Loveland Bike Trail
 

 

Thursday, August 23, 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:

Sue Sparling

Bill Newman

Jean Carpenter

Peter Kast

Bob Streeter

Nancy Wallace

Brian Hayes

Jim White

Ben Manvel

 

 

Staff

Glenn Gibson

K-Lynn Cameron

Meegan Flenniken

Windy Kelley

Rob Novak

Charlie Johnson

 

Absent: 

Don Griffith

Ted Swanson

Bill Pinkham

 

 

Chair, Peter Kast called the meeting to order at 5:17 p.m.

 

 Jean motioned to approve the July minutes.  Sue seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

No public comment

 

INFORMATION ITEMS

·  The Open Lands staff held their mid-year retreat on August 1st at Hermit Park.

·  Thank you Kerri for being the liaison between the Open Lands Program and OLAB for the past 7 years. As of this month Windy will begin to fill this role.

·  The Estes Valley Land Trust celebrated their 20th Anniversary at the Stanley Hotel in Estes on August 12th.

·  County Commissioner Randy Eubanks attended a field trip to the Laramie Foothills: Mountains to Plains Project on August 15th.

·  An Open House to review the draft management plans for Red Mountain Open Space and Soapstone Prairie Natural Area was held in Fort Collins on August 16th.

·  Parks and Open Lands will have booths at the New West Fest in Fort Collins and the Corn Roast in Loveland.

·  Fort Collins City Council considers a donation of $90,000 toward Hermit Park on August 21st. K-Lynn reported the City Council approved $91,000 at their meeting.

·  An Appreciation Picnic for donors to the successful Hermit Park fundraising campaign will be held on Saturday, August 25th from 9:30 to 1:00 pm. The Open Lands Board and Parks Board are invited. An appreciation ceremony is scheduled from 11:15 – Noon. Kerri noted over 75 donors and guests have RSVed.

·  Public meetings to review the draft management plan for Hermit Park will be held on Thursday, August 30th in Estes Park at the Town Hall and Thursday, September 6th in Loveland at the Senior Center. Meegan added the meetings are an open house format to allow the public to come and go throughout the evening.

·  Parks & Open Lands 2006 Annual Report to be distributed throughout Larimer County by August 31st.

·  The 2007 COSA Conference in Steamboat Springs is scheduled for September 10 – 12th. Check out www.coloradoopenspace.org for field trips and work sessions. Sue will attend the conference on behalf of the Advisory Board. Jim will check his schedule to see if he is available to attend too.

·  The grand opening of the new Horsetooth Mountain Park trailhead will be held on Saturday, September 22nd from 8:00 – Noon. The dedication ceremony is at 11:00 am.

·  The 3rd Annual Northern Colorado Birding Fair will be held September 29th at Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space.

·  Select a date for the Open Lands Advisory Board Christmas party. December 13th was selected. Details to follow during the coming months.

·  2007 Open Lands Advisory Board membership roster. See enclosure.

·  Officer elections will be in September.

·  Parks and Open Lands events for September. See handout.

 

 

BOARD COMMENT:

·  No comment.

 

PRESENTATION:

·  The Importance of Nature for Children – Marcella Wells, PH.D, Project Manager

 

Marcella began by explaining the Richard Louv movement which evolved after his book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder was published in 2005. Marcella noted that the term “nature deficit disorder” is not a medical term, it is a term Louv coined to describe the growing disconnect between children and nature. She noted an organized group of citizens in Fort Collins have joined together to create the “Children and Nature Network.” The mission of this group is to “reconnect children with nature” by disseminating information, reducing barriers and facilitating networks.

 

Marcella continued by explaining how youth have less access today to nature due to housing and other infrastructure development. She continued by explaining that although not scientific, enough indicators are present that a segment of our society is joining together to identify what changes and trends are present during the last 50 – 60 years in youth. Marcella presented five primary trends that have been identified, highlighting a positive aspect of each trend. 1) Over 9 million American children are in poor physical health. The good news is that unstructured playtime helps to improve the health of kids. 2) ADD and ADHD are serious public health problems, and are often misdiagnosed. The good news is that the more children are in nature, the more manageable they become due to excreting energy. 3) One in twenty kids are depressed as well as many kids are overly stressed. Several studies have indicated the more encounters children have with nature the less they are affected by stresses in life. 4) Compared to other countries our youth are faltering in general studies and are behind where youth were 50 years ago. Kids who have nature integrated into their life tend to have higher scores on standardized tests. Marcella added the benefits of “nature play” extend beyond higher test scores. Other benefits include physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual health. 5) Parents today are concerned for and fear what might happen to their children during outdoor play. However, studies indicate that children are safer today then in 1975 due to participating agencies fighting crimes against children.

 

Marcela explained how kids can be connected to nature at several levels in our community. For example a teacher can integrate a nature journal into their curriculum, a neighborhood can form a neighborhood watch program to provide a safer setting for kids to play outside, citizens can volunteer to lead hikes for local youth programs and local agencies/businesses can collaborate to sponsor outdoor youth oriented programs. Marcella continued with saying we do not need more programs, what we need is a shift in how we use these programs. Additionally, we need more adult role models for our youth.

 

DISCUSSION:

·  Education Program – Strategic Planning Process – Rob Novak and Kerri Rollins. (hand-out)

Kerri provided an overview for why the Education Program is creating a Strategic Planning Process. She explained it will enable the program to be proactive instead of reactive. The Plan will involve all District Managers who will identify their education needs, goals, and budgets for the next three to five years. This strategy will provide foresight for the Managers to effectively manage their projects and budgets thereby better serving the public.

