Open Space & Trails Department
The Summit County Open Space and Trails Department identifies, protects, and manages open spaces, trails, and trailheads to preserve and maintain Summit County's rural mountain character, unique natural areas, and high quality of life for residents and visitors.
Open Space Advisory Council is Recruiting New Members
OSAC is now recruiting SEVEN new members (four At Large, one Lower Blue, one Upper Blue, and one Tenmile representative). Applications for new positions are available now and are due December 29, 2023. Please click here for more information.
Pile Burning on Open Space
Summit County Open Space and Trails, in cooperation with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Red White & Blue Fire Protection District, the Town of Breckenridge, Summit Fire & EMS, the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS), and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) will conduct prescribed pile burning operations beginning in November 2023 at multiple sites including the Mesa Cortina Open Space west of Silverthorne, Settler’s Creek Open Space east of Keystone, and Bacon Lode Open Space east of Breckenridge.
Burning will be conducted only under specific guidelines and plans established by DFPC. This includes having acceptable weather and fuel conditions to meet the objectives for safe and effective burning and adequate smoke dispersal.
Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For additional health-related information, visit the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment or contact your doctor or health professional. Smoke sensitive individuals can contact Jordan Mead at Jordan.email@example.com for specific notification prior to burning operations on Summit County Lands.
For more information, check out the video below.
Summit County Open Space & Trails Master Plan
Summit County Open Space & Trails recently finalized its NEW master plan. Since the 1990s, our department has protected over 17,000 acres of land. We also manage more than 100 trailheads and local trail portals, 38 miles of paved Recreational Pathways (i.e., the RecPath), approximately 100 miles of natural surface trails, and 50 miles of dirt roads. After decades of successful open space protection and trail construction, we now face new challenges with natural resource management and visitor use. With our new master plan guiding us into the future, we will be better able to address challenges proactively and adapt to change.
- To view the Open Space and Trails Master Plan, please click here.
- To view the Executive Summary of the Open Space and Trails Master Plan, please click here.
Open Space and Trails preserves the county's rich heritage of outdoor recreation and trail use. The county’s immense scenic beauty and mix of geography, public lands, and tourism combine to create world-class recreational amenities and opportunities. By and large, recreation remains the most important aspect to a vital Summit County economy.
Open Space and Trails works with multiple partners including the U.S. Forest Service and our local towns. Our properties are often gateways to the vast recreational resources that the U.S. Forest Service provides. We have numerous trail portals and parking areas throughout the county, providing a variety of recreational opportunities.
Avalanche Awareness & Backcountry Safety
No matter what type of outdoor activities you choose to pursue in Summit County during the winter months, proper gear and knowledge to keep you safe in the mountains and avoid avalanche risk is essential. Learn more here and Know Before You Go.
AccomplishmentsThe State of the Open Space Report (pdf) summarizes the Summit County Open Space and Trail department’s accomplishments since its inception in 1995.
The report presents the current open space system and the many trails owned and managed by Open Space and Trails. It also provides clear metrics to measure the progress of the Open Space and Trails Department, including miles of trails, acreage of protected lands, and acquisition-related expenses.
- The program has protected almost 17,500 acres of land as open space through over 347 acquisitions and dedications, working with over 200 landowners.
- Each tax dollar spent to date to purchase open space has protected over $3 worth of property in Summit County, because our funds leverage contributions from property owners, Great Outdoors Colorado, and other organizations.
- Together with its partners, Summit County manages more than 100 trailheads and local trail portals for convenient access to the county's bountiful, outdoor recreational opportunities.
- Summit County has constructed and maintains over 38 miles of Recpath, an off-street bicycle network. This is part of the 55 mile system throughout Summit County.
- Summit County manages approximately 100 miles of singletrack, natural surface trails and 50 miles of dirt roads with partners at US Forest Service and towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, and Silverthorne.
- 1,315 volunteer hours were contributed to county open space and trail projects in 2019 with an estimated monetary value of $32,875.
Watch elk, mule deer, coyotes, foxes, and mountain lions on Summit County Open Space.
Preventing Moose Attacks
More people are attacked by moose than by any other wildlife species, but attacks are preventable. See Colorado Parks and Wildlife's strategies for preventing moose attacks.