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DEAR FRIENDS OF THE HIGH LINE CANAL What a year 2015 was for the newly formed High Line Canal Conservancy! It is hard to believe how far we have come since those early conversations about creating a citizen-based initiative to develop a long-term vision and future plan for the High Line Canal. That initial dialogue turned into passion and partnerships: the theme of our first Report to the Community. With passion for the impact the Canal can have on the quality of life in the Denver metro region and with strong partnerships, the High Line Canal Conservancy was formed as a public-private partnership to do more for the Canal than its owner, Denver Water, and the local jurisdictions can do alone. Today, as the organization entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the development of a vision and master plan for our well-loved Canal, the Conservancy’s work is founded on the belief that citizen leadership and private philanthropy are critical to ensuring that the Canal thrives and endures forever. Our first year was one of immense growth, progress and partnership. We formed strong alliances with Denver Water and the various governmental entities along the Canal, as well as private citizens and community leaders. With support from each of these partners, our board has raised funds to invest in the creation of a world-class vision and master plan that will protect reaches of the Canal that need preservation and to enhance other neglected sections. The Canal faces many challenges, both as a water-delivery vehicle and as a recreational amenity. As a water conveyance, it is highly inefficient – leaking prodigious amounts of water in a good year and not used at all because of priority in a drought year. As a recreational amenity, the Canal is lost under golf courses, impassable at freeways and railroads, and unsafe at many of the 81 road crossings. As the region continues to grow, so will the challenges for those wishing to use the Canal trail. The magic of our Canal inspires us on so many levels, from a late-afternoon walk as the sun sets over the Rockies to the impactful realization that this pathway twists a full 71 miles through the most populated area of the state while traversing the social and economic landscape of the Denver metro region. It is the opportunity to use the Canal as a means of connecting, enhancing and celebrating these diverse communities and people that excites us most about this collaborative effort.   We are deeply grateful for the support from our partners and for the trust that has been placed in the Conservancy. We hope you enjoy learning about our progress and our future plans in our very first Report to the Community!

Harriet Crittenden LaMair

Nina Beardsley Itin

Executive Director

Board Chair

WHO WE ARE The High Line Canal Conservancy (Conservancy) is a nonprofit organization created in 2014 by a passionate coalition of citizens committed to a dynamic future for the High Line Canal (Canal). It is our mission to preserve, protect and enhance the 71-mile-long Canal in partnership with the public. To accomplish our mission, we will: ● Steward the future of the Canal through leadership, education and advocacy ●Engage citizens to protect and preserve the Canal ● Build strong and representative community leadership ● Establish sustainable partnerships between diverse regions and jurisdictions ● Adopt an ambitious and transformative future vision and master plan for the Canal ● Champion and oversee implementation of the Canal master plan

Brenda Gonzales, Intern

BRENDA’S CANAL STORY We asked our summer intern, Brenda G. (right), to jump in with us and get to know the Canal from the trail floor. With notebook and iPhone GPS in hand, our eager, techsavvy intern – an incoming sophomore at Ohio Wesleyan University – set out on her bike to tackle one of the more challenging sections of the Canal. Brenda, who lives in Denver near the Canal’s furthest reach at Mile 7 1 , began her ride at home base, hitting the trail in reverse direction, west toward the foothills. What our star intern found was not only some of the toughest challenges facing our Canal today but also some of its most scenic landscapes…not to mention a few other surprises along the way. Watch Brenda’s video journal and enjoy the ride!

Watch Brenda’s Canal story at

Well done, Brenda!



Our vision for the future is a permanently preserved 71-mile linear greenway connecting communities from the foothills to the plains that: ● Creates Connections: the Canal connects diverse communities and people to each other and to nature ● Enhances Recreation: the Canal serves as a recreational spine that stitches together a regional trail system ● Leverages Economic Growth: the Canal is an urban generator that infuses new life into the economy of surrounding communities ● Improves Environmental Health: the Canal is an ecological asset supporting 71 miles of wildlife and natural environments ● Salutes History: the Canal teaches us about the history of our region and water in the West

Over 350,000 residents live within one mile of the Canal, and recent data indicate


The future of the Canal is in transition, and leadership is needed to preserve, protect and enhance this resource for future generations.


