DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — There’s a new open space to add to your list of places to explore. Sandstone Ranch in Douglas County is officially open to the community and ready for adventurers.
“It’s beautiful. This property is amazingly beautiful. And so we’re just very excited,” said Colleen, who was out enjoying Sandstone Ranch. “We look forward to being out here with our mountain bikes and hiking with our dogs so there’s lots to do out here on this particular trail.”
Sandstone Ranch sits on the slopes of Pike National Forest. The more than 2,000-acre open space welcomes horses, dogs, bikers, and hikers. It’s a slice of nothing but nature.
“This is fabulous and we’ve been anticipating this for a few years now so it was wonderful to see it finally open,” Colleen said.
“This was laid out to be developed into 114 lots and when the county purchased it, of course, that was eliminated,” said Commissioner Roger Partridge
Commissioner Partridge was one of the board members who made that call. Opening this to the public has been in the works since 2017 when Douglas County’s sales tax-supported fund for preserving recreation land came through on the acquisition.
“We all made the comment that for generations to come this is going to be protected. The heritage of this place will live on forever,” Commissioner Partridge added.
“Our challenge is how much do we open it to the public? We don’t want to have this jewel be overused, over loved. But we want the public to be able to enjoy it,” Commissioner Partridge explained.
This new nature escape has 12 miles of trails to explore with red rock spires and meadows as far as the eye can see. But there’s also hundreds of acres here dedicated to local mitigation efforts.
“It comes with protecting certain habitat areas and also mitigation areas. Repairing areas for migratory birds to help offset the effect of Chatfield Reservoir being filled and also to be water storage,” said Commissioner Partridge.
Douglas County bought the open space for just over 18 million dollars but because of conservation and mitigation they’re doing on the property about half was covered by conservation easements.
The $18.75 million purchase is the largest in Douglas County’s 25-year open space fund history. It was possible with the help of Great Outdoors Colorado and Chatfield Reservoir Mitigation Co grants.
The master plan outlines the goal of connecting Sandstone Ranch with the upper reaches of Pike National Forest. A trail connecting to Forest Service Road 327 has been proposed.