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Mining claim in Weminuche Wilderness donated as open space

Land will be protected from future development
This 10-acre mining claim was recently donated to the La Plata Open Space Conservancy by a former Durango family who wanted to see the land protected from any development.

A 10-acre mining claim in the Weminuche Wilderness will now be protected as open space.

According to Amy Schwarzbach, executive director of La Plata Open Space Conservancy, members of the Alder family, formerly of Durango, inherited the patented mining claim from their grandfather.

When he passed, Schwarzbach said the family wanted to place protections on the land to prevent any development on it, especially because of its location in the Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado’s largest wilderness area, and nearby proximity to the Animas River.

As of Thursday, the land now belongs to the La Plata Open Space Conservancy, Schwarzbach said. Ultimately, the nonprofit would like to see the land folded into the San Juan National Forest and the Weminuche Wilderness.

“Now, we’re truly in the beginning stages (of that process),” Schwarzbach said.

Until the land is officially transferred, Schwarzbach said she could not disclose the exact location of the mining claim because of possible liability issues.

“It’s exciting to announce to our community another sliver of land out there is no longer private and will become public,” Schwarzbach said.

jromeo@durangoherald.com

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