Just inside the Fall River entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park is 42 acres of privately owned land. But that will only last a little longer. Soon the National Park Service will acquire this land, the largest private strip remaining on its boundaries. Not all land within a national forest or national park is public.
Rocky Mountain Conservancy worked with Wilderness Land Trust and National Park Trust to purchase the Wild Basin property. The plan is to demolish the house located on the land and cover the roads with vegetation. If all plans go through, this will add 33 acres of wilderness to Rocky Mountain National Park. Of the 84.6 million acres within the park's boundaries, 2.6 million are private, inherited after the park boundaries changed.
Often times, the federal government will expand the boundaries of a forest or national park by buying adjacent properties and slowly creating islands of private land. They worked with the National Park Service to convert the access road into a hiking trail, allowing hikers to enjoy a relatively easy hike to the viewpoint. Rocky Mountain National Park had previously identified the plot as a high priority for acquisition and requested the assistance of the Rocky Mountain Nature Association (RMNA) to raise the necessary funds. Rocky Mountain National Park took another step toward maturity recently, thanks to a fundraising effort led by the Rocky Mountain Nature Association.
Like many other areas of the NPS, Rocky Mountain National Park does not own all land within its authorized boundaries, and privately owned properties can raise a variety of concerns, including the future development of those extensions.
The land within Rocky Mountain National Park, which includes a group of rental cottages that has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors entering the park, has been purchased and will eventually be added to the park, The Trust for Public Land and Rocky Mountain Conservancy announced today.