Red Rocks Park on its way to National Landmark Status

IMAG1086Since 2006, the Intermountain Regional Office of the National Park Service has been working with Denver staff and other parties to nominate Red Rocks Park and amphitheatre, including the Mount Morrison CCC Camp and associated resources, as a National Historic Landmark. Following extensive review and revision of the nomination documents by NPS staff here and in Washington, D.C., the Landmarks Committee reviewed and approved the nomination of Red Rocks on February 11, 2015.

Mayor Hancock sent a letter on behalf of the City in support of this nomination, and City Council issued a proclamation. The DMP Foundation also sent a letter of support, as did many others. When approved by the Secretary of the Interior, Red Rocks will become Denver’s second National Historic Landmark.

CCC bldg1684Red Rocks Park, with its amphitheatre, designed landscapes, and preserved CCC camp, is a rare and outstanding example of this “New Deal” program and its work. The camp contains structures representing all aspects of camp life and workshops used to construct items for trails, roads, and the amphitheatre and is unusual for its close proximity to its work project, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The nomination highlights the national significance of Red Rocks Park in architecture, landscape architecture, and performing arts.

Colorado Book Award in History

We won! In case you missed it, on June 13th, we were awarded the Colorado Book Award for Denver Mountain Parks: 100 Years of the Magnificent Dream. Authors Wendy Rex-Atzet and Erika Walker traveled to Aspen with high hopes, and indeed, the trip proved to be a huge moment for the book, and for all of us involved in it.

Erika Walker, left, and Wendy Rex-Atzet accepted our award at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen June 13th.

Erika Walker, left, and Wendy Rex-Atzet accepted our award at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen June 13th.

With the award behind us, it suddenly feels as if we’re wrapping things up and I feel a little wistful. It has been an honor to work [on this project]… Producing our book has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, one I will always treasure.
—Erika Walker, co-author

We did have a marvelous team, and the product reflects everyone’s expert contributions! Couldn’t have done it without John Fielder and the production team he arranged, editor Jenna Brown and designer Rebecca Finkel, who made a huge difference in the result. Thank you to everyone for being part of the “magnificent” project.

2014 Colorado Book Awards went to writers in 16 categories!

2014 Colorado Book Awards went to writers in 16 categories!

If you don’t have a copy of our award-winning book, you should fix that right away! Please look for it at the Tattered Cover in Denver, the History Colorado Center, online at, or right here on our website, via Paypal (no Paypal account required).

The Colorado Center for the Book awarded authors in 16 categories. A list of all winners is here. Photos courtesy of Colorado Center for the Book.

Here’s a link to the Denver Post article on the 2014 awards.

Colorado Book Awards Finalist!

We just got the good news: “Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book is pleased to announce that your entry, Denver Mountain Parks: 100 Years of the Magnificent Dream, has been selected as a finalist in the 2014 Colorado Book Awards History category.”

This is a really significant thing. The exposure that this book has given to, and the impact it has already made on, the under-appreciated Mountain Parks has been dramatic. To add to that the recognition of its excellence in its own right is nothing more than magnificent. —Bart Berger

Congratulations! Well earned high honors.— Best, Tom Noel

Finalists will be recognized and winners will be announced at the Colorado Book Awards on Friday, June 13, 2014, at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado. The celebration is part of the Aspen Summer Words 2014 Literary Festival. The full list of 2014 Colorado Book Award Finalists is posted at

Mayor Hancock accepts Tourism Award

[Courtesy VISIT DENVER, the Convention and Visitors Bureau]

Mayor Michael Hancock accepts Visit Denver Tourism Star Award on behalf of Denver Mountain Parks March 20, 2014. W. Bart Berger also received the award on behalf of the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation.

Let me thank Visit Denver and the Foundation for this award. Let me thank the Denver Mountain Parks, Bart Berger, and the crew for keeping our system viable. Join me in thanking the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation for doing such a wonderful job of maintaining our Mountain Parks. You know, we are the beneficiaries of some very wise, very wise and generous, forefathers who, just over one hundred years ago, decided to invest in 14,400 [sic] acres of land as a gift to the people of Denver so that we would never forget our appreciation for the mountains or outdoors.

I tour the Mountain Parks once a year. Spending an entire day visiting our herd of bison and walking in Genesee Park and Red Rocks… and Lookout Mountain and all the others. The lakes that we own—and I don’t believe the people of Denver truly understand the beauty and the tremendous gift that’s been left to us. So I want to invite everybody to come up, to visit our Mountain Parks. And on behalf of the people of Denver, on behalf of the Mountain Parks team and Denver Parks and Recreation, thank you for recognizing this tremendous gem.

