Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

 

Thursday, September 28, 2006 – 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:

Brian Hayes

Ben Manvel

Jim White

Bill Pinkham

Sue Sparling

Bill Newman

Peter Kast

Bob Streeter

Mark DeGregorio

Jean Carpenter

 

Staff

Glenn Gibson

Kerri Rollins

Meegan Flenniken

Gary Buffington

K-Lynn Cameron

Charlie Johnson

Ernst Strenge

Dutch FlaHaven

Jerry White

 

 

Absent: 

Duane Pond

Ted Swanson

 

 

 

Chair, Peter Kast called the meeting to order at 5:08 p.m.

 

Jim motioned to approve the minutes of August 24, 2006.  The motion was seconded by Bill with typo amendment and was unanimous.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

 

INFORMATION ITEMS

·  Parks and Open Lands had booths at both the New West Fest in Fort Collins and the Corn Roast Festival in Loveland in August. Judging by the number of people stopping by to ask questions and give us feedback especially on the Blue Sky Trail, this was a successful outreach venture.

·  GOCO staff and Colorado Conservation Trust fellows both selected Red Mountain Open Space as the location for their staff retreat and site visits.  They thoroughly enjoyed their tours!

·  Public meetings for the Parks Master Plan alternatives were held in Loveland and Fort Collins on September 13 and 14.  Meetings were fairly well attended.

·  On September 11, 2006, the Board of County Commissioners upheld a condition requiring a trail easement across the Eagle Rock School property connecting to forest land in the Estes Valley.  Eagle Rock will not get a certificate of occupancy for future buildings until they record the easement they agreed to in 1992.

·  Kris Larson, Executive Director of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts has accepted a position with the Minnesota Land Trust.  He has been a strong leader of this organization and will be missed.  Interviews for a new Executive Director were held on September 13 and 15.

·  On September 15, Heather Knight of The Nature Conservancy led a tour of the Phantom Canyon Preserve for OLAB and staff. The tour included a hike down into the canyon.   

·  The COSA Conference was in Aspen on September 21 and 22. Bob, Sue and Mark attended the conference along with staff.  Bob and Sue commented that they enjoyed the conference and that the Larimer County Open Lands Program has a good reputation statewide. 

·  The 2nd Annual Northern Colorado Birding Fair will be held at Fossil Creek Reservoir Open Space on October 7 from 7:00 am–1:00 pm.  Kerri said a raptor release will take place at 8 (kickoff) and at 1pm (finale) to help spread the crowd out throughout the day.

·  Greg Good, Open Lands Fellowship position granted by Colorado Conservation Trust (CCT), has left the County for a new position at the Orient Land Trust.  The remaining time of the Fellowship position (Oct. 06-June 07) will not be filled per CCT.

·  Richard Louv, author of last Child in the Woods is coming to CSU on Oct 26 from 7-8pm.  This is the same date of our next OLAB meeting, so the meeting has been moved to the Lake Loveland Room at the Courthouse Offices Building from 4-630 pm. Tickets for the presentation are $5.50, contact Kerri if you want a ticket.

·  City of Fort Collins' Bobcat Ridge Natural Area grand opening is 9/30 with events on-going throughout the day.

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

·  Volunteer Activities for October.  See handout.  Dutch highlighted the volunteer appreciation event at the Rio on October 15 and the Make a Difference Day on October 27.  HP and Agilent employees will work at the south end of Horsetooth Reservoir repairing campgrounds.

 

BOARD COMMENTS:

Ben said that Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) is proposing a large above ground electric distribution line along Shields adjacent to the Marisposa Natural Area and south through Long View Farm.  The above line would run about 2.5 miles.  If the line were to be undergrounded, it would cost each consumer more on their electric bills, but PRPA has not disclosed that amount.  Ben said they claim that on lines this big there are not issues with raptors or other birds.

It was controversial among city council because the Natural Areas Program has a policy against visual barriers.  PRPA proposed undergrounding another line along College Avenue as mitigation.  City Council opposed the proposal on second reading and has asked PRPA to underground the line as it goes past their natural areas. K-Lynn said that Larimer County will likely follow suit on this request as it goes past Longview Farm.

 

DISCUSSION:

·  Red Mountain Open Space (RMOS) and Soapstone Natural Area (SSNA) Management Plans – Meegan Flenniken, Larimer County and Daylan Figgs, City of Fort Collins.  Barb Allan of Diamond Peaks Mountain Bike Patrol was also introduced as a part of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

 

Meegan introduced Daylan and then reviewed the management plan process and existing resource values.  The planning process is starting now with meetings with adjacent landowners and TAC, and holding public meetings in February and July of 2007.  The plan is expected to be complete by the end of 2007.

 

Daylan and Meegan reviewed the maps of the area and discussed shared trail access between RMOS and SSNA.  Both Larimer County and the City are working with the City of Cheyenne as they develop their management plan on the approximate 800 acres of open space across the Colorado/Wyoming border. 

