This long process officially began in about 2004 at the suggestion of the Friends of Red Rocks, a nonprofit group formed in 1995 to advocate for the park. The work on the nomination has been carried out by staff and consultants of Denver Parks and Recreation and the regional office of the National Park Service (NPS), and the nomination itself has been through several revisions over the last five years; a “final” version was officially submitted to the NPS in Washington on May 1, 2014.
During the last stages of the process, many groups and individuals wrote letters of support for the designation, including Governor Hickenlooper, History Colorado, Jefferson County Commissioners, the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation, and Bonnie Raitt. Secretary of State Sally Jewell signed the completed nomination August 4th, bringing the effort to a successful conclusion.
Red Rocks designation, Denver Post, August 4, 2015
Red Rocks and CCC Camp up for designation, Denver Post, February 24, 2015
The outstanding architecture and landscape architecture of Red Rocks Park and Mount Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps Camp illustrate the principles and practices of New Deal-era naturalistic park design and master planning in a metropolitan park as well as the use of Civilian Conservation Corps labor to develop such a park.
—National Park Service press release.
The Red Rocks Park District was named to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1990, along with several other Denver Mountain Parks. The National Register listing is a process for recognizing historic sites that are usually at least 50 years old, and are significant according to listing criteria, including things like their association with historic people, events, etc. Although nomination and listing on NRHP is a substantial process, the National Historic Landmark process is more rigorous and confers a more prestigious designation.
Red Rocks Park and Mount Morrison CCC Camp joins 24 other National Historic Landmarks in Colorado, including the Denver Civic Center, designated in 2012. Colorado has more than 1400 sites, buildings, and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Former Mountain Parks superintendent Pat Gallavan passed away Tuesday, March 3. To make a donation to the Foundation in his memory, use the “Donate” button to the left. You do not need a Paypal account; just click through to make a secure credit card payment via Paypal.
Contributions may also be mailed to Denver Mountain Parks Foundation PO Box 300446 Denver CO 80203.
“In lieu of flowers, just plant a few more this spring – that’s how Pat would have wanted it.”
Since 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.
Red 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.
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.
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.
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 Amazon.com, 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.
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 coloradohumanities.org.
[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.
Tonight, 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.
The 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.
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 Amazon.com and most local bookstores.