Story of Golden Colorado
Gold Rush Town Turning Green
In the beginning, Golden/Applewood didn’t come about through a preservation or conservation movement. It was birthed by the discovery of gold in 1830 by fur trappers, which developed into an industrial town of different mining companies, as did most cities in the west of that era. These activities change the landscape and displaced the ecosystem of the area by the removal of trees and mining of the landscape.
Today, because of the preservation/conservation movement around 1890 to 1920, people from around the world come to Golden not in search of gold or minerals, but to escape the congestion and polluted air of their cities and mostly to experience the sublime, which the Colorado Foothills and Rocky Mountains still offer. To romanticize of the old west and its mystique of a simpler, more primitive time in history that once was, and in some respects, still is to this day.
Golden has both preserved and restored its connection to the old west and of its environment and nature, while at the same time, still being able to adjust to the changing times. Golden has preserved numerous areas around its city like the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve, preserving 110-acre of ponderosa pines & meadows, with a nature center, trail & guided tours. The Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve, a wildlife refuge which maintains a herd of buffalo in a natural setting. These buffalo are direct descendants of the last wild buffalo herd left in America. The Golden Cliffs Preserve, which is the iconic symbol of Golden, Clear Creek Whitewater Park which provides recreational activities while maintaining a riparian along the creek, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, with 12,000-acres of mountains, forests, meadows and recreational activities and so forth. Even though Golden is only minutes from the hustle & bustle of down town Denver, it has manage to survive and keep its small town, Mayberry like feel by creating parks in and around the Foothills and the city itself, restoring nature differently from what it once was.
Golden/Applewood both preserved and conserved nature because they valued it over the big city which Denver was becoming. They value clean air, water, to be connected with nature and the health and tranquility that come with those elements. Golden is still on the path of protecting nature and the environment now and in the future through, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) (located on the south side of South Table Mountain Park) which develops sustainable and renewable clean energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices. The preservation/conservation movement has now evolved from being a local/national interest only, to a global interest, and Golden is a big part of that movement.
So even though the times and approaches towards conservation and preservation have changed, the dichotomy of methodologies, reasons and philosophical/utilitarian values really haven’t.