Open Space Preservation
The City of Durango Open Space Preservation program manages acquisition and stewardship of City open space. Since 1994, the City has preserved a total of 3,091.27 acres. Click here for the full list of acquisitions by year.
Why Preserve Open Space?
Southwest Colorado provides an unmatched quality of life to its residents, and world class vacation experiences to its visitors. Parks and open space preserved by the City contribute significantly to ensuring this quality of life will continue for generations to come. Qualities the Open Space Preservation program protects include:
- Scenic views & community backdrops
- Wildlife habitat & unique natural areas
- Important watersheds
- Cultural & historic areas
- Passive recreation opportunities
This short video includes Horse Gulch and Oxbow Park & Preserve and helps explain more about conserving natural resources here in Durango and throughout Colorado:
How does the City preserve open space?
There are several methods through which the City acquires open space. If purchasing, City Council considers all viable funding sources, including the voter-approved City Parks and Recreation sales tax fund, public funding sources, and private donations to the tax-deductible City of Durango Enrichment Fund.
- Donations - landowners can make private donations of land or development rights to the City
- Dedications - developers, for example, may dedicate areas of a subdivision to the City such as the Twin Buttes, Three Springs, and SkyRidge dedicated open spaces
- Fee Title Acquisitions - the City may purchase title to land just as a private entity may purchase land
- Conservation Easements or Permanent Restrictions - additional protections may be placed on land voluntarily or be required by outside funding sources such as Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) or the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
The 2020 City of Durango Parks, Open Space and Trails Master Plan includes the Open Space Plan in Section 4.5, which highlights and captures the vision, structure, policies, priorities, strategies, and actions that are desired for the City to preserve and protect its valued open spaces/natural lands.
The adopted 2017 City of Durango Comprehensive Plan serves to guide the work of the 2020 City of Durango Parks, Open Space and Trails Master Plan; in particular Chapter 2: Vision, Chapter 4: Natural Environment Element, and Chapter 10: Parks, Open Space, Trails and Recreation Element. The plan includes public open space policies such as:
- Retain key open space in their natural condition where feasible
- Design, construct and maintain parks as visual and recreational amenities
- And enhance community aesthetics
The City of Durango Parks and Recreation Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board provides guidance regarding the acquisition and stewardship of City open space.