Tuesday, October 14, 2008
, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.,
, 1800 S. County Road 31, Loveland, CO 80537
Advisory Board Members:
Linda Knowlton, Chair
All Park District ranger staff
Randy Eubanks, County Commissioner
Barry Lewis, Vice Chair
The October 14, 2008, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was
called to order by Chair Linda Knowlton at 5:35 p.m. The minutes of the September 9, 2008, meeting were approved.
COMMENT: Items not on the agenda – NONE
GENERAL INFORMATION: (Questions – 5 min.)
Hermit Park Inaugural on September 13 was a beautiful day and a great
success. Thanks to Hermit Park Manager, Chris Fleming, as well as many
other staff members, for much hard work putting the event together.
- The 9th
Annual COSA conference was held in Estes Park on September 15 – 17. The
sessions, keynote speakers and field trips were worthwhile. Thanks to
Kerri Rollins, JustinScharton and Windy Kelley for their work on this
event. Bill Newman (OLAB), Jean Carpenter (OLAB), Sue Sparling (OLAB) and
Mark DeGregorio (PAB) all attended portions of the conference.
- The Northern Colorado
Birding Fair at Fossil Creek Regional Open Space on September 27, 2008, was again well-attended by an enthusiastic crowd of over 500. Thanks to
Education Coordinator, Rob Novak; Fossil Creek Manager, Travis Rollins;
and many other staff for putting on another great event!
November 12-14, 2008
: Peter Forbes of the Center for Whole Communities will be
conducting a Whole Measures Work Shop at the Primrose Studio. A diverse group
of 25 will explore the question of how open space can better respond to
community needs. Gary, K-Lynn Cameron, Kerri Rollins, and OLAB Chair, Nancy
Wallace, will be attending.
Volunteer Program Strategic Plan – Linda
Knowlton and Tom Miller will serve on the project team for the new Volunteer
Program Strategic Plan. The first meeting was a facilitated session on
- Applications are available
now for the Small Grants Program and are due Friday, November 21, 2008. Grants will be awarded in March/April 2009. Grant
selection criteria, application, and other
information about the Small Grants Program can be found on the County
website at: http://www.larimer.org/parks/openlands/smallgrants.htm.
Grant applicants are encouraged to
read through the selection criteria and to contact the Small Grants
Coordinator, Sue Burke, if they have questions.
The annual Parks
Advisory Board Appreciation event will be on December 17, for the Eagles vs.
Oklahoma City Blazers hockey game. The County suite will accommodate only 16
people. After all Board members have RSVPed, we’ll decide whether guests may
guide the level of facility development on open space areas: Update to planning
process – Open Lands
Program Manager, K-Lynn Cameron.
The department developed several specific
processes to be accountable to the public for open space funding, one of which is
the Management Planning Process, adopted in 2001. K-Lynn reviewed the steps in
that process. (See flowchart.)
The change now proposed is to expand our
evaluation to include information on infrastructure such as proximity to water,
sewer, power, etc., and projected development costs.
The second proposed change requires more
specifically addressing the level of service, facility, and infrastructure
development which is appropriate at a particular area.
Many properties now being developed are
close to town, where expectations are much higher for the level of service that
will be provided.
It is important to document the original
purpose of the acquisition. In the future, people may want a higher level of
service, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate.
Do we have a portfolio of different type
of opportunities which we want to provide, and for which we acquire specific
properties, or are our acquisitions more opportunistic re whatever comes up?
(Combination of both.) What about Hermit Park? (It was an unforeseen
When the public becomes involved in the
process, what they want may differ from the desired uses and values identified
during the acquisition scoping process.
Continuity of service between areas may
demand a certain level of service – e.g., City of Ft. Collins trail standards
when our trail joins with theirs.
Draft Educational Plan for
Natural Resources – Rob Novak,
Education Program Coordinator
There were no comments from the Board on the final draft
of the plan.
Cada made, and Rob Harris seconded, a motion that the Educational Plan for
Natural Resources be recommended for adoption. The motion passed.
November meeting date
– Gary Buffington
November meeting date of this Board falls on November 11, when Larimer County offices are closed in observance of Veterans’ Day.
meeting date will be moved to November 18.
will be public participation at that meeting, so the date change must be
is not available at the Courthouse due to tax sales, so the November
meeting will be at the Bison Visitor Center.
