Estes Park – Concluding a one-year fundraising effort, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced that they have purchased the largest remaining privately-held property within Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).
As most of you know, several years ago, the landowners of this park in-holding on the east side of RMNP, honoring the wishes of their grandfather, offered to sell the property to Rocky Mountain National Park before placing it on the open market. The National Park Service identified this acquisition as the park’s highest priority and enlisted the assistance of the Conservancy and TPL in making it the signature project of Rocky Mountain National Park’s centennial in 2015.
The Rocky Mountain Conservancy partnered closely with the Trust for Public Land in the acquisition of Cascade Cottages. TPL has a long, successful history of placing lands of high ecological or historic value into the public domain. TPL negotiated a fair market price for the property with the landowners, secured the purchase, and will hold the property until it can be conveyed to the National Park Service.
The purchase cost was $3.4 million. Of this, the Conservancy raised nearly $1.75 million from individual donors and foundations. Also assisting with this effort, the Larimer County Open Lands Program offered a challenge grant of $50,000 to the Estes Valley Land Trust (EVLT) and the Town of Estes Park to provide a collective donation of $100,000 to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy for the purchase of the property. EVLT and Estes Park both readily accepted this challenge.
In late February, 2016, the NPS Washington DC office, recognizing the importance of this acquisition to the NPS Centennial, identified funds that could be used as a possible match to those raised by the Conservancy. Based on that information, TPL agreed to move forward with the purchase. Fundraising was completed in March, 2016, well ahead of schedule and under budget.
The remainder of the funds will be secured by TPL from the National Park Service. Ownership of the property was acquired by TPL on March 25, to later be transferred to Rocky Mountain National Park.
The Rocky Mountain Conservancy proudly thanks its donors and members, project partners and the community, for making possible the permanent protection of this very significant property.