Mountain Parks Receives Tourism Award

thSchwabfinalTonight, Denver Mountain Parks will be honored as a recipient of Visit Denver’s Tourism Star Award for the historic system’s contributions to Denver tourism. On behalf of the City, Mayor Michael Hancock will accept the award, and Chair W. Bart Berger will receive the award on behalf of the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation.

DMPcoverThe award recognizes DMP’s 100 years celebrating the incredible scenery and touring opportunities in the foothills west of Denver. Our 2013 book, Denver Mountain Parks: 100 Years of the Magnificent Dream, played a key role in making this history available to Denver residents and visitors. Historic photos complement scenic photos by John Fielder to provide an excellent guide to the 22 developed parks as the system’s compelling story is reviewed.

DSC_0928 (2) (800x530)If you don’t have a copy on your coffee table yet, please support the Foundation’s work by clicking “Buy Now” in the sidebar or visiting our book order form on this website. The book is also available at and most local bookstores.

Even more news!

Yep, since we posted two days ago, we have a couple great new links to share.

The Magnificent Dream is now at Costco!

photocostcoJust in time for the holidays, check out our first-ever Denver Mountain Parks book, with splendid photos and a definitive historical account, as well as a guidebook to the parks themselves. Now available at Denver-metro area Costco stores; look for it next to other John Fielder books.

Open Space Conference Nov 16th

The Denver Mountain Parks Foundation is co-sponsoring Plan Jeffco’s upcoming conference The Next 40 Years: Jeffco Open Space Conservation Conference November 16th from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Register now: great talks for only $10!

John Fielder Interview at 9News

In early October, John Fielder shared his thoughts on the Mountain Parks and the system’s legacy in this centennial year with Channel 9’s Gary Shapiro. Nice work, John!

And don’t forget our video by Havey Productions, below, which provides a great introduction to the Denver Mountain Parks system and its significance. (Watch it full-screen at Vimeo instead.)

All the breaking news!

At the Tattered Cover Nov. 2nd

smbooks0251Wow—it has been busy!

We had a great time last Saturday afternoon at the Tattered Cover (Rocky Mountain Land Series) talking about our book and hosting a book signing. It was a pleasure to hear the Foundation’s Bart Berger, John Fielder, and authors Erika Walker and Sally White share their perspectives (and photos!) on the project with such a receptive audience.

Thank you! And our thanks to Jeff Lee of the Tattered Cover for setting up the event.

For a list of other book signings John Fielder is doing this fall, please visit Lots of opportunities to buy the book for gifts, or for yourself!

Colorado Public Radio

MPgirls0260Last week, Bart shared comments and stories of the Denver Mountain Parks on Colorado Public Radio. Enjoy his interview with CPR’s Elaine Grant here.

“In the final days of the election, they dressed pretty girls up with white dresses and blue sashes that read ‘Vote for the Mountain Parks,’ and they placed them at each polling place; the measure passed by 8,000 votes… Sex sells.”

Shortly after the Foundation was formed, CPR interviewed Bart, and they kindly provided a fresh link to that 2005 discussion, in which Bart commented:

“Mountain Parks are the 13th kid at a 12-kid dinner. And because they’re not right there in front of you, they’re a little ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ ”

“Denver was into open space before open space was cool.”

So true!

Book review by Warwick Downing

The new centennial book, released by the Foundation in August, is intended to help raise the profile of this historic park system and generate renewed enthusiasm for Denver’s Mountain Park legacy, now 100 years in the making. The new book was recently reviewed by Warwick Downing, grandson and namesake of one of the system’s early supporters, at the Center for Colorado and the West. Of the book, Downing writes:

It is the moving historical narrative of an idea that morphed into a treasure for the City of Denver. A reader can watch in awe as its hardheaded business leaders, in Denver’s early years, were transformed into visionaries. An impossible dream yielded into a magnificent dream. But unlike others with huge visions, those early dreamers achieved theirs.

Of the parks’ past—and future—Downing remarks:

Calls for the divestiture of the Mountain Parks have been weathered—so far. … One cannot read, and see through the Fielder photographs, the treasure we have without wanting to weep at the thought of giving them up… This book is a must.

And now… on Facebook!

As of today, you can join, like, or follow the Foundation and its Magnificent Dream on Facebook as well. Please stop by and say hi! If Facebook is your game, look for our name!


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