The final section of the Colorado Birding Trail – encompassing the northeast region of Colorado – has been completed, finishing a major tourism initiative to promote outdoor recreation that started 15 years ago in time for bird enthusiasts to get out and celebrate the Year of the Bird.
The Colorado Birding Trail was started as a major nature tourism initiative to promote outdoor recreation, conservation of resources by private landowners, and a diversified income for rural economies. The trail is unique in that it’s not a physical trail, but a driving-tour map that brings together both public and private lands, with many of the private lands being open to visitation only through their participation as sites on the trail.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Statewide Public Programs Coordinator Mary McCormac has been involved with the northeast trail from the very beginning. She said the northeast region offers unique opportunities for Colorado birders.
“One of the special qualities of the northeast is urban birdin’, as we call it,” McCormac said. “Here you have some of the most populated areas of the state, yet there is quality wildlife habitat you can explore not too far from home. And for people who may not have the means to travel to sites, these places in their neighborhood may help connect them to wildlife and the outdoors.”
McCormac said colorful spiral-bound books are being printed for distribution to the public. Birders can also view the recently completed northeast region at coloradobirdingtrail.com where all the current trail information has been updated.
“Getting out on the Colorado Birding Trail is a very easy way for people to get started caring about nature and the outdoors,” McCormac said. “They can choose what they want to do and where they want to go. They can travel to remote areas or stay close to home and discover new places they’ve never seen in their neighborhood. From there, you’re planting the seed of growing and fostering that love and appreciation for wildlife and the outdoors. Hopefully we then inspire conservation stewardship, and maybe even some future park rangers and wildlife officers to work for us or our partner agencies someday!”
The Colorado Birding Trail is a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife, American Birding Association, Audubon Rockies, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and Colorado Field Ornithologists. The trail was made possible by funding from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), which invests Colorado Lottery proceeds in outdoor recreation and land conservation projects across the state. Additional support for the project was provided by many federal, state, and nonprofit agencies.
“Whether folks are new to birding, real experts, or just headed out on the trail for fun with friends or family, we hope they enjoy their time exploring Colorado’s great outdoors along the Colorado Birding Trail,” said GOCO Executive Director Chris Castilian.
"The Colorado Lottery is thrilled that the development of the Colorado Birding Trail was made possible with Lottery proceeds,” said Colorado Lottery Community Relations Specialist Colin Waters. “Since 1983, we've given back more than $3.1 billion to wildlife and habitat preservation, education programs, and outdoor recreation. The Lottery encourages all Colorado residents and visitors to experience first-hand the hundreds of bird species that make Colorado home."