Tuesday, July 12, 2011 , 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.,
Boyd Lake Room, Larimer County Courthouse Office Building, 200 West Oak, Fort Collins, CO
Please call Deb at 679-4567 if you are unable to attend a meeting. Votes require a quorum. Thanks!
NOTE: The group photo has been moved to August 9, since Gary will be absent from the July meeting.
Steve Johnson, Commissioner
The July 12, 2011, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Chair Russell Fruits at 5:30 p.m. The minutes of the June 14, 2011, meeting were approved.
The Board welcomed two new members: Ron Kainer was raised in Larimer County, and has lived here 46 years. He was a professional archaeologist for 9 years, and then taught high school and coached basketball for 20 years. Glen Doughty has recently moved to Larimer County after a career in the oil industry. He and his wife moved here for the outdoor recreation opportunities. He lives in Timnath. He enjoys hiking.
Rob Harris is returning to the Board after a 2-year leave of absence; he was unable to attend this meeting. Linda Knowlton has been reappointed to another 3-year term.
PUBLIC COMMENT: Items not on the agenda - None
§ Natural Resource Events for June: See website http://www.larimer.org/naturalresources.
DISCUSSION & ACTION ITEMS
Thompson Flood Parcels – Charlie
Johnson, Sr. Land Agent
In 1976, after the Big T flood, Larimer County acquired 153 parcels on the Big T river. The County is now in the process of disposing of some of the parcels, or trading them for fishing access, etc. Many parcels have also been retained for public access.
Area 5 – Narrows:
After the last meeting, Barry Lewis noted an error in the motions passed with regards to Area 5 – the Narrows. Charlie presented revised language to correct that error. The text of these proposals is attached to the minutes.
Public comment on Area 5, Recommendation #1:
Walt Graul, Berthoud, CO, Friends of the Big Thompson: Although the original issue was the flood, the actual justification used for the purchase of these parcels by the County was to preserve fishing access; and Federal Land and Water Conservation Funds were used to acquire the parcels. The proposed trade with the owner on the south side of the river is exciting. The professional demeanor of all involved has resulted in a win-win situation, for which Walt, on behalf of the Friends, commends everyone.
Lee Evans, Ft. Collins, President of local Fly Casters, Trout Unlimited: They were very concerned when the County began selling these parcels, but they are very pleased with how the County is handling it, and protecting fishing access. Their chapter has adopted the Narrows Park. They have been cleaning and maintaining it for 6 years. They mow it in the spring, chip dead branches and use the chippings to keep weeds and mud at bay, spray thistle, etc. So they are very interested in the property. They have tried to be very respectful of the neighbors next door and private property rights. Moving the parking lot is very feasible. If there is a place for volunteer help in moving the road, they want to offer help. They are very concerned about all the properties. The Big Thompson is famous for not having as much public access as other rivers like the Poudre, so they do not want to lose any public access. Keep it up.
Jim _______, Loveland Fishing Club: Commends Charlie for his work on these parcels. Is there any possibility of gaining additional public access to the parcel on the north east side of the river? [No.]
Area 5, Recommendation #2:
The adjacent property owner to the Narrows Park, Mr. Buna, proposes to a trade of a portion of the west part of the Narrows Park from the County in exchange for public access along the south side of the river, but not including the bank (he owns to the center of the river.) He requests that the parking lot be moved further to the east, using the same access point. See attached.
Board and staff comments:
Linda Knowlton: Will Mr. Buna fence his new property line?
Mark DeGregorio: All the times Mr. Buna spoke to the Board, he was most opposed to the public in the river in front of his property.
Charlie: This will provide a buffer for Mr. Buna.
Dan Rieves: Charlie said that Mr. Buna suggested this early in the process, but it was stalled out because he wanted the access point moved, and there is no safe access point closer to the bridge.
Frank Cada: What about the estimate of cost to do this transaction? The river is pretty narrow there.
Charlie: The work will be done in-house, and fairly inexpensively.
