The High Line Canal Conservancy took its first step last month toward protecting a trail system that flows through 71 miles of the south metro area by releasing a master plan that will improve the environmental health of the area and will allow for safer access of the trail.
The South Pearl-based nonprofit held a rally in Aurora on Sept. 14 to announce the plan. Volunteers also did a clean-up of a one-mile stretch of the trail that day. Representatives from the 11 different jurisdictions — Denver, Littleton, Arapahoe County, Centennial and more — spoke at the event, talking about the significance of bringing so many communities together to protect this asset.
The canal has been owned by Denver Water since 1924. The utility service uses the canal for irrigation water. Jim Locchead, the CEO and president of Denver Water, said at the rally that historically, the canal had not been used to its full potential for public use.
“This plan really sets that framework,” he said. “When you see the number of jurisdictions that are involved and transcend the canal, its a tremendous challenge of everybody working together in collaboration to come up with a common vision for how we can work to manage this canal into the future in perpetuity for the benefit of this Denver metropolitan area.”
Harriet Crittenden LaMair, executive director of the High Line Canal Conservancy, also received a ceremonial check for $56,094 from the Schomp Subaru dealership. The dealership chose the conservancy as its hometown charity for the Share the Love event. The car dealership has been doing the event for 11 years and has raised more than $140 million, according to its website.
The High Line Canal plan will be in place for the next 15 years, and has several projects. Signage and wayfinding will be improved along the 71 miles. Safety projects also aim to improve crossings along major streets such as Hampden Avenue.
“With the plan for the High Line Canal we’re really committing to an ambitious and impactful path to protect and preserve the High Line Canal’s 71 miles and 850 acres,” said Dirk McDermott, board chair of the conservancy. “With a 15-year horizon, the plan prioritizes hundreds of capital enhancement projects from safer crossing and underpasses, to signage and nature play areas along the canal.”
For more information on the canal, go to https://highlinecanal.org/.
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