The workers who built the Canal more than a century ago didn’t envision people using their ambitious irrigation project as a recreational outlet in the midst of a busy urban area. Today, for many reaches along the Canal, the trail has become a treasured recreational pathway beckoning joggers, walkers, bikers and equestrians with its grand cottonwoods and long scenic views. In other communities, the Canal is simply an old utility corridor – dry, disconnected and impassable. There are numerous dangerous pedestrian crossings and neglected areas of trail throughout its reach.


While the Canal, which is owned and operated by Denver Water, still serves over 30 water customers, it is no longer an efficient or economically viable means of delivering water. Denver Water reports that nearly 80 percent of the water diverted to the Canal seeps into the ground or evaporates prior to reaching a paying water customer. While Denver Water still owns the Canal, they understand the need for future planning.


Today, the future of the Canal depends on strong leadership, community input, reassessment and long-term planning. The Conservancy – in partnership with Denver Water, the municipal jurisdictions within the Canal’s reach, and citizens throughout the region – is leading this planning effort to ensure the Canal’s vibrant legacy as a timeless 71-mile urban resource for future generations.


photo by John Fielder


What began as a conversation soon became a passion to preserve and enhance the Canal as a legacy for the Denver metro region. But as with any start-up nonprofit organization, the question became: Where do we begin?

that annually more than

For the Conservancy, building partnerships with each of the jurisdictions and Canal stakeholders was the beginning. Without our partners, the Conservancy would not be here today. With the foundation of intergovernmental cooperation built through the Arapahoe County High Line Canal Working Group, we have been building upon that groundwork for a great organization that has the capacity to preserve, “Make no protect and enhance the Canal for years to come.

little plans;


It was in early conversations that a commitment to embark on a they have comprehensive planning initiative was formed. Together, we are listening no magic to to the words of Daniel Burnham “make no stir men’s people use the Canal as a recreational asset. little plans” and are working toward an blood.” ambitious and transformational plan for all 71 Daniel Burnham miles. Today, we are excited to announce that the planning effort is well underway. Look for the Conservancy, our partners, and our award-winning planning team, Sasaki Associates (Sasaki) as we tour communities and the trail this summer to gather ideas and input about the long-term vision for the Canal. Thank you, our supporters and partners, for believing in the Conservancy’s mission. Together, we will ensure that the Canal is preserved and enhanced as a significant and enduring recreational and cultural urban resource for the entire Denver metro region.


Formed a 15-member board of directors comprised of civic and business leaders and private citizens representing a broad demographic reflective of the Canal’s reach. Each member brings a unique set of skills, background and commitment critical to the forward-thinking leadership needed for the Canal’s future planning. Established a robust council of advisors made up of more than 30 elected officials and other key community members led by Mayor Michael B. Hancock (Denver) and Mayor Steven Hogan (Aurora) to support and guide Conservancy efforts through planning, visioning and long-term stewardship. Set up a base office and hired three full-time staff members to manage daily operations, communications, fundraising, and to oversee public outreach and the visioning process.


PARTNERSHIPS FORMED Nurtured collaborative partnerships with Denver Water and all 11 jurisdictions bordering the 71-mile Canal. These partnerships constitute a coalition of elected regional officials and high-level staff that form the High Line Canal Working Group (HLCWG), along with a core team that provides leadership and guidance to the Conservancy to create an enduring master plan for the future of the Canal.

FUNDING SECURED Secured funding from Denver Water, Arapahoe County Open Spaces, GOCO, 10 of the jurisdictions, and private citizens. These partnerships resulted in funding in excess of $500,000 for start-up costs, operations for public outreach, planning and visioning.

