A Canyon Oasis within Minutes of Denver,
A Legacy worth Preserving
Just a few miles west of densely populated Denver, Colorado, stretches Clear Creek Canyon, a beautiful canyon with a perennial fast-flowing creek fed by natural springs, winter snows, and mountain rain.
Classed by experts as equivalent to the Royal Gorge or Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the canyon is home to abundant wildlife, native grasses, prolific wildflowers, and scenic ponderosa pine forests. Its dramatically rising walls, churning whitewater, and rich history are part of the last largely undeveloped canyon system in the metropolitan Front Range area. The Clear Creek Land Conservancy exists to ensure that this oasis remains in its near-to-natural state forever. Be a part of the legacy!
Dear Friends of Clear Creek Canyon, as I write it is the first day of spring, although the weather report looks more like February with snow and below freezing temperatures predicted for the coming weekend. We have had three feet of snow (2.7” of precipitation) at my house in Golden over the last month and there was likely a little more higher up in the Canyon. With additional snow coming this weekend, maybe this is the start of a good wet spring! Let's all hope for more snow.
CCLC will be undergoing some exciting organizational changes in 2013. Maggie Korey, who has been our part-time executive director for the last two years, moved on to a fulltime job in January. She is now a Community Conservation Specialist for The Trustees of Reservation, the oldest land trust in the country, based out of Boston, Massachusetts. We will all miss her, but this is a great move for her land preservation career and we wish her the best.
The CCLC Board of Directors decided that this was the time to expand the Executive Director's position to salaried halftime, and to make the position more proactive. After a local search, the Board is pleased to announce that our new Executive Director is Claire Riegelman, who officially joined us on February 1, 2013, and is rapidly taking on more responsibilities. Claire , who lives in Golden, has a Natural Resources degree from Cornell University and a legal degree from the University of Denver. She has worked for a variety of local and national land preservation groups, most recently the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, Colorado. Claire is experienced, energetic and anxious to help CCLC become more proactive in completing the preservation of Clear Creek Canyon and in expanding its role in the local community. You can expect to hear more from CCLC in coming years and to see new land protection projects get underway. The CCLC Board is excited to have Claire on board and looking forward to expanding our regional profile. Your continuing support has been essential in facilitating this revitalization. Click HERE for more information on Claire (located in the “About Us” staff section of this website).As always, the CCLC Board thanks you for your continuing support of land preservation in Clear Creek Canyon. Remember our CCLC Calendar Photography Contest. We hope you’ll get out into the Canyon this spring, take some captivating photos, and SUBMIT them!
As I write this message, in late October, fall has come and winter is not far away. Last week the canyon received about six inches of wet snow and while the moisture is very welcome, I suspect that in shady areas on the trails ice will remain all winter. So be careful on your hikes! Let's all hope that the coming winter will bring good solid snow to end last year's drought.
Fall also means that the 2013 Clear Creek Land Conservancy calendar is now available. This year, twenty photographers submitted fifty-three photographs from the Canyon for consideration and our calendar judge, world-renowned wildlife photographer Boyd Norton, selected the best submissions for inclusion in the 2013 calendar. Congratulations to our winners Frank Burzynski, Larry Caine, John Gritts, Pete Helseth, Jim Meurer, Ken Paul, and Cari Roehmann, with special congratulations to our GRAND PRIZE WINNER DAVE EDWARDS. Boyd was so impressed with Dave’s big horn sheep photos, that the calendar features two of them. Read more about the contest winners on our Canyon as Art photography page.
This calendar is a major fundraising project for CCLC and we hope that everyone who loves the canyon will buy several copies for their own use and as holiday gifts. The calendars are available for $15 from this website.
CCLC is also pleased to announce that acclaimed Colorado photographer John Fielder has agreed to judge our 2013/2014 calendar contest. I urge all of you to get out into the canyon during every season this year and take photos, then submit them for the 2014 calendar. It is an easy way to become a famous photographer! You can STAY INFORMED about the contest through the e-news section of the CCLC website (please send us your email address so we can add you to our mailing list).
