Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

 

Thursday, May 24, 2007 – 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Loveland Library MP Room

 

The mission of the Larimer County Open Lands Program is to preserve and protect significant open space, natural areas, wildlife habitat, develop parks and trails for present and future generations.  These open lands provide opportunities for leisure, human renewal and protection of our natural and cultural resources.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 


Present:

Open Lands Board Members:

Bill Newman

Bob Streeter

Jean Carpenter

Peter Kast

Brian Hayes

Jim White

Ted Swanson

Mark DeGregorio

Ben Manvel

Sue Sparling

 

Staff

Gary Buffington

Kerri Rollins

Meegan Flenniken

Jerry White

K-Lynn Cameron

Dutch Fla Havan

Windy Kelley

Kevin Dudley

Rob Novak

Charlie Johnson

Glenn Gibson

 

 

Absent: 

Duane Pond

Bill Pinkham

 

Chair, Peter Kast called the meeting to order at 5:14 p.m.

 

 Ben motioned to approve the April minutes.  Bob seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

No public comment

 

INFORMATION ITEMS

·  The Larimer County Commissioners will meet on June 4, 2007 to hear public comment and make a recommendation to the Planning Commission regarding the proposed Parks Master Plan.  On June 20, 2007 the Planning Commission will meet to consider adoption of the Parks Master Plan as a part of the County’s Land Use Plan.  Gary elaborated on aspects of the plan that will likely be contested at the public meeting.

·  The City of Loveland staff and Open Lands Advisory Commission recommendation to City Council to provide $420,000 for Hermit Park was approved on May 15.  Thank you Loveland!

·  “Wind Power and Ferrets” – a field trip to learn about 2 separate topics – wind power production and re-establishment of the black footed ferret – is scheduled for Thursday, May 31, 2007.  Meet at the PRPA office (Timberline and Horsetooth) at 8:00 am.

·  On April 28, 37 Anheuser Busch employees planted 1000 shrub and tree seedlings at River Bluffs Open Space.  37 employees and family members participated.

·  Mark your calendars!  Open Lands Board Picnic at Hermit Park on Saturday, June 9, 2007.

·  Colorado Tax Credit Program – HB 1361- “Concerning the Implementation of Additional Requirements to Verify the Validity of a State Income Tax Credit Claimed by a Taxpayer for Donating a Conservation Easement in the State” signed by  Governor Ritter.

·  Update on proposal to securitize the Colorado Lottery.  The Title Board killed the bill but the idea to privatize the lottery is still out there.  This summer the major players will be meeting to discuss the pros and cons of this issue.

·  Tracking of volunteer hours and S Permits for Open Lands Board members.  Dutch distributed time sheets and reviewed how to fill them out.  It was decided that Kerri would continue to report hours for Board members.  Dutch also distributed S permits that allow free access to fee areas at certain times of the years.  All volunteers receive these after completing 20 hours of service. 

·  Please note that the June 28 OLAB meeting will be at the Bison Visitor Center.

·  Surveys from Katherine Ketske, a professor at CSU, were distributed.  The surveys will measure, among other things, the perceptions of those in the conservation field as compared to landowners with wants and needs from conservation organizations. 

 

BOARD COMMENT: none

 

INTRODUCTION: Rob Novak, Education Intern.  Rob has just completed his scholastic requirements and now needs to finish his internship.  He is working with Ann on interpretation and has already lead several hikes.  Rob is also working at Soderberg doing interpretation and education. 

 

Kevin Dudley, Open Lands Intern - Kevin has also completed his scholastic requirements and completing his internship to graduate.  He is working on maps for the FEMA grant, a VOC application and other odds and ends.

 

PRESENTATION

·  Economic Development and Agriculture - Geniphyr Ponce-Pore, Project Manager for Economic Development Pilot Project

 

4 things are priorities in this project:

1) web site development

2) business resource guide – funded through the Workforce Investment Act Grant

3) Public outreach in 3 approaches for businesses, partners and rural residents

4)  Benchmarking the County - figuring out our strengths and weaknesses and how we compare to other communities that are like us. 

 

Geniphyr discussed wind power at length.  She discussed the Maxwell Ranch proposal that is anticipated.  Something we need to better understand about wind power is who owns the energy when it is built.  Country’s like China are shopping for energy, as they cannot produce enough to support their 1.3 billion population.  Sometimes the community where the wind farm is located receives the infrastructure, the road construction and not the economic benefit.  Solar, wind, and biomass are all being looked at now.  Research on biomass such as oil extraction from algae are forming and developing. Ultimately it will likely be a mixture of these alternative energy sources that industry uses.  The technology changes daily. 

 

The County is in the process of anticipating the trends in biotechnologies and how it will impact the rural areas.  Ag tourism and heritage tourism is another thing coming.  The Film Commission is looking for wide open vistas for use in films and will pay to use them.  Art is another tourism piece, combined with wine and history. 

 

Bob asked about carbon sequestration in making money for open lands.  Geniphyr said it is not a big thing they are working on as it is not something the county can mandate as people can do it now if they want to.  She can get him some more info on it.  Sequestration is largely driven by the water available.  It does not produce a lot of money, possibly around $2 per acre. 

 

Jim said that on the heritage tourism piece there is an exhibit at the NCWCD in Berthoud that was put together by a couple of local photographers.  It features old farm implements, etc.

