In January 2007, the Denver Parks & Recreation Department launched a 16-month master planning process for its historic 14,000 acre mountain park system. The primary purpose of the mountain park master plan is to bring the 1912 vision that created the Denver Mountain Parks into the 21st century, balancing recreation needs with preservation of natural and historic resources
The 14,000 acres of mountain parks, located in four counties, make Denver Parks and Recreation's system unique in the nation. No other city has a park system that includes an alpine lake (Summit Lake, near Mt. Evans), a world-class concert venue (Red Rocks amphitheatre), a ski resort (Winter Park), two bison herds (at Genesee and Daniels Parks), and Buffalo Bill's grave. The system of scenic parks and roads was designed by nationally renowned Olmsted Brothers firm in Massachusetts and the system is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. The master plan process will be broad in nature involving partners from four other counties, federal and state agencies, and residents in five counties.
"Denver's early vision to build a mountain park system that captures the very essence of being in Colorado, yet close to home for urban visitors, is the envy of other cities," commented Denver Parks and Recreation Manager, Kim Bailey. "In 1920, visitors filled their radiators at the wells in each park; today, kids whiz down the mountain on the zip line at the city's challenge course. Who knows what our grandchildren will be doing but we need to ensure that they will enjoy the parks as well."
To support the funding of the mountain park master plan, Denver Parks and Recreation secured a 2006 Great Outdoors Colorado planning grant in the amount of $75,000. In addition, the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to restoring the Denver Mountain Parks, contributed funds to conduct a survey of mountain park users. The total funding for the master plan is estimated at $150,000. Implementation of the plan will be funded by a combination of private and public dollars.
The lead consultant for Denver Mountain Parks master plan is Mundus Bishop Design, Inc., a Denver planning and landscape architecture firm that specializes in park design, urban design, and historic preservation. User surveys were completed last summer by the firm, Marketing Support. Other firms working on the project include Andrews and Anderson, P.C., The Trust for Public Lands, ERO Resources, Walden Group, Civic Results, Fehr & Peers, and CTM Mapping. Planning is expected begin this January and will include natural resource inventories and focus groups with specialized recreation groups. See Project Team for details.