—Illustration by Christopher Nielsen
When it was built more than a century ago, the High Line Canal, which winds from Waterton Canyon to Green Valley Ranch, helped irrigate over 20,000 acres of farmland. Today it serves a mere 30 customers—at least officially. Unofficially, it hosts about half a million outdoor enthusiasts who hike, pedal, and run the 71-mile regional pathway every year. Or parts of it, anyway: Currently, the High Line doesn’t function as a single continuous route, because many sections of the trail, which traverses 11 different jurisdictions, are difficult to navigate or simply unsightly. The newly formed High Line Canal Conservancy aims to change that. The nonprofit was created with the goal of reimagining and preserving the High Line Canal for recreationists—with community input. “We don’t want to impose visions of the trail that the community doesn’t want,” says Harriet Crittenden LaMair, the conservancy’s executive director. So this month the conservancy kicks off a five-month outreach effort to discover what communities envision for the canal’s future. Where does the trail go from here? That’s up to you.