Hanging Lake management, Hot Springs Loop promotion recognized with state Tourism Office awards
Two tourism-related projects that originated in Glenwood Springs — including the new Hanging Lake reservation system and shuttle service — were recently honored at the 2019 Governor’s Colorado Tourism Conference in Denver.
New this year at the conference, hosted by the Colorado Tourism Office, was an award for Outstanding Sustainability Initiative, Project or Program.
The award was given jointly to the Hanging Lake Management Plan, and to Vail Resorts’ Commitment to Zero program.
In addition, the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Marketing went to Vicky Nash of Resort Trends, Inc., who coordinated the promotion efforts around the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop, of which Glenwood Springs is included.
The Hanging Lake Management Plan was put forward by the U.S. Forest Service after an extensive public review process to determine how best to limit visitor numbers and reduce the impacts at the popular destination in Glenwood Canyon.
The resulting shuttle and permit reservation system was put in place in coordination with the city of Glenwood Springs, the city’s Tourism Promotion Board and private contractor H2O Ventures, which operates the reservation and shuttle system that began this year.
“We take pride in protecting Hanging Lake for future generations and are honored to be an integral part of this unique project,” Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes said.
City officials also learned Monday that Glenwood is the recipient of one of 10 federal EPA Recreation Economy for Rural Communities technical assistance planning grants related to Hanging Lake.
According to and EPA press release, the grant is to be used to promote a community discussion about the designated National Natural Landmark, including how to better integrate shuttle service into the historic downtown Glenwood Springs area, as well as housing affordability needs in the community.
“Hanging Lake is beloved by our residents and I am pleased that, through the Hanging Lake Shuttle System and partnership with the Forest Service and H20 Ventures, we have found a way to not only protect the lake, but also continue to drive our local tourist economy,” Godes added. “We are grateful to the EPA for this opportunity.”
Meanwhile, the Hot Springs Loop promotion includes five hot springs destinations western Colorado, including Glenwood Springs, Chaffee County, Pagosa Springs, Ouray County and Steamboat Springs.
“The 720-mile loop showcases some of the most popular hot springs attractions in the country,” according to a description of the campaign.
The state tourism conference brought together more than 520 travel and tourism industry representatives and elected officials for three days last week in Denver.
“I’m delighted to see Colorado rising as the national leader in sustainable travel … as governor and as a Coloradan I recognize how important it is to ensure that our state’s natural beauty and recreational opportunities that attract visitors from around the world are preserved for generations to come,” Gov. Jared Polis said during his Oct. 1 address at the conference.
The 2020 Governor’s Colorado Tourism Conference will be held in Snowmass Village next September.
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