Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 5:30 - 8:30
Boyd Lake Room, Larimer County Courthouse
Office Building, 200 West Oak Street, Fort Collins, CO
The January 11,
2011, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Chair Linda Knowlton
at 5:35 p.m. The Minutes of the
November 8, 2010, meeting were approved.
[Items not on the agenda]: None
Families, and the Outdoors Pilot Project – Kerri Rollins, Open Lands Manager
Larimer County Department of Natural Resources has been selected to lead a
groundbreaking analysis of the connections youth and families in Larimer
County have with the natural environment. $130,000 has been awarded
to our department to look at internal and external impacts, both within
and outside Larimer County.
- The study, funded by Great
Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), will identify strategies for fulfilling the new
goal area of the state organization’s 2010 Strategic Plan to “increase the
participation by Youth and Families in all areas” of the GOCO mission.
Great Outdoors Colorado receives its funding from the Colorado
- In March of 2011, Larimer County
will select a consultant to perform the public involvement, inventories,
gap analyses, barriers analyses, and mapping components of the
study. Everything going on in Larimer County, down to the program
level, will be mapped to identify gaps in services provided, or overlap,
and statistical analysis will be performed.
- The project will officially kick
off in March, with completion in early spring of 2012. There will be
a steering committee of representatives from agencies involved; and a
stakeholders committee, including parents, etc. Once the consultant is
selected, a firmer timeline for project completion will emerge along with
final cost estimates.
Natural Resources Master Plan and
Regional Land Conservation, Stewardship & Recreation Master Plan for
Rollins, Open Lands Manager
Rollins reported on the combined meeting of the Open Lands Advisory Board
with the boards of area cities to discuss a proposed regional planning
process, summarized in the attached handout. Questions for this board
include timing, partnering with cities on a GOCO grant application to fund
this planning effort; and whether an economic study is also justified.
department Master Plan will serve as an overarching strategic plan for the
entire department, incorporating existing master and management plans, and
will include an update of the Open Lands Master Plan., now 10 years old.
Agrees that the Open Lands Master Plan needs to be updated. He also agrees
with the concept of a regional plan, because the master plans of other agencies
will be needing update at the same time. However, the pilot project should be
allowed to play out first, since that data is needed to develop the plans.
When will the plan be completed, and how will that fit with the sales tax
Not imperative that all the plans be in sync – some of the other plans are
still viable, like the Parks Master Plan, and do not need to be redone at this
LaChance: Will this process slow down
development? The benefit of having the Parks Master Plan in place is that
development can proceed full speed. (Kerri does not foresee a slowdown on
plans currently underway. Gary says the education center/office building at Horsetooth
is waiting on a gap analysis, so won’t be delayed by this process. Dan notes
that projects are already in a queue several years out; although there is a
limit to staff time to devote to all these different efforts.)
The agenda referenced a departmental plan; Kerri’s handout talks about a
regional planning effort, which seems much, much larger.
Fishing Access – Gary Buffington and Charlie Johnson,
Sr. Land Agent
representing Friends of Big Thompson, an umbrella organization including Loveland
Fishing Club, Rocky Mountain Fly Casters and Colorado Wildlife Federation:
Membership continues to increase, indicating continued public interest in this
issue. He thanked the Board and the department for actions already taken to
retain some of these properties. He passed around several issues of national
magazines which featured the Big Thompson River, to emphasize the value.
Angling interest in this issue goes back to 2004 when the department removed
the “in perpetuity” clause from these properties and put them on the public
disposal list. Of the original 12 parcels, there are 5 remaining unaddressed.
Last March they requested that Area 3 and the east parcel of Area 20 be moved
to the top of the priority list because they are the largest parcels and
because they look like private property. In June, they submitted a petition
with many signatures. In November, he submitted a letter requesting an outline
of the steps and process required to get this done.
The group understands the constraints involved re staff time, other priorities,
etc. Before the next sales tax, he’d like to be celebrating the successful
conclusion of this process and be strong supporters of the sales tax.
