About The Conservancy

The Conservancy was formed in 2014 by a passionate coalition of private citizens to provide leadership and harness the region’s commitment to protecting the future of the High Line Canal. With support from each jurisdiction and in partnership with Denver Water, the Conservancy is connecting stakeholders in support of comprehensive planning to ensure that the Canal is protected and enhanced for future generations.

What We Do

The mission of the Conservancy is to preserve, protect and enhance the 71-mile legacy Canal — in partnership with the public. To accomplish our mission we will:

  •  Steward the future of the Canal through leadership, education and advocacy
  • Engage citizens to protect and preserve the Canal
  •  Build a strong and representative community
  • Establish sustainable partnerships between diverse geographic regions and jurisdictions
  •  Adopt an ambitious and transformative future vision and masterplan for the Canal
  • Champion and oversee implementation of the Canal master plan

Why We Do It

Our Canal is one of the nation’s most spectacular linear parks, connecting communities, people and nature. Our vision for the future is a permanently preserved 71-mile linear greenway that:

  • Creates Connections: the Canal connects diverse communities and people to each other and nature
  • Enhances Recreation: the Canal serves as a recreational spine that stitches together a regional trail system
  • Leverages Economic Growth: the Canal is an urban generator that infuses new life into the economy of surrounding communities
  • Improves Environmental Health: the Canal is an ecological asset supporting 71-miles of wildlife and natural environment

How We Do It

Through leadership, stewardship, advocacy and education.

The Conservancy works under the guidance of the following principles:

  • One Canal
  • Respect for Local
  • Maintaining Historic and Natural Character
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Education
  • Excellence in Experience and Design
  • Multiple Layered Benefits
  • Broad Outreach and Inclusivity
  • Bridging Communities
  • Sustainable and Equitable

Questions + Answers

The High Line Canal Conservancy (Conservancy) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.
No, the Canal is owned and operated by Denver Water. They currently intermittently operate the Canal from the spring through the fall to deliver water to contract holders for South Platte River water.
Currently, the Canal is managed by Denver Water. In addition, each of the jurisdictions has a user agreement (IGA) to maintain the recreational trail portion of the corridor. There are seven agencies with recreation use agreements that are responsible for maintaining the High Line Canal Trail. These agencies are: Douglas County Parks, Trails and Building Grounds Division; Metro District of Highlands Ranch Parks and Open Space; South Suburban Parks and Recreation District; Greenwood Village Parks, Trails and Recreation Department; Cherry Hills Village Parks, Trails and Recreation Department; Denver Parks and Recreation Department; and Aurora Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department. Each of these entities is represented on the High Line Canal Working Group.
Denver Water along with the local jurisdictions have agreed to support the Conservancy as the organization leading the long term planning effort for the future of the High Line Canal. The Conservancy has the distinct role of building community leadership and commitment to preserving, protecting and enhancing the Canal. This public outreach and vision planning effort is its first major initiative. This initiative will provide a vision for the future of the Canal. The Conservancy will coordinate with other stakeholders and the High Line Canal Working Group members on its needs as it plans for and conducts the High Line Canal visioning process. Denver Water, the Conservancy and the partnership jurisdictions all share a common vision to secure the Canal as an asset for the future.
The 100 foot wide swath of land that travels the High Line Canal’s 71 mile reach presents tremendous opportunities for the Denver metro region. With the new reality of water in the West, the Canal has become a costly and wasteful means of delivering water. Denver Water reports that over 80 percent of the water diverted to the Canal seeps into the ground or evaporates prior to reaching a paying water customer. Today’s water scarcity and the leaky nature of the Canal demand reassessment and planning for new uses, while recognizing the important role that the Canal plays as a major recreational resource for the Denver.

Our Board

Dirk McDermott
Board Chair
Altira Group
Mike Rosser
Board Vice Chair
Community Leader
Marty Zeller
Board Vice Chair
& Chair of Planning Task Force
Conservation Partners
Karl Friedman
Board Treasurer
Friedman Family Foundation
Nina Beardsley Itin
Board Secretary
Community Leader
Paula Herzmark
Denver Health and Hospitals | Denver Water Board
Jock Bickert
Retired Marketing Executive
James Bolt
Executive Vice President
CB Richard Ellis
Daniel Brogan
President and Editor-in-Chief
5280 Magazine
Graham Hollis
Retired Executive
International Telecommunications
Tony Pickett
Chief Executive Officer
Grounded Solutions Network
Kathy Tyree
Community Leader
Tom Waymire
High Line Canal Preservation Association
Tracy Young
City of Aurora Manager
Planning, Design & Construction
David Lorenz
Former Executive Director
South Suburban Parks & Recreation District
Kendra Black
Ex Officio
City & County of Denver
Nancy Sharpe
Ex Officio
Arapahoe County
County Commissioner
Harriet Crittenden LaMair
Ex Officio
High Line Canal Conservancy
Executive Director
The 71 miles of the High Line Canal urban trail surpasses the scale and impact of any similar existing or proposed initiative in the U.S. today. The High Line Canal is a unique opportunity to create a significant enduring recreation and cultural greenway legacy – celebrating the rich and diverse physical and social mosaic that we call Denver.
Tony Pickett

Council of Advisors

Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Mayor Steve Hogan (Honorary Chairs); Elaine Asarch, Pam Beardsley, Bruce Beckman, Susan Beckman, Kendra Black, Laura Christman, Peter and Dee Dee Decker, Nancy Doty, Stacy Gilmore, Judy and Newell Grant, Kathy Green, Tom Gougeon, Happy Haynes, Judith Judd, Kate Kramer, Bob LeGare, Jim Lochhead, Kathy Turley, Bill Mosher, Andy Nielson, Betsy Oudenhoven, Jim Petterson, Sarah Rockwell, Tom Roode, Denise Rose, Trey Rogers, Jeff Shoemaker, Harold Smethills, Dean Winstanley, Linda Strand.

