Welcome to Colorado Open Lands

Clear Creek Land Conservancy has merged with Colorado Open Lands!

After nearly 35 years of working to protect the land and water of the Clear Creek watershed between  Loveland Pass and Golden, Clear Creek Land Conservancy (CCLC) is joining forces with Colorado Open Lands through a formal merger to expand our joint conservation work in this region. The merger was official on October 30, 2020.

“Clear Creek Canyon is the most impressive and least developed canyon along the Front Range, but 40 years ago it was threatened by residential and industrial development. Local activists organized CCLC to help lead what has been a very successful effort to preserve the canyon. The COL merger insures the gains so far and opens new opportunities for further preservation. I expect great things!” said Greg Holden, President of the Board of Clear Creek Land Conservancy.

Every year, tens of thousands of people enjoy Clear Creek Land Conservancy’s accomplishments when they hike the Beaver Brook Trail near Genesee and Golden, several miles of which traverse land owned and conserved by CCLC.

The CCLC Board of Directors will become a local advisory committee within the larger Colorado Open Lands organization and will continue to advance the mission of locally-focused land management and preservation in the Clear Creek watershed, while taking advantage of the expanded capacity that a statewide
organization such as Colorado Open Lands can provide. CCLC’s Executive Director, Claire Riegelman, will work with COL to ensure a smooth transition for the CCLC landowners and community and continue to advance new conservation projects in the area.

Paul Phillips, Chairman of the COL Board of Directors, said, “Colorado Open Lands is truly delighted to be joining forces with Clear Creek Land Conservancy! This merger unites two vibrant, well-run, well-respected conservation organizations which will benefit the public and promote their important shared vision of preserving the most iconic remaining open lands in our beloved Colorado. The high quality of CCLC’s conservation easements, the superb opportunities
they provide for public access and recreation to Front Range communities, and the dedicated supporters and staff of CCLC will make COL stronger and better able to fulfill its statewide mission of critical land conservation.”

Clear Creek Land Conservancy was founded in 1986 with the completion of its first conservation easement. Local resident Carla Swan Coleman gifted CCLC the 240-acre Coleman conservation easement, protecting over a mile of the Beaver Brook Trail near the Lookout Mountain Nature Center. This gift marked an important turning point for the watershed. At the time, most of the area was under private ownership and offered very attractive sites for development.

A group of local citizens who prized the area formed the land conservancy to combat that development threat. In partnership with local government groups like Denver Mountain Parks and Jefferson County Open Space, and with the support of private donors, they have protected a significant portion of these
cherished landscapes. At the time of merger with COL, CCLC owns 650 acres outright, and has conservation easements on a total of 2,000 acres, an enormous accomplishment in local land conservation.

“Permanently preserved natural areas are an extraordinary treasure for all ages, races, genders, religions, incomes, and physical abilities. Our goal in starting CCLC was and remains preservation of Clear Creek Canyon – the ‘Royal Gorge on Denver’s doorstep’ – for all and for all time. After a third of a century, joining with COL allows CCLC to protect this vision, while ensuring future financial sustainability and preservation of these magnificent lands in perpetuity,” said Rock Pring, President Emeritus and one of the founders of Clear Creek Land Conservancy.

Moving forward, COL is excited to assist and advance the excellent partnerships and progress that CCLC has established. The Clear Creek watershed is a critically important landscape for recreation, offering myriad opportunities right in Denver’s backyard. COL is honored to take on the duty of caring for the wildlife, water, and open space that the CCLC team has so carefully conserved.

Colorado Open Lands embraces the mission statement of Clear Creek Land Conservancy, which states in part, “We envision Clear Creek Canyon as a place where
people and nature exist together for the benefit of both—where hikers, bicyclists, anglers, hunters, climbers, and nature lovers can appreciate the natural and
historical significance of the canyon while the area’s plants, wildlife, water quality, and scenery are protected to ensure that this beautiful canyon remains in
its near-to-natural state forever.” Colorado Open Lands will work to advance that mission long into the future and is grateful for the opportunity to serve the community in this capacity.

For more information about COL’s programs and priorities, see the above menu!

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