He requests that Area 3 and Area 20 be signed as public property, if they
cannot be addressed immediately. He requests that this process be pursued expeditiously.
John Smeltzer, Colorado
Wildlife Federation (CWF): CWF looks at public access – part of their mission
is to protect and maintain public angling access. Colorado now has a population
of 5 million, soon to be 7 million. Don’t underestimate the importance of
protecting these areas for future residents, who are not even here yet. He
understands that budget restrictions can affect the timeline. But they would
like to see a timeline.
Loveland Fishing Club (LFC): Two parcels the LFC is interested in are Area 20
and Area 3. They hope these areas will not be sold. These two properties are
considerably different than the properties in the Drake area, and they hope
will be retained in full.
noted that Jerry White retired at the end
of 2010. Charlie Johnson works for us half time, and half time for County
Engineering on right of way issues; and is now handling the entire load of open
space acquisitions for us. The Board of County Commissioners supports the
concept of his split time.
The valuations of
these properties have been updated from the original assessments of value done
in 2003. We are also continuing to work with landowners on particular parcels
in the Big Thompson who are interested in acquiring portions of some parcels.
He wants the LFC to know that the department is committed to public fishing
provided the following update:
- He is
meeting with property owners who had been put off until the new valuation
study was done.
Hayden project was completed last year. He still gets calls from people
who want to talk.
signing project requires extensive interaction with adjoining landowners
to reach agreement on signing.
- The new
valuation report was completed in 2010 also.
reviewed the handout summarizing the areas which have already been
addressed, as well as those which have not. Priority areas include:
Area 3, upstream from Big Thompson
Area 12b, downstream from Hayden
Subdivision, south of the bridge
Area 17, south of Glen Comfort
Area 20, Glen Haven Road
access is recommended on all the priority parcels – this may involve
selling the parcel and retaining public access or retaining county
notes that retaining ownership involves the ongoing costs of managing the
property – weed control, trash control, ranger patrol, etc.
notes that what takes time is the negotiation on
the property boundaries before the property can be signed. We must be
very careful in the location of signs.
surveying is handled by County surveyors, to save money. The County
surveyors are reluctant to work on these because they have other
priorities, and these properties are very difficult to accurately define.
So in lieu of formally surveying every parcel, Charlie works with adjacent
property owners to reach agreement on where property boundaries should be
confirmed with Walt that the list of priorities matches LFC priorities
- All of
these will require interaction with adjacent landowners which can become
list includes only those parcels currently on the radar, ranked by least
complicated to most complicated. He believes that all parcels listed in
the handout can be resolved in 2011.
only parcel on which no public access is recommended is the Bartels
property, due to significant access problems. The adjoining landowner
will take it as is without a survey.
notes that these properties have been funded by
General Fund over the years to be maintained. Now, as General Fund is
reduced, the sale proceeds are applied to maintenance. If we don’t keep
selling some of the parcels without good public access, we can’t afford to
keep maintaining them into the future, which might result in closing them.
Rieves explained that there are 153 parcels in total – we are only
addressing a few with the best public access. Over time, the other
parcels will be sold to maintain the others. But these have not been done
first, because it will take a tremendous amount of time to complete all
those transactions. We’re trying to address the top priority public
access parcels first.
noted that the Narrows has a buyer lined up, willing to purchase now. He
pointed out that the effort to sell these has only been going on since we
began on Hayden – in 2008. Prior to that, Gary was the only one working
on all the preparation and approvals required, which took a lot of time to
Some of the properties must be sold in order to generate the funds needed to
maintain these properties, is that the point? (Yes.)
Tom Miller: The
attitude of the fishing community is highly focused on the ones on this list.
These are the ones the LFC wants us to move on.
: This work plan for 2011 meets the
demand of the LFC, to complete all the priority properties this year. He feels
this plan meets the needs of all concerned.
Can any of the parcels on the list be moved up? (Yes – but starting with a
more difficult parcel may delay the others.)
