Russ and Clay Garrity: Finalizing the Oak Creek Mountain Park
This week, my wife and I signed the final paperwork that creates the Oak Creek Mountain Park (OCMP). Clay and I are thrilled, and we thank everyone who has worked so diligently to create this community resource. Due to your tireless efforts over the past three years, Yampa Valley residents (and many others) can now access this incredible park forever.
The OCMP is a 140-acre parcel of land that adjoins the west side of Oak Creek. It includes meadows, aspen trees, pines, wide views and a diverse assortment of wildlife. The park was formed using a Conservation Easement and funding from numerous sources. When we purchased the parcel in the 1990s, the land had no trails and was only used by ourselves. Today, the park contains over 4 1/2 miles of trails that are used year-round by hikers, bikers, runners, skiers and horseback riders. An estimated 3,250 visitors accessed the trails this summer alone.
It is not widely known, but OCMP was created using almost no money from the town of Oak Creek. To fund this effort, Mary Alice Page-Allen, the Town Board and the Town Staff worked hard to identify, apply for and obtain over $500,000 in grants to purchase and conserve the park, which was more money than the purchase price. Future park maintenance will be performed under the direction of the nonprofit South Routt Recreation Association, with guidance from the Oak Creek Town Board.
It’s impossible to thank all the people we should in a 400-word letter to the Pilot. However, the “short list” of critical supporters includes Jackie and Tony Brown, Mary Alice Page-Allen, Nikki Knoebel and members of the Oak Creek Town Board, Routt County Commissioners, Purchase of Development Rights Board of Directors, Yampa Valley Land Trust, Gates Family Foundation, State of Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Yampa Valley Community Foundation, Kim Kreissig, Chris Babcock, Kelda Counts and RE/MAX Realty, Mark Wertheimer and members of the South Routt Recreation Association, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Aryah Copa and Routt County Riders, Steve and Pam Williams, Bob Weiss, Jeff Gustafson, Landmark Consultants, Jimmy Artz and Gail Schissler, Kerry Eaton, Town and Country Realty, Shelly Wu and Stuart Churchill, Heritage Title Company, and many others.
This park started as a “crazy idea” and literally hundreds of people have made it a reality. We look forward to seeing you on the trails.
Russ and Clay Garrity
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