FOUNDING PARTNERS INITIATED Created a strategy, with guidance from a volunteer team of fundraising professionals, to begin development of a dynamic group of community and philanthropic leaders who have joined our founding partners: “71 Miles Supported by 7 1 Founders.” Private funding is critical to the long-term planning and implementation of the vision for the Canal’s future. Founding partners are committing both their personal resources and time to help build this solid foundation. To learn more about becoming a founding partner, visit our website. photo below by John Fielder


COMMENCED A LONG-TERM COMPREHENSIVE VISIONING AND PLANNING INITIATIVE FOR THE CANAL After careful review of numerous proposals, we selected the award-winning planning and urban-design firm Sasaki, led by principal Gina Ford, to oversee public outreach and vision planning for all 71 miles of the Canal, beginning in June 2016. The exceptional team also includes local firms Matrix Design Group and PlaceMatters, as well as Boston-based Inkhouse. The Sasaki team is an interdisciplinary group of practitioners dedicated to the improvement of quality of life in cities, through rigorous planning, exceptional design, and strong community partnerships. The firm’s extensive experience with a variety of large-scale landscape-planning and waterfront projects makes them well prepared for the task at hand: to help reach a diverse set of stakeholders and ignite the collective imagination of the community toward a reflective set of visions for the future of the Canal. For more information and planning updates, visit

We are excited to have Sasaki on our team!

“The Canal outreach and visioning process is an exciting initiative for the Denver region, but also part of a national dialogue about the value of connected open space as critical to the social, economic and environmental health of cities. We are so very excited to facilitate a forward-looking dialogue to establish a unifying and compelling vision that both connects and honors the distinct communities along the Canal.” Gina Ford, Principal, Sasaki

photo courtesy of Sasaki Associates


COMMUNICATIONS TOOLS DEVELOPED  reated a timeless brand for the Conservancy, including a complete visual identity C with a new logo and tagline. With this, we have developed a set of marketing materials used for public outreach. Developed an informative and resource-charged website at and initiated social media platforms that enhance the Conservancy’s communications efforts across a breadth of demographics and communities along the Canal. Produced and released an inspiring promotional video that tells the story of the Canal and the challenges it faces today for a sustainable, long-lasting future generously funded by Denise View our video at O’Leary and Kent Thiry.

PLANNING RESOURCES INITIATED Embarked on a series of comprehensive Canal tours – staff-produced detailed guides for each of the Canal segments. These four half-day tours provided the Conservancy Board, staff, jurisdictional leaders and supporters with a deep understanding of the tremendous opportunities and challenges along the corridor. As a side benefit, the tour series has strengthened jurisdictional relationships. The Conservancy has gained detailed knowledge of the Canal, which will be invaluable in the planning process. Supported development of five potential stormwater pilots being considered by jurisdictions along the Canal. These pilot programs will generate critical data on the potential future reuse of the Canal’s infrastructure as a stormwater filtration system, which may provide significant cost savings over the long term, in addition to identifying benefits for the tree canopy and the experience of recreational users. Initiated development of a database. Staff has started building a multijurisdictional, Canal-wide database that includes a comprehensive list of stakeholders, funding partners, organizations and individuals. The data will be used to reach each of the communities throughout the public engagement process. Formed a comprehensive database of geographic information System (GIS) files that enable staff to conduct local and regional analysis, publish maps, and have an in-depth understanding of the local conditions affecting the trail. These data include political boundaries, county parcels, regional trails, transit stations (existing and planned), zoning, green space, schools, and building footprints. Staff also has built Canal-specific data sets, such as an inventory of every street crossing, access points and trail surface types. Received funding for and are initiating an inventory of the historic sites and properties along the Canal. A goal of this inventory is to determine which resources are most valuable to the long-term vision of using the Canal as a tool for teaching people about water in the West. Engaged with a graduate student at the University of Colorado-Denver to conduct a spatial analysis of parcels or areas that appear to be ripe for redevelopment based on land-to-improvement value ratios. 6

