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Metzler Family Open Space
With gorgeous sweeping views, plentiful wildlife and beautiful wildflowers and vegetation, the land along Founders Parkway and Crowfoot Valley Road is truly a treasure. The approximately 60-acre property was donated to the Town by the Estate of Robert F. Metzler. While the donation agreement requires several improvements the property will primarily remain open space to be enjoyed by the community for generations to come.
Metzler family history
The Metzler family is credited as an original settler in the Castle Rock area. Originally built in 1899, the homestead was the home of Bob and Rosemary Metzler. The siblings grew up on the property when it was still being used for ranching and dairy operations. Both Bob and Rosemary had distinguished careers in education. Bob was elected the Superintendent of Douglas County Schools in 1952, and Rosemary taught in Douglas County for more than 30 years. The siblings were third-generation Coloradans who had a passion for education, the community, and parks and recreation.
As part of the agreement, the Metzler estate donated a conservation easement, which limits the uses of the property going forward and preserves the natural state of the land. Douglas Land Conservancy, a local nonprofit focused on land conservation in Douglas County, holds the conservation easement and will help ensure the property, including a four-acre tract containing the homestead and ranch buildings, are managed appropriately.
An 11-acre tract, which could allow for an educational or community building, was also part of the donation. This area will be managed as open space until future needs are determined by the Town and funding is available. This area will also contain a parking lot that will provide the community access to a network of soft-surface trails that have been constructed. The parking lot and access road are slated to be completed in early May 2023.
The first phase of improvements includes construction of 4 miles of soft-surface trails, the straightening of the silo and construction of an access driveway and parking spaces. Additionally, the Town will install informative plaques to provide additional information about the Metzler family and property. About $1.6 million has been allocated for these improvements, which were started in 2021 and are planned to continue into 2023.
The Town has completed constructing 4 miles of native-surface single-track trails on the property to allow folks to explore and discover this amazing property. The trails will be fully open for hikers, mountain bikers and walkers with dogs on leashes after a parking lot with access off of East Allen Street and Founders has been completed, as well as way-finding signage installed. In the interim, there are six parking spaces labeled "Castle Rock Open Space" located at HEI Civil, 5460 Montana Vista, Castle Rock that are available for the public to use when accessing the open space. If you have any questions in regard to the trails at Metzler Family Open Space, please feel free to reach out to trails planner Rich Havel via email or 720-733-4482.
- Bob and Rosemary Metzler are the grandchildren of Patrick Lucas and Margaret McCardle who homesteaded what is now Castlewood Canyon State Park and the remains of that homestead are still visible in the park.
- Bob and Rosemary were the last of the Metzler family to live on this property (Rosemary died in 2017 and Bob passed away in 2020).
- The homestead was originally built in 1899 but had additions as recently as the 1990s.
- The silo was made of clay tile bricks (not very common) in 1912. It was stipulated in the donation agreement that the silo remain on the property and either straightened for safety or de-constructed and then reconstructed with the same clay bricks. Fortunately, a Mennonite family from Pennsylvania was able to successfully straighten the leaning silo in June 2022.
- The homestead and outbuildings were home to an active dairy farm called Sunny Slope Dairy until the 1960s. In addition to the homestead and silo, there is a milking barn, creamery, garage and chicken coop.
- The 60-acre parcel that includes the homestead was donated in 2021 by the Estate of Robert Metzler.
- The homestead parcel is protected with a permanent Conservation Easement held by Douglas Land Conservancy (minus the area around the future parking lot location).
- The Town is working on a plan to build a parking lot in the southwest corner of the property, off Allen Street, that is anticipated to be open by summer 2023.
- The Town is also working on a sign plan for the trails and trailhead parking lot, so all the trails will be marked in the near future.
- The western 49-acre parcel was originally part of the larger Metzler property but was dedicated to the Town in 2001 as a public land donation for the development around Allen Street.
- Both parcels are woodland habitats characterized by scrub oak and mount mahogany shrubs along with scattered ponderosa pines and junipers.
- Wildlife seen or that have the potential to be seen on the property include: mountain lions, mule deer, porcupines, turkeys, coyotes and foxes, along with owls, hawks, woodpeckers and many migratory songbirds.