August 24, 2018

Event Celebrates Addition to Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

MONTROSE, Colo.—The Conservation Fund and the National Park Service celebrated today the addition of 2,494 acres to Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Located on the park’s South Rim, this land provides access for hikers and anglers via the popular Red Rock Canyon trail, protects the park’s outstanding scenic views, and provides economic and wildlife benefits to the state of Colorado.

The land was conserved thanks to funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), an essential program that protects America’s best natural resources and recreational access.

“Strategic conservation of properties like this one are a triple win for the environment, outdoor recreation, and the local economy,” said Christine Quinlan, Western Field Representative with The Conservation Fund. “We praise the leadership of the Department of Interior, including the National Park Service, as well as the leadership of U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, and U.S. Representative Scott Tipton who secured critical LWCF dollars to complete this project at one of America’s greatest parks. LWCF will expire in less than 40 days and we appreciate everyone working to reauthorize our nation’s best conservation program.”

Formerly the largest private tract of land inside Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the property was the Park’s highest priority for conservation. At NPS’ request, The Conservation Fund acquired the land from a willing seller in March 2016 and conveyed it to the National Park Service in December 2017 using LWCF funds. The land provides access to Gold Medal fly fishing on the Gunnison River; creates potential opportunities for NPS to provide more family friendly hiking near the Visitor Center; and serves as a potential source of water to the South Rim that will reduce operational costs of hauling water to meet visitor and staff needs.

“This event celebrates the partnership between the NPS and The Conservation Fund,” said Park Superintendent Bruce Noble. “The event also provides an opportunity to showcase the value of preserving viewsheds, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.”

Established 53 years ago, LWCF is a bipartisan, federal program that uses a percentage of proceeds from offshore oil and gas royalties—not taxpayer dollars—to acquire critical lands and protect our country’s best natural resources and recreational access for more than 50 years. LWCF will expire on September 30 unless Congress acts to reauthorize.

U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) and U.S. Representative Scott Tipton (R-CO) supported Colorado’s request for LWCF funding and helped secure Congressional appropriations for the program.

“Adding this key property to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is yet another example of the critical role LWCF plays in conserving land and improving access for future generations. Visitors to Black Canyon of the Gunnison will now have even more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, fulfilling one of the core missions of LWCF,” said U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. “The local support for this project speaks volumes to its value to the community. We’ll continue to support LWCF projects across Colorado, and we’ll work in Congress to permanently reauthorize and fully fund LWCF in the future.”

“This critical project at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is yet another example of the important work done by the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said U.S. Senator Cory Gardner. “By acquiring this parcel, the park has enhanced public access, made efficient land management easier, and preserved the pristine visitor experience. This is one more reminder in a series of them that Congress should do its job and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”

“Areas like the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park are the crown jewels of our public lands,” said U.S. Representative Scott Tipton. “The use of LWCF at this strategic property, which was already included within the boundaries of the legislation that created the National Park, will help increase recreation opportunities and improve land management, so generations to come will be able to enjoy this wonderful natural area. Time and time again, the LWCF has helped to protect irreplaceable land, so I will continue to work to permanently reauthorize this critical program.”

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect 8 million acres of land, including more than 250,000 acres in Colorado.

Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 |