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Closed to Development
A Colorado county preserves and protects quality open space next to a metropolitan area.
By Kathi Grider

Jefferson County lies to the west of the Denver metropolitan area, along Colorado’s majestic Front Range where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains.

One in every 10 acres in the county has been permanently preserved as open space. Such an achievement is the result of the vision that county residents had to acquire and shield open lands from development, ensuring that the land will be available for generations to come.

Courtesy Jefferson County, Colorado Open Space and Jefferson County Public Information Department

The Jefferson County Open Space Program is the recipient of ASLA’s 2002 Award of Excellence. The honor was extended to the department not only in recognition of successfully building the first county open space program in the United States 30 years ago, but also for demonstrating outstanding stewardship of its lands. The award acknowledges the rare balance achieved by the program: It preserves and protects the natural beauty of this western county yet provides access to the land for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike.

Bill Wenk, FASLA, principal of the Denver-based Wenk Associates landscape architecture firm and a member of the ASLA award jury, strongly supported granting the prestigious award to Jefferson County Open Space for the program’s “continuously evolving, multifaceted mission and the significant role the county plays in the Denver metro area’s quality of life.”

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