Sandstone Ranch has been sold to Douglas County Open Space in an acquisition that will preserve the land for public use and conservation efforts. The ranch’s $18,750,000 purchase price was met through sales and use tax revenue from the Douglas County Open Space Fund. The February 6 sale was brokered by Mirr Ranch Group, this week’s Land.com Broker of the Week based on the biggest land sales over the previous seven days.
“We recognize that the Sandstone Ranch acquisition is so much more than just the preservation of 2,038 acres,” said Roger Partridge, on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, in a release announcing the sale. “It is the preservation of the County’s history, heritage, wildlife habitat, as well as other cultural and natural resources—a quality of life investment for present and future generations.”
The purchase is the largest such acquisition by the organization, and is set to be bolstered by a $6 million contribution from the Chatfield Reservoir Mitigation Company (CRMC) in recognition of the valuable ecological resources that will be protected. Chatfield Reservoir, which serves the water needs of the booming Denver area, is currently undergoing a major expansion project. A group of local water boards, municipalities and conservation groups formed the CRMC to manage and mitigate the environmental impacts of storing more water in the reservoir.
Douglas County is also pursuing a $3.5 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado in relation to the sale. Originally positioned with a site plan to develop 114 equestrian lots on the land, the county intends to open Sandstone Ranch to non-motorized use by the public.
Along with providing unique recreational access to this Front Range landmark, the property’s new owners are considering continuation of its ranching operations, public educational opportunities, forest management, and the ongoing protection of its cultural and natural resources as well as historic structures.
Now in its 24th year, the Douglas County Open Space Program has protected more than 63,000 acres in Douglas County, including the Sandstone Ranch acquisition, through a combination of fee purchases and conservation easements in partnerships with groups like Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife and Parks and various land trusts and private landowners.