 

Meegan and Daylan then reviewed the important plant and wildlife resources on the respective properties.  Agricultural values were also discussed.  Agencies such as DOW, CNHP and NRCS were involved in assessing these values.  Cultural, archaeological and historical values have also been partially assessed on RMOS and SSNA via an archaeological survey conducted by CSU and Dr. Jason LaBelle.   

 

Management vision from staff and the TAC include items such as protection of ecological, archaeological and historic resources are the primary management goals and at the same time allow for outdoor recreation.  To accomplish this, zoning management is being looked at, as is various forms of vegetation management and cultural resource interpretation techniques (from a remote location).  Examples of the latter include syncing the opening of the new Fort Collins Museum with the opening of these new areas. 

 

Proposed uses include hiking, biking and horseback riding, wildlife viewing and photography on designated trails.  Uses under consideration include limited quality hunting, backcountry camping, rock climbing by zone, separating some uses by zone and seasonal closures of areas for resource reasons.  Uses that are being proposed to not permit include motorized vehicles, commercial uses and dogs.   

 

·  Hermit Park Update – Staff is working with different groups (Conservation Fund, Colorado Conservation Trust)that can lend or front money for projects.  Also, a private fundraising campaign is being organized and will be ready to mobilize when we know about the success of the GOCO grants.  Other partners are offering their resources, such as developers, churches and various clubs.  Glenn asked about the appraisal.  K-Lynn said there are some legalities involved in getting our appraiser on the property and so far Agilent has not permitted that to happen.  GOCO has requested some more information on our ability and costs of managing an area such as Hermit Park.  Staff is working on a response to those questions.  DOW, a potential partner, cannot move as fast as we would like them to, so there will be some budget shifts there too.  Bill and Bill said the attitude of people in Estes has been very supportive. 

 

·  Management Fund Overview – Lori Smith, Senior Accountant.  See handout.

Meegan explained the idea of management zones and where it came from.  Ernst and Meegan developed six management zones and their definitions and associated costs (they handed these out).  The six are 1) developed ($1,500/acre); 2) Access ($385/acre); 3) Frontcountry ($385/acre); 4) Backcountry ($108/acre); 5) Primitive/sensitive resource protection ($13/acre); and, 6) Primitive/non-sensitive resource protection ($13/acre) and assigned dollar values to them for cost of management. 

 

K-Lynn said the overview is that the projections are in sync with our actual budget.  Lori pointed out the new zoning approach in the baseline assumptions in the top box.  Mark asked about the 20% increase in 2006.  Lori explained that since the managers have become more responsible for their budgets, they were very conservative in their spending – not spending money where they should have been in 2005.  Now they know more about how and where they should be spending their dollars, hence the increase to catch up in 2006.  It is a 20% increase for cost per acre, not in overall budget.  Bill P asked about inflation.  Lori said the 6% includes the annual cost of inflation as given by Finance Department. 

 

·  Budget: 2006 Revisions and 2007 Proposed.  Lori reviewed a budget report that was included in the packet. 

Jean moved to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners the approval of these budgets as revised and proposed.  Ben seconded and the motion was unanimous.

 

·  Nature as Your Neighbor and the Good Neighbor Policy – These are tools staff has developed to assist us in improving our relationships with neighbors in letting them know what our mission is for the land, how we manage them and how our being adjacent (neighbors) can affect each other.  Meegan and Ernst have developed a draft brochure that can be given to neighbors of open spaces that address what the county can and cannot do as a neighbor.  Similar to the “Code of the West”, this brochure is adapted to common management questions that are frequently fielded at Larimer County.  Meegan reviewed some of the questions and answers.  Kerri is working with a Volunteer Naturalist to develop a "Nature As Your Neighbor" program that can be taken to homeowner associations (either via the management planning stages or later) and educate them on how their actions can positively or negatively affect having nature as their neighbor through a fun and interactive presentation.  A debut of this program, being adapted to fit our local flora and fauna, is expected by the end of the year. 

 

DIRECTOR'S REPORT:  Gary and Charlie Johnson met with BOCC to talk about the Big Thompson parcels.  In Phase I, 60 of 180 parcels will be sold to private landowners.  Gary expects about $225,000 from the sales over the next 3 years and money will be used to improve the existing parks in the Big Thompson area. There are several deed restrictions on the properties that need to be taken care of before they sell.  Buyers are mostly adjacent land owners.  

 

Parks Master Plan:  Two meetings this month in Fort Collins and Loveland, good turnout on both.  There were 60 proposed uses by staff and only 5 were flagged as possible problems by park neighbors.  Staff will continue to work with them.  Next meeting is 11/7 for the Task Force.  Hope to have a completed master plan for the reservoirs in January.  Hope to have some recommendations about fees by that time as well.

 

Gary also attended Duane McMurry's memorial last week.  It was a nice memorial and it was sad to see him pass on.

The meeting was adjourned by a motion from Bill at 7:52.  The motion was seconded by Sue and carried unanimously. 

 

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

 

No Executive session.

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