Tuesday, February 12, 2008, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Boyd Lake Room, Larimer County Courthouse Office Building
Linda Knowlton, Chair
Barry Lewis, Vice Chair
Sue Sparling (OLAB liaison)
The February 12, 2008, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Linda Knowlton, Chair, at 5:30 p.m. The minutes of the meeting on January 8, 2008, were approved.
PUBLIC COMMENT: Items not on the agenda – None
· Larimer County received a $695,000 GOCO Legacy grant for Horsetooth Reservoir Park Improvements: Larimer County’s proposal was ranked #1 in the state and received full funding!
· Mountain Pine Beetle work session with the Board of County Commissioners is scheduled on February 25, 2008, 10:00 AM.
· The Coloradoan is featuring weekly city and county columns for 2008 on various “green” topics written primarily by Larimer County Natural Resources and Solid Waste staff and City staff. Look for these columns and faces you know in the Local and Regional sections on Fridays and Sundays!
· Chad LaChance and Dave Coulson have a new column in the Coloradoan, which ran for the first time on Sunday. The column will focus on fishing topics.
· The Devil's Backbone trail head is being redesigned to create more vehicle spaces with the opening of the Blue Sky trail. The horse trailer lot is being moved to the south and vehicle parking is being expanded to the west. Improvements are expected to be completed in February and there will be 60 vehicle parking and 5 horse trailer/bus parking spaces.
· Larimer County and the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts are sponsoring a conference entitled New Era of Conservation 2008 in Denver at the Natural History Museum on February 26 and 27, 2008. Governor Ritter is the keynote speaker. Contact Kerri Rollins, at 679-4577, if you are interested in attending.
· Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) – OLAB is forming a subcommittee to review the EIS for discussion and recommendation by OLAB to the Commissioners.
· The Open Lands Advisory Board (OLAB) will meet at the Loveland Library Multi-Purpose Room on February 28, 2008, at 5:00 p.m.
· Parks and Open Lands events for February. See handout.
· Two parcels on Hummingbird Lane in the Big Thompson Canyon have been sold with approval of the Board of County Commissioners. None of these were fishing access parcels which have been identified by the Loveland Fishing Club and others. Gary Buffington and Charlie Johnson met with Canyon residents on February 11, and shared information about the project. They also got information from the residents about which parcels they are interested in acquiring. Gary asked Parks Advisory Board members to help get the right information out there to the public. Staff will be preparing a press release with accurate information; Chad LaChance said that it will be posted on FishExplorer.com.
BOARD COMMENT: Items not on the agenda
· Tom Miller and Dorina Rue reported that the Friends group will meet at the Loveland Art Museum on ____.
· Three membership levels have been established, with increasing levels of benefits, including an annual park permit. Deb was requested to send out that information to the Board.
Tom Miller solicited
donated items and services for the next silent auction sponsored by the Friends
to benefit Hermit Park.
· Natural Resources
Education plans for each park and open space area will address all niches which apply to that area. In addition to our existing programs (Volunteer Naturalists and Ranger Assistants,) several new programs have been proposed:
· Jr. Ranger program
· Art in the Parks
· “How To” program to teach recreation and safety skills, and a
· Ranger-Naturalist Program, where our park rangers fill the role of naturalist/educator.
Hermit Park Opening Day proposal
Hermit Park Manager, Chris Fleming, reviewed plans for the 2008 opening of Hermit Park:
· Opening Day is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, with the first weekend of June as the fall-back date.
· Campground 1 will be fully open with 29 existing sites; Campground 3 will also be open with 8 sites. Group camping reservations will be open with 6 existing sites. Campgrounds 1, 3, and 5 will be closed during the off season. Campgrounds 2 and 4 will be closed for renovations.
· All 15 cabins will be open 7 days a week.
· The group use area is open to reservations for a maximum group size of 300. Ten sites in Campground 2 will be available for reservation for groups using the facility.
· Day use will be permitted from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., year-round as road conditions allow.
· Prior to setting prices for these facilities, staff surveyed prices charged by private venues in the area, to ensure that the County is not undercutting private enterprise. Based on that data, the proposed price structure will be $6.00 for day passes and $20 per night for campsites. Cabins will rent for $80 to $100 per night, with a 2-night minimum stay on weekends and 3 nights on holidays. Group use fees will be negotiated through the Special Event process used by the department.
