There are many ways that Colorado is unique within the nation, including its natural beauty and the accessibility of wildlife areas and open spaces. It is also the only state in the nation that donates 100 percent of its lottery proceeds to wildlife habitat, parks and open space protection.
To celebrate this commitment, the Continental Divide Land Trust is hosting a Summit County-focused Great Outdoors Celebration Tuesday at the Silverthorne Pavilion. The event focuses on the work done by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), which has invested over $6 million in Summit County alone for local open space and recreation projects. Some of these projects include the Willow Grove in Silverthorne, Cow Camp in the Lower Blue, the new Frisco Bike Park, picnic facilities in Dillon and Nordic trails in Breckenridge, among others.
"It's celebrating all that makes our community great, with the emphasis on the outdoors," said Leigh Girvin, executive director of the Continental Divide Land Trust. "All the communities in our county have received funding from GOCO for various projects."
The event will celebrate the people who helped preserve and protect them. Summit's Great Outdoors Awards will be presented to six local honorees for their work in categories that include community representative, community organizer, philanthropist and volunteer.
The awards, which are only offered every five years, seek to "recognize people who have worked tirelessly and done outstanding work to protect our outdoor recreational opportunities and natural resources," said Girvin.
A slideshow by acclaimed photographer John Fielder entitled "Colorado's Great Outdoors: Celebrating 20 Years of Lottery-Funded Lands" will highlight the very places that the lottery funds, GOCO and the CDLT protect.
Fielder was part of GOCO's original board of directors and has been a passionate advocator for keeping the lottery funds exclusively for natural resources and outdoor recreation. He has been a professional photographer for 31 years and spends the majority of his time traveling around the state capturing powerful images to get his message across.
"My hope is that I will be able to remind people how lottery profits have enhanced our quality of life in Colorado, so when they hear about their local legislature possibly supporting a diversion of the money to other purposes, they'll contact their Legislature, and say now," Fielder said. "We want to keep being the only state in the country that spends all of its lottery on what defines our amazing quality of life in Summit County and Colorado, which is all the recreation and open spaces and the ranches, too, that we have in our lives."
The slideshow will focus mainly on images from all around Summit County, which Fielder also calls home. He has published several books of natural Colorado images, which will be on sale at the event, with 30 percent of gross proceeds going to the CDLT.
The doors of the Silverthorne Pavilion will open at 6:30 p.m. and the event will start at 7. Tickets will be available at the door for $20. Kids age 17 and under can get in at no cost. All proceeds benefit the land conservation programs of Continental Divide Land Trust.