Steve Schweitzer: Has there been any discussion of signage, since this will be a sweeping change from the past? Mr. Buna would appreciate that.
Charlie: Yes – appropriate new signage will be developed.
Linda: She is encouraged by the support we’ve gotten from the Friends of the Big Thompson, and feels they will help make this work.
Dan: We’re proposing a fee simple transaction, but it’s possible that Mr. Buna has something else in mind.
Steve: A lot of great work has been done on this.
Area 12b – Drake – South of the bridge over the North Fork of the Big Thompson River
Area 20 – Glen Haven Road – Large flat area
Charlie has heard from 2 previous owners of Area 12b who are interested in buying if the opportunity exists. No response on Area 20. The 60 day public comment period on 12b and 20 will expire at the next meeting, and there will be a staff recommendation at that time. There is a signed contract on the Bartels parcel.
STANDING AGENDA ITEMS:
Park District updates and Parks Master Plan Implementation Progress report – Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager
East Portal and Mary’s Lake campgrounds are very
busy. We have seen much higher usage at these campgrounds. There are still
many infrastructure issues. Things are going well. The staff at Rocky has been
very supportive in sending referrals our way.
The partnership with Estes Valley Recreation &
Park District (EVRPD) – Stan Gengler is retiring, and is transferring to a
consulting role during the interim. Dan has been working with Stan on a
capital improvement plan for the next 5 years. The primary focus of
improvements will be the main hub at Mary’s Lake for RV’s. The remaining
shower buildings will be upgraded next winter.
Commissioner Donnelly held a public meeting in Estes Park. Before we took over these areas, there was a lot of public opposition to the
master plan, and to fires in Mary’s Lake campground. Tom was extremely
supportive of our efforts and our staff. Dan and Chris are also meeting with
homeowners at their next meeting. Prior to the master plan, local residents
did not know the properties were managed by EVRPD, and not private campgrounds.
Dan feels we are now doing a good job of building bridges with local
constituents. Dan and Chris also made a presentation to the EVRPD board.
Field Manager is performing well, with few glitches.
The next conversation at the end of this season is what a rollout to the entire
park system would look like. If we go forward, that will require an entire
year to occur.
Horsetooth and Carter are both full. There is no
§ Capital improvement projects for 2011-12:
§ Additional marina parking at Carter Lake and electrical service to the marina docks
§ Forestry project at Horsetooth
§ Horsetooth S. Bay, additional full-service campsites.
Board and staff comment:
Steve Schweitzer: Is there room for another campsite at the west end of this loop? [No – steep topography.]
Glen Doughty: What is the estimated cost of doing the project?
Dan: The project cost is approximately $200,000, with $93,000 from the BOR and $100,000 for GOCO being requested. Capital projects are funded through grants, etc. Potential revenues will never cover the construction cost on top of the management cost. We are meeting public demand. These are full-hook-up sites, which are in short supply and high demand.
Frank Cada: What size of RV will fit? [45 ft. rigs will fit]
Steve Schweitzer offered autographed copies of his
newly published book on hiking and fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park to
all Board members.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:15 pm.
Russell Fruits, Chair
Next regular meeting: August 9, 2011, at the Bison Visitor Center, 1800 S. County Road 31, Loveland, CO.
Public can view agenda and minutes at www.larimer.org/parks
PREPARED FOR PARKS ADVISORY BOARD – 7-12-2011
Staff Recommendations - Big Thompson Flood Parcel Project: Area 5 - Narrows
Trade a deed restricted non-buildable portion of the west part of the existing day use area to Mr. Buna in exchange for a portion of the BT River that Mr. Buna owns. The County will retain a 10’ fee simple buffer between what we trade to Mr. Buna up to the center of the river. The land traded by Mr. Buna to the County will be from the top of the bank to the center of the river and the entire length of his river ownership. As part of this trade, we will abandon the existing parking area and move it to the east away from Mr. Buna’s home. We will continue to use the existing park entrance adjacent to the portion traded to Mr. Buna.