I hope you all have a great winter and that you all get out to enjoy Clear Creek Canyon whenever you can. And don't forget to buy 2013 CCLC calendars for all your friends and relatives this holiday season. Your purchases help preserve and maintain the canyon you love.
First, I’m sure all of us who live near Clear Creek Canyon, or walk its beautiful trails, feel a special sorrow for those who are enduring the High Park Fire. As I write this, the fire has already consumed over 47,000 acres of timbered foothills west of Loveland. The Board of CCLC expresses heartfelt concerns.
It has been such a dry spring that you might think that Clear Creek Canyon would already be brown with dormant and dying plants and grasses, but in spite of the drought, this is not the case. There was very little precipitation in March and April, but in May we had 5 moderate storms that brought almost 3 inches of rain in Golden, enough to have made this a very good wildflower spring, especially on the north-facing slopes traversed by the Beaver Brook trail. I walked part of the trail Sunday, June 3, and the flowers were great. Arnicas, Clematis and Senecios are early and especially fine this year. However, the forecast is for very little rain in the near future, so everyone should get out now to hike and appreciate the Canyon. And remember to take your camera with you. Our Digital Calendar Photo Competition is in full swing.
The Clear Creek Land Conservancy holds conservation easements on nearly 2000 acres of land in Clear Creek Canyon and is required by state regulation to inspect all this area each year. This job is accomplished by volunteers who take time to walk through the easements, noting and photographing changes over the years, checking on trails, roads and fences, and insuring that natural values are being preserved. It is a big job, but also quite a bit of fun. So if you see someone with a clip board walking along your favorite trail, making notes and looking serious, it may be one of our inspectors. Be sure to say hello and take the time to talk with them about your favorite parcel of Clear Creek Canyon and its preservation.
And please give some thought to volunteering yourself. See “Other Ways to Help” for more information, then feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions. If you’re not on our mailing list yet, scroll up to the top of this page, insert your email address, and click on STAY INFORMED.
Let's all hope for a good, rainy summer and all get out to enjoy Clear Creek Canyon.
Cheers, Greg Holden, President, Clear Creek Land Conservancy
October 30, Clear Creek Land Conservancy marked the 25th Anniversary of its founding with a big event at Mt. Vernon Country Club. Nearly 100 gathered to mingle and celebrate all that CCLC has accomplished. When CCLC was founded in 1986 by a group of forward-looking preservationists, Clear Creek Canyon was nearly all privately owned and was in potential danger from spreading residential and mining development. Since then, with CCLC as an active promoter or catalyst, nearly 8,000 additional acres of land in the Canyon have received permanent protection. CCLC owns and manages 600 acres outright and has conservation easements on 2,000 acres. Jefferson County Open Space and Denver Mountain Parks have preserved 6,000 more acres in 5 large public parks. All the land along the Beaver Brook Trail and all the land immediately adjacent to Clear Creek is completely protected from development. By all accounts this record of success is well beyond what the founders had anticipated and all of us at the 25th anniversary event enjoyed patting ourselves on the back for what has been accomplished. We also presented awards to Dot Crawford, Bob Weimer and Rock Pring to recognize their tremendous volunteer efforts over the years in support of land preservation in Clear Creek Canyon.
The 25th Anniversary Event was also a great time. Mt. Vernon Country Club provided its usual fine food and Franz Roehmann and his trio plus one provided background music, as all the guests mingled and talked about their efforts over the years. Nine local artists, members of Plein Air Artists of Colorado, displayed their work and set up their easels on the terrace overlooking the Canyon so that guests could see them at work. Many generous donors contributed 35 items for a silent auction and vigorous bidding helped CCLC raise significant donations to support its continuing land management and acquisition activities. All guests received copies of CCLC's new 2012 Clear Creek Canyon calendar. Be sure to check the CCLC website for information on how you can purchase one of these calendars and how you can submit photographs for potential inclusion in the 2013 calendar.
