The long awaited Staunton State Park opened today, visited by happy local residents and visitors from the Denver area. A mix of everything from high meadows, forest land, a waterfall, fishing ponds, hiking trails, rock climbing and even historical sites, Staunton State Park covers over 3800 acres, and resides in both Jefferson and Park counties.
The idea for the park started more than 27 years ago, when renown opera singer Francis Staunton decided to will her parents land to the state, on the premise they keep it pristine nature; that every new thing they added, they take away something else. The land, originally bought in By Drs Rachel and Archibald Staunton as part of the homestead act, was expanded over the years to 1720 acres. Francis passed in 1889, and since that time, the park has been in progress.
Over the years, the State Parks Dept acquired other parcels of land; Davis and Elk Falls Ranch contributed, as well as the Chase and Byrd families. Now the park is open as a daytime destination only, but year round for hiking, climbing, biking, horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. According to the park volunteers, overnight camping is being considered in the future, as is the possibility of historical events.
This weekend only, the park is free to all visitors, and a number of tours and events are scheduled from 9 am to 5pm both Saturday May 18 and 19. Several organizations have set up displays - Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado State Parks, Bike Evergreen, Front Range Back Country Horsemen and others are there, offering information, free gifts, even crafts for the kids. Tours are being conducted as well tomorrow, as well as live historical music, a raptor presentation, a climbing wall for the kids, fishing for the kids at the pond, facepainting and crafts - the kids can even make themselves a special commemorative T shirt (with the help of rangers and park volunteers) to take home!
I did the history hike; seven miles later and slightly sore legs and I've not even started to touch on all the good things the park has to offer.
The schedule of Sunday events is available here - Staunton State Park
I'll be writing more about the history hike; please feel free to look at the slideshow of the weekend events as well!