Loveland Bike Trail
 

LARIMER COUNTY OPEN LANDS ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

MINUTES

Thursday, November 18, 2004 – 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

Mark DeGregorio

Lori Jeffrey-Clark

Peter Kast

Sue Sparling

Duane Pond

Bill Newman

Bob Streeter

Ted Swanson

 

 

Staff

Jerry White

Kerri Rollins

Meegan Flenniken

Charlie Johnson

K-Lynn Cameron

Charlie Gindler

Gary Buffington

Ann Montoya

Lori Smith

 

Absent: 

Jim White

Jean Carpenter

Eric Hamrick

 

Chair, Peter Kast called the meeting to order at 5:15 p.m.

 

Duane Pond motioned to approve the minutes of October 2004; seconded by Sue Sparling.  Lori Smith's name will be added as an attendee and Duane’s name will be corrected in spelling.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

No public comment

 

INFORMATION ITEMS

·  A conservation easement field trip to Sylvan Dale Ranch was held on Friday, October 29, 2004.  Dave Armstrong led the tour and Peter, Sue, Jean, Mark and Duane attended.  Sue said it was very interesting.  She asked if everyone could get copies of the materials or if there could be a presentation from sylvan dale for the entire board.  Copies will be handed out at the January meeting.

  • Submitted a trail grant proposal for the Rimrock Open Space Trail Phase II on 11/2/04.
  • The Open Lands staff held their annual all day retreat on November 2.  Peter and Sue attended for a discussion regarding the Open Lands Board.  As a result, there will be some changes to the OLAB meeting format, including a Board Comment period that will allow the Board to comment on items not on the agenda.
  • The County Commissioners approved spending $50,000 for the Pantano Trail and Conservation Easement.
  • The GOCO Board discussed the staff recommendations for funding of the Large-scale Projects including our Laramie Foothills: Mountains to Plains Project on 11/12/04.
  • Larimer County’s 1847 acres of the Chimney Hollow property closed on 11/18/04.
  • Update on development projects:  Fossil Creek Reservoir; Soderberg Trailhead; Inlet Bay Trail; Eagle’s Nest; Pleasant Valley Trail and Coyote Ridge Trailhead.  There will be a Soderberg trail volunteer project this Saturday.  K-Lynn and Viriginia Soderberg will be there putting in a flagstone wall using flagstone from the old courthouse.  The Inlet Bay project will be completed when trail signs are installed. Eagles Nest is finishing up the first phase including completion of the spring redevelopment and corrals and starting on the second with trail building.  The Coyote Ridge Trailhead is being expanded to allow for more horse trailer parking as part of the Rimrock Trail grant received in 2002.
  • The 2005 Open Lands calendar will be available the first week of December.
  • The Open Lands Holiday Party will be held on at Peter Kast’s home on 12/16/04.
  • Parks and Open Lands Activities for December – See handout

·  Duane Pond was elected President of the Parks & Open Lands Friends Group.  A Community Giving day is scheduled 1/13/05 at Whole Foods and a percent of the income for that day will be given to the Friends Group which will donate the dollars to the Soderberg Trailhead Development Project.

·  Kerri discussed a new event being planned for 3/18/05 that will feature an awards ceremony and silent auction fundraiser.  Small Grants Program awards will be distributed as will the new 2004 Annual Report.  Kerri will be working with Board members to donate professional services and to help raise items for the auction.  Bob and Duane both commented that this would be a great event to work with the Friends Group on.

·  February 8th , 2005 CCLT Policy Direction seminar, meet your legislator, clean up tax credit program, have tax credit for fee simple donation.

 

BOARD COMMENT

None

 

PRESENTATION

·  Bobcat Ridge Natural Area – Marks Sears, Fort Collins Natural Areas Manager and Rick Bachand, Senior Environmental Planner

Mark Sears introduced the property.  The City took over the Pulliam property (now known as Bobcat Ridge Natural Area) from Larimer County a little over a year ago to help with the project, and eventually took on the project completely.  The City will buy the entire 2,670-acre property in phases over next 5 years.  They closed last December on 700 acres and will close on the 2nd phase this December on an additional 600 acres.  The City hopes to open the natural area to the public by Spring 2006. 

