DMPF Position Statement in Support of GO Bond 2017 Mountain Parks Projects

Denver Mountain Parks Foundation
PO Box 300446
Denver, CO 80203
mountainparksfoundation.org

April 19, 2017
Parks and Recreation GO Bond 2017 Committee

Dear Members of the Committee,

The Denver Mountain Parks are currently undergoing a dramatic resurgence. After languishing for over 50 years due to social, economic, and organizational changes, these significant public resources are now poised to fulfill the promise that Denver’s civic leaders envisioned over a century ago.

The Mountain Parks provide a unique and invaluable opportunity for Denver residents and visitors to experience wilderness only a short drive from the abundance of urban parks scattered throughout the city. They are ideal for outdoor education programs for Denver’s youth and students. They are a contrast to the manicured city parks, and provide a physical and psychological link to the mountain region further West.

The location of the Mountain Parks are their greatest strengths, but also their greatest weaknesses. Too many Denver residents are unaware the Denver Mountain Parks even exist much less know how to access them or the amenities they offer. Because the Mountain Parks lie outside of City boundaries, they do not have City Council representation and they have suffered greatly as a result. Lack of visibility and representation has translated into a continuous lack of funding which has, in turn, translated into significant needs for maintenance and repairs.

The Mountain Parks are not superfluous. They are well loved, but significantly underfunded. The Parks need and deserve attention to preserve and revitalize their unique role in Denver’s park assets. Funding for the Denver Mountain Parks is a vital investment for Denver’s future.

Current initiatives at the Morrison and Katherine Craig Parks to revitalize the historic Civilian Conservation Corps buildings, and to bring the infrastructure and water systems there back to useable condition are not sexy. That said, they are vital to the work that Denver Parks and Recreation is doing to utilize these campuses and to make them once again a productive part of Denver’s assets. The first occupant to utilize the Morrison CCC camp is expected to be Historicorps, a non-profit that does volunteer based historical restoration on public structures on public property. This and other users who will actively use the buildings leverage into a capacity there for youth job training and outdoor education.

By utilizing GO Bond monies, the basic, fundamental restoration of the systems can be achieved and the opportunities that the CCC Camp campus can provide will be enabled. This is an investment with a very high rate of return.

The Denver Mountain Parks cannot wait another 50 years for the enabling financial support. Denver has relied on farsighted leadership. This is part of that. You are part of that.

DMPF respectfully urges the inclusion of appropriate GO Bond financing, consistent with the DPR requests, for the work necessary to activate the Morrison and Katherine Craig CCC Camp facilities and to provide funding for maintenance and repairs that are long overdue.

Sincerely yours,

W. Bart Berger, Chairman

“OUR MISSION: To restore the historical integrity, relevance, quality and appreciation for the Denver Mountain Parks system; to advocate for and ensure its future as a recreational, educational and open space resource for the City of Denver, its citizens, neighbors, children and visitors.

DMPF is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. FEIN: 20-2626404

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