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Open Space

"Let's not violate this public trust."

Ron Stewart

Director of Parks and Open Space, Seventeen years

Boulder County Commissioner, Twenty years

1993 Sales Tax Resolution 93-174: the new Open Space tax

"Whereas there is a critical need for the preservation of open space lands in Boulder County, preserved open space being a fundamental shared value of the citizens of Boulder County, which open space lands can be used for purposes including but not limited to buffers to preserve community identity, natural areas, wildlife habitat and wetlands, allow continuation of existing visual corridors and offer passive recreational use through the development of a county-wide trail system, and therefore there is a critical need for county-wide sales and use taxes to finance the acquisition and limited development of said lands"

"With over 100,000 acres of open space, we are committed to conserving natural, cultural, and agricultural resources and providing public uses that reflect sound resource management and community values."

One-sentence summary of responsibilities on Open Space Management's website

"The Plan fails to make use of County mapping data provided to Crestone at the conceptual stage, including several County-identified Critical Wildlife Habitat areas, the wetlands and ponds in Section 36, the post-flood adjusted channel for Boulder Creek, or the extensive list of County-identified plant and animal species of special concern."

Boulder County, opposing drilling plans

Targeting open space

". . . our compost subcommittee is making a motion to support discussions with Boulder County Parks & Open Space pursuing property to include organics processing, C&D, along with debris management to support Boulder County Sustainability Goals." 

RCAB 6/28/2017 minutes; we can't find any agendas or minutes of a "compost subcommittee"

The Board of County Commissioners 2019 - 2023 Strategic Priorities asserts that, “Sound stewardship of public lands and natural resources provides a legacy for future generations and is increasingly important as our community is impacted by climate change and a growing human population.  As such, there remains a critical need for the preservation and stewardship of open space lands in the county, with preserved open space being a fundamental shared value of the people in Boulder County.”  


One of the goals of Land & Water Stewardship is to "demonstrate excellent stewardship of open space, including protection of natural resources, community access, and quality of life, through improved planning, engagement, and implementation on Boulder County Parks and Open Space land.”

When open space is purchased, the intent is that the land is permanently protected and that it remains open.


The land is in the open corridor along U.S. 287 between Lafayette and Longmont. It is part of a vast area of agricultural land that is now part of Boulder County’s open space holdings. It is part of an important visual buffer along 287 that maintains the open space feel of the county.

Since 1994 until today it has appeared on county open space maps as open space. Using this land for an intensive composting operation would set an exceedingly bad precedent, undermining the permanence of acquired open space by allowing its use to be changed to something other than open land.

A composting facility of the magnitude proposed is a significant violation of open space values. Hundreds of truck trips and industrial-type operations on the site are far from what was originally intended for the land.

The proposal is a violation of the intent of Boulder County’s voters, who have been very generous in their support of open space and the taxes it requires to own and operate an open space system.

My hope is that the county will do the right thing and avoid this theft of land from our open space system. The voters were assured that open space would remain as open space.

Let’s not violate this public trust."

Ron Stewart, letter to the Daily Camera and Longmont Times-Call, 2/23/21