PINE, Colo. - Colorado's newest state park will open Saturday.
Staunton State Park in Jefferson County has been 62 years in the making.
The new state park preserves thick forest, jagged mountain formations, grassy meadows and rolling hills. The park is home to deer, elk, fox, marmots, mountain lions and bears.
"This is an amazing piece of property," said park manager Jennifer Anderson. "You can see the bulk of it by hiking, biking, horseback riding.”
The park features over 18 miles of trails.
-- Park history --
Archibald and Rachael Staunton family homesteaded 160 acres in the early 1900s. The Stauntons were both physicians and Mrs. Staunton lived in the cabin seven months of year to earn the homestead deed.
The ranch eventually expanded to 1,720 acres.
In the 1920s and 1930s, there was a sawmill on the property. In the 1930s, the girl scouts leased cabins here for their summer camps.
The Staunton's had one daughter -- Frances. She was an opera singer who wrote in her will in 1961 that she wanted to donate her family's land to the state.
Miss Staunton died in 1989.
-- Creating a park --
The park took nearly three decades to open because of planning, access issues, and money.
Colorado had some rough financial times and couldn't afford to build a new state park when it was cutting employees and freezing salaries. Thanks to assistance from the Colorado Lottery, Great Outdoors Colorado and the Colorado Land Board, the state was able to acquire Elk Falls, the Davies Ranch and property owned by Mary Coyle Chase, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author of "Harvey."
-- Grand opening --
For the park’s grand opening this weekend, there are guided walks, fishing demonstrations, face painting for the kids and much more.
Staunton State Park website: http://www.parks.state.co.us/parks/staunton/Pages/Staunton.aspx