DEL NORTE — Del Norte’s west entrance gateway is now officially preserved through a generous donation made by Off Island Ranch Inc.
The Off family – Gordon and Suzanne, and children Shawna, Kevin, and David – had always thought that their corner property at US Highway 160 and County Road 14 would make a tremendous park and western gateway for Del Norte. Now they have donated the property to become “Cliff Corner Park and Trailhead.”
In 2010 the Off family gave an easement on the corner property as an in-kind donation for the Town of Del Norte’s $212,000 GOCO Visibility Impact Project grant. In 2020, they approached the town to talk about the further possibilities and finally to donate it as Del Norte’s newest park.
The gateway is a highly visible point for tourists to pull-off from US Highway 160. It provides safe parking and accessibility to the town’s 200-acre Lookout Mountain Park Trails and is an attractive spot to enjoy the outdoors with a great view to the west of the Upper Rio Grande. The central focal point is the pergola with three informational kiosks, two benches and a picnic table.
The front area was landscaped with all native plants that require no additional water, including yuccas, fringed sage, rabbit brush, and four-wing salt brush. Behind the pergola, the narrow strip of land turned out to be a perfect location to install the town’s new identifying gateway sign.
In 2020, after multiple citizen meetings and follow-up meetings with engineer, Tom Pescatore from Ecodynamics, the three new Del Norte entrance signs’ design and engineering were finalized. The massive foundation structures were built by the Town of Del Norte Works Department crew.
“Clearly, the Board of Trustees are very appreciative that Off Island Ranch Inc. donated this land to the town, expanding our green space and preserving it forever,” said Town Administrator, Bernadette Martinez. “It was very generous, and allowed us an ideal place to install the new, west-end town sign.”
There will be a public ribbon-cutting and dedication to acknowledge and thank the Off family for this donation of “Cliff Corner Park and Trailhead” on Thursday, November 19, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. at the park site – the corner of US Highway 160 and Rio Grande County Road 14. Everyone is welcome to attend.