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It’s been almost 30 years since Frances H. Staunton turned over her 1,720-acre mountain ranch to the State of Colorado, stipulating that it was “to be preserved in perpetuity” as a state park. Frances died in 1989, but, on May 18, her vision for the land becomes reality. Her namesake park, Staunton State Park, opens to the public with two days of activities for all ages.


Park hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the grand opening weekend only. Beginning Monday, May 20, the park’s regular summer hours will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.


On-going activities throughout the weekend will give visitors a sampling of the myriad recreational opportunities available in Staunton State Park. This includes fishing, rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and kid’s activities. The full line-up of activities, with their scheduled times, is on the park’s website http://www.parks.state.co.us/parks/staunton/Pages/Staunton.aspx.


Special presentations this weekend include period music from the early days of the American West by Rex Rideout of Time Travel Music, demonstrations by the Front Range Back Country Horsemen, and live raptor presentations by the Raptor Education Foundation and Wild Wings Environmental Education.


Some activities will be by reservation only. These include naturalist guided walks to view the park’s exceptional natural and cultural resources. Reservations can be made by emailingstaunton.park@state.co.us or by calling 303-816-0912. Spaces are limited.


Event parking is available at the Mountain View RTD Park-N-Ride, 11770 US Hwy 285, Conifer, and Elk Creek Elementary School, 13304 S Hwy 285 Frontage Road, Pine. A free shuttle service will ferry visitors to and from the park, beginning at 9 a.m. each day. The last shuttle will leave the park at 4 p.m. Although dogs on leashes and bikes will be permitted in the park, the shuttles cannot transport dogs or bicycles this weekend. Handicap accessible parking is available in the park.


“Our Grand Opening is the culmination of years of planning and development by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in partnership with many organizations and individuals,” says Staunton State Park Manager Jennifer Anderson. “But it all started with Frances Staunton’s vision for the mountain ranch her parents homesteaded in the early 20th century. This park is her legacy. As her beneficiaries, we have the opportunity to enjoy and care for the landscape she treasured.”