On April 27, 2014 at the County Planning Division's Annual Business Meeting, conducted at the APA National Conference in Atlanta, the County Planning Division in conjunction with the National Association of County Planners will present their 2014 Project Awards. This year one award will be presented, an Award of Excellence.

An Award of Excellence to Larimer County, Colorado, in the Grass Roots Initiative category for Our Lands — Our Future Recreation & Conservation Choices for Northern Colorado. For the first time in Colorado, all of the local governments in a county engaged in a comprehensive study on land conservation and nature-based recreation to evaluate successes, potential improvements, and existing gaps. The Our Lands — Our Future Recreation & Conservation Choices for Northern Colorado regional conservation study used extensive public outreach, an interactive GIS website, and dedicated engagement by nine partner agencies to produce a plan that shapes the vision of open space conservation in the county. A systematic effort was made to link the project to other important regional objectives, including demonstrating the vital role land conservation places in contributing to quality of life, maintaining agricultural production, and enhancing the region's ability to attract new businesses and maintain those that are already in place. The combined county-wide and jurisdictional-specific needs assessment, opportunity maps, financial models, and citizen priorities in Our Lands — Our Future Recreation & Conservation Choices for Northern Colorado will help conservation partners and public land managers ensure that investments are strategic, cost-effective, and representative of community values.