Three Colorado conservation projects announced

Rocky Mopuntain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge (Image: Rocky Mountain Arsenal/US Army)

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at the ribbon-cutting for the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to announce that they will partner together to advance three conservation initiatives in Colorado as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.

“Colorado is setting an example for the rest of the nation as to the value of recreation and conservation to our economy and quality of life,” said Salazar.

“The new Rocky Mountain Arsenal visitor center and three conservation initiatives will further showcase the natural beauty we are fortunate to live in and share with visitors from around the word,” said Hickenlooper, in a press release.

Colorado’s three priority projects deal primarily with river basins and urban parks.

Yampa River Basin Project:
Interior and other federal agencies will work with the State, local stakeholders, private landowners and other partners to help conserve healthy lands and waters in the Yampa River Basin. Through conservation easements, stewardship projects and other tools, the Yampa River Basin project will build on initiatives to work with local ranchers and farmers to preserve working ranches and farms and wildlife habitat, and promote outdoor recreation and tourism.

San Luis Valley Project: To conserve healthy lands and waters and promote tourism in the San Luis Valley and the Rio Grande River Corridor. The AGO project will build upon local and federal efforts to conserve the Valley’s ranching community and protect important wildlife resources and wetland habitat in southern Colorado.

Denver Metro Greenway Project: To enhance Denver metropolitan area parks, open spaces and trails, and to create linkages to creeks, river corridors and state and federal parks. Salazar outlined a vision to potentially create a “Rocky Mountain Greenway” – an uninterrupted trails/transportation link between the three National Wildlife Refuges in the metro region (the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR, the Two Ponds NWR, and the Rocky Flats NWR), the Rocky Mountain National Park and community trails systems in between, and connecting with the Denver metro area’s other trail systems.

Today’s announcement occurred at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center dedication ceremony. The visitor center, expected to receive more than 200,000 visitors each year, was completed with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The facility is situated at the southwestern boundary of the refuge.

The full text of Salazar’s remarks can be seen here.

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