The Industry

Red Rocks Is Now a National Historic Landmark

Red Rocks Park is now officially a National Historic Landmark — as is the Mount Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps camp used by workers building the amphitheater.

The announcement came from Colorado governor John Hickenlooper last night, ending a more than fifteen-year effort by the advocacy group Friends of Red Rocks. As we reported earlier this year, that group formed in 1999 out of concern for the “historical and physical integrity of the amphitheater," though its scope soon expanded to the entire park, including the CCC camp. 

“This designation reinforces Red Rocks Park and its remarkable landscape of red sandstone monoliths as a true icon for Colorado," said Governor Hickenlooper in a statement. “It’s renowned as the only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world, and the diverse landscape attracts thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and even dinosaur fans. The Mount Morrison CCC camp is another historical treasure in the park, and one of the few surviving camps in the nation. It’s the perfect time to rediscover the park, see a show under the stars, and enjoy all it has to offer.”

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which is owned by the City of Denver, has long been among the best-loved venues in the country for performers and attendees alike. In recent years, the concert season there has expanded greatly: In 2015, more than 125 concerts will take place in the park, marking a new high.  

The Landmark designation affords Red Rocks "additional protections from development, and may also make the property eligible for preservation grants and technical preservation assistance," according to the National Parks Service, although specific preservation issues are handled by regional offices. How the change might affect the park and venue, if at all, remains to be seen, although it is a well-deserved honor for Colorado's most famous music venue. With these additions, the state is now home to 25 National Historic Landmarks; a full list can be found on the NPS website. 

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Kiernan Maletsky is Westword's music editor. His writing has appeared in alt-weeklies around the country as well as Miley Cyrus's mom's Twitter feed.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky