PINE, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado’s newest state park is open to the public.
Staunton State Park is located about six miles west of Conifer and features about 3,800 acres of grasslands, granite cliffs and streams.
The park is named in honor of Frances Staunton, who donated the mountain ranch property to the state upon her death in 1989. The Staunton ranch is at the center of the new park.
“The more I got involved the more excited I got that there’s 3,800 acres of wilderness right next to my house so I thought I have to be involved,” said neighbor Donna Zimmerly.
Zimmerly started volunteering to help finish building the park as soon as she moved next to the park. She has been busy building trails and putting up signs.
“You’re moving boulders. You have an idea of where you want the trail to go but it doesn’t always work out because there’s a rock in the way. So you have to move the boulder. It’s really a lot of fun,” said Zimmerly.
“It’s going to be pretty undeveloped and will mainly focus on hiking, rock climbing, some biking and some horseback riding. And it’s pretty pristine. There hasn’t been much development, just enough to get people in here and then lots of trail work. Miles and miles and miles of trail work,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill.
Staunton is only an hours drive from downtown Denver. The park still has many of the homesteading cabins in the park. The crown jewel is Lionshead, what some consider the Yosemite of Colorado.
“The fact that it’s been untouched since it was donated or since the original owners, the Stauntons, homesteaded here in the early 1900s and so much of the wilderness is pristine wilderness and when you get here you can see that,” said Zimmerly.
“What we’re also excited about is to offer this to future generations. Now this place is preserved. People will be able to enjoy this, our kids and grand kids will be able to enjoy it, and hopefully it stays this beautiful,” said Churchill.
Colorado hasn’t had a brand new state park since 2006.
The park will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to mark the grand opening. Guests can hike, rock climb, ride horses and mountain bike.
The opening weekend will also feature music, a demonstration by the Front Range Country Horsemen and live raptor presentations.
LINK: Staunton State Park