PITKIN COUNTY WINS COLORADO LOTTERY STARBURST CONSERVATION AWARD FOR WAPITI RIDGE/DROSTE MOUNTAIN PARK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           

PITKIN COUNTY WINS COLORADO LOTTERY STARBURST CONSERVATION AWARD FOR WAPITI RIDGE/DROSTE MOUNTAIN PARK

DENVER, September 20, 2011The Colorado Lottery has awarded a 2011 Starburst Conservation Award to Pitkin County for using Lottery funds to complete the open space acquisition of Wapiti Ridge, also known as Droste Mountain Park or the “Mountain Park,” a 845-acre parcel in the Brush Creek Valley at the crossroads of Aspen and Snowmass.Pitkin County utilized a $2.5 million Lottery-funded grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to help with the cost of the project.

The project provides trail linkages, protection of priority wildlife habitat, outdoor opportunities for families, and integration of land and water conservation. Acquisition of this property gives public access to a seasonal trail on the along the ridgeline, which offers its visitors a 360 degree view of the Roaring Fork Valley and Elk Mountain Range.  Furthermore, it opens up the adjacent open space parcels to the opportunity for meaningful, connected non-motorized trails.  The preliminary trail connection provides a link between Aspen and Snowmass Village. 

“The excitement this project is generating is like nothing we have ever seen in our 20 years of existence,” said Barb D’Autrechy, acquisitions manager for Pitkin County Open Space and Trails. “To be able to close this gap and obtain a critical bridge between public lands for wildlife, complete the bucolic assemblage of river corridor, verdant pastures and striking ridgelines, and make it available for public enjoyment has garnered tremendous enthusiasm from all stakeholders. This enthusiasm was the key to our success in the largest acquisition project in our history.”

The Colorado Lottery Starburst Awards recognize excellence in the use of Lottery proceeds for projects that promote community-building, partnership, conservation and commitment to the recreational needs of Colorado residents. In Fiscal Year 2011, the Lottery distributed $113.4 million in proceeds. Since its creation 28 years ago, the Lottery has returned more than $2.2 billion to the state.

Lottery proceeds are distributed to three primary beneficiaries: GOCO, Conservation Trust Fund and Colorado State Parks. These organizations then provide grants and direct funding for parks, recreation, open space acquisition, trails, wildlife and conservation education.

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September 20, 2011
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