High Line Canal Conservancy to host 3rd annual canal walk

Week-long event June 20 through 26 seeks to raise awareness, funds for waterway projects

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For the third year, the High Line Canal Conservancy will host days of events to promote conservation and improvement efforts along the 71-mile High Line Canal from June 20 to 26. 

Events include a bird watching walk, sunset solstice walk, happy hour walk and a dogs & donuts event, all to connect community members to "a tremendous regional gem," said the nonprofit's executive director, Harriet Crittenden LaMair, in a statement. 

Winding through the counties of Douglas, Denver, Adams and Arapahoe, the High Line Canal is one of the longest continuous urban trails in the U.S. and spans 800 acres. Originally created more than 140 years ago as an irrigation waterway, it has now become a popular recreation trail. 

“It’s an amazing amenity that’s used by hundreds of thousands of people a year,” said Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe who helped lead an effort to establish a new partnership between county governments to invest $130 million over the next 15 years into the canal. 

That project, known as the High Line Canal Collaborative, seeks to remedy the canal's lack of accessibility in certain areas by building new bridges, underpasses and mile markers.

It is also looking at conservation efforts as the canal becomes dryer due to year-after-year droughts by planting thousands of more drought-tolerant trees by 2030 and building new stormwater infrastructure to replenish the waterway and to provide flood mitigation. 

“The plain fact that there is this 800-acre greenway that slices through the region … is a huge factor for looking to the future and the effects of climate change,” said Suzanna Fry Jones, senior director of programs and partnerships for the nonprofit High Line Canal Conservancy. “The opportunities that surround having an open space so close to so many people in an urban area could be really beneficial for the community.”

Of the $130 million the collaborative has proposed, about 20% to 30% will come from private donors, according to Fry, including individual donors, regional and national foundations and some corporate groups. About 40% to 50% of the funding will come from local and regional governments.

Canal walk particpants are encouraged to make a donation by clicking here. To learn more about the walk including event times and locations and how to register, click here

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