By Jennifer McRae

DENVER (CBS4)– The Axton Ranch property will be the first new Denver Mountain Park acquired in more than 80 years. The donation, if approved by the Denver City Council, will add 450 acres to its Mountain Park System.

(credit: CBS)

Axton Ranch is located within Jefferson and Gilpin counties and less than an hour drive from Denver. It’s adjacent to Roosevelt National Forest and near Arapahoe National Forest, Golden Gate Canyon State Park and Jefferson County Open Space. The property has mixed conifer and aspen stands, meadows, ponds, a small creek and historic trail constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps with access to nearby Mount Thorodin and Starr Peak.

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“It’s never been more important to grow our parks and acquire additional land for trails and open space,” said Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Parks and Recreation, in a statement. “This property will be managed primarily as a conservation area focused on sustainability and will also expand mountain park access for Denver residents and visitors.”

Axton Ranch is set to be the first new Denver Mountain Park since the donation of James Q. Newton Park in Conifer in 1939.

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(credit: Denver Mountain Parks)

It was first operated as a small cattle ranch and has been in the Axton family since 1954, spanning 4 generations.

“We are excited to donate this beautiful ranch to Denver Mountain Parks,” said the Axton Family in a statement. “We feel they will steward and preserve it for future generations to love and enjoy as we have. Congratulations City of Denver for your interest in preservation and your newest mountain park.”

With the designation as a Denver Mountain Park, the property will be protected from future development and real estate transactions. A future master plan will determine the long-term vision for Axton Ranch Mountain Park, with environmental education and programming opportunities for adult and children to connect to nature.

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(credit: Denver Mountain Parks)

The Denver City Council will consider the proposed donation agreement in March after it is proposed to the City Council Finance & Governance Committee on Tuesday. Axton Ranch will remain private property until the city closes on the donation later this year.

Jennifer McRae