Summit County Government

Posted on: October 19, 2016

Summit County Acquires Historic Ranching Property North of Silverthorne

Photo of a wide valley flanked by mountains

Doig Homestead acquisition will protect 273 acres of scenery, habitat and agricultural heritage

Contact:
Katherine King, Open Space & Trails
970-668-4061, Katherine.King@SummitCountyCO.gov

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County unveiled the Doig Homestead Open Space parcel Wednesday, 273 acres of irrigated hay meadows, rolling sage brush, aspen groves and conifer forest north of Silverthorne. The Doig Homestead’s undeveloped, sweeping scenery is visible from more than four miles of Highway 9 and Green Mountain Reservoir. The property furthers Open Space Program goals to protect the rural character and critical wildlife habitat of northern Summit County.

Summit County’s recent purchase of the parcel complements the existing 12-mile corridor of protected County lands from south of Green Mountain Reservoir to the Grand County line. Its rolling meadows form a visual backdrop between Green Mountain Reservoir and the Gore Range.

“The Doig Homestead is a real jewel in the landscape of the Lower Blue Basin,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “This acquisition ensures that some of Summit County’s most breathtaking views will be preserved for future generations, and that wildlife will benefit from contiguous habitat in the area.”

Over its 20-year history, the Summit County Open Space Program has spent approximately $6.8 million preserving almost 8,000 acres that make up the iconic landscape at the base of the Williams Fork and Gore ranges. The slightly lower elevation of the Lower Blue River Basin has enabled it to be the only area of Summit County remaining in agriculture. For this reason, Summit County has made a concerted effort to protect this limited agricultural heritage.

The County purchased the property from the Knorr family in September. The Knorrs have been ranching in the Lower Blue since 1898, and fourth-generation family members still live and work on their ranch today. Their home and ranch buildings had to be relocated uphill when Green Mountain Reservoir was constructed in 1938. The Knorrs purchased the Doig Homestead parcel from Dave Doig in 1951 when he grew too old to ranch it, and they have since stewarded the land for more than 60 years.

Dave Doig homesteaded the property around 1900 and sold hay to the Knorrs to feed their cattle as they moved them between their Mt. Powell and Lakeside ranches. A small cabin where the Doigs lived (rebuilt after a fire burned it down) still stands on the property. The ranch was once home to a stagecoach stop, known as the “20-mile house” because it was about equidistant between Kremmling and Dillon.

The Open Space Program receives approximately $1.25 million annually for land acquisition from a property tax mill levy. Summit County has submitted a grant application to Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to help offset the $2 million acquisition cost of the Doig Homestead property. GOCO invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state's parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces.

Open Space and Trails staff will be developing a management plan for the property this winter. In the meantime, the property is closed to public access to protect its agricultural and wildlife habitat values.

For more information, contact Katherine King at the Summit County Open Space and Trails Department at 970-668-4061 or Katherine.King@SummitCountyCO.gov.

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