“We need the kind of outdoor access that Getting more Coloradans outdoors more

GOVERNOR’S ENDORSEMENT Governor John Hickenlooper announced that the Canal was identified as one of the state’s highest priority trail projects through his Colorado the Beautiful’s “16 in 2016” initiative. The governor’s designation indicates that the Canal represents one of the state’s 16 most critical trail-enhancement projects and meets the initiative’s vision: That within one generation, every Coloradan will live within a 10-minute walk of a park, trail or open space. The Canal is the only Denver metro trail identified. Identification of these 16 trails is designed to build upon strong existing support and partnerships to push them to completion. photo below by Tim Itin

more easily brings all of us – especially our young people – into the fresh air and away from indoor distractions. often is good for our health and a refreshing reminder of how fortunate we are to live in Colorado.” Governor John Hickenlooper

2016 STRATEGIC GOALS  xcite and E engage people throughout the region to widely embrace a compelling future vision for the Canal that is sustainable and life enhancing.

 evelop and D implement a financing plan that includes ambitious private fundraising goals for the Conservancy, which will establish strategies and goals for longterm capacity and vision.

 trengthen S partnerships with local, regional, state, and national organizations to increase knowledge, effectiveness and capacity of our organization and its outreach efforts.

Adopt an ambitious and transformative future vision for the Canal that will guide the future masterplanning phase.




Program development 13%

Grants 47%

Program administration 17% Rent 2% Program outreach/planning services 68%

Governmental 44% Private donations 9%

Revenue Type


% of Total

Expense Type


Grants (47%)

Program Outreach and Planning Services (68%)

GOCO****.................................... $.................................. 0%

Personnel (staff)........................ $ 127,210 ..............40%

Gates Family Foundation..... $ 75,000 ...............19%

Contract work............................ $ 22,273 ..................7%

Other foundations................... $ 11,080 ............... 3%

Grants 47% Outreach/communications..... $ 68,299 ................21%

Denver Water............................. $ 100,000 ..............25%

Program Development (13%)

Governmental (44%)

Personnel (staff)........................ $ 27,000 ................. 8%

Arapahoe County..................... $ 100,000 ..............25%

Database and website.......... $ 15,355 ...................5%

All others*..................................... $ 75,000 ...............19%

Program Administration (17%)

Private (9%)................................ $ 36,640

CNDC fee**.................................. $ 37,295 ................12%

Total.............................................. $ 397,720 Assets.............................................. $ 78,288

Governmental 44% Private donations 9%

Other***........................................ $ 15,800 ..................5% Rent (2%)...................................... $ 6,200 Total.........................................$ 319,432

* funds from jurisdictions along the Canal ** Colorado Nonprofit Development Center fee for all administrative functions, including audits, legal, accounting, grant administration, payroll and benefits *** Start-up administrative one-time costs **** GOCO $75,000 commitment will be spent in 2016

“The High Line Canal Conservancy’s passionate citizen-based leadership is critical for the future of the Canal. Denver Water is excited to partner with the Conservancy and the national urban-planning team in a comprehensive planning process for the Canal.” Jim Lochhead, CEO/Manager, Denver Water 8

% of Total



Nina Beardsley Itin Chair, Community Leader

Mayor Michael B. Hancock & Mayor Steve Hogan Honorary Chairs

Mike Rosser Secretary, Ret. Mortgage Banking Executive Karl Friedman Treasurer, Friedman Family Foundation Jock Bickert Ret. Marketing Executive James Bolt Exec. V.P., Coldwell Banker Real Estate Daniel Brogan President/Editor-In-Chief, 5280 Magazine Anthony Graves Dir. of Regional Affairs, Mayor’s Office Paula Herzmark Exec. Dir., Denver Health Foundation David Lorenz Former Exec. Dir., South Suburban Parks & Recreation District Dirk McDermott Vice Chair, Managing Partner, Altira Group

Elaine Asarch Pam Beardsley

Judy Grant Newell Grant

Betsy Oudenhoven Jim Petterson

Bruce Beckman* Susan Beckman Kendra Black* Laura Christman* Deedee Decker Peter Decker Nancy Doty* John Fielder Stacie Gilmore*

