Located just ten miles northeast of Gunnison, Fossil Ridge is completely surrounded by the Gunnison National Forest. Butch and Judy Clark purchased 960 acres here in the 1970s and have always allowed the community to use their property for hiking, hunting, cattle grazing, camping, and cross-country skiing.
Over the years, the booming tourism economy in nearby Crested Butte has contributed to a decline of affordable housing in the area-and put development pressure on remaining open space. Anticipating this dilemma, the Clarks had a plan for how they could protect their land for open space and recreation while also addressing the housing shortage. They approached The Trust for Public Land to help them realize their vision. In January 2014, The Trust for Public Land helped conserve 331 acres of the Clark’s property. Proceeds from the sale will go to support the Gunnison Valley Housing Foundation, a local affordable-housing nonprofit. We are working to protect the remainder of the property for management by the U.S. Forest Service as an addition to the Gunnison National Forest.