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News

Town of Castle Rock adds 681 acres of open space with Lost Canyon Ranch purchase

Posted on May 2, 2024 2024DC OutdoorsNews and Events

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Information courtesy of the Town of Castle Rock

The purchase of the spectacular Lost Canyon Ranch property is complete and is the largest one-time acquisition and protection of open space in the Town’s history.

Castle Rock residents regularly name the preservation of open space as a top priority in biannual community surveys. Lost Canyon Ranch, on the Town’s southeastern border in unincorporated Douglas County, is one of the last undeveloped large-acreage properties near Castle Rock. The Town partnered with Douglas County, Great Outdoors Colorado, Douglas Land Conservancy and The Conservation Fund to secure the property.

“This magnificent property is roughly the size of Philip S. Miller Park and Ridgeline Open Space combined and becomes the Town’s largest open space property,” said Castle Rock Mayor Jason Gray. “With the acquisition, as with recent others like Cantril School, Emerald Park and Metzler Family Open Space, we are pleased to preserve for public use this land that could have been developed.”

Lost Canyon Ranch includes a variety of habitat types including riparian, ponderosa forest and open grasslands. The property is surrounded on the north and west by residential neighborhoods and by large acreage estate lots on the south. The ranch shares a 3/4-mile boundary with Castlewood Canyon State Park on the northeast side.

The property purchase was negotiated by The Conservation Fund on the Town’s behalf from the estate of the former owner, who passed away several years ago. There have been purchase offers by private developers that would have compromised the conservation values, wildlife habitat and corridors, as well as public benefits by changing the land use of the property.

“We are honored to support the acquisition of this spectacular and important property and permanently protect its habitat, cultural resources and future passive recreation opportunities for generations to come,” said The Conservation Fund’s Vice President and Colorado State Director Justin Spring.

This property also provides critical habitat for wildlife and will serve as a wildlife movement corridor between Castle Rock, Castlewood Canyon State Park and Douglas County’s Prairie Canyon Ranch Open Space.

“Well done to all in recognizing the opportunity to form this partnership to acquire this very large swath of undeveloped, preserved, conserved land in the middle of the County. With this significant acquisition, there are now nearly 4,300 acres of contiguous protected open space in eastern Douglas County,” said Board of Douglas County Commissioners Chair George Teal. “Preserving this ranch creates astounding potential to plan unique recreation opportunities for the residents of Douglas County.”

Douglas County provided $5.5 million from the Open Space, Parks and Historic Resources sales and use tax — which was extended with a nearly 80% approval rate by voters in 2022 — toward the acquisition of Lost Canyon Ranch.

GOCO provided the Town with a $3 million Centennial Program award toward the purchase, marking the largest funding amount from GOCO for any project in Town history. The Centennial Program grant invests in high-value, once-in-a-generation visions and projects that will create lasting impacts for the Centennial State and future generations.

“This new open space in Castle Rock will expand much-desired recreational opportunities for the Front Range,” said GOCO Executive Director Jackie Miller. “Without this protection, eventual development would have significant impacts to wildlife and visitors’ experiences in the adjacent Castlewood Canyon State Park. We’re so proud to support this remarkable conservation effort.”

The total cost for Lost Canyon Ranch Open Space was $15,009,432. Douglas Land Conservancy holds a conservation easement on the property, which limits the uses going forward and preserves the natural state of the land.

The Town will soon invite public participation in a master planning process to help guide future public access to the open space, including trails and other amenities. Stay tuned for details, sign up for updates and watch a video about Lost Canyon Ranch Open Space at CRgov.com/LostCanyonRanch

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