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News: Features & Opinions Article
Date: November 20, 2013
Synergy: Partners for Parks
Organization: Denver Mountain Parks Foundation
Did you know that Jeffco Open Space (JCOS) and Denver Mountain Parks (DMP) share more than their interest in land protection in central Jeffco?
The Lariat Trail, built in 1913 as a cooperative effort between Denver, Jeffco, and the state, provides access to Windy Saddle Park (JCOS) and Lookout Mountain Park (DMP). At Windy Saddle, shown here, a new parking area connects the Chimney Gulch Trail (JCOS) with the historic Beaver Brook Trail (DMP). Photo by John Fielder.
This year, as the DMP system celebrates its centennial and JCOS parks its 40th anniversary, seems a great time to explore the common ground. Despite the differences in timing, they also share dedication to providing outdoor recreation opportunities to the public, as well as, in many cases, even their geographical boundaries.
In 1912, when Denver began to look outside its boundaries for parkland, the City hired Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., to help plan its mountain park system. Olmsted identified more than 41,000 acres of potential parkland, but Denver only acquired about a quarter of it.
Since the passage of the Open Space resolution, launched by PLAN Jeffco and passed by voters in 1972, the County has acquired some of the remaining acres from the 1914 plan, as well as other connecting parcels, giving central Jeffco a wealth of protected areas and public recreational opportunities.
Parks visitors often don’t realize which system of parks they’re using, especially as the two entities have cooperated to provide trail linkages that make the park user’s experience more seamless. In 2013, the DMP Foundation produced a book featuring John Fielder photos, and many of those spectacular scenic images reveal the continuing relationship between these two park systems.
O’Fallon Park (DMP) connects two other DMP properties, Pence and Corwina Mountain Parks; with Lair o’the Bear (JCOS) and Little Park (DMP) eastward, an area of 2,270 acres along Bear Creek is protected parkland. The Bear Creek Trail corridor is a joint project through these parks. Photo by John Fielder.
We congratulate both entities on their anniversaries and the work they’ve done to provide outdoor enjoyment to generations of Denver and Jefferson County residents and visitors.
The slideshow below features photos by John Fielder, courtesy of the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation, unless otherwise noted.
This view of Mt. Morrison and Red Rocks Park (DMP) from Dinosaur Ridge (JCOS’s Matthews-Winters/Dakota Hogback Park) shows the close connection of two iconic properties. Photo by John Fielder.
Jeffco’s Flying J Ranch Park is 416 acres, but has trails that reach into DMP’s Flying J properties making an additional 80 acres accessible by trail. Flying J Park is also contiguous eastward across Highway 73 to DMP’s 80-acre West Jefferson School conservation property. Photo by John Fielder.
Alderfer-Three Sisters Park (JCOS) in the foreground is just east of DMP’s Elephant Butte Conservation Area (left). Dedisse Park to the east creates a protected area of more than 1,800 contiguous acres. Photo by John Fielder.
Double Header Conservation Area (DMP) is a 40-acre parcel that lies northeast of Meyer Ranch Park (JCOS). Photo by John Fielder.
Although managed by Evergreen Park & Recreation District, Evergreen Lake is owned by Denver and is part of its Dedisse Park. In this photo, Elephant Butte Conservation Area (DMP) is on the far right, adjacent to Alderfer-Three Sisters (JCOS), which connects to Dedisse Park (center) and Evergreen’s Pioneer Trail via the Dedisse Trail.
The rocky slopes of scenic Berrian Mountain (DMP) form a background for Meyer Ranch (JCOS) historic buildings in this early winter photo along Highway 285. John Fielder photo.
The lush grasses of Elk Meadow Park (JCOS) provide a viewscape for the Bergen Peak Conservation Area (DMP) to the west. The “Too Long” Trail is a cooperative effort that crosses Elk Meadow and reaches the peak. John Fielder photo.
Denver’s Bear Creek Canyon Park is a 400-ft wide right-of-way along Highway 8 from Morrison to Idledale that connects Jeffco’s Bear Creek property with its Mt. Falcon Park. The contiguous area is more than 4,300 acres.
View of Clear Creek Canyon from Windy Saddle emphasizes the land protection possible through this long-term partnership. Centennial Cone Park (JCOS) on the right connects through Windy Saddle Park (JCOS) to DMP’s Lookout Mountain Park (at far left).
Click numbers to stop or advance slideshow.
For more information see:
Denver Mountain Parks Foundation
PLAN Jeffco continues to play a key role in Open Space policy and direction in Jefferson County. Become a part this legacy—join us today!