Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Patricia Limerick

Abstract

This thesis explores the history of Glenwood Canyon in West-Central Colorado, with a particular emphasis on the history of the Glenwood Canyon I-70 project during the 1960s through the 1990s. It builds from a history of transportation networks in Colorado and their importance for the development of Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley. This thesis then explores the development of transportation networks’ relationship with the tourism industry, with an emphasis on the implications for the surrounding environment when communities rely on tourism as an economic base. It highlights the development of the environmental movement in the 1960s and how the movement responded to the proposed construction of Interstate-70 through Colorado, culminating in the decades long protests and debates over constructing a four-lane interstate highway through the scenic Glenwood Canyon. I argue that the Glenwood Canyon I-70 project set the precedent for how transportation networks should be constructed through scenic areas and I highlight the importance of the National Environmental Protection Act of 1969 for giving legislative power to the popular environmental movement.

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