By Richard Bangs

Douglas Land Conservancy (DLC) leaders have expressed gratitude for being part of a 
successful effort to preserve Lost Canyon Ranch, 681 acres on the southeast edge of Castle Rock 
in unincorporated Douglas County. 
The land is the largest one-time acquisition and protection of open space in the town’s history.
The Town partnered with The Conservation Fund, Douglas County, and Great Outdoors 
Colorado to secure the property, including a perpetual conservation easement held by DLC. The 
easement was officially adopted May 1 and announced by the Town May 2.
The three governmental agencies and The Conservation Fund contributed funds and expertise 
during the purchase process. The Conservation Fund and DLC also provided expertise during the 
creation of a conservation easement that protects the conservation values of the land forever. 
DLC, as holders of the easement, will be required to monitor and enforce the terms of the 
easement in perpetuity. The land trust also will have a part in the town’s creation of a master plan 
which will define the uses allowed on the property. Although DLC provided no funds for the 
project, its role to ensure the proper use of the land is significant, said Laura Sanford, Executive 
Director of the land trust. 
Lost Canyon Ranch is a once in a lifetime conservation opportunity,” Sanford saidDLC is so 
grateful to The Conservation Fund, the Town of Castle Rock, Douglas County, GOCO, and all 
the supporters of conservation and open lands for making permanent preservation possible. We 
are looking forward to working with the Town of Castle Rock in stewarding this uniquely 
beautiful property.” 
President of DLC’s Board, Alan Clarke, said the project was a major conservation success. The 
current high pace of development of open lands in Douglas County and surrounding areas 
promotes a sense of urgency to DLC’s work to preserve such lands from future development,” 
said ClarkeThe preservation of the splendid Lost Canyon property is a major success. Kudos 
to all involved in getting this done.” 
Castle Rock residents regularly name the preservation of open space as a top priority in biannual 
community surveys, according to a news release issued by the town after the conservation 
easement was accepted.  
“This magnificent property is roughly the size of Philip S. Miller Park and Ridgeline Open Space 
combined and becomes the Town’s largest open space property,” said Castle Rock Mayor Jason 
Gray. “With the acquisition . . . we are pleased to preserve for public use this land that could 
have been developed.” 
Lost Canyon Ranch includes a variety of habitat types including a creek, ponderosa forest and 
open grasslands. The property is surrounded on the north and west by Castle Rock 
neighborhoods and by large acreage lots on the south. The ranch shares a 3/4-mile boundary with 
Castlewood Canyon State Park on the northeast side.  
The total cost for Lost Canyon Ranch Open Space was $15,009,432. The purchase was 
negotiated by The Conservation Fund on the Town’s behalf from the estate of the former owner, who passed away several years ago. There have been purchase offers by private developers that 
would have compromised the conservation values, wildlife habitat and corridors, the town said in
its announcement.
“We are honored to support the acquisition of this spectacular and important property and
permanently protect its habitat, cultural resources and future passive recreation opportunities for
generations to come,” said The Conservation Fund’s Vice President and Colorado State Director
Justin Spring.
This property also provides critical habitat for wildlife and will serve as a wildlife movement
corridor between Castle Rock, Castlewood Canyon State Park and Douglas County’s Prairie
Canyon Ranch Open Space.
“Well done to all in recognizing the opportunity to form this partnership to acquire this very
large swath of undeveloped, preserved, conserved land in the middle of the County. With this
significant acquisition, there are now nearly 4,300 acres of contiguous protected open space in
eastern Douglas County,” said Board of Douglas County Commissioners Chair George Teal.
Douglas County provided $5.5 million from the Open Space, Parks and Historic Resources sales
and use tax.
GOCO provided the Town with a $3 million Centennial Program award toward the purchase,
marking the largest funding amount from GOCO for any project in Town history. The Centennial
Program grant invests in high-value, once-in-a-generation visions and projects that will create
lasting impacts.
“This new open space in Castle Rock will expand much-desired recreational opportunities for the
Front Range,” said GOCO Executive Director Jackie Miller. “Without this protection, eventual
development would have significant impacts to wildlife and visitors’ experiences in the adjacent
Castlewood Canyon State Park. We’re so proud to support this remarkable conservation effort.”
The Town will soon invite public participation in a master planning process to help guide future
public access to the open space, including trails and other amenities. DLC also will be involved
in the master plan process. 
DLC is a non-profit land trust formed in 1987 and based in Castle Rock. It now protects 27,437
acres in Douglas, Elbert and Jefferson counties. For more information on DLC, go to For more information on Lost Canyon Ranch, go to
Photo: Justin Spring