Charlie’s list allows a longer time to work on the more complicated
Frank Cada: Supports
doing the easier ones first to move along more quickly.
If we retained parcel 12b, it could provide parking for access.
Russ Fruits: At
no point in time will public access be lost on any of these properties,
: Correct. These properties are not in
jeopardy. There is a process in place for 60 day public comment before
Frank Cada: We
want to leave a legacy for the future, so that a future Board is not starting
over from scratch.
The Board already adopted Evaluation Criteria which are applied to every
Tom Miller: What
action is required on this tonight?
time could be restricted more than this if right of way workload increases.
Dan: If each of
these require a 60 day public notice period, immediate action is necessary to
get these moving.
Linda: If there
are any objections to Charlie’s proposed work plan, speak up.
LaChance: Get moving on it – the Board
can’t second guess Charlie’s best guess.
Barry Lewis: Can
we take action on a 60 day public notice period for some parcels next month?
Charlie: He will
tentatively plan to bring Bartels and maybe the Narrows to the next meeting.
Linda: Plan on a
monthly update from Charlie, Gary or Dan.
signing project is another component of the overall project – as discussions
with landowners begin, that is when negotiations on where to place signs will
: This is not a land disposal process –
it is a land use process.
Tom Miller: If
deed restrictions appear on one of these parcels, or illegal uses appear on our
property, whose responsibility is it to resolve those? (The department has
been addressing illegal uses all along.)
the county deeds a parcel, the deed includes use restrictions.
happens at the end of the 60 days is that there will be an action item, the
Board will vote, and if a sale is recommended, it will go to the BCC.
Natural Resource Events for
January. See website
Parks Advisory Board meeting
dates for 2011.
- Three Bells I
and II closed 12/29 with lots of hard work from Charlie and Jeffrey, as
well as a significant landowner donation. A press tour, along with staff
from Fort Collins and Larimer County, is being planned for the end of
January. We hope to complete all acquisition of trail ROW in 2 years. Charlie Johnson noted the significant
investment of other agencies in the Three Bells transaction.
approval from DORA’s Division of Real Estate for Larimer County Natural
Resources to hold conservation easements that claim state tax credits was
received in December. Jerry White
walked us through the certification process, and we were approved on the
first try. Periodic re-certification will be required.
Larimer County was granted up to $120,000 by GOCO
to complete a pilot project assessing youth, family and the outdoors. A
“Request for Proposals” has been posted and an interview team hopes to
interview potential candidates in February. The Board will have a full
presentation in February as well.
Closure of Hermit Park went into effect Dec. 21st. Minimal push
back, primarily from neighbors who like to access the park for parking
during inclement weather as well as for general recreational purposes.
Are allowing people to walk into the park, but not to drive- gates
have been installed and are currently closed. Has been a very good thing
for wildlife- elk are using the park in force and Josh has seen mountain
unseasonably warm weather allowed the maintenance crew to really attack
the pine beetle trees that seemed to explode all over Hermit Park this
Elkhorn cabin replacement at Hermit Park is going well. A local
Estes cabin building company won the bid and has been making good progress
on the rebuild. The old cabin has been demoed and the new cabin
should be completed by mid Jan.
- All 5
of the new single stall vault toilets have finally been installed at 5 of
- GOCO grant
submitted for the renovation of "Hermit's Hollow" or
Campground #1 at Hermit Park was successful for $200,000. It is
looking like work will begin mid September of 2011. Although we will
be generally following EDAW's design concept formed in the master plan
(attached), we will be making some adjustments- i.e. no shower house and
some different road alignments. Focus will be on road improvements
and a key feature of this particular campground will be catering to tent
campers. Campsites will go from 29 existing sites to a max of 42-
the majority of the new sites will be "walk in" tent
camping. The board will be briefed once the new concepts are more
concrete. Future improvements
will not result in denser use. Tom Miller asked how many campsites are
inside the “bubble” where development may occur.
