Rocky Mountain Conservancy looks to purchase Cascade Cottages |

Rocky Mountain Conservancy looks to purchase Cascade Cottages

Rocky Mountain National Park could soon be expanding as the Rocky Mountain Conservancy and the Trust for Public Lands work to raise funds for the purchase of the Cascade Cottages property located within the boundaries of the park.

If purchased and transferred to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) the park will expand by 40 acres.

The Rocky Mountain Conservancy (RMC) announced its acquisition plans Saturday at an annual picnic in RMNP. The RMC is working to raise approximately $3.6 million to secure the parcel of land. The Cascade Cottages property is the largest single privately held parcel of property within the boarders of RMNP. The RMC has not acquired the property yet and is working with the Trust for Public Lands (TPL) to raise the funds for purchase.

According to Charles Money, Executive Director for the RMC, the TPL has acquired an option from the Davis Family, who currently own the property, to purchase the land; that option expires Dec. 31 this year.

The Cascade Cottages property lies in the eastern portions of RMNP approximately one mile within the boundaries of the park. The 40-acre parcel is bisected by Highway 34. About 20 acres of the property lies north of Highway 34 with 20 acres south of the road. There are about 14 developed structures in the portion south of the highway while the northern section is undeveloped and in a natural state. The Davis family purchased the property in 1941. Recently the family decided they no longer wanted to operate the property and offered it for sale to RMNP.

Money explained the RMC is committed to raising $2 million by the end of the year with the TPL covering the rest of the funds required for purchasing the parcel, which will then be covered by the RMC through future fundraising efforts. So far the RMC has raised approximately $1.5 million.

After acquiring the land the RMC will begin the process of transferring the property to RMNP. After the transfer is complete RMNP will begin their planning process for the property, including accepting public comments, to determine a use for the land and whether to maintain the existing structures on the property.

Money said the Cascade Cottages property is among the largest projects conducted by the RMC.

“If it is not the biggest project we have undertaken, it is pretty close to it,” Money said.

The RMC was particularly pleased with the timing of Cascade Cottages property acquisition.

“We are looking forward to brining more attention to this project and the (RMNP) Centennial Celebration. This is especially timely given the rededication of the Park for the next 100 years.”

The RMC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the habitat and wildlife within RMNP. The RMC provides support to RMNP through educational programs, seminars and research and through philanthropic and other aid work. The RMC manages the Rocky Mountain National Park Fund that provides funding for philanthropic endeavors within the park.

Money thanked the local partners that have helped with the RMC’s efforts to aquire the Cascade Cottages Property.

“We have gotten support from Larimer County Open Lands, the Town of Estes Park and the Estes Valley Land Trust,” Money said. “It is very important that we have support from local government and community groups.”

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