YMCA of the Rockies celebrated its donation of 127 acres of land to preserve open space along its border at a dedication ceremony this week. The event featured guest speakers from YMCA of the Rockies leadership, Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Valley Land Trust. The conservation easement preserves and protects nearly a mile of land on YMCA of the Rockies’ 860-acre property that borders Rocky Mountain National Park.
“We are honored to partner with Estes Valley Land Trust and Rocky Mountain National Park to protect and preserve our precious environment within and around YMCA of the Rockies,” Julie Watkins, President and CEO, YMCA of the Rockies.
In addition to protecting forests, meadows, and rivers, the easement allows for development of a new trail system at YMCA of the Rockies, featuring a 5.2-mile dog-friendly hiking loop around the property.
Darla Sidles, Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, noted the tremendous opportunity to dedicate space for “world-class recreation and environmental education” at YMCA of the Rockies, as more people search for ways to “get away, escape the city, see wildlife and the magnificent mountain scenery.”
To protect the land, the easement prohibits residential structures, industrial uses, mining, and recreational uses such as new ball fields, tennis courts, mini-golf and other uses that require changes to the topography.
YMCA of the Rockies is located just outside of the town of Estes Park and features cabins and lodge room accommodations with daily activities and three meals a day served buffet-style in a dining hall. This summer, the organization opened a brand-new dog park for guests and completed renovations to the historic library, featuring a large collection of periodicals about the town of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.