What better way to celebrate National Great Outdoors Month than to explore some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s National Register-listed trails? Many of the Park’s buildings, resources, and trails are historic.
The trail to the Longs Peak summit embodies National Park Service naturalistic design from the 1920s. Active use of the trail begin in 1873, when lodge owners began to maintain it as a tourist attraction. Enos Mills acted as a guide to the summit between 1900 and 1906, honing his skills as a lead spokesman in the effort to create Rocky Mountain National Park, established in 1915.
Fern Lake Trail, Estes Park vicinity, Larimer County, listed in the National Register in 2005
The first route dates to 1906 and included the destinations of Fern and Odessa lakes. Fern Lake became a ski destination for the Colorado Mountain Club between 1916 and 1934. The Civilian Conservation Corps, a Depression-era civil works program, provided labor for rock wall construction and trail alignment during the Great Depression.
Among numerous historic resources in the Park, such as ranger stations and ranches, listed under the Rocky Mountain National Park historic context, other listed trails include the Flattop Mountain, Gem Lake, Lake Haiyaha, North Inlet, and Lost Lake trails. For more information on historic resources in Rocky Mountain National Park, visit: http://www.historycolorado.org/archaeologists/rocky-mountain-national-park.
The National Register of Historic Places and Colorado State Register of Historic Properties are tools that recognize National Great Outdoors Month, celebrated in June.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archaeological resources. The Colorado State Register of Historic Properties is a listing of the state’s significant cultural resources worthy of preservation for the future education and enjoyment of Colorado’s residents and visitors. Properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places are automatically placed in the Colorado State Register. They may also be nominated separately to the Colorado State Register without inclusion in the National Register.
The Governor’s Office Colorado Trail Explorer includes more than 39,000 miles of trails managed by more than 225 jurisdictions across the state.
The Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s Heritage Diversity Initiative seeks to celebrate the historic places significant to people of every language, culture, and background that comprise the Colorado story. Check out the growing list of historic places, including those related to Asian-Pacific American contributions to American history, at: www.historypin.org/en/person/75043. Submit your own story as well, either there or at: www.historycolorado.org/oahp/heritage-diversity-initiative.
By Astrid Liverman, National and State Register Coordinator