High Line Canal Trail Viewshed Preserved (CO)

DENVER, CO 1/9/2009: Residents of Greenwood Village and Arapahoe County walking the High Line Canal Trail by the village will always be able to enjoy uninterrupted views of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains, thanks to a conservation easement that prevents any new development on 20 acres of land alongside the popular path.

As part of the County’s South Platte Legacy Greenway Project, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) successfully negotiated the purchase of an easement on Highline Farm, one of only two undeveloped parcels of its size left in Greenwood Village, at 70% below its estimated fair market value. The cost to purchase the conservation easement, valued at $6.4 million, is $2 million. Funding includes $700,000 from Arapahoe County’s Open Space acquisition funds, a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant of $350,000, and $950,000 in parks and open space funding from the City of Greenwood Village. The County’s open space sales and use tax was approved by voters in 2003 to help preserve open space in Arapahoe County.

In addition to providing a crucial natural buffer between the trail and surrounding development, the easement will also safeguard a traditional horse pasture within Denver’s growing ex-urbs, maintaining the open, rural character of the district.

Mayor Nancy Sharpe explained: “This project demonstrates our commitment to saving our open lands for the community to enjoy. This action preserves the rural character of this portion of the High Line Canal for future generations.”

“When you walk through the property, you truly appreciate how breathtaking it really is,” said Commissioner Jim Dyer, who serves as Chair Pro Tem and whose district includes Greenwood Village. “I’ve lived in this area for more than 35 years and the scenic views are unmatched. It is one of the last remaining untouched properties of its size and I believe it is exactly what Arapahoe County voters had in mind when they adopted the Open Space sales and use tax.”

“For nearly sixty years the Duke family has enjoyed the vistas, wildlife, livestock, and rural qualities of Highline Farm,” said Maud Duke. “In fact, in the early years we barely could see another house from ours! We are happy that through the help of TPL we are preserving the property as the natural open space it always has been.”

TPL arranged for Colorado Open Lands to hold and monitor the easement on behalf of the funding partners. “This is a perfect example of critical urban open space.” says Dan Pike, Executive Director of Colorado Open Lands. “We’re looking forward to keeping it that way.”

“TPL has partnered with the Village Council and Staff to save two of the top 3 land conservation areas that Greenwood identified in their Land Priority List,” explained TPL Project Manager Justin Spring. “We’re very proud of that, and of being able to help such a great group of partners achieve their goals.”

“Preservation of the Highline Farm is a key component of the South Platte Greenway Legacy Project,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, GOCO’s Acting Executive Director. “GOCO is pleased to be a partner in protecting the open space, wildlife habitat and viewsheds along the South Platte River-the Denver metro area’s most important waterway.”

The purchase of the High Line Farm conservation easement is one of 20 projects identified by the South Platte Working Group, a coalition of 19 cities, towns and local organizations working to conserve land, clean up open space and improve connections to the South Platte River. Convened by Arapahoe County in 2006 as a collaborative, consensus-based regional approach to protecting the South Platte River corridor, the South Platte Working Group has racked up several accomplishments in its two-year existence. The group has secured more than $28 million in funding, including a $5.3 million Legacy Grant from Great Outdoors Colorado; acquired several parcels of threatened land; began a conservation planning process and won the Denver Regional Council of Government’s highest honor – a gold award – for their collaborative work to protect the South Platte.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL’s has helped protect more than 2.5 million acres of land in 45 states. In the last 12 months, TPL has protected 15,685 acres in Colorado valued at more than $25 million.

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) is the result of a citizens’ initiative passed by Colorado voters in 1992. GOCO receives approximately $53 million annually from Lottery proceeds, and directs those funds to projects that protect and enhance Colorado’s parks, wildlife, trails, rivers and open space.