 

Rick handed out Chapter 9 of the management plan that summarizes what management activities are starting to look like.  They have conducted some public tours this year and had about 130 people tour the property.  Rick oversaw an extensive inventory of plant and wildlife resources on the property.  For public access, they are looking at hiking, horseback riding, biking, hunting, backcountry camping, bouldering and possibly rock climbing.  They have had 2 public open houses with over 45 people attending.  They have presented the draft plan to their NRAB and will also present to the City's Parks Advisory Board.

 

Rick reviewed a summary of answers received on survey questions distributed during public tours.  122 of 125 wanted hiking as the main recreation at Bobcat Ridge, 51 preferred horses, 36 preferred biking, and 2 positive responses for hunting.  71% said they wanted separate trail uses rather than multi-use trails.  There will be 4-5 miles of trail in the valley and almost 5 miles up to the top of the property.  Mark D. asked if there would be forest access and Rick has said they are working on it with the USFS and they think they will be receptive.  Bob asked about the no-dog recommendation.  Rick said they don’t have enough staff to enforce a dog-on-leash policy at this large site.  Also, dogs off leash could disrupt cattle grazing, which is also being proposed.  Bouldering opportunities could be permitted in the Mahoney Park area.  They are considering opening up hunting for youth, disabled or special needs people .  Jerry asked if water was bought with the property.  Rick said no.  They would like to restore some areas to native grass, however there is a rare "grasshopper sparrow" living in the alfalfa so that will need to be considered.  Bob asked about patrol if they don’t plan to increase ranger staff.  Rick said they intend mounted patrol that can cover more ground, faster, but also they will have an on-site manager. 

 

ACTION:

·  Budget – 2004 Revised and 2005 new budget.  Board members reviewed handouts from last meeting about the 2004 and 2005 budget.  Bob asked about the Open Lands Management fund and if management costs are shared at Fossil Creek.  K-Lynn said no, we have had that discussion and there is no indication that Fort Collins is interested in sharing costs at this time.  It could be revisited in the future.  Bob confirmed that staff would continue to work on allocations for cost accounting on services that open lands pay for within the Parks & Open Lands Department.

Bob motioned to accept the revised 2004 and the  new 2005 budget as proposed.  Duane seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

DIRECTORS REPORT

Proposed Campground at Horsetooth Reservoir - The first public meeting on the proposed north campground at Horsetooth Reservoir was held.  Major concerns include an increase in trash, fire, crime and heavier traffic.  Gary is working on addressing those concerns.  Sue asked how much of a buffer there would be between the campground and the adjacent houses.  Gary said about ½ mile to ¼ mile from some houses, though only one house would actually see the campground because it sits directly above it.  The rest are screened by topography.

 

Carter Lake Marina – Gary will have the concession license to the Walbergers for review by December 1st.

 

Weeds – staff are taking steps to add tamarisk to the Larimer County noxious species list.

 

Discussion Items

·  More than a Popularity Contest – Education Program, 2004 Summary.  Ann Montoya, Education Coordinator, reviewed the enclosure included in the packet.  One interesting item was that naturalists do not always lead hikes on areas that are as requested by the public.  So, for example 46% of the planned hikes were lead at the Devil's Backbone, while 59% of special requests were made for that area.  Goals for next year include expanding more activities into the parks, such as organizing weekend campground entertainment, and also creating an education web page.  Bob had concerns about campground entertainment and the use of Open Lands Program funds.  He is concerned about the word “entertainment” as compared to education.  Kerri clarified that the Education Coordinator is a Department-wide position that is paid for through the various programs that use it, i.e the Parks Program funds and the Open Lands Program funds.  He also wants to know how we can get more than 1,000 people out to the properties.  Ann is continually seeking improved ways to design and market programs that will attract more visitors.  Kerri mentioned that Ann is working on getting volunteers on the ground faster to lead more programs.  Mark said you have to be careful to go slow and let it grow by itself, and not overmarket and overwhelm staff and start on the wrong foot. 

