Our History

The Greenway would not exist without our founding volunteers, who turned the idea of restoring Sand Creek to native habitat  and public open space into a reality.

Honorees wide shot





Our five founding volunteers (pictured above from left to right, staring with Beth in a white shirt):

Beth Conover, Pat McClearn, Happy Haynes, Rene’ Bullock, and Nadine Caldwell

The idea of a regional greenway corridor along Sand Creek to link the High Line Canal in Aurora with the South Platte River Greenway in Commerce City was first described in 1991 in the Emerald Strands Plan. This multi-jurisdictional planning project consisted of the cities of Aurora, Denver, and Commerce City, as well as Adams and Arapahoe counties. In 1993, the Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation commissioned a concept plan for the Emerald Strands committee, which described the opportunities for and constraints on a Sand Creek greenway. In 1994, four of the current partners convened, encouraged by Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund (GOCO), to begin detailed

Grants from GOCO and the US Environmental Protection Agency supported a year-long master planning effort for the Sand Creek Regional Greenway. In 1997, a community steering committee was formed, comprised of council members from Aurora, Commerce City and Denver; representatives of neighborhood associations in partner cities; environmental groups; non-profit organizations; and interested individuals. The planning process was supported by a series of community open houses and design workshops where proposed plans were presented, discussed and refined.

The 30-member steering committee guided the development of the greenway, with Stapleton Development Corporation providing staff support and a meeting place for the committee. In 1997, GOCO designated the Sand Creek Regional Greenway as a Legacy Project and awarded $1.75 million in funding for land acquisition and trail construction. Two additional supplements from GOCO have brought the commitment to $3.1 million. Also in 1997, funds were obtained to pay a project coordinator.

Runway Tunnel Walker

In the summer of 1998, a workshop was held to discuss options for an appropriate organizational structure to support the development of the greenway. The workshop brought together key participants in the project, and was facilitated by Denver Foundation President & CEO David Miller. The decision was made to form a non-profit organization to manage the development of the greenway as a regional resource and to take lead responsibility for fundraising for the project. An executive director was hired in May 1999, and organizational development activities began.




Note: There are seven separate Sand Creeks in the state of Colorado. The Sand Creek that the Greenway runs along is not the same as the site of the Sand Creek Massacre. The site of the Sand Creek Massacre is 160 miles to the southeast of the Greenway, near the town of Eads. For more information about the Sand Creek Massacre and the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, visit the NPS website.

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Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership

About the Greenway

The Sand Creek Regional Greenway is a jewel in the necklace of trails that has made Denver a national model for linked trail systems.

This 14-mile public greenway connects the High Line Canal in Aurora, Colorado with the South Platte River Greenway in Commerce City. Along the way, it passes through northeast Denver and the new Stapleton community.

The Sand Creek Regional Greenway is open every day from dawn until dusk. Runners, walkers, nature viewers, horseback riders, and leashed dogs are encouraged to enjoy the trail. We invite you to become acquainted with our wilderness in the city.


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