 

Rob explained that two committees have formed to provide information and feedback to enable the Education Coordinator to draft a well-rounded Education Strategic Plan which will address the various education needs throughout the department. Rob reported the first meeting the Education Task Force had their first meeting where a proposed vision and vision goals were identified. The first Education Core Team meeting is scheduled for next week. This meeting subsequently took place on September 13th. Further meetings have been scheduled, and a timeline for the planning process established. A partial draft plan is expected in November and the final plan is anticipated to be completed and adopted in January 2008. Rob summarized several programming ideas that are being discussed for the new Education Strategic Plan (ex. Junior Ranger Program).

 

·  Hermit Park Management Plan Update. – Meegan began by sharing a map which EDAW, a consulting firm the county hired to assist in long term recreation programming and design at Hermit Park Open Space, developed.  She noted the plan is very long-term and the various components will be prioritized based on safety/health/or other county or conservation easement requirements, natural resource impacts, public demand, and the ability to provide revenue generation, since all capital improvement and management costs for the property will come from fees generated on-site. Elements of the proposed plan were highlighted and include:

 

The entrance from Highway 36 will need a right and left-hand turn lane, while a three lane entrance into the park is desirable. A future location has been identified for a 3,000 s.f. visitor center which would feature amenities such as flush toilets, office and meeting space, and car and RV parking.  Also in the entrance area, overflow parking (50-75 vehicles) for events with a vault toilet could be constructed. The saddle area will have a trailhead for approximately 18 – 20 vehicles, picnic tables, kiosk and a small area to allow small wedding ceremonies (15-20 people). At the centrally located Hermit’s Cabin, a parking area for approximately 20 vehicles, including ADA accessible parking, will be built as well as a small education meeting area. The cabin does not meet county building codes, so no public access will be permitted inside and instead it will be interpreted externally.

 

Most of the present trails will be removed and revegetated due to them leading to private property and/or not being sustainable. The trail to Kruger Rock will be hiking only. This will help to avoid weed impacts to the rare Rocky Mountain cinquefoil and minimize congestion on this popular trail.

 

A location has been identified for the Kruger Rock trailhead which will allow trail users to see their destination while preserving the viewscape of visitors to the group use area. This trailhead will accommodate approximately 20 vehicles. We anticipate relocating several campsites and the two southernmost cabins, due to their present proximity to sensitive resources. The group use area will have a parking area for approximately 75-100 cars and this will function as the Kruger Rock Trailhead for the short term. The storage sheds will be relocated to a less visible location and the horseshoe pits will be relocated to a less resource sensitive area. The playground, shower-house and the bandshell will both be removed.

 

The conservation easement allows up to three additional cabins the same size as the current cabins to be built and they’ll be located in the existing cabin loop.  Camp areas one and two have both been evaluated for their feasibility for tent and/or RV camping: the upper portion of camp area one will be tent camping only. However, the lower loop will be designated as a potential mixed use area for tent and RV camping. RV camping will be concentrated in camp area two. In the long term camp area 3 will potentially be designated for equestrian camping based on demand and will feature a trail connection to the internal trail system. Camp area 4 will be designated as a group camping area with a trailhead to Homestead Meadows.

 

Bob asked whether or not ATV’s and two-wheeled motor bikes will be permitted on the roads at Hermit Park. This use is currently not allowed in our regulations for the Department. Bob expressed concern surrounding the location for equestrian parking. Of particular concern is the increased potential for introduction of non-native plant species throughout, specifically at the proposed equestrian camping area. Bob suggested the equestrian area might be better situated near the entrance. Meegan explained this concern was discussed in the planning stages, however centrally locating equestrian facilities will allow for greater weed spread throughout the property due to most riders wanting to access the Homestead Meadows trail. The proposed equestrian area is setback from the wetlands and will provide a direct connection to the Homestead Meadows trail system.  She noted staff will diligently manage non-native plant species at Hermit Park.

 

K-Lynn shared that 12 cabins will be available to rent from September 14th - November 18th on the weekends and individuals must rent a cabin for both nights. Each cabin will accommodate two vehicles and up to six individuals. Each weekend a Naturalist led hike will be offered to cabin renters. The soft-opening will provide insight for the new Park Manger, Chris Flemming, as to what to expect following the grand opening, expected late spring/early summer 2008.

 

·  Red Mountain Open Space Management Plan Update. Meegan explained the second public meeting, an open house, for Red Mountain Open Space was held August 18th in conjunction with the City of Fort Collins. The vision and future management targets were displayed for both properties. Approximately 80 people attended during the 4 hours, and public comment sheets were made available. Most people were satisfied with the two plans. Several individuals have expressed an interest for less multi-use trails and more hiking only. The public has expressed that they are happy with the high emphasis to protect the natural and cultural resources. We did receive one comment for dogs to be allowed, but overwhelmingly the public has supported no dogs as a resource protection goal. Meegan noted we anticipate trail construction will begin in 2008.

 

·  Open Lands Future?: What’s next? – Priorities and Direction! (hand-out)

K-Lynn explained she met with the County Commissioners on August 14th to discuss the closing of the Gallegos property on September 21st. The Open Lands Program signed papers in May to purchase this property as part of the Laramie Foothills – Mountains to Plains project. She noted we have reviewed our budget and available funds. This closing will not affect any of our current or future projects.

 

DIRECTORS REPORT:

·  No report

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION: (24-6-402(4) (a) C.R.S. Purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of any real or personal property interest.  Nancy moved to go in to Executive Session at 7:39 pm, Peter seconded and the motion carried unanimously. 

 

The meeting was adjourned by a motion from Bob.  The motion was seconded by Nancy and carried unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:09 pm

Background Image: Loveland Bike Trail by Sharon Veit. All rights reserved.