Outdoor Recreation: A Path to Preserving Colorado’s Past

As Colorado mountain communities transition from an extraction-based economy to other diverse, sustainable economies, the Commercial Historic Preservation Tax Credit and Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) may prove to be a pivotal tool and resource for these pending changes. 

Through the Commercial Historic Preservation Tax Credit, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) in partnership with History Colorado supported the rehabilitation of the North London Mine and Mill in Park County, an attraction that is used by back-country enthusiasts as well as historic preservationists. 

Much like the 10th Mountain Division Huts -- ​​Colorado backcountry huts for skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, cyclists and hikers -- the North London Mill will offer rustic lodging for people visiting Colorado’s mountain town of Alma.

The London Mines and Mills whose history dates back to 1873 were reported as integral to the economy of Park County through the mine of ore and gold. Colorado’s rich mining history provides miles of roads across the high country, delivering easy access to remote peaks. Many such historic mining structures still exist, inspiring thoughts of a new backcountry lodging system and helping to support an outdoor recreation and tourism-based economy. 

“The London Mill project is representative of the types of projects that support both economic development, and conservation and stewardship -- two of our four main impact areas at the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office,” said Nathan Fey, Director of OREC, one of 12 divisions at OEDIT. 

North London Mill restored

The Commercial Historic Preservation Tax Credit helps rehabilitate historic, owner-occupied commercial properties. The program can award up to $10 million in credits per year; $5 million designated for projects under $2 million, and $5 million designated for larger projects over $2 million.

“By using the Commercial Historic Preservation Tax Credit to rehabilitate these historic structures, we are preserving the heritage of our mountain communities while embracing the growing outdoor recreation industry that in many places is helping to restore local economies,” Fey said.

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