Community Planning


Emerald Mountain Park Master Plan

Emerald Mountain Park is a 586-acre park in Steamboat Springs, Colorado acquired by the city after its previous owner placed it under a conservation easement. Members of the community have been recreating on “Emerald” for decades and were passionate about its future. SE Group led a planning team (in partnership with the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program) to develop a master plan for this treasured community asset.

The Emerald Mountain Park Master Plan was truly a community-based planning process that resulted in a thoughtful master plan for mountain biking, hiking, environmental education, and Nordic skiing. The park has become a world-class destination for mountain biking and this plan will ensure that trails remain sustainable while maintaining the “wilderness experience” on the edge of Steamboat Springs.

The Emerald Mountain Master Plan was approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission in November 2013 and formally adopted by City Council in December 2013.

Project Highlights

Partnerships in Communities

Several special factors contribute to the uniqueness of Emerald Mountain Park—all of which are rooted in the patchwork of partnerships that own, manage, use and care for this property:

  • While the City of Steamboat Springs owns the property, the Yampa Valley Land Trust holds the conservation easement, while yet another organization (the Emerald Mountain Partnership) is charged with the day-to-day management and maintenance.
  • The breadth of user groups and stakeholders involved in the master planning process crafted a plan that placed high value on conserving the “wilderness character” of the place, while also preserving its recreational benefits.
  • Funding for the property itself and the master plan process, were both made possible through grant money from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).
  • The Plan received a Merit Award for Innovation/Creative Partnerships in 2014 by the Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Led by SE Group, the plan is truly a culmination of efforts from many unique organizations that came to the table to craft a balanced and carefully thought-out plan for the land's future.

Susan Dorsey, Executive Director Yampa Valley Land Trust