Plans Include Adding More Climbing Routes to Expand Park’s Offerings
OURAY—The world-renowned Ouray Ice Park, an international climbing destination, is now owned by the City of Ouray. The City and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have been working on this project to exchange the Ice Park lands for several years to allow the City to have sole ownership of the 24 acres of land within the park. The City purchased the USFS land with the help of a $193,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).
By acquiring the land from the USFS―a priority identified in its 2009 Master Plan―the City now owns the majority of land within the Ice Park, a valued regional amenity that draws visitors from all over the world. Novices, experts, top exhibition climbers and inspiring speakers come together at the Ice Park every January for the Ouray Ice Festival, the premier event of its kind. The City plans to add 50 new climbing routes to help address overcrowding and expand other recreational opportunities in both the winter and summer. After many years of collaboration, the USFS and the City pursued the sale to eliminate the complex management and permitting issues associated with separate ownership of the properties that comprise the Ice Park.
Acting Forest Supervisor Sherry Hazelhurst stated, “We are so happy to see this completed. The Ice Park is a very popular area and it’s a great boost to the local economy and local jobs, and an added benefit to the other recreation opportunities on National Forest System lands that are nearby.”
“This could not be possible without the cooperation and partnerships established with the Forest Service, GOCO, the Ouray Ice Park, Inc., and the City of Ouray,” said City Administrator Patrick Rondinelli.
Great Outdoors Colorado is the result of a citizens’ initiative passed by Colorado voters in 1992. As the recipient of approximately half of Colorado Lottery proceeds―$56 million in Fiscal Year 2011—Great Outdoors Colorado awards grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife. Since 1994, more than 3,400 projects in all 64 counties have received GOCO funding; Ouray County projects have received approximately $2.5 million in GOCO grants.