Gov. Polis Joins Trust for Public Land, Hinsdale County to Celebrate Colorado’s Lake San Cristobal Peninsula and Island Opening for Public Recreation

July 13, 2022
LAKE CITY, Colo.

Today, Trust for Public Land, in partnership with Friends of Lake San Cristobal and Hinsdale County, announced the public opening of Lake San Cristobal Island and Peninsula. Governor Jared Polis joined the community ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration of increased public access to one of the state’s most spectacular natural areas. 

Located in Hinsdale County near Lake City, the property, now open to the public, will provide much-needed non-motorized recreational access to the lake in one of the state’s most spectacular natural settings. 

“Community is at the heart of everything we do at Trust for Public Land and we’re proud to have been able to work with the Hinsdale County community to bring enhanced public access to this incredible natural asset,” said Jim Petterson, Vice President, Mountain West Region for Trust for Public Land.   

“We are rapidly making Colorado's great outdoor attractions easier and less expensive to access and more fun than ever before!" said Gov. Polis. “Through projects like the Goose Island pedestrian bridge and price cuts to state parks passes, we are delivering on our commitments and increasing access to public lands for all Coloradans. It is great to be in Lake City at Lake San Cristobal to celebrate this important preservation project and thank all those who came together to make it possible.” 

The Island provides unparalleled views of the lake and the surrounding San Juan mountains which serve as the backdrop of the lake. As the second largest natural lake in Colorado, Lake San Cristobal is the crown jewel of Hinsdale County and is beloved by its residents and visitors alike who access its waters for world-class fishing, water sports, and wildlife viewing. 

"Thanks to our partners and the generosity of those that love Hinsdale County and this landscape, we have the honored responsibility of enjoying this land while protecting it for generations to come,” said Kristie Borchers, Hinsdale County Commissioner. 

The property also now features a new ADA restroom and safety upgrades to the pedestrian bridge, so people of all physical abilities will be able to access the lake.    

The newly publicly accessible property is owned and managed by Hinsdale County. The local community’s incredible generosity was integral to protecting this property. Hinsdale County’s 841 residents, in partnership with Trust for Public Land, were able to raise over $200,000 to protect the property, which filled a funding gap between the $1.5 million purchase price and a $1.3 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). 

“Congratulations to our partners from Hinsdale County and The Trust for Public Land for this spectacular project! We celebrate its accessibility to the local community for so many types of outdoor recreation and the permanent protection of such a special place,” said GOCO Executive Director Jackie Miller. 

This increased recreational access also received national recognition from the National Scenic Byway Foundation this summer after the Silver Thread National Scenic Byway was awarded the Viewshed Improvement Award. 

### 

About Trust for Public Land   

Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors.  As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most.  Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org

About Hinsdale County 

Hinsdale County is a small and remote county in the central San Juan Mountains of Colorado.  With the headwaters of the Rio Grande and the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River, 4 wildernesses and 2 wilderness study areas, and 96% public land, we are a county defined by pathways. The Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byway and the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway run through Hinsdale County. The historic Town of Lake City is the county seat.  

About Friends of Lake San Cristobal 

Friends of Lake San Cristobal is a local community volunteer group formed quickly to help close the private fundraising gap needed for the purchase of the property. Friends of Lake San Cristobal will continue to help support the project by providing marketing, design, and technical resources. To stay up to date on the latest happenings of the project visit lakesancristobal.com or facebook.com/lakesancristobal. 

About Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) 

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,500 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.