We can all be proud of what CCLC has accomplished and we hope that our success will continue into the future with your help. Let's keep up the good work!
It is now high summer in Clear Creek Canyon. The grasses are going to seed and the spring wildflowers have faded. But the abundant afternoon summer rains have kept things lush, especially on the north-facing slopes. I walked the Beaver Brook trail last week (late July) and was pleased to see how green the grasses still are. Summer wildflowers are in full bloom and the creek is flowing high, but still easy to cross if you are taking the Chavez trail option. Purple Monardia was at its peak and there were more kinds of yellow composites than I could ever identify. Now is a great time for a nice cool early morning walk along the Beaver Brook trail.
We are especially pleased to be planning our upcoming 25th Anniversary Celebration. This will be a great party—keep your calendars open for Sunday afternoon, October 30th! The event will feature a tasty buffet, a silent auction, local artists, a keynote speaker, and a chance to meet all those who love Clear Creek Canyon as much as you do. The event will be at Mount Vernon Country Club from 1:00 to 4PM. Check the NEWS page on our website from time to time for more details as the date approaches.
In addition to planning our anniversary celebration, we will be completing all the required inspections of our conservation easements and will be keeping up with our new projects. All of us at the Clear Creek Land Conservancy hope all of you are getting out and enjoying the Canyon that you have worked so hard to preserve.
The days are getting longer and much, much warmer. A few drifts of snow remain on the north-facing slopes along the Beaver Brook trail and soon the sand lilies and pasque flowers will be out and blooming, so we should all be thinking about canyon hikes soon to come. There hasn't been much snow so far this March and as I write this letter there is a 1500-acre fire burning in Indian Gulch, immediately north of Clear Creek Canyon, which they believe started as a small fire near the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon. They have been fighting the fire for five days. Three hundred firefighters are on the line right now, and Governor Hickenlooper just authorized 1.5 million in aid to help fight the fire.
This underscores not only how dry things have become and how much we need some rain or snow, but also how much this beautiful canyon country in the foothills of Denver is valued by the community. Let's all cross our fingers and hope for some big, wet storms in the next few weeks to saturate the ground, bring out the spring flowers, and lower this summer’s fire danger.
2011 is the 25th anniversary of the Clear Creek Land Conservancy. In these 25 years, CCLC and other conservation organizations have protected almost 6000 acres in the canyon, either through direct ownership or through conservation easements. One of CCLC's founding goals was to protect all the land surrounding the Beaver Brook trail and that task is now complete. While there are still significant land protection goals to be met in the Canyon, all those who have worked on its conservation over the years can be proud of what they have accomplished. The CCLC Board is planning to hold an event in early September to celebrate our anniversary. We will highlight all the conservation triumphs in the Canyon and have a big celebration, sure to be fun. Look to this website for details of the celebration as we progress with our planning.
Now, everyone get out and enjoy spring in Clear Creek Canyon.
The Clear Creek Land Conservancy (CCLC) was originally founded by far-sighted conservationists to protect Clear Creek Canyon, especially the land along the historic Beaver Brook Trail. Now, with the Beaver Brook trail fully protected by public parks and conservation easements, CCLC has expanded its land protection efforts to the whole of Clear Creek Canyon, and has become a major landowner and manager, responsible for direct management of over 500 acres and monitoring of nearly 2000 acres of conservation easements. We are working to keep these lands wild and to help the public become more aware of these lands and their amazing natural values.
The CCLC Board of Directors is proud to present this beautiful new website. Through it we intend to disseminate information on Clear Creek Canyon, organize volunteers to help preserve the Canyon, and to raise the financial support CCLC needs to maintain and expand the land it has protected.
I hope that this website becomes an important part of your interaction with CCLC and Clear Creek Canyon, that it keeps you informed, and that it inspires you to spend more time in the Canyon and to become more deeply and directly involved in its protection via the get involved function. Please let us know what you think of the site and what additional information and services we can provide by using the contact us function. This website is for your use and enjoyment!