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Larimer County Wins Colorado Lottery Starburst Director's Choice Award for Hermit Park Open Space

The Colorado Lottery has awarded a 2009 Starburst Director's Choice Award to Larimer County for using Lottery dollars to enhance the community's open space resources. The Larimer County Department of Natural Resources tapped a $700,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant to help purchase and preserve Hermit Park Open Space, a more than 1,300-acre parcel in Estes Park formerly owned by Agilent Technologies.

The purchase allowed the County to open the site (used previously for private corporate retreats) for public access, while maintaining most of the property as a haven for wildlife and vegetation. The County now manages the park's 80 campsites, 15 rustic log cabins, and trails which connect to existing Forest Service trails on adjacent properties. Numerous improvements have already been implemented at the site since opening in 2007.

"This is a great use of Lottery funds to preserve a large area of open space, allowing wildlife to survive and thrive without the loss of habitat," said Colorado Lottery Director Jack Boehm.

Appraised at $8.7 million, Agilent Technologies generously donated $2.2 million in a bargain sale of the property. To raise funds for the $6.5 million purchase of Hermit Park Open Space, county officials and "The Friends of Larimer County Parks & Open Lands," a 501(c)3, launched a capital campaign that received $1.2 million in financial support from local residents, private businesses, philanthropic foundations, and cities and towns located within the county.

"The project demonstrates several communities coming together in a public-private partnership to promote conservation and preservation of natural resources for others to enjoy," added Boehm. "I commend their efforts."

Previously limited in availability to the general public, Hermit Park Open Space provides a variety of recreational opportunities for users, including camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, and wildlife viewing. For reservations at Hermit Park Open Space, go to www.larimercamping.com or call 1-800-397-7795.

The Colorado Lottery Starburst Awards recognize excellence in the use of Lottery proceeds for projects that promote community-building, partnership, conservation, and commitment to the recreational needs of Colorado residents. Larimer County Department of Natural Resources received the Director's Choice Award for the outstanding use of Lottery funds to protect important natural resources, wildlife habitats and outdoor recreational opportunities.