· Improvements are planned for 2008 as required to facilitate public access this year, and to meet legal requirements for expanded public (versus limited private) access. Future improvements will focus on revenue-producing amenities such as improved campsites, camper services buildings, etc.
· The Hermit Park experience is considered to be worth at least $5 more per night than our reservoir campgrounds; and cabins will be priced $30 higher than the reservoirs. Prices will increase as amenities are in place.
· Will the public be able to make reservations online? (Yes.)
· Will there be a preference for Larimer County residents? (Various options are under consideration, but no plan has been embraced by staff yet. Issues related to ease of administration must be addressed.)
· How frequently will fees increase? (Fees usually increase only every several years, and will be tied to improved facilities and amenities on the ground.)
Blue Mountain District Manager, Dan Rieves, reported that
the old pink marina building was demolished this morning. Dan displayed
architect’s sketches of the new marina building and floor plan.
Open Lands Program Manager, K-Lynn Cameron, presented a flowchart illustrating the process established for Parks Advisory Board and Open Lands Advisory Board review of management plans. The flowchart also provides for ongoing review of management issues or proposed activities. Such matters are reviewed in comparison to the management plan for the area – first by the department’s Resource Stewardship Team; then by the Leadership Team.
When appropriate, e.g., if controversial or of particular interest or concern to the public, the issue will be referred to the appropriate Board(s.) The Board(s) may hear input from the people requesting an activity, or raising a management issue. The Board(s) will make a recommendation to staff and/or the County Commissioners, as appropriate. Examples of recent topics which may be referred to the Board(s) include: Geocaching, and disk golf.
Staff has the first look and develops information and recommendation to be shared with the Boards, if/when that becomes appropriate. That allows the Boards to have the benefit of background information compiled by staff, and the staff recommendation when considering an issue.
A motion was made by Chad LaChance, and seconded by Rob Harris, that the Parks Advisory Board support the Visitor/Resource Management Issues Review Process. The motion passed on voice vote.
Capital Improvement Projects – 2008 Parks Capital Improvement Projects Budget Overview
Deb Wykoff, Administrative Services Manager, presented the 2008 Construction Schedule for capital improvements in the park districts. Gary Buffington noted that nearly 100% of the Priority 1 projects from the Parks Master Plan and the Reservoir Resource Management Plan will be completed over the next 3 years, thanks to large grant awards from GOCO and the Bureau of Reclamation. The $695,000 GOCO grant will fund 50% of projects at Horsetooth Reservoir. $1.2 million in federal matching funds for improvements required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will fund 50% of the ADA component of all reservoir projects.
Three of the GOCO/ADA funded projects will be completed at Horsetooth in 2008:
· South Bay camper services building
· South Bay campground expansion and improvement
· Blue Sky Trail-head at the former Field of Dreams at Inlet Bay
Two big projects are already underway in the Blue Mountain District, both scheduled to be completed for the beginning of the recreation season:
· Carter Lake Marina, with all new facilities, access road and parking
· Hermit Park improvements
STANDING AGENDA ITEMS:
Park District Managers, Mark Caughlan and Dan Rieves, reported:
· The bid for the Horsetooth camper services buildings (showers) went out today. He expects the South Bay building to be done by July 31.
· Centennial Bass Club is taking the 248 tree stumps removed for the new Carter Lake Marina access road and placing them in the reservoir for fish habitat at the north end of the reservoir. Connell Resources donated the use of some equipment to assist with that project. The stumps are cabled down to prevent “float-up.”
· Seasonal job announcements are posted.
· The tower at Dam 1 in Carter Lake is an impressive sight. Water is scheduled to begin coming in around March 1. Dan recommends that the Board take a drive up to the lake to see it in this historic low-water condition.
· The annual meeting with the Carter Lake Sail Club went well, reflecting the mutual commitment of the Club and the department to strengthening our joint efforts for the benefit of the public.
· Carter Lake will be at 50-60% of capacity in 2008 – which is normally a late July level. “The reservoir will be half full – not half empty!” Dan observed.
· The joint PAB and OLAB Bylaws Committee will be meeting soon, and may have a draft version for review at the March meeting.
· Kathy Palmeri has resigned from the Board. Gary will be working with the Commissioners to replace her. Mark Caughlan noted that Kathy filled a good niche as a recreation facility owner near Hermit Park – it would be good to find someone with similar strengths in the Estes Park area.
