Thursday, December 23, 2021

Protecting Colorado’s Land and Environment

Gov. Roy Romer and Dept. of Natural Resources Executive
Director Ken Salazar form a citizens committee, which
consisted of conservation, business and political leaders
 from across Colorado | Photo: GOCO website
After a decade of rapid growth, open space and recreational funds in Colorado have never been more valuable. Fortunately, Colorado voters recognized the importance of land protection and have been highly supportive of government funding dedicated to the outdoors.


Ciruli Associates, working with then Governor Roy Romer; Ken Salazar, Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources (now ambassador to Mexico); and a group of dedicated land conservationists guided a constitutional amendment onto the 1992 statewide ballot and passed the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) program. Our firm directed and provided research for the campaign, which won with 58 percent of the vote.

The program redirected Colorado Lottery money that was being spent on prison construction to an open space, parks, trails, wildlife and recreation program. It has put $1.3 billion over the last three decades into grants for more than 5,000 local and regional land and water conservation and recreation projects in all 64 Colorado county governments.

State Land Stewardship Trust

In 1996, Governor Romer and Natural Resources Executive Director Jim Lochhead (now CEO/manager of Denver Water) requested we direct a new campaign for Constitutional Amendment 16 to reform the governance of the State Land Board and create a Stewardship Trust for up to 10 percent of the land held in the state trust, or about 300,000 acres.

The governance change created a volunteer board of citizens with backgrounds in schools, agriculture, local government and natural resources. The Stewardship Trust added a level of protection and preservation for environmentally valuable state lands. Our firm again provided management, focus groups, polls, and television and print advertising for the campaign. 

National Models

Both GOCO and the Stewardship Trust are considered highly successful national models, which were supported by state leaders and voters. They are among our firm’s most esteemed projects.

Greenland Ranch land protection of 17,000+ acres between Denver and
 Colorado Springs along the I-25 corridor | Photo: GOCO website

Protected land in Colorado | Photo: GOCO website

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