Parcel to be protected as open space for wildlife values
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A 17-acre parcel near the base of Breckenridge Ski Area will be protected as open space, helping protect an important wildlife corridor between the Cucumber Gulch preserve and the upland forests of the Tenmile Range.
Town officials said the $1.65 million purchase means the town has acquired a total of 121 acres of land in and around Cucumber Gulch, including 56 acres dedicated by Vail Resorts. Summit County contributed $200,000 toward the purchase. Part of the MBJ parcel was previously set aside for conservation purposes.
“We are pleased to acquire this property and preserve this important wildlife corridor,” said Breckenridge Mayor John Warner. “Preserving Cucumber Gulch is very important to protecting the local wildlife and Breckenridge’s unique character.”
The land was zoned as A-1 )agricultural) by Summit County, which includes a 20-acre minimum lot size for development. Developments on smaller parcels require a special review by planning officials to determine a building envelope and to consider setbacks and other criteria, especially with regard to wetlands.
In a 2007 interview, county planning director Jim Curnutte said that, based on the zoning, any development likely would have been limited to a single-family home.
The MBJ parcel was part of a “Dutch Auction” sale by a local Realtor in 2007, just before the real estate bubble burst. There was some speculation the land could have been developed as a secluded corporate retreat style lodge.
Town open space officials have long been focused on trying to protect the wildlife values of the parcel.