Southeast Colorado Group Wins Park Service Award

       The Southeast Colorado Regional Heritage Taskforce (SECORHT) received the National Park Service Intermountain Region Partnership Award at the recent Saving Places Conference in Denver.  The Intermountain Region covers nine states from Montana to Texas with 91 national park areas.  The award came with a check for $40,000 to support administrative and research costs for SECORHT, which is seen as a model by the region.
      In presenting the award, Regional Director Michael Snyder, noted, “One of the most critical aspects of our work at the Park Service in these times of change and challenge is building partnerships.  We must use the power of unity to work with our friends and partners to preserve and protect the special historical, cultural and scenic places that America has asked us to take care of.  Today, I pay tribute to a prime example of that attribute, because unity is certainly what the Southeast Colorado Regional Heritage Taskforce is all about.”
      Jeanne Fenter, chairperson of SECORHT, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.  The money received will go toward hiring an administrator to carry on the work of the Taskforce in preserving and promoting the heritage of Southeast Colorado.
       In his presentation, Regional Director Snyder went on to say of SECORHT, “Every day they show us what a powerful force a grassroots coalition of individual entrepreneurs and rural counties can be.  We are proud to be their partners as channels through which Preserve America Grants go to the Taskforce’s important work.”
      SECORHT, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, originated in 2003, when members from six counties in Southeast Colorado came together to work as one to promote and preserve the linked historic assets of the region.
Since then, SECORHT has obtained over $500,000 in grants, garnered Preserve America status for each of the six counties, hosted workshops on marketing, historic preservation, historic theaters, agritourism and museum management.  The Taskforce has also produced regional maps and guides for public distribution, sponsored ads in Audubon magazine, and worked with Colorado Tourism in developing an in-depth “Canyons and Plains” website for Southeast Colorado.
      “We are very thankful for the support of the National Park Service for the endeavors of SECORHT,” said Chairperson Fenter.  “Along with the support of the State of Colorado, we continue to grow in our efforts to promote heritage preservation and heritage tourism in the Canyons and Plains of Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero and Prowers Counties.”
      Members of SECORHT meet the first Thursday of each month, rotating the meetings through the six county area.  The next meeting is Thursday, March 5, beginning at 9 a.m. at the J.W. Rawlings Heritage Center, 560 Bent Avenue in Las Animas.  Anyone interested in the work of the organization is encouraged to attend.

Photo caption:  Regional Director Mike Snyder presents Jeanne Fenter of the Southeast Colorado Regional Heritage Taskforce with the National Park Service Intermountain Region Partnership Award at the recent Saving Places Conference in Denver.  Superintendent Alexa Roberts and Chief of Interpretation Rick Wallner of Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site look on.