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Lariat Loop seeking ways to corral visitors onto historic roadway

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By Sandy Barnes

 Since the Lariat Loop was founded in 1914, people have had the same vision: creating business and real estate opportunities in those hills, said John Condor, Lariat Loop board member.

One of the primary goals for the organization this year is increasing marketing efforts along the 40-mile circuit, Condor said at the Lariat Loop annual meeting Monday morning.

A key upcoming project is placing an interpretive shelter at the Wooly Mammoth Parking Lot on U.S. 40, said board member Joe Tempel. 

“Hopefully, we can educate people about the Loop there,” Tempel remarked.

The shelter will be built using a $40,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation and another $15,000 from Jefferson County.

The Lariat Loop organization has also received funds to create a series of buffalo herd overlooks along the route, Tempel said. 

Collaboration with area chamber groups and town governments is another strategy for promoting businesses and historic attractions, he added.

“We’re all working together to make a better experience along the Loop,” Tempel said.

Along with the towns of Morrison and Golden, the West and Evergreen chambers of commerce and the city of Lakewood are working together, Tempel said.

Distribution of 50,000 brochures is another collaborative marketing effort. 

“The Golden chamber is the best distribution point,” Tempel noted.

This past year the Lariat Loop has also produced 44 bicycle racks, all but two of which have been placed along the route. Many are in front of businesses and restaurants.

The Lariat Loop website is also receiving more attention, with a current average of 1,700 hits a month, said Tempel.

“We’ve doubled our hits this year,” he said.

Lariat Loop business members have the opportunity for links to the website, said Diane Bennett, membership coordinator for the group.

“One of the things we hope to do is get members and businesses more involved along the loop,” Bennett said.

While looking ahead, incoming Lariat Loop president Steve Friesen said there are plans to host this year’s Denver Plein Art Event. Last year’s show included 250 pieces of art, with a portion displayed at the Center for the Arts Evergreen, he said.

Friesen also said the continued expansion of membership and developing a marketing plan would bring the organization to another level.

During the meeting at Fossil Trace Country Club in Golden, members elected a slate of officers that included new board members Jordan McNamara of the West Chamber, Kristie Melendez of Smart Marketing of Evergreen and Jenifer Doane, marketing coordinator for the city of Golden.

The Lariat Loop is a national scenic byway linking U.S. 40 in Golden with Highway 74 through Evergreen, Colorado 93 and U.S. 6 in Lakewood.

The route encompasses portions of Denver’s original circle drives within the city’s mountain parks systems designed by F.L. Olmsted, Jr. in 1914.

The Loop traverses several heritage sites, including the Boettcher Mansion and the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave on Lookout Mountain, the Colorado Railroad Museum, Chief Hosa Lodge and the Evergreen historic district.

For more information, visit the website www.lariatloop.org.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.