Kathy Green Tom Gougeon Happy Haynes Judith Judd Kate Kramer Bob LeGare* Jim Lochhead Bill Mosher Andy Nielson

Doug Robotham Sarah Rockwell Trey Rogers Tom Roode Jeff Shoemaker Harold Smethills Linda Strand Kathy Turley* *elected official

Tony Pickett V.P., Master Site Dev., Urban Land Conservancy Tom Waymire President, High Line Canal Preservation Assoc. Tracy Young Manager, Planning, Design & Construction, City of Aurora

“Our Canal is one of the nation’s most spectacular linear parks, connecting us as cyclists, equestrians, hikers and nature lovers.

Marty Zeller Vice Chair, President, Conservation Partners

Dedicated Conservancy members are working together to provide

Nancy Sharpe Ex Officio, Arapahoe County Commissioner

leadership and to ensure that the Canal is protected and enhanced

Harriet Crittenden LaMair Ex Officio

FOUNDING PARTNERS 71 Miles Supported by 71 Founders These partners have committed $25,000 or more to the Conservancy as of April 1, 2016. Bailey-Stanford Family Foundation

for future generations. I appreciate and applaud the individuals and jurisdictions who genuinely care about this outdoor space and recognize that the Canal is a key regional asset that serves to create connections, enhance recreation, leverage economic growth and improve environmental health.” Stephen D. Hogan, Mayor of Aurora


Pam Beardsley & the Beardsley Family Laura Christman & Bill Rothacker Family Foundation Kathie & Keith Finger Karl & Barbara Friedman Family Foundation Marjorie & Thomas Gart Sherri & Buz Koelbel Carol & Dirk McDermott The Mulvihill Family Denise O’Leary & Kent Thiry Debra & Ken Tuchman Amy Halperin Wood – The Marcus Foundation To learn more about our founding partners program, please email 9

2015-16 DONORS “The High Line Canal surpasses the scale and impact of any similar existing or proposed initiative in the U.S. today. The Canal is Denver’s opportunity to create a significant, enduring recreation and cultural greenway legacy, that physically connects people while reflecting a variety of values and the unique characteristics of the individual communities to be experienced along its path, celebrating the rich and diverse physical and social mosaic that we call Denver.” Tony Pickett, Urban Land Conservancy 10

(as of April 1, 2016) Liz Adams Robert L. Barnett Pamela D. Beardsley Becky & Dick Benes Kate Bermingham Sue & Jock Bickert Kim & Jim Bolt Daniel Brogan & Lannie Garrett Laura Christman & Bill Rothacker Family Foundation The Denver Foundation Terri Epstein Karl & Barbara Friedman Family Foundation The Foundation for Colorado State Parks The Laura Jane Musser Fund Lisa & Charles Duke, Hunt Walker Newell M. & Judy Grant Anthony & Sakari Graves Paula Herzmark & Richard VandenBergh M.D.

High Line Canal Preservation Association Nina & Tim Itin Judd Family Fund Harriet & Mike LaMair Peggy Lehmann David A. Lorenz Dirk & Carol McDermott Kim Morss Tony & Cheryl Pickett Ron Rakowsky The Rosser-Call Family Fund E. Michael Rosser & Keren Call Rosser M.D. Kevin M. Rosser William J. Rosser Lorie Sadler Shell Oil Company Foundation Jeff Shoemaker South Metro Land Conservancy Thiry-O’Leary Foundation Tom Thomas & Klasina VanderWerf Trust for Public Land

Ron Villiotti Tom Waymire Tracy Young Laurie & Marty Zeller In-Kind Donations Lori Autterson Pamela D. Beardsley Center6, Blayne Parrish Cherry Hills Land Preserve Family Tree Corporation Edwin LaMair Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, LLP Della & John Robbins, PEAR Workplace Solutions Sarah Rockwell, Kaplan, Kirsch & Rockwell David Skari, Ph.D. Author, The High Line Canal: Meandering Through Time Tolly Tate Kathy Tyree Lynn White

