Clear Creek Land Conservancy was founded 30 years ago, in 1986. On the evening of October 13th about 60 CCLC supporters gathered at the Mt. Vernon Country Club to celebrate our anniversary and the many land preservation accomplishments CCLC has worked on over the years. The Lookout Mountain Boys, a great local band, provided entertainment while guests enjoyed food and drink and bid on 40+ items in a silent auction fundraiser. It was immense fun on a fine evening and a fitting way to celebrate 30 successful years of land preservation in the Clear Creek watershed.
In 1986, Clear Creek Canyon was almost entirely privately owned. Although still very pristine, the Canyon was threatened by the huge Sheep Mountain quarry proposal and by imminent large lot residential subdivisions. Lack of public access meant that Clear Creek Canyon was just a transportation corridor and not a recreational destination for anything other than shooting appliances dumped in side canyons.
Farsighted residents believed the Canyon had to be preserved for all, and they took action. Activists defeated the quarry proposal and founded CCLC to promote land preservation. Since then 10,000 acres in the Canyon have been preserved by CCLC, Mt. Vernon Country Club, Jefferson County Open Space, Denver Mountain Parks, and Clear Creek County Open Space. Recreation seekers come to the Canyon from all over the Denver area to hike, bike, climb, raft, kayak, and fish, and when completed, the Peaks-to-Plains trail through the Canyon will be the premier bike ride in the metro area.
Thousands of acres of land in the Canyon and watershed still remain to be preserved though, so we, who care about ensuring open space exists for wildlife, recreation, and tremendous scenic vistas, still have much work to do. I want to attend CCLC’s 40th Anniversary where I hope we hear about the full preservation of Clear Creek Canyon, completion of the Peak-to-Plains trail, and successful conservation throughout the Clear Creek watershed.