Monday, June 15, 2015

Gov. Hickenlooper Announces Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Map Initiative

Last week Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper outlined significant next steps in the Colorado Beautiful initiative to both link outdoor spaces and connect more people to those places.

Hickenlooper also announced Colorado would build the most comprehensive outdoor recreation map ever created in the state, to include all trails, open spaces, parks and protected lands, with publication planned in 2016.

He also announced that the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, in coordination with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), nonprofit organizations and state agencies, would by 2016 identify the 16 most important trail gaps, missing trail segments and un-built trails across the state and elevate them to priority projects.

“Colorado Beautiful, we believe, is not only about connecting our parks, trails and scenic lands, but about connecting people to the outdoor delights that set Colorado apart as a special place,” Hickenlooper said. “It’s important to bring our newest generations outside, away from electronic distractions and into the splendor of our waterways, forests, wildlife, grasslands, mountains and canyons.”

Hickenlooper outlined the steps in comments at The Outdoors Summit in downtown Denver where leaders in outdoor recreation, youth programs, health and urban planning gathered to focus on efforts to get Coloradans, particularly children, teens and minority youth, to develop deeper connections with the natural environment that sets Colorado apart as a special place.

Hickenlooper noted that these steps will move the state toward a key, unifying vision underlying the Colorado Beautiful initiative: That within one generation, every Coloradan will live within a 10 minute walk of a park, trail or open space area.

The creation of a comprehensive trail and recreational lands map is already underway, as dozens of local governments and organizations have already responded to a state call for data. The map project will mark a major step forward as even navigating various trails in the Denver metro area often requires a piecemeal approach with maps from different jurisdictions.

Identification of the 16 highest priority trail projects is also already in its early stages as some mapping of critical gaps has begun as part of the Colorado Beautiful initiative. On-the-ground work to move these projects forward would begin next year.

These specific steps are the first of several anticipated as part of the Colorado Beautiful initiative, first announced by Hickenlooper in his 2015 State of the State address.

Grand Teton Hiking

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