Woodland Park Putting Finishing Touches on Historic Open Land Purchase

Ribbon Cutting Celebration for $650,000 Avenger Property Deal Expected Soon

Trevor Phipps

The largest open space proposition in Woodland Park history continues to clear all necessary hurdles, with an unprecedented opportunity for residents to enjoy a prime area for hiking and recreating, right at their doorstep.

Late last year, the Woodland Park Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) presented city council with what they called a once in a generation opportunity. After hearing that a 120-acre chunk of land located on the city’s southeast side was up for sale, PRAB members quickly seized the opportunity to propose the city’s purchase of the land in order to keep it open for recreational use for years to come.


On April 19, the city officially closed on the property marking an unprecedented real estate purchase for open land in the region. This was the culminating act for months of negotiations and the finalizing a dream for local outdoor proponents.

Earlier in April, PRAB members notified city council that they had secured a historically large grant of over $520,000 from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to pay for the majority of the $650,000 land purchase.


In addition to the GOCO grant, the city proposed to pitch in $150,000 to help with the open land purchase. The remaining $80,000 will be coming from private donations by community members. The PRAB has already collected nearly $50,000 in donations for the land purchase.


According to WP Parks and Recreation Director Cindy Keating, the land is now city property but there are a couple more steps that need to be taken to secure access to all of the land. “We are still working with the forest service to go through the process to get permanent access,” Keating said. “But we do have temporary access.”


She said that the city is also working with the Palmer Land Conservancy and doing the inventory for the conservation easement. The land is owned by the city and accessible currently, but the city has a few more steps to take before they can have a grand opening celebration and officially welcome the public to the trails running through the land.


Keating said that the two last steps of securing access and the conservation easement are underway and should be finalized in the next few months. She said that the city hopes to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the property sometime in the early summer season.


Open Land Purchase Keeps Local Trails Open


For years hikers and outdoor enthusiasts have traversed the trails on the edge of Rampart Range on the east side of Woodland Park without fully realizing that for part of their excursion they were on privately owned property. In recent years, there have been issues across the state with popular hiking trails leading through private property prompting owners to shut down the trails due to liability reasons.


When members of the community found out that part of the property the trails on the east side of town lead through was private, they feared that the property owners would shut the trail off to the public. When the property went up for sale, the community quickly came together to figure out how to purchase the land to keep the hiking trails open for generations in the future.


The dream finally became a reality after just about every government entity involved voted unanimously for the purchase. The city can know preserve and improve the property as they wish while incorporating a new piece of beauty in the mountain town.


Even though the trail has been used by hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts for several years, they will soon be able to do so without fear of trail closures in the future. The giant land purchase marks one of the biggest in the history of the region, solidifying the community’s stance of wanting to be an outdoor recreation hot spot.


The trails running through what is now being called the Avenger Open Space (named after the Avenger mining claims on part of the property) start at the end of King’s Crown Road near other city open space areas. The trails lead all along the mountainside giving hikers exquisite aerial views of Woodland Park and unique angles of Pikes Peak.


The trail runs along the ridge and passes by former mines that were a part of the Avenger claim which can be seen as scars on the side of the mountain while driving into town on Highway 24 from the east. The trail branches off up the Rampart Range Mountains in several places as it follows the side of the range all the way to Crystola.


Keating said that they will be coming up for a date for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony in the next coming weeks. In the meantime, the parks and recreation director said that people can still donate to help with the land purchase by giving funds directly to the city of Woodland Park or to the Palmer Land Conservancy.