Earlier this month, our executive director Adam Beh accepted an award on behalf of the Conservancy for the "Heart of the Arkansas" conservation initiative, a project led by our Conservation Director Lucy Waldo.
The Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission presented three awards on Thursday evening, May 6, 2021, at the Colorado Byways Symposium 2021, Glenwood Vaudeville Theater, Glenwood Springs, Colorado to recognize outstanding contributions. "What an exciting time for our Scenic and Historic Byway communities!" Nathan Boyless, chair of the governor-appointed Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission.
The first award was given to Walt Boulden, South Central Council of Governments Executive Director, in recognition for best practices in planning by leading the efforts for the Southern Mountain Loop Planning and Environmental Linkages Study. This study provides a long-term, integrated master plan of projects for safety, multi-purpose trail development, and traveler amenity improvements along the Scenic Highway of Legends Byway, which stretches roughly 82 miles between Walsenburg and Trinidad along State Highway 12 and US 160. The work was lauded by the Commission for its goals of improving safety for all travelers, providing a well-connected multi-use trail, and preserving and promoting the region’s natural environment and communities while complementing the Byway’s continued development. What is truly unique about this plan is the identified means of collaboration for these efforts that frequently are kept in silos. The study will provide best practices for other byways and communities to follow in the future.
“Upon completion, these improvements will fulfill the Byway’s transportation needs, promote the region, and protect the qualities important to both local residents and visitors to the region,” said Bouden.
Next, the Commission presented an award to Lindsey Morrow, Grand County Tourism Board, for her leadership on the Colorado River Headwaters Corridor Management Plan Update. Morrow has added Byway's responsibilities to her tourism duties, and successfully worked with various agencies in Grand County to update the Byway's Corridor Management Plan. The completion occurred during the worldwide pandemic and devastating wildfires that affected her personally.
“I am so honored for this award. It reflects the partnership and help from regional partners, as well as technical assistance from Kelli Helpler. Thank you,” replied Morrow. "I was really impressed with Lindsey’s presentation [to the Byways Commission] and the work they were doing collaboratively," stated Heidi Pankow, Colorado Byways Commission vice chair and Visit Glenwood tourism promotion project manager.
The third award recognizes a strategic conservation project for the "Heart of the Arkansas" conservation initiative on the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway, and Adam Beh, the Executive Director for Central Colorado Conservancy, who is leading the charge. Central Colorado Conservancy uses the Byway as leverage to secure funding for approximately 2,400 acres and four ranch properties, including one that supports the Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust. The Byway is planning a scenic pullout about the working ranch in a storytelling piece along the Collegiate Peaks.
“I provide talks on the economic development-environmental conservation link. In our organization, we are always talking about those intersections, and it helps drive and prioritize our conservation work here in the Arkansas Headwaters region,” stated Beh. “Thank you for recognizing Central Colorado Conservancy's work along the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway.”
"It is even more remarkable to actually get together and recognize amazing activities at our postponed event," said Lenore Bates, Colorado Byways program manager. "We appreciate the award winners, participants, sponsors, presenters, and volunteers for making the Colorado Byways Symposium 2021 a success. Furthermore, our Symposium's theme, 'Thirty-plus Years of Scenic Vistas & History One Mile at a Time' will inspire us until we meet again."
The Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways program of the Colorado Department of Transportation isn't just a list of roads connecting one place to another. The 26 Byways have been carefully selected by the Colorado Byways Commission to awe, instruct, delight, inform, physically challenge, soothe, and bolster the physical and spiritual health of the thousands of travelers who traverse Colorado's chosen trails. Always evolving, the Colorado Byways has several fresh ventures to announce. For more information, visit www.codot.gov/travel/scenic-byways.