“We need many more opportunities for kids and all people to experience nature. Research shows that the closer the park or open space is, the more likely people are to use it. The Canal is an ideal resource to use as we plan for how to get people into the out-of-doors. After all, it borders multiple neighborhoods stretching 71 miles and encompasses almost a thousand acres. Just think what we would have to spend to create such a resource. With strong commitments and planning, our Canal will be a connection to nature that makes a difference for millions of people for years to come.�

Harriet Crittenden LaMair, Executive Director



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Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Preserve

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0 The information on this map was derived from digital databases but has been generalized for readability. The map should not be used for navigation or legal purposes. It is intended for general reference use only.

High Line Canal High Line Canal

1 mi71 mi

HighHigh LineLine Canal Soft Soft Surface Canal Surface HighHigh LineLine Canal HardHard Surface Canal Surface Proposed HighHigh LineLine Canal Proposed Canal HighHigh LineLine Canal TrailTrail GapGap Canal

5 mi65 mi

Connecting Regional TrailTrail Connecting Regional Proposed Regional TrailTrail Proposed Regional StateState Park/Refuge Park/Refuge Adjacent ParksParks & Landmarks Adjacent & Landmarks

0 mi60 mi

5 mi55 mi 0 mi50 mi

5 mi45 mi 0 mi40 mi

5 mi35 mi

0 mi30 mi

5 mi25 mi

0 mi20 mi

5 mi15 mi

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Kassler Center 1 Kassler Center

Redstone Park Park 2 Redstone

Highlands Ranch Golf Golf ClubClub 3 Highlands Ranch Fly’n B Park 4 Fly’n B Park

Mission ViejoViejo OpenOpen Space 5 Mission Space Writers VistaVista Park Park 6 Writers

deKoevend Park Park 7 deKoevend

Marjorie PerryPerry Nature Preserve 8 Marjorie Nature Preserve

Kent Denver School 9 Kent Denver School Wellshire Municipal Golf Golf Course 10 Wellshire Municipal Course Eisenhower Park Park 11 Eisenhower BibleBible Park Park 12 Cherry CreekCreek Country ClubClub 13 Cherry Country Hentzell Park Park 14 Hentzell Fairmount Cemetery 15 Fairmount Cemetery ExpoExpo Park Park 16 Aurora HillsHills Golf Golf Course 17 Aurora Course RTD:RTD: 2nd 2nd & Abilene Station 18 & Abilene Station Aurora City Park 19 Aurora City Park DeLaney Community FarmFarm 20 DeLaney Community Springhill Park Park 21 Springhill Star KStar Ranch OpenOpen SpaceSpace 22 K Ranch Green Valley Ranch Golf Golf ClubClub 23 Green Valley Ranch

0 mi10 mi

5 mi5 mi

0 mi0 mi

“The High Line Canal twists through the most populated areas of the state and traverses the social and economic landscape – connecting, enhancing and understanding these diverse communities excites me the most about this collaborative effort.” Harriet Crittenden LaMair, Executive Director

photo by John Fielder


915 South Pearl Street • Denver, Colorado 80209 • connect with us at

Join the conversation! Share your #CANALTALES with us at or on social media and be sure to tag the High Line Canal Conservancy in your post. Conservancy Staff Harriet Crittenden LaMair

Suzanna Fry Jones

Josh Ellsworth

executive director

marketing & communications

planning & special projects

The High Line Canal Conservancy is a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center, a 501c3. Cover image provided by the Cherry Hills Land Preserve

High Line Canal Conservancy 2015 Report to the Community  

What a year 2015 was for the newly formed High Line Canal Conservancy! It is hard to believe how far we have come since those early conversa...

High Line Canal Conservancy 2015 Report to the Community  

What a year 2015 was for the newly formed High Line Canal Conservancy! It is hard to believe how far we have come since those early conversa...