In a vibrant and exciting city, the High Line Canal and its trail provide a natural area where quiet walks and
experiences with local wildlife can occur.
Former Denver Councilwoman Peggy Lehmann

Our Team

Harriet Crittenden LaMairExecutive Director
As a founding member of the High Line Canal Conservancy, Harriet brings government and public policy experience as well as an unsurpassed passion for building connections between communities and the natural world. Under her leadership as Founder and Executive Director of the Cherry Hills Land Preserve, over 20 acres of natural areas were preserved. She then went on to serve two terms as Councilwoman for Cherry Hills Village. Raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Harriet earned a B.A. in English Literature from Colorado College and a Master’s Degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She and her husband Mike have three children, who along with their parents, actively enjoy everything outdoors.
Suzanna Fry JonesDirector of Marketing & Community Outreach
With a background in architecture, design and marketing communications, Suzanna’s keen aesthetic eye for details plays a pivotal role in shaping the vision of the High Line Canal Conservancy. Born and raised in Washington D.C., she earned a B.A. from Duke University. Her architectural education led her to work in the resort and hotel industries in San Francisco, Brazil and now, Denver. As Director of Marketing and Community Outreach at the High Line Canal Conservancy, Suzanna is able to combine her dedication to enhancing urban environments while creating a clear and lasting vision as the team embarks on a comprehensive planning initiative to preserve and protect the 71-mile greenway.
Lindsay MoeryDirector of Development
Born in Denver, Lindsay grew up riding her bike and training for cross country on the High Line Canal. Passionate about the arts and environmental design, she received her B.A. from the University of Colorado and her M.A. from the Université Paris-Sorbonne. Having recently returned to Denver after three years abroad, Lindsay is inspired by the community’s passion for the High Line Canal and excited to continue to connect with others from the region as the Director of Development at the High Line Canal Conservancy. When she’s not thinking about the Canal, she enjoys traveling, writing and fly fishing.
Josh PhillipsDirector of Planning & Implementation
Josh is an urban planner with a passion for conservation, equity and improving quality of life in the Denver Metro Area. He brings a diverse background in planning, community engagement and nonprofit management to the Conservancy. Josh started with the Conservancy working part time on public engagement and program development and he has spent hundreds of hours on the Canal engaging community members and organizations. Born in Boston, MA and raised outside of Burlington, VT, Josh received a dual undergraduate degree in Political Science and Political Communication from The George Washington University and is currently finishing his Masters of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Colorado Denver. As Director of Planning and Implementation, Josh uses his boundless energy to collaborate with our jurisdictional partners along the Canal and ensure the Plan for the High Line Canal becomes a reality.
Chip BrunkFinance Manager
Chip has a diverse background in both business and non-profit management, compliance, finance and accounting. As an avid cyclist and runner, he has been a regular patron of the High Line Canal for over two decades. Chip received his undergraduate degree in finance and marketing from the University of Denver and a Master of Business Administration from New York University. After several years as a management consultant and then an investment banker, he owned and ran a children’s educational products company, and more recently, was co-founder of a digital healthcare company. His business experience, as well as the financial oversight of several non-profits, has refined his ability to assure limited financial resources are spent on the highest organizational priorities and that abundant transparency is provided to all stakeholders.
Michelle FreemanCommunity Outreach Coordinator
Michelle was the previous Community Programs Coordinator at I Love A Clean San Diego, an environmental nonprofit focused on a zero-waste, litter free and environmentally engaged San Diego region. She led over 33,000 volunteers through various cleanups and programs focused on environmental education, water pollution prevention and more. With a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a Master of Science in Sustainability Management from American University, and fluency in Spanish, Michelle possesses a strong background in environmental education and community engagement. Her passion is to protect the environment through education and awareness and to inspire people to connect to the outdoors by creating positive experiences. When Michelle isn’t in the office, you can find her in the mountains with her husband and her malamute, painting in her studio, at farmer’s markets, or on the hunt for authentic Mexican food.
Cathy McCagueProgram Manager
Cathy joined the High Line Canal Conservancy after spending 13 years with EnviroIssues, a leading public involvement and communications firm in Seattle. While there, Cathy honed in her facilitation and project management skills while working on various natural resource and transportation projects including facilitating the Hanford Advisory Board. As program manager, Cathy works with local jurisdictions and community citizens to help advance smart water approaches for preserving and enhancing the Canal for future generations. A native of Colorado, Cathy received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Colorado State University and obtained a Master of Public Policy degree from University of Denver. She shares her passion for the Canal with her husband and three boys as they are fortunate to have the Canal as their backyard!
Breana WintersOperations and Programs Associate
With a background in environmental education, Breana is passionate about connecting people to nature. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, she earned a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She previously worked with the environmental nonprofit Openlands as the School Planning Coordinator for the program Space to Grow: Greening Chicago Schoolyards. In this role, Breana worked with architects, public water agencies and school communities to reduce urban flooding through green infrastructure, as well as promote outdoor education and community health. She has worked with various nonprofits, including the Appalachian Mountain Club and Food Bank of the Rockies. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, fostering cats and mentoring underserved youth in the outdoors.
Urban refuge is the most distinguishable and appealing characteristic of the Canal.
Karl Friedman