Reimagine Destinations Success Story: Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes


Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes was approved to participate in the Reimagine Destinations Program by the Colorado Tourism Office in July 2022. Program objectives included: 

  • build on the success of Lake County Tourism Panel’s participation in the Restart Destinations Program and the resulting Sustainable Tourism Plan to encourage responsible and respectful use
  • support the efforts of Lake County stakeholders to protect, preserve, and enhance the natural environment 
  • understand neighboring community programs and available tools to monitor and address impacts on public lands
  • engage with residents and stakeholders to enhance awareness of tourism and outdoor recreation efforts 

On behalf of Lake County, Colorado, Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes is the destination management organization that represents the geographic center of Colorado. At an elevation of 10,152 feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America and is located 103 miles west of Denver and 129 miles northwest of Colorado Springs. Lake County is accessible by the Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway and is known for its authentic, small-town, historic atmosphere, year-round outdoor recreation, and welcoming spirit. 

Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes serves the hospitality and tourism industry that contributes to Lake County’s economy by attracting guests to experience the local assets, and by generating employment, supporting businesses, and extending the area’s brand to cultivate positive exposure for Leadville and Twin Lakes. 

Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes was paired with Amy Cassidy, a CRAFT Workshop Facilitator with experience in tourism and outdoor recreation development, strategic planning, and marketing and communications to develop a recovery assessment, facilitate a full-day community visioning and action planning workshop, and provide 100 hours of consulting to Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes. 

Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes also convened a core team of local tourism stakeholders to provide input throughout the design and delivery of the program. Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes conducted a core team survey and hosted one core team meeting to identify priority barriers and opportunities for advancing sustainable tourism, discuss the findings from the destination assessment, and guide workshop design.  

Destination Assessment and Workshop Results 

Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes supported the development of a destination assessment consisting of background research, a visitor profile study, a tourism stakeholder survey, case study research, and input from the core team. The findings from the assessment were compiled into a report that informed the design of the full-day workshop.

Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes convened 19 tourism stakeholders and outdoor recreation partners on October 13, 2022 for a visioning and action planning workshop to review the destination assessment, learn from other “Friends of” programs, and align on priority actions for developing a “Friends of” program. The “Friends of” program will support monitoring and addressing impacts on public lands in Lake County. Workshop participants represented a wide range of tourism stakeholders and outdoor recreation partners including the staff from the USFS and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), elected city and county officials, staff from trails and open space organizations, economic development and education professionals, and members of organizations from Summit County and Chaffee County.

Workshop participants engaged in a small group activity to align on priorities and desired outcomes of a “Friends of” program that benefit the tourism and outdoor recreation industries in Lake County. Overlapping themes from these discussions included securing funding for a full-time Lake County staff person to manage the program; creating a timeline for implementation of the program; working with local trails and open space organizations, Chaffee County organizations, and other neighboring destinations to share tools and resources; conducting community engagement and education; and ensuring a “Friends of” program meets the needs of both the USFS and Lake County. 

As a result of the workshop discussions, participants aligned on key priorities and action items to inform the development of an action plan. Key priorities include:

  • identify funding and resources for a “Friends of” program
  • conduct education and community outreach
  • incorporate data collection, monitoring, and resource sharing
  • develop a “Friends of” volunteer program 

CRAFT Mentor Results

Following the workshop, 100 hours of consulting were provided to conduct the activities listed below. The purpose of this CRAFT Mentor Project was to develop a plan and a series of resources to launch the Friends of Lake County program (FOLC). 

Project objectives included:

  • convene Lake County and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Leadville Ranger District to approve the FOLC name and mission statement 
  • conduct research and develop a draft budget to launch the FOLC 
  • conduct research and identify potential resources to support the FOLC
  • coordinate the FOLC launch for spring 2023 in coordination with the USFS Leadville Ranger District

Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes achieved the following results through the Reimagine Destinations Mentor project:

  • input on development and design of the FOLC name, logo, and mission statement 
  • recommendations and goals to apply for funding to launch the FOLC 
  • implementation resources for FOLC that includes impact assessments on public lands, operational resources, and information about grant opportunities
  • resources to host an FOLC launch event in May 2023

“I am so incredibly grateful for the partnership with the Colorado Tourism Office and the Reimagine Destinations Program. I literally could not do my job at this level without their continued support.”

— Adam Ducharme, Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes

CRAFT Recovery assistance for Tourism

About Reimagine Destinations Program

The Reimagine Destinations Program supports Colorado tourism destinations to foster long-term industry resilience. Awarded destinations receive a destination assessment, a full-day workshop, 100 hours of consulting, and a $20,000 creative asset production shoot from the Colorado Tourism Office. This program was made possible by a CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.