 

Sue commented that having a tear-off part of a brochure, similar to what Rich Bachand distribute for Bobcat Ridge, is a good way to get feedback.  Ann said she thought that was a good idea as well.

 

·  Open Lands Program Staff Retreat – Peter reviewed that program staff have been involved with the program for many more years than any Board member, and have a history with the processes that make the Open Lands Program work.  He said that as a Board member, it is natural to question those processes as they are handed to you, especially if you were not involved in the making of these documents.  Peter referred to the enclosure regarding results of the discussion of what staff could do to help the Board understand some of these things.  For example, every 3 years the Board will look at processes and policies to see if they need changed.  That way they have ownership in them, and they’ve looked at it, are aware of it and can adopt it as it is or make changes.

 

Goals for 2005 will involve subcommittees to look at these processes, as well as new Board member orientations being shorter but more frequent to allow the Board to review the material thoroughly.  Sue suggested a ½ hour before each meeting for the first year of their tenure.

 

Peter moved on to projects.  Staff needs to give a history of projects that have been ongoing, even though it might come to the Board piece by piece.  It would help the Board to know the history of how it came about before they vote on a project.  For example, Sylvan Dale donations are part of a longterm family financial plan.

 

Subcommittees – time commitment.  The Board indicated they would be willing to participate on subcommittees as time allows.  Subcommittees currently needed are:

Ø  Management Subcommittee - Ted, Bob

Ø  Acquisition Subcommittee - Bob, Bill, Peter

Ø  Board Orientation Subcommittee - Sue, Mark

 

Continuing education topics – i.e conservation easement education session should be held regularly throughout the year.

 

Bob asked what staff would like to see more of and less of from this Board that makes their job better, or interferes with their job.  K-Lynn said we need to make sure they believe in the staff and the programs and processes that make this program successful.  Also, Board members can also do things that staff can't do.  For example, request meetings with County Manager/BOCC in 1998 for the sales tax to be extended - even after they had decided not to pursue the extension at that time.  Staff does not want the Board to be a rubberstamp, we need active discussions.

 

Education sessions – Ideas for future Board education sessions included easement monitoring, acquisitions (how we find land), reports from RLUC, TNC, NCWCD Glade Reservoir, Boulder County or out of state/county land trust, LLT, and state of the open space - what's going on in the big picture of Northern Colorado.

 

·  Open Lands Finances: Continued discussion from October meeting

Ø  Longterm Management – Refer to "Projections for Management Fund" handout (new handout with yellow square on it).  Currently we are setting aside 30% of our revenue funds for management.  As things stand today, this is what our management fund looks like from now till the end of the tax in 2018 based on current assumptions.  In this scenario, starting in 2016 we are start to come up short of funds.  Look at the line on bottom “percent of annual sales tax projected”.  In 2009 we start going over the 30% allocation, but we are not short of funds till 2016.  This indicates the need to go back to the voters in 2007 or 2009. Ted asked if other recipients of sales tax dollars set aside funds for management.  K-Lynn said no one else is required to do so.  Brian said Loveland does set aside 15% for longterm management.

Ø  Next sheet is a new sheet for acquisition called "Cash Flow for Open Lands Acquisition and Development Fund for September updates as of October 19, 2004”.  Look at bottom of page 2 where it says “proposed developments”.  This lets us track future dollars for development in later years and allows us to commit dollars now.  Now we can see on the very bottom line (called “Annual available if prior year max. is spent”) that shows how much money is available for acquisition for the coming years.  You can see in 2008-11 that because we are putting more % in our management fund (as you saw in the last spreadsheet), then there are no dollars for acquisition.

 

·  Open Lands Program Memorial Policy – Kerri reviewed the proposed policy as drafted by the OLAB subcommittee that was included in the packet.  She handed out a revised policy that included language used by another County for the Board's consideration also.  The Board preferred the original wording because there are better ways to acknowledge those "above and beyond" contributions, such as through our Recognition Policy.     Some minor rewording of the original policy was suggested.  The Policy will come back to the Board in January for official adoption and signing. 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION: Duane moved to go into Executive Session.  The motion was seconded by Sue.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

The meeting was adjourned by a motion from Duane.  The motion was seconded by Sue and carried unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

 

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