- Park Managers
Chris Fleming and Mark Caughlan are working on revamping fee structures
for special events, particularly weddings at Hermit and other popular
venues. The process will be streamlined to make it a simpler group use
reservation with a flat fee. Fees would go from approximately $1200
for a wedding to $500. Managers will be working with administrative
staff to look at more effective ways to market these venues.
We will get out of the “wedding planner”
business, and limit our involvement to group use rental of site, or the
special event process if more is requested. Fees will drop from
approximately $1200 to $500. Linda Knowlton observed that it seems like a
big drop in revenues. Chris responded that we’ll be booking more weddings
and investing a lot less time, so there will not be a negative impact on
revenues.) Gary stated that only six State Parks are “self-sufficient” –
it is not realistic to expect Hermit Park to ever be 100% self-sufficient
based on revenues generated.
STANDING AGENDA ITEMS
Park District updates –
Dan and Chris
- The Horsetooth projects are
nearing completion. Sunrise Swim Area will feature a natural beach – not
a fine sand beach. The facility is nearly complete and is very nice –
should be popular with Ft. Collins residents.
- Eagle Campground Camper
Services Building: Valley Block went out of business after our contractor
had reached an agreement with them. When we ordered the block, it was not
available. It is a 2-sided block, smooth on one side, rough on the other,
which is a custom block from other vendors. This has slowed the shower
facility project down, but it should be done by the time we need to use
- Horsetooth office building
and nature center is still at least a couple years out. So the Horsetooth
modular building will be replaced to provide improved office quarters for
the Horsetooth staff. The current facility is infested by rodents, and
unacceptable for staff use.
- Carter Lake Marina license:
Due to ongoing contract revisions by Reclamation and the County Attorney,
the contract was not completed by 12/31, as planned. So a contract
extension to April has been executed.
- Annual meeting with Carter
Lake Sail Club was last week, and went extremely well. The new Commodore
is ambitious and motivated. The plan for the year includes replacing some
of the docks and slips, as well as clubhouse improvements and the
breakwater. The club is doing well, and is now beginning to reinvest in
its infrastructure. Other topics discussed included opportunities for
- Tim Reed of Bellevue, who
brought to our attention several issues with the public process used in
one of the Horsetooth projects, has motivated us to improve our public
process and stakeholder involvement. Tim is sitting on a committee with
staff to develop new procedures.
- The Larimer County
Sheriff’s award ceremony also recognizes external entities for feats of
heroism – this year the ranger group was honored for efforts during the
- Also honored was a seasonal
ranger, Aaron Bersheid, who was the first responder at the plane crash on State
Land near Chimney Hollow recently. Rangers Jacob Wells and Will Talbott
- Seasonal hiring will
include a volunteer camp host supervisor for Estes and Hermit.
- We are recruiting groups to
help with maintenance of the Big Thompson parks and public parcels. Trout
Unlimited is the first group to be signed up for 2011. New signs are
completed for the existing parks up the Big Thompson.
- The department is in great
shape financially, going into 2011. And this is the first time Chris has
a full staff going into the season.
- Top Ten Events in 2010 –
see handout. This list was sent to the County Commissioners to highlight
accomplishments of the past year. The list includes conservation
projects, capital improvements, the Estes campground opening, $500,000 in
grants. No other county in the state or in this region of the US has this
kind of volume, acreage, etc. to compare.
- Gary thanked the Board for
their ongoing service as 2011 begins.
made, and Forrest Orswell seconded, a motion to enter into Executive Session,
pursuant to C.R.S. 24-6-402(4)(a), for discussion pertaining to the purchase,
acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of any real or personal property interest.
The Board entered
Executive Session at approximately 7:45 p.m. to discuss the Carter Lake Marina
Russell Fruits made,
and Tom Miller seconded, a motion to exit Executive Session; the Board exited Executive
Session at 8:05 p.m.
Artist of the
Gary solicited a board
member to work on the Artist of the Year selection process for 2011. Forrest
The next regular
scheduled meeting will be on February 8, 2011, at 5:30 p.m., at the Bison
Visitor Center, 1800 South County Road 31, Loveland, CO.
meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.