Breckenridge hires Anne Murphy as new open space and trails manager
On the shores of Lake Michigan lies the small resort town of Petoskey, Michigan. It was here that Anne Murphy, Breckenridge’s new open space and trails manager as of Sept. 6, grew up and eventually fell in love with the outdoors.
Her family lived on 60 acres, where Murphy said they had lots of animals and “hobby farmed.” The outdoors was her playground.
Murphy said she quickly became hooked, finding peace and quiet in activities like cross-country skiing. After finishing her degrees in piano performance and biology she realized, as so many often do, that her education did not follow her passions. Her biggest fear was that a profession in either of these fields would not allow her to be outside.
“I think when I was faced with that first job out of college it was like ‘oh my gosh, if there’s an opportunity to combine all of those loves and still get outside,’ that was really a no brainer,” she said.
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Since then, Murphy has gained 18 years of experience in land conservation in states across the country. Though much of her time was spent learning on the job, she eventually went on to get a graduate certificate in geographic information systems (GIS).
Most recently, she worked in California for a nonprofit organization called Shasta Land Trust as their executive director. She said she is excited for an opportunity to continue her work here in Breckenridge.
“Colorado is where it’s at. They have so many great programs in place and it’s definitely a state that embraces its land conservation and outdoor recreation,” she said.
Breckenridge manages 55 miles of multi-use trails. Murphy said that one of her projects would be to look and see if any trails can be linked with each other, or to more open space, giving residents more convenient access to trails. One of the things she likes best about Breckenridge is the proximity to open spaces.
“I think 80 percent of the town properties are within a quarter mile of an access point,” she said.
This means that people don’t have to get in their cars in order to get to beautiful hiking and biking trails — It’s right in their backyard. She added that it was exciting to see people using the trails. She notes that the enthusiasm people have for open space in Breck is “very infectious.”
One of the biggest trends for the winter season is that fat-tire bikes will allow bikers to continue riding trails in the winter time. And Murphy will be working to make sure that those trails are up to speed for winter bikers.
Next year, the Open Space Program and the Breckenridge Open Space Advisory Commission will be celebrating 20 years in the town.
“For me, what excites me is looking forward to the next 20 years, because this program has achieved so much in 20 years, what can we do with the next 20?” she said.
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