Celebrate a Soon-to-be Nature Preserve on the Arkansas River

        We love sharing Leadville and Twin Lakes, Colorado, with people who respect and appreciate its natural beauty. As part of our commitment to our waters and lands, we have some exciting news. The new Arkansas River Community Preserve (ARC Preserve) will protect two miles of riverfront and 271 acres of land between Leadville and Twin Lakes!

        Mark your calendar to check back in 2024! While the ARC Preserve is not currently open to the public, it will welcome visitors in a year or so. Then, you will be able to fish in Gold Medal trout waters and hike the banks of this sparkling river.

        The preserve is located along Highway 24 south of Leadville at the junction with Highway 82, near the turnoff to Twin Lakes. You can see it today as you drive the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway.

        ARC Preserve

        A True Success Story

        The ARC Preserve is quite a success story. Here are a few wonderful things it does.

        Protects Land from Development

        The ARC Preserve saves one of the last undeveloped stretches of private property along the Arkansas River, a beautiful area and a prime spot for development.

        Saves Wildlife Habitat

        Bighorn sheep, elk, moose, mule deer, black bear, bobcat, and mountain lion call this area home. Their lives depend on this habitat, wintering ground, and wildlife corridor. In addition, bald eagles, ospreys, and red-tailed hawks hunt this stretch to feed themselves and their young.

        Invites People In

        Two miles of river will be opened to public access for fishing and enjoyment. The Stage & Rail Trail, a regional trail in development, one day will run through the preserve.

        Fishing by Justin Talbot

        Tells a Story of Hope

        In the 1980s, mining waste from an old tunnel contaminated this stretch of river, killing all life in it. Since then, cleanups have returned the river to pristine conditions where fish thrive. Today, these waters are designated Gold Medal trout waters, meaning that you can catch some big fish, trout over 14” long. Just four decades after a devastating spill, the ARC Preserve is protecting this fish-filled area forever.

        ARC Preserve

        Shows the Power of Partnerships

        The Central Colorado Conservancy’s efforts and partnerships brought the preserve into being. Multiple entities across the region and statewide have been involved in this project. A nonprofit, the Central Colorado Conservancy purchased 110 acres along the upper Arkansas River as a third phase of the preserve. The ARC Preserve includes the Shawn Andrick Memorial Preserve that the Central Colorado Conservancy previously acquired.

        Lake County will manage the land to balance recreation and wildlife habitat protection through a public access easement, and Colorado Open Lands hold a conservation easement. Grants from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and the California Gulch Superfund Site Natural Resource Damages (NRD) Recovery Fund and private donations made the preserve possible. Together, we can save waters and lands like these.

        Fishing by Justin Talbot

        Plan a Future Visit

        Please check back over the coming months for news of the ARC Preserve’s progress. As soon as it is open to the public, we’ll be spreading the news with joy. Then you can enjoy the swishing waters and raw beauty of this river.

        Arkansas River Valley

        In the meantime, you can fish other portions of the Arkansas. Colorado Fly Fishing Guides can teach you how and can supply gear for your visit. Come see us next spring for some of Colorado’s best fishing and to celebrate this huge accomplishment!

        Please join us in protecting these lands and waters. Take our Adventure by Nature Pledge! Help us protect and preserve our home and public lands by recreating responsibly in the outdoors.


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