Pitkin County Open Space and Trails is investing millions of dollars in an effort to preserve St. Jude’s Ranch in Basalt.
Pitkin County is offering a longtime local family more than $5 million to conserve 260 acres stretching from Light Hill to the Roaring Fork River and bordering Basalt High School. The Rio Grande Trail runs through the property.
“The conservation of this ranch protects scenery, agriculture and habitat, and really enhances recreation by providing a permanent buffer around the Rio Grande Trail, as well,” said Dale Will, Open Space and Trails acquisitions director.
The easement also includes protection of agricultural water rights for 125 irrigated acres. The property owners, the Cerise family, would continue to own and operate their ranch. While the agreement protects most of the area from development, it does allow for up to six homes on a 15-acre building envelope.
The Board of County Commissioners plan to discuss the purchase on Wednesday, Dec. 7.