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 June 1, 1999

Stewardship important to landscape architect

BOULDER — Boulder-based landscape architects Ann Moss and Jerry Shapins have a fan at Grand Canyon National Park.

He’s the park planner, and he’s witnessed their talents firsthand.

“I love working with them,´ said the National Park Service’s Brad Traver, who is the Grand Canyon National Park planner. “I think their philosophy is very similar to the philosophy of the park service in terms of development, and it’s a good match for us.”

That development philosophy, he said, is that structures should be subservient to natural surroundings, that natural materials should be used to blend development with nature and that projects should be sustainable.

“All of those things are elements that they try to incorporate in their work, and we try to look for people that do that,” Traver said.

It’s an ethic of stewardship, and Moss and Shapins, principals in Boulder-based Shapins Associates and husband and wife, have built their careers on it in the almost 30 years since they were master’s students in landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.

“That’s where we really learned the ethic that we try to follow,” Moss said.

The ethic was employed first in the development of a general management plan for the Grand Canyon Moss spearheaded when she worked for the parks service and later in two different projects related to the Grand Canyon: a transit station and an educational campus. Both of the latter projects would mean implementing the master plan, which is still a proposal.

The first incarnation of the business itself was Shapins/Moss Planners and Landscape Architects, which was reborn in 1991 as Shapins Associates; Moss rejoined it in 1994 after her tenure with the park service’s Denver Service Center, which does planning, design and construction for the nation.

In the firm, Moss focuses on large-scale planning; Shapins, on the urban end.

Shapins said the firm, which has grown in the last three years to seven full-time employees, currently has about 20 clients in seven states. He declined to release revenues.

Shapins Associates recently has been awarded the contract to do master plans for the town of Lyons open space and trails, for the Adams County Regional Park and for the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway as well as a neighborhood plan for an urban renewal district in Missoula, Mont.

Other current work includes a series of projects for the National Park Service: Boston Harbor Island National Recreation Area, Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, Grand Canyon National Park and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

“We like working for them because of the way they think,” Moss said.

There’s also the new skate park at Scott Carpenter Park in Boulder and the Grandview area master plan for the University of Colorado.

Shapins said their projects help public and private clients “to preserve sensitive natural and cultural resources” while accommodating “development objectives” that “enhance a sense of place.

The park manager of Eldorado Canyon State Park came into contact with Shapins and Moss about two and a half years ago when the state hired them to do a controversial project, the inner-canyon development plan for Eldorado Canyon State Park.

The firm was chosen from six or seven others in part because they were local and had a “very good feel for the area and had done some really interesting projects across the United States that was right down our alley of what we wanted here in the canyon,´ said Tim Metzger, park manager of Eldorado Canyon State Park, part of the state Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation.

The finished product was a development plan that the state is in the final stages of implementing. Said Metzger: “They really took all our suggestions to heart and came up with a plan that everybody’s going to be able to live with.”

BOULDER — Boulder-based landscape architects Ann Moss and Jerry Shapins have a fan at Grand Canyon National Park.

He’s the park planner, and he’s witnessed their talents firsthand.

“I love working with them,´ said the National Park Service’s Brad Traver, who is the Grand Canyon National Park planner. “I think their philosophy is very similar to the philosophy of the park service in terms of development, and it’s a good match for us.”

That development philosophy, he said, is that structures should be subservient to natural surroundings, that…

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