Synergy: Partners for Parks

This article is cross-posted from the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation website, exploring the relationship between Mountain Parks and the Jeffco Open Space Program.

The Lariat Trail, built in 1913 as a cooperative effort between Denver, Jeffco, and the state, provides access to Windy Saddle Park (JCOS) and Lookout Mountain Park (DMP). At Windy Saddle, shown here, a new parking area connects the Chimney Gulch Trail (JCOS) with the historic Beaver Brook Trail (DMP). Photo by John Fielder.

The Lariat Trail, built in 1913 as a cooperative effort between Denver, Jeffco, and the state, provides access to Windy Saddle Park (JCOS) and Lookout Mountain Park (DMP). At Windy Saddle, shown here, a new parking area connects the Chimney Gulch Trail (JCOS) with the historic Beaver Brook Trail (DMP). Photo by John Fielder.

Did you know that Jeffco Open Space (JCOS) and Denver Mountain Parks (DMP) share more than their interest in land protection in central Jeffco?

This year, as the DMP system celebrates its centennial and JCOS parks its 40th anniversary, seems a great time to explore the common ground. Despite the differences in timing, the two systems also share dedication to providing outdoor recreation opportunities to the public, as well as, in many cases, even their geographical boundaries.

In 1912, when Denver began to look outside its boundaries for parkland, the City hired Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., to help plan its mountain park system. Olmsted identified more than 41,000 acres of potential parkland, but Denver only acquired about a quarter of it.

O'Fallon Park (DMP) connects two other DMP properties, Pence and Corwina Mountain Parks; with Lair o'the Bear (JCOS) and Little Park (DMP) eastward, an area of 2,270 acres along Bear Creek is protected parkland. The Bear Creek Trail corridor is a joint project through these parks. Photo by John Fielder.

O’Fallon Park (DMP) connects two other DMP properties, Pence and Corwina Mountain Parks; with Lair o’the Bear (JCOS) and Little Park (DMP) eastward, an area of 2,270 acres along Bear Creek is protected parkland. The Bear Creek Trail corridor is a joint project through these parks. Photo by John Fielder.

Since the passage of the Open Space resolution, launched by PLAN Jeffco and passed by voters in 1972, Jeffco has acquired some of the remaining acres from the 1914 plan, as well as other connecting parcels, giving central Jeffco a wealth of protected areas and public recreational opportunities.

Parks visitors often don’t realize which system of parks they’re using, especially as the two entities have cooperated to provide trail linkages that make the park user’s experience more seamless. In 2013, the DMP Foundation produced a book featuring John Fielder photos, and many of those spectacular scenic images reveal the continuing relationship between these two park systems.

We congratulate both entities on their anniversaries and the work they’ve done to provide outdoor enjoyment to generations of Denver and Jefferson County residents and visitors.

Visit the original post to see a slideshow featuring more photos by John Fielder, courtesy of the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation.

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