Greenprint Projects

Garfield county Greenprint for conservation and economic opportunity


Golden yellow trees and vegetation line the banks of a river.
Colorado landscape Cottonwoods showing fall color along the Colorado River. © Mark Godfrey/TNC

The Garfield County Greenprint was undertaken by a group of nonprofit organizations driven by concern of future urban development, as well as insufficient and inefficient conservation programs in the county.

The project drew heavily on community input, and highlighted the economic interests of the county and the ways by which residents stand to benefit economically from open space. The project aimed to identify a list of open space goals for the region, create a composite map of high conservation priorities based on those goals (weighted by residents' input), and ultimately hopes to ensure that future conservation investments are “strategic, cost-effective, and representative of community values.”

Following the publication of the greenprint, the 1/4 cent sales tax proposed to protect the most valuable lands highlighted in the report was voted down by a 10% margin in November 2012.

The private property lens of this greenprint is worth noting; the team is explicitly focused on working with willing landowners to conserve open space, and is less concerned with the federal or state owned land in the county. The report also includes an economic evaluation of the value of open space to the residents in the county. 

Year Published: 2012

State: Colorado

Landscape Context: Inland

Housing Density: Rural

Funding Type: Both (Public and Private)

Habitat Focus: Forest, Shrubland

Organizations Involved:

The Garfield Legacy Project, The Trust for Public Land, and the Sonoran Institute.

ValuesWater Supply, Water Quality, Open Space/Habitat, Recreation, Working Land, Biodiversity

Stakeholder Involvement:

Stakeholders were fully integrated throughout the process through citizen interviews, listening sessions, online polls, and public open houses.

Planning Process:

Guided by project conveners, a Steering Committee made major decisions for the project. Open land assets were identified by residents and then the Steering Committee refined and prioritized them into goals. 

Working with a Technical Advisory Team (TAT), TPL then created goal maps using GIS analysis. The TAT gathered pertinent and reliable data from various sources. The goal maps were then weighted by the steering committee  and used to create a composite map that clearly displayed areas of highest conservation priority. Public feedback on the maps was incorporated once more prior to the project’s publication.

Desired Outcomes:

As decided by the community, the greenprint aimed to conserve working ranches and farms, preserve and enhance recreation and trails, preserve water resources and restore impaired waters, create open land buffers, and preserve and enhance habitat for wildlife and native plants. The project hoped to gain traction through an Open Land Program for Garfield County.

What It Accomplished:

Although the conservation sales tax ballot in 2012 did not pass (55% voted it down), the Garfield County Board of Commissioners was integrated into the greenprint process and aims to work with willing land owners to protect the most valuable land.

Additional Information and Reports