Outstanding Grand Lake Foundation is dedicated to encouraging sustainable travel in the Grand Lake area by promoting and supporting environmentally friendly travel initiatives.  With tourism being the largest industry in our community, we recognize that a healthy environment is correlative with a healthy economy.  We believe in responsible, sustainable growth.

Water Conservation OGL
Water Conservation

Our education priorities include:


  • Eco-tourism through partner organizations
  • Sustainability programs through grant funding
  • Community walkability and recreation connectivity through Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance

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What is an Outstanding Waters Designation?

Waters eligible for Outstanding Waters designation include waters that are part of a national or state park, wildlife refuge or wilderness areas, special trout waters, waters with exceptional recreational or ecological significance, and high-quality waters that have not been significantly modified by human activities. This designation is granted by the state of Colorado through the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission. 

Why Does Grand Lake Need Outstanding Waters Designation?

The Outstanding Waters designation will support national and Colorado values that include: enjoyment of a recreational treasure such as boating and fishing around the nation’s highest yacht club, the uniqueness of Colorado’s largest and deepest natural lake, and an aesthetic focal point for Rocky Mountain National Park which attracts over 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year. The support this effort has generated among the public has been exciting; to date, over 300 signatures have been obtained from people and organizations around the country and abroad!  The designation will be an important contribution to our community and economic development efforts, combining best practices in environmental sustainability and economics. We look forward to using the designation to market the inherent beauty and the bountiful recreation of our lake and to partnering with the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission to bring this designation to fruition.

What is the Outstanding Grand Lake Foundation?

The Outstanding Grand Lake Foundation is the 501c3 arm of The Grand Lake Chamber. It is a citizen and community driven effort to promote conservation and economic development in the town of Grand Lake and to provide education to residents and visitors on the Upper Colorado River Watershed.

Its mission is to promote sustainable development through environmental education & eco-tourism, while recognizing that a healthy lake is correlative with a thriving business community.

Why Should I Sign the Letter?

“Why is Grand Lake “Outstanding?” The full value of the lake cannot be fully appreciated with words. To know why Grand Lake is “Outstanding,” you should see its glassy surface from a kayak in the morning or feel it as you draw a prized trout from its waters. You should visit the Rocky Mountain National Park Treasure, Adams Falls, and watch the roaring water make its way toward Grand Lake. Grand Lake is “Outstanding” as you climb to the top of Shadow Mountain Lookout Tower and view its 265 feet of depth. Sign to celebrate Colorado’s largest and deepest natural lake as an Outstanding Waters Designation, with the nation’s other greats like Lake Tahoe and Lake Yellowstone!”

How Did Outstanding Grand Lake Start?

In 2015, in response to a Community Assessment Survey, the Grand Lake Chamber began to investigate how to best market its beautiful lake town, nestled against Rocky Mountain National Park.  Chamber Directer, Samantha Bruegger, visited other communities, including West Yellowstone, to research best practices.  Having lived in Lake Tahoe and visited Lake Yellowstone, Bruegger realized that there was a common thread between both stunning bodies of water, they were both designated as “Outstanding Waters.”  With Grand Lake being fed by the headwaters of the Colorado River and being Colorado’s largest and deepest natural lake, Bruegger began to research how this designation could work as an economic and marketing opportunity for the community.  The Outstanding Grand Lake Foundation was formed to celebrate all that makes Grand Lake Outstanding, branding was developed for marketing and the hashtag #wearethecolorado was developed so Coloradoans and beyond could share what makes them “The Colorado River.”  For Outstanding Grand Lake, the proximity to the source of the nation’s greatest water resource, coupled with the bountiful recreational and scenic opportunities the lake provides, is what drove the team to #wearethecolorado.  Join Outstanding Grand Lake by supporting the request for designation, and if you’re in the area, stop by and see what makes Grand Lake, the town and the body of water, OUTSTANDING!