Denver Mountain Parks

On May 3, 10 conservation committee members braved a spring snow storm to venture west towards Golden and the Buffalo Bill Museum’s gift shop to hear a presentation from Tanner Fannello, board member of Denver Mountain Parks Foundation.  Tanner presented the group with a background of the Denver Mountain Parks and new initiatives.

The Denver Mountain Park system grew out of Denver Mayor Robert Speer’s “City Beautiful” plan that established the park and parkway system in Denver in 1918.  Speer saw the opportunity of automobile tourism and the desire of city residents to explore nature.  He hired famed landscape architect Frederic Law Olmsted (of New York’s Central Park) to design the parkway system. Over the next three decades the city added over 13,500 acres, 22 developed parks and 24 conservation areas, that includes Red Rocks Amphitheater, Genesee Park, Daniels Park and Winter Park Ski Area.   The park system is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Denver Mountain Parks Foundation was started by Bart Berger to fill the gap in funding for Denver Mountain Parks.  Funding for the parks was eliminated as part of the City of Denver budget in the 1950s resulting in decades of deferred maintenance.  Berger established the Foundation in 2006 to help with preservation and maintenance of the parks and park structures and to fill budget shortfalls.
The next steps for the Foundation include forming partnerships with city groups such as the Garden Club of Denver.  They approached the conservation committee for a potential partnership to help with new interpretive signs on native plants for the parks.  Other suggestions for partnerships included seed gathering in the fall for reseeding of native plants.  The Conservation Committee will continue our conversation with the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation and update you on any upcoming opportunities for engagement with the Foundation.

For further reading on the Denver Mountain Parks:  Westword  in May 9 published a great article on the Foundation, its history and new initiative to restore a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp near Red Rocks. Click here to read the article.
Website:  Also find the beautiful history of Denver Mountain Parks book that includes John Fielder photographs!
Book: (link goes to Denver Public Library catalog)Exploring Denver Mountain Parks: a Guide to 22 Historic Getaways, by Mike Butler.
Another great book to read is: “The Denver Parks, the City Beautiful and the rise of Modern Wilderness Recreation in Colorado, 1900-1940” by Wendy Rex-Atzet.