 

·  Parks and Open Lands Volunteer Program – Dutch Flahavan, Volunteer Coordinator

The volunteer program went from a value of $81,000 in 1998 to $450,000 in 2006.  So far this year there have been 103 volunteers trained.  Challenges the program is facing is a decline in volunteerism nationally, recruiting and sustaining the baby boomer volunteers, and recruiting those in the ages 16-24.  DOVIA has been researching ways to recruit younger volunteers.  To keep moving forward Dutch plans to develop long-term relationships with local corporations, continue nurturing relationships with other government agencies and support programs for at-risk youth.  Volunteer opportunities are numerous and include tree and shrub planting, trail work, trail adoption, events such as the Fishing Expo and CAST event.  Benefits of volunteering include getting an S permit, preserving the environment, and an increase in life expectancy.  Everyone decided that at the rate he’s going, Duane will live forever.  

 

Jim asked about how they establish a dollar rate for the volunteers.  Dutch said it is determined by an independent company that averages the pay rate of non-managerial positions ($18.77 is the hourly rate used this year). 

 

 

DISCUSSION:

·  Department name change proposal.  Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  See enclosure. 

K-Lynn reviewed the need to change the name of the department to include all programs housed within the Department, including the new Land Stewardship Program.  Though it will be the Department of Natural Resources, individual programs such as the Open Lands Program will still retain their individual names.  Bob asked about cost.  Gary said it would cost less than $500 to change letterhead.  Sue asked how the phone will be answered.  Gary said the Department of Natural Resources, with choices to connect to the separate programs. 

 

·  Hermit Park Open Space Funding – Kerri reviewed the financial status.  If all commitments are made, there is $109,000 left to raise.  Kerri and K-Lynn took the Northern Colorado Community Foundation (NCCF) donors on a tour and the couples were very excited about it.  One attendee will be organizing a tour for the Estes Park branch of the NCCF.  K-Lynn and Shair Vines, the committee leader of the Hermit Park effort from the Friends Group, took representatives from the McWhinney Foundation on a tour.  The Foundation has committed $25,000 to Hermit Park.  Three dates in June have been set aside for more donor tours (6/15, 6/22, 6/23) focusing on developers.  Johnna Bavoso of the McWhinney Foundation will help with the invites for these potential donors.    Staff and the Friends group also participated in a fundraising booth at Hewlett-Packard, and will man one at Avago in June.

 

·  Hermit Park Management Plan – Meegan discussed the primary comments heard from the two public meetings.  These included requests from equestrian groups wanting to camp with horses, and many former Hewlett-Packard or Agilent employees requesting access before the general public, keeping the property rustic, etc.  People seem open to the hunting proposal but had questions about safety.  K-Lynn reviewed the many reasons we are not opening the park up sooner, in case OLAB members get approached with questions.  This was a lengthy explanation about permits and improvements that need to be done.  There will be an increase of use on the property which is considered a change of use and requires to go through the County and State permitting processes.  Transportation studies, water and sewer studies are already underway.  Roads must be improved to meet county road standards.  A grant has been secured to get defensible space around the cabins, and an emergency exit from the property must also be reserved.  Building (cabins) must be brought up to code.  We must get a permit and go through the NEPA process to connect a trail to Kruger Rock on USFS lands.  The Colorado Natural Heritage Program and an archaeologist will be doing studies this summer and are working with the Division of Wildlife on wildlife management.  EDAW has been contracted and is working on drawings for site plans for layout of the public areas. 

 

·  Red Mountain Open Space Management Plan Update.  Meegan says the plan is coming along and she has been meeting with the Technical Advisory Committee that includes Peter, Sue Bob and Ben.    She is expecting to have a draft by early July.  She has met with individual groups that want to rockclimb and use horse and buggies on the open space.  It does not look like either of these uses are feasible at this time.  The rocks and roads at RMOS are not suitable, and the impacts of these uses are not desired at this time.  Today staff hiked 8 of the 13 proposed miles of trail. 

 

ACTION:

·  Final Review for a Power line easement request at Longview Farm by Platte River Power Authority.  See enclosure and handout.  Jerry reviewed the history of this project that first came to OLAB over a year ago.  Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) first went through the City of Fort Collins review process and the city asked PRPA to underground the line as it goes through Colina Mariposa.  Since that was granted, the County asked it be undergrounded as it goes through Long View.  PRPA has been trying to acquire the Powell property for their line, and now that it is an underground line they no longer need the entire Powell land.  They can accomplish their needs with a utility easement.  It will be permanent easement of 1300 feet long, 25 feet wide and 4.5 feet deep.  They will have a temporary construction easement with rigorous reclamation requirements.  They are proposing $15,000 for permanent easement.  PRPA can not donate a trail easement because they will not own the entire property, however on property owned by PRPA in this area they have agreed to grant a trail easement.

 

Ben asked about the Powell property being in foreclosure.  Powell has been approached by City, County and now PRPA to purchase the land.  He was not willing to agree to any compensation for the entire parcel.  It is understood that a foreclosure hearing will occur regarding the property this month, but even after that he has 6 months to pay off the loan to retain the property. 

Bob motioned to recommend to the County Commissioners to accept $15,000 for the easement across Longview Farm.  Ben seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

 

 

DIRECTORS REPORT

·  Gary reported that he has hired a Land Stewardship Program Manager.  Tim D’Amato comes to us from Boulder County and has many years of experience managing weeds. 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION: (24-6-402(4) (a)C.R.S. Purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of any real or personal property interest.

Jim moved to go in to Executive Session at 7:07pm, Ben seconded and the motion carried unanimously.   

 

The meeting was adjourned by a motion from Sue.  The motion was seconded by Jean and carried unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:33 p.m.

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.