Who We Are: Our Vision, Our Mission
A Natural Oasis
Clear Creek is envisioned as a place where people and nature exist together for the benefit of both—where visitors, through such activities as hiking, bicycling, fishing, hunting, and nature viewing, can appreciate the natural and historical significance of Clear Creek while the area’s plants, wildlife, water quality, and scenery are managed and enhanced to ensure that this beautiful canyon remains in its near-to-natural state forever.
Thousands of acres have already been set aside in protected open space through both public and private action. But there are forces at work today that have changed the way most people experience the canyon and that may change forever the basin’s look and ecology. U.S. 6, the two-lane highway through the canyon, is being overwhelmed by traffic—cars, busses, and trucks bound to and from the gaming towns of Black Hawk and Central City, other mountain destinations or by those merely passing through on transcontinental trips. Increased traffic makes it more difficult to enjoy some of the traditional recreational uses for which the canyon is known.
Elsewhere in the canyon are areas of great beauty and natural significance that are privately owned and, because of their close proximity to the metropolitan area, are likely to see extensive development pressures.
It is our vision that where development occurs, it complements and protects the area’s significant natural resources. Special natural places need the same attention that is said to be the price of democracy—eternal vigilance.
Clear Creek Canyon has been used for many human activities in its history: as a rail corridor, a source of minerals, a place to fish or take in scenery, and a place to pass through on the way into or out of the mountains. It is not a pristine wilderness. It abuts a large metropolitan area and is easily accessible. Its road carries traffic; its waters, pollution; a power line spans a corner; at times, its walls echo with the sound of motors. But the same walls have been its defense, as well.
Unlike the other Front Range canyons, this sheer canyon has developed from the bottom up. Its gorge, which has blocked north-south passage for centuries, offers little prospect for development. Its rim and upper branches, however, are the site of hundreds of residencies and its middle benches are now attracting residential and commercial interest. Its closeness and accessibility are complemented by wildlife, ecological, recreational, educational, and visual resources on the doorstep of a region where the out-of-doors is highly valued.Remaining True to Our Vision
It was once believed that outright purchase and management by a conservation organization was enough to preserve such areas forever. The dynamic nature of growth, economics, changing uses, and neighboring land patterns, makes this simple approach no longer viable. Since 1986, several additional key goals have helped CCLC remain vigilant and true to our vision:
- Enhance, conserve, and interpret the processes of history, geology, water, wildlife and vegetation
- Identify the types and the characteristics of upland resources that require protection if areas
are to be developed
- Outline a canyon-wide management system (for both public and private lands) which considers
view sheds, wildlife, wildfire, vegetation, recreation, and access
- Delineate management zones within the basin so that different goals may be accommodated
within different areas
- Improve recreational experiences in and around the canyon
- Develop innovative approaches to solving the canyon’s transportation problems
We are working with landowners, businesses, neighborhoods, communities, organizations, and government bodies to accomplish these goals, helping to protect open space “from rim to rim” – including scenic vistas, wildlife habitat, hiking trails, outdoor recreation, and nature education – and to encourage development compatible with those resources.
If Clear Creek Canyon is to remain a natural oasis in the midst of human growth, if it is to be PRESERVED FOREVER, then we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts. We must continue to reach out to individuals like you, to share our vision, to ask you to share yours, and to work together to ensure that our children and grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren, can continue to find solace and support in this dramatic and rare landscape.
Clear Creek Canyon ~ a geological wonder worth preserving.
As spectacular as the Royal Gorge. As breathtaking as Black Canyon.