The first 1,720-acre parcel was donated to Colorado State Parks in 1986 by
Frances Hornbrook Staunton. Subsequent parcels, including a portion of the Davis
Ranch and Elk Falls property, were acquired in the late 1990s. In 2006, a small
key parcel, called the Chase property, was added to the Park to reach its
current land base of approximately 3,828 acres. The properties that make up the
Park are rich in human history, having supported a variety of uses,
Homesteading and a family retreat in the middle of the site
Ranching on the southern portions of the site.
Logging and a turn-of-the-20th century saw mill in the northern part of the site.
A sportsman's club on the western side of the site.
Ranch began as a homestead around the turn of the 20th century. Drs. Rachel and
Archibald Staunton were on their way to California from West Virginia and a rest
stop in the Denver area convinced them that Colorado should be their new home.
The first 160 acres of the Staunton Ranch was homesteaded by Rachel Staunton who
lived there in the warmer months and provided medical care to the people who
lived in the area. Some of her clientele were Native American families who
bartered beadwork, pottery, jewelry, and rugs to show their appreciation and pay
for her services. The Staunton Ranch grew to 1,720 acres over the
Frances H. Staunton, daughter of Archibald and Rachel, preserved and
protected the Staunton Ranch throughout her life and gifted the land to the
state in 1986 with the understanding that the ranch would someday be developed
into a state park.
Elk Falls Ranch
The Elk Falls Ranch, on the west
side of the Park, was purchased in 1999 to improve conservation and provide
access to the Park. This acquisition added such landmarks as Lions Head, Chimney
Rock, and Elk Falls to the Park. State Parks bought the 510-acre northern parcel
of Elk Falls Ranch with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Legacy Grant funds. The
540-acre southern parcel was purchased by the State Land Board and is leased to
and managed by Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
The 1,000-acre Davis Ranch,
also purchased in 1999 with a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Legacy Grant, is
located on the east side of Staunton State Park.
In 2006, State Parks, in conjunction
with the State Land Board, purchased the 80-acre Chase parcel. This parcel was
once owned by Mary Coyle Chase, a Denver native, journalist, and playwright best
known for her play "Harvey" (Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1945). These acres will
play a key role in developing important trail connections and future park roads.
In November of 2014, former Colorado State Senator and Representative Allen Dines donated 80 acres and his family vacation home to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. This property was the last private property surrounded by the park. The donation allowed for rerouting of the Staunton Ranch trail and allowed for an area designated for hike-in tent campsites. The property also remains a corridor for wildlife to migrate through the park.