A Tribute to Colorado Byways: Conservation at its Finest

March 18, 2014 - Metro Denver Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - The 25th anniversary of Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways program was celebrated on March 14 at the State Capitol.

As part of the festivities, Colorado Byways Commissioners and numerous Colorado Byway organizations met with lawmakers, providing information on how the byways contribute to Colorado’s quality of life and what the future looks like for the program.

As part of its silver anniversary, the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways program is recognizing the following for their conservation efforts:

  • Colorado Scenic Byways Conservation Coalition: Provides resource protection through statewide planning and education.  It was established by nine inaugural members—five byway associations and four conservation organizations—in early 2011. Individually, these groups had already achieved significant conservation success along several byways in southern Colorado. In a fourteen-year period, from 1997 through 2010, they permanently protected 90 byway properties encompassing 33,422 acres of spectacular open lands. Through landowner donations and the support of private, local, state, and national funders, they leveraged over $114 million in support of these efforts. Their goal in forming the CSBCC was to accelerate the pace of conservation in response to rising land and water resource threats on Colorado’s byways.
  • Conservation Easement Tax Credits:  Land owners, land conservation organizations, land buyers and accountants now will be able to breathe a little easier this year, thanks to a bill designed to provide more certainty for those involved with a conservation easement tax credit.  With the passage of

HB13-221, some obstacles have been removed and a new application process

has been created with the Division of Real Estate. Most importantly, effective for donations made on or after January 1, 2014, the appraisal is forever safe from a state audit after the tax credit certificate has been issued.

  • Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts: CCLT was established in 1991 by concerned citizens and land trust practitioners to promote land conservation at a state level and to provide coordination, collaboration and professionalism among the state’s land trusts and governmental organizations involved in land conservation.  The organization is governed by an active twelve-member board consisting of representatives from member organizations across the state as well as other conservation professionals and individuals who care passionately about preserving Colorado's urban parks, open spaces, and working farms and ranches.  Together, members of CCLT have preserved more than 2 million acres of Colorado’s most cherished lands, including: Family Farms and Ranches, Wildlife Habitat, Popular Trails and Recreational Areas, and Scenic Vistas.  More information is available at www.cclt.org/cclt/
  • The Trust for Public Land:  This organization helps communities nationwide balance the demands of growth with the protection of wilderness, waterfronts, and working farms and forests.  Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to identify and prioritize conservation goals, it employs financial, legal, and transaction expertise to accomplish its objectives.   More information is available at: www.tpl.org

Eleven of Colorado’s 25 byways are designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as America’s Byways®, which gives Colorado more national designations than any other state. For more information about the Scenic and Historic Byways, visit www.ColoradoByways.org.