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Environment

View From Devil’s Backbone Preserved By Larimer Land Buy

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Christopher, Tania and Isabelle Luna
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Flickr - Creative Commons

Key property just west of a popular hiking trail outside of Loveland will not be developed.

Larimer County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase 6.88 acres directly west of the Devil's Backbone Open Space.

"This lot is adjacent to the keyhole and drops down the mountain so a structure built there would fill up that space that folks would see when they walked up to the keyhole on the Devil's backbone trail," said Chair of the Board of County Commissioners Tom Donnelly.

He said single family homes would have been built on the land if the county hadn't purchased it.

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Credit Larimer County
Funding for the purchase came from a voter-approved sales tax that began in 1996. During the 2014 election voters extended that tax another 25 years.

"This property owner actually had an offer a few months back for $325,000 to buy the property. He turned that offer down, and is going to sell it to the county for $270,000," Donnelly said. "So it's actually about a $55,000 reduction in the offer that he had received. And I think that's because he'd like to see the property and the view shed conserved as well."

The Devil's Backbone Open Space is 2,198 acres with 12 miles of trails that connect to Rimrock Open Space and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. It attracts about 80,000 visitors annually, but Donnelly said there are no plans to expand public access to the newly purchased property.

The $270,000 purchase is funded by the open lands sales tax, which was overwhelmingly extended by voters by another 25 years in the 2014 election.

"It's a gem for folks in Loveland, and I think they want to see responsible conservation around the backbone and I think they want to see that area improved," Donnelly said. "So this is just one more step in that direction."

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