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The Central Colorado Conservancy has been named one of three statewide winners by the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways organization during their 2021 Symposium in Glenwood Springs, for outstanding contributions over the course of this past historic pandemic year.

“What an exciting time for our Scenic and Historic Byway communities!” said Nathan Boyless, chair of the governor-appointed Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission. The symposium’s theme, ‘Thirty-plus Years of Scenic Vistas & History One Mile at a Time’ was meant to inspire the work that protects Colorado’s scenic vistas.

The three awards include:

  • Adam Beh, Central Colorado Conservancy for the Heart of the Arkansas strategic land conservation along the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway.
  • Lindsey Morrow from Grand County Tourism Board for an award for the Colorado River Headwaters National Scenic and Historic Byway’s Corridor Management Plan
  • Walt Boulden from South Central Council of Governments for a study for the Scenic Highway of Legends

The award to the Central Colorado Conservancy 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 used 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 along the Centerville Ranch, which is a working cattle ranch, in a storytelling piece along U.S. 285, known as the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway in Chaffee County.

“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,” said Beh. “Thank you for recognizing Central Colorado Conservancy’s work along the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway.”

The award given to Walt Boulden, South Central Council of GovernmentsExecutive Director, was in recognition of 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 U.S. 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.

The Commission presented an award to Lindsey Morrow of the 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 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.

Featured image: Centerville Ranch looking west toward the Collegiate Peaks; it borders the National Scenic byway. Photo courtesy of Central Colorado Conservancy.