By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – It’s called Walk for the Canal, a 71-day fundraiser for the High Line Canal.

“You’ve walked all 71-miles?” asked CBS4’s Jim Benemann.

“I’ve walked all 71-mile a couple of times,” replied Harriet Crittenden LaMair, the Executive Director of the High Line Canal Conservancy.

(credit CBS)

The High Line Canal cuts through the Denver Metro Area, from Waterton Canyon to Green Valley Ranch.

“You go through different character zones. You go from the mountains up at Waterton Canyon, where you can see big horn sheep and snakes. Then you get into what we call the wooded village and the rolling foothills. But then as you get further north, it becomes a little more urban, and then all the way up to the prairie retreat in Aurora,” Crittenden LaMair explained.

This diverse greenway has a history as long as the trail itself. A group of entrepreneurs built it in 1883.

“It was imagined as a means to deliver water to farmers, after the Gold Rush,” Crittenden LaMair said.

(credit CBS)

Denver Water bought the canal in 1920, and then in 1970, people started using it for recreation.

“It never had a plan for how we could really embrace it as a world class greenway for the Denver region,” said Crittenden LaMair.

That’s where the High Line Canal Conservancy comes in. It was formed in 2014. It works to preserve, protect and maintain the canal as a whole.

“It needs a little love, but it’s coming along.”

(credit CBS)

“So it’s 71-mile long, that’s a lot to keep track of. What’s the vision when all is said and done?” Benemann asked.

“The goal that the public set out for us when we started this planning project, so many people got involved, and they wanted it natural, not pedicured…not City Park,” Crittenden LaMair responded.

Natural, but not out of control. The canal needs tree maintenance, signage and some infrastructure. Work that’s already begun at Hampden and Colorado. Crews are building an underpass to make that intersection safer.

Maintenance and enhancements to the canal require money, so the Conservancy is challenging Colorado to walk, run, ride, roll, skip or scoot on the greenway over 71-days while raising money for this one-of-a-kind community resource.

The Highline Canal (credit: CBS)

“We have what’s becoming the premier greenway in the region.”

Walk for the Canal runs from August 1st – October 10th, 2020. Go to the Walk for the Canal website to register your walk.

Libby Smith

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