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The acquisition protects 60 acres of wildlife habitat and historical resources adjacent to Keystone Resort
Contact: Brian Lorch, Director of Open Space & Trails
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County acted to preserve a chapter of local history this month, acquiring the 60-acre Ida Belle Mine property adjacent to Keystone Resort, between Jones Gulch and Independence Mountain. Since the inception of the Open Space Program, the County has sought the opportunity to preserve the property’s numerous outstanding open space values.
“The Ida Belle Mine property is an incredibly valuable asset to our community in many ways,” Summit County Open Space and Trails Director Brian Lorch said. “Its recreation, historic and viewshed values, coupled with its importance as a high-quality wildlife habitat area, make the property’s acquisition uniquely significant for Summit County,”
The substantial purchase includes multiple mining claims and the Ida Belle Mine, which was mined for gold and silver from 1880 until about 1928. A number of historical mine implements on the property are artifacts of the property’s past. The U.S. Forest Service designates this area as a “Forested Landscape Linkage” for lynx and other species. Jones Gulch, which crosses the property, is a significant, high-quality wildlife area.
Skiers, mountain bikers and hikers use the road on the property to access Independence Mountain or to cross the ridge to the Saints John Basin. Keystone Resort uses a portion of the road for part of its summer mountain biking system.
“Summit County’s acquisition of the property precludes development that could have significantly altered the character of this recreation access,” Lorch said.
Acquisition and protection of the property also preserves iconic mountain views, as the property is highly visible from Keystone Resort, Jones Gulch and Highway 6 in the Snake River Basin.
“With this acquisition, we are protecting a piece of Summit County’s history, a beloved recreation area, significant wildlife habitat and the County’s rural mountain character for this and future generations,” Lorch said.
Summit County purchased the 60-acre parcel for $600,000. Funding for the acquisition came from the Summit County Open Space and Trails program, funded by a voter-approved property tax. To date, Summit County has protected over 17,000 acres through land acquisitions, conservation easements, access easements and partnerships with other agencies.