What is historic preservation?

Yock Cabin

What is historic preservation?

Historic preservation is the practice of documenting, understanding and interpreting, and physically maintaining places that have cultural and historic significance. We do this so that we can use, enjoy and learn from them, and more importantly, with a long-range vision, so that future generations can experience them too.

According to the National Park Service, historic preservation is “a conversation with our past about our future.”

We agree. Historic Routt County seeks to bring the past, the present and the future together under one roof to tell the story of who we were, who we are, and who we can be.

“The preservation of [our] irreplaceable heritage is in the public interest so that its vital legacy of cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, economic, and energy benefits will be maintained and enriched for future generations of Americans.”

Title 1, Section 1(b)(4) of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966

This is why we are passionate advocates for historic preservation:

Historic preservation is about sustaining community. Preservation of the built environment and cultural landscapes contributes to neighborhood vitality, livability, authenticity, and quality of life.

Historic Preservation is environmentally sustainable! According to the groundbreaking study The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse, “when comparing buildings of equivalent size and function, building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction” because the energy, resources, and carbon emissions involved in harvesting, processing, fabricating, and transporting raw materials during original construction typically drastically outweighs the energy and resources needed to repair and reuse existing buildings. Plus, historic preservation is the ultimate recycling project, as it keeps valuable materials from the landfill.

As Bob Yapp likes to say: “Preservation Pays.” The numerous economic benefits of historic preservation include: job creation, heritage tourism opportunities, increased property values and tax base, and contrary to popular belief, preservation usually costs less than new construction.