Gary Buffington reported that it was a difficult decision for the Open Lands Advisory Board (OLAB,) because it means giving up $2 million over the next 10 years which could go toward open space acquisition. K-Lynn noted that Chair Nancy Wallace was reluctant to take a vote; she preferred to share with the Commissioners the thoughts and concerns of the OLAB members rather than making a recommendation. OLAB liaison Sue Sparling noted that there was a lot of ambivalence, with strong feelings both in favor and opposed.
However, a vote was taken, and the transfer was approved by a vote of 6-3, with the dissenters expressing concern about spending open space sales tax dollars this way and setting a precedent. The OLAB minutes, with the notes of that discussion, have been emailed to PAB members.
Horsetooth Mountain is really the County’s very first open space area, and has always been managed as such, following its purchase by the County with a voter-initiated one-year sales tax, many years before the open space sales tax was passed. OLAB recommended that it be named Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Gary will be taking this to the Commissioners in March.
The Ft. Collins Disk Golf Club gave a presentation to the Board in September, and subsequently submitted a list of potential locations in County park and open space areas. Staff studied the issue, and prepared the recommendation which was sent out to Board members. The staff recommendation is:
a) none of the proposed locations is appropriate, for the reasons stated in the report; and
b) at the present time, there is no place in the areas managed by the department where a disk golf course would be compatible.
Gary Buffington noted that this sport is more compatible with the type of facilities found in city parks. However, staff will keep this in mind for future land management opportunities where this activity might be appropriate. Dan Rieves stated that now the concept is on the radar screen, thanks to the Club – before, we were largely unaware of the sport, and had not considered how it might fit within the department’s mission.
Dan suggests that other possibilities might be considered, such as an off-season course in campgrounds. However, he is uncomfortable with the forcing of a use into an area where it doesn’t really fit.
· Chair Linda Knowlton noted on behalf of the Board that they were very impressed with the Club’s presentation, and thanked them for bringing the proposal to the department.
· What were the concerns on the west side of Carter Lake? (Resource impact with people off-trails.)
· The terrain on the west side is like “pants on a billy goat – tough!”
· It would have helped to have had a map to understand where these locations are.
· What about the old sport cycle park location? (If the archery range concept is not pursued, then disk golf could be considered – although the site is a bit small – only 10 acres.)
· Who would use the facility – the general public or a private club? (Open to the general public.)
· What is the willingness to pay among sport enthusiasts? (Response by Rich Knowles: There is tremendous willingness to pay if it is a championship level course. If it is recreational level course like Edora Park, people will probably not be willing to pay.)
· Would a reservation system be needed? (Response by Rich Knowles: Disk golf is usually a very casual “drop-in” atmosphere – if it became extremely popular, it might be necessary to manage time slots.)
· What about tournaments – how would that be managed? (The course would have to be reserved through our Special Events process.)
· One Board member was at Edora Park last weekend, and it was jammed – packed with people. Were there any other sites considered?
· If the County does it, it would need to be a championship quality course, or it won’t be worth it.
· Is disk golf incompatible with the mission of our lands? It is a new use, but not necessarily incompatible.
Rich Knowles, Fort Collins Disk Golf Club: Thanked the Board and staff for the serious consideration given to the proposal. He introduced K.C. Terry, a club member who compiled the list of potential locations. Rich asked whether the department and the Board view such a course as incompatible with uses for our park areas? Is it too late to be included in the Master Plan? Can other possibilities be considered other than those stated in the Plan? Can a staff member work with the Club to narrow the focus to lands which might be appropriate?
· The department needs to first address options stated in the Master Plan, but then could consider other compatible uses and/or the Master Plan may be amended.
· Staff lacks the time to commit to another project right now; but will bear it in mind in the future.
· Has the Club approached city parks departments? (Response by Rich Knowles: Yes – Craig Foreman has recognized the demand, and is looking for an appropriate site. However, at the moment, Ft. Collins doesn’t have any land available.)
· What happened to the CSU course? (Response by Rich Knowles: It was squeezed out by growing demands for other uses of the space.)
FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
March 11, 2008:
Presentation by Lori Smith, Sr. Accountant – Overview of DNR Cost Accounting
The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Approved: ____________________________ ______________________
Chair, Parks Advisory Board (Date)
Next regular meeting: March 11, 2008, at the Bison Visitor Center, 1800 SCR 31, Loveland, CO