest in the following nine private-access properties as well. For more information or questions on any of the specific, individual properties, please contact Douglas County Open Space at 303-660-7495. Some properties, where referenced, may be visited by appointment.
Reasons behind the properties being private-access include: the presence of conservation easements, riparian areas, or wildlife habitats or corridors; the land being the site of historic significance; not being ready for regular traffic; still being maintained by private landowners; and more.
Belfield Conservation Easement
The 113-acre, privately-owned Belfield property lies in an extensive riparian area west of U.S. 85 in Sedalia and has been protected since 2004. In addition to Plum Creek and several small ponds, the property is home to areas of Gambel oak, Mixed-grass prairie and Ponderosa pines, thus providing an ideal habitat for elk, deer, coyotes, black bears, mountain lions, songbirds and raptors. There is no public access allowed.
Big “D” Conservation Easement
This 80-acre tract of land features a conservation easement donated in 1995 by the Perry Park Metropolitan District, which continues to manage the land. The grassland meadow of Big “D” is in the Perry Park Subdivision. The land is open to passive recreation for Perry Park residents only and motorized use is prohibited.
Duncan Ranch Conservation Easement
This privately-owned 475-acre ranch is located west of U.S. 85 in Sedalia. Protected since 2002 the land is an ideal habitat for the Preble’s Meadow jumping mouse and home to the rare Sharptail grouse, as well as a number of species of fish uncommon along the Front Range of Colorado. A working farm and ranch for more than 100 years, the property remains in private ownership and there is no public access allowed. Numerous water birds can be spotted along West Plum Creek on the property and other forms of wildlife seen include elk, deer and fox.
Jones Ranch Conservation Easement
This 39-acre preserve sits in the flood plain of Cherry Creek and abuts Castlewood Canyon State Park to the west. The easement was purchased by the County in 1995, helping serve as a buffer to protect the views looking west from many of the trails in the state park. There is no public access as the parcel remains in private ownership.
Pine Cliff Ranch Conservation Easement
This 3,440-acre, privately-owned and operated ranch is located in West Plum Creek Valley west of U.S. 85 in Sedalia. Protected since 1999, the mountains meet prairie meet wetlands setting is home to an abundant population of elk, deer, black bears, mountain lions and various raptors. There is no public access allowed.
Prairie Canyon Ranch
This 978-acre ranch is open by appointment only through Douglas County Open Space and is the site of the County’s annual Open Space Day each summer. Located two miles south of Castlewood Canyon State Park off of State Highway 83, the ranch has been protected since 2000 and was purchased by the County with assistance from Great Outdoors Colorado because of its diverse wildlife habitat and unique ranching history. Hawks, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, deer, elk and great blue herons are all known inhabitants. Until late 2015, it was a working cattle ranch.
This 105-acre property adjacent to the J.A. Cattle Ranch in southern Douglas County is closed to the public, pending construction of a trail connection. Purchased in 2000, the property provides habitat for beaver, elk and the Preble’s Meadow jumping mouse and is home to a portion of East Plum Creek and neighboring wetlands.
Spencer Conservation Easement
This 364-acre private property located eight miles southeast of Castle Rock has been used for agricultural purposes since it was first settled around 1870. The land was placed into a conservation easement in 2002 to help protect its agricultural integrity. The property serves as an important wildlife habitat and migration route for elk, pronghorn, mule deer and black deer. Mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes and wild turkey have also been reported on site. There is no public access as the property remains in private ownership.
True Mountain Conservation Easement
This 577-acre conservation easement is located at the Private Ponderosa Camp at the southern end of Douglas County east of I-25. Guided hikes occur throughout the year, but the land is not open to the public on a regular basis. Home to a diverse variety of wildlife, True Mountain provides an important corridor to adjoining properties and other publically-protected lands. The easement has been protected since 2003.