GRAND LAKE - Completing a fundraising effort that started in July 2012, the Rocky Mountain Nature Association announced today that it has successfully raised the money to acquire the Johnson Property on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park.
More than 900 donors contributed to the $400,000 project to save the Johnson Property. This 3.89 acre plot of land on the park's west side rests in critical habitat and within the view-shed of the Continental Divide Trail. The organization closed on the property February 15, 2013.
Rocky Mountain National Park identified the Johnson Property as a high priority for acquisition and enlisted the Nature Assocation's assistance to raise the needed funds. The private inholding within the legislated boundaries of the park is located in the headwaters of the Colorado River on the park's west side, not far from the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. The Rocky Mountain Nature Association will transfer the land to the National Park Service, which will remove several small structures, powerlines and a one-mile access road. The parcel will be returned to its natural state, enhancing valuable wildlife habitat and improving visitor experience.
"We are incredibly grateful to everyone who contributed to this important project," said Charles Money, Executive Director for the Nature Association. "Thanks to you, more land has been set aside for permanent protection in Rocky Mountain National Park. This effort is a perfect example of how many people working together can have a forever impact on our public lands."
According to Superintendent Vaughn Baker, "It was particularly important for the park to acquire this land, because one mile of the access road to the property is part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. With this acquisition we can remove motorized use from this section of the trail. We appreciate that RMNA was able to obtain the funds to accomplish this significant purchase."
Rocky Mountain Nature Association has an ongoing Land Protection Fund, which sets aside money for future land protection efforts. Often, property sales by willing owners have a short time-frame for acquisition for protection. This fund allows the organization to move quickly to purchase available parcels.
Since 1994, 18 parcels of land have been acquired for permanent protection in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. With the help of donors, RMNA has purchased several of these, including: Jennings Tract, $78,000; Baldpate Tract, $20,000; Roessler Tract, $415,000; Adams Tract, $280,000; Sleepy Hollow, $315,248; Enos Mills (easement), $54,136; Miller Tract, $1.02 million; Fahy Tract, $846,000; Kueker Tract, $600,000; Owen-McMahon Tract, $300,000; McGowan Tract, $18,100; and the Johnson Property, $400,000.