Ranger Program overview
– Presented by Park Managers Dan Rieves and Mark
Caughlan, and ranger staff Dillon Kirby, Cindy Claggett, Christine Fleming,
Travis Rollins, Matt Kuehl, Steve Gibson, Jim Hawkins, Will Talbott, Vic
Wilcox, and Charlie Gindler. Each ranger introduced themselves with a brief
synopsis of their training and experience.
Introduction – Dan Rieves
reason the department has a ranger program is to preserve and protect the
natural resources entrusted to the department. Program priorities include
safety, resource protection, visitor resource, regulation enforcement and
program administration. The manager’s number one responsibility is to
provide the training staff needs to be safe in the job.
have high expectations of our officers. This is a team-driven organization.
job doesn’t pay highly, but “you take your pay in sunsets.” This is a
service-oriented job. “Stopping in the middle of the road to gaze in awe
is not a felony – it’s what we’re here for!” Rangers are encouraged to
learn as much as they can about the natural resources.
is a way of life, not just a job. Rangers are trained in many different
disciplines. Their roles include regulation and law enforcement;
emergency medical services, search & rescue, wild land fire,
collection of fees, visitor management; back country management; reservoir
management; education and interpretation; resource stewardship.
enforcement is not an end in itself. If a violator can be brought around
by education, the contact has been a success.
challenges will include:
Specialization of rangers (ours
are generalists, who can fill in anywhere.)
Image and mission
Greening of the agency – we need
to be more conscious of our image and impact
Preparing a new generation of
Maintaining relevancy (No Child
Left Behind…Last Child in the Woods) and
History – Mark Caughlan
history of our ranger program follows the development of the department.
Big Thompson Water Project construction began in 1938; Horsetooth
construction began in 1940.
Collins and Tuck Howell started the department. The Larimer County
Recreation Board was established in 1954 – it was a volunteer board
without a budget.
reservoirs opened to the public in1954; the first park workers were hired
were no campgrounds, or boat ramps – people could park and camp anywhere.
of boat docks and campsites began in the mid-70’s.
full-time ranger was hired in 1988
began writing citations in the 80’s.
28 and Lottery funding became available.
Volunteer Program started in 1998.
the 2000’s, there were 14 fulltime rangers and 40 seasonal rangers.
The Ranger Code of Ethics – Read by Blue Mountain
Seasonal Ranger, Dillon Kirby
Recruitment and Hiring – Blue Mountain Ranger, Cindy
department has 2-4 commissioned officers; 20-40 seasonal unarmed rangers
who enforce only park regulations; 11 full-time commissioned officers; and
3 full time unarmed rangers.
assignments and locations change with the seasons. Our rangers share
combined natural resource experience of over 100 years. All of our
fulltime rangers began in seasonal positions and moved up through the
the past few years, we have been converting seasonal staffing budgets to
regular, fulltime, permanent staffing. This means a reduction in seasonal
department recruits heavily from CSU at career fairs, working closely with
the Dept. of Natural Resources at CSU on internships. We also recruit key
people from among our seasonal staff. The competition is keen, given the
large number of park agencies in the state. Seasonal positions provide a
stepping stone to many types of careers in EMS, firefighting, rangering,
educational pendulum has shifted over the past 20 years – as the ‘boomers’
retire, many opportunities are becoming available for a much smaller pool
Training Officer (FTO) training follows in the field, and lasts from 2
weeks to 2 months. There are 4 phases from observing to handling
Training, Education and Certification – Hermit Park
Manager, Chris Fleming
reviewed training, education and certification requirements for fulltime
rangers and commissioned officers.
training available to staff includes DUI/BUI enforcement; ice rescue; red
card; EMT; boat academy; boat accident investigation; verbal judo; etc.
The latter is the skill of handling situations by de-escalating through
Board members expressed interest in attending the Verbal Judo
have in-house instructors in several specialties.
The Ranger Corp Concept – Blue Mountain Open Space
Manager, Travis Rollins
rangers train as a team, whatever their specific assignments.
Unity and Image are emphasized as key values for the program.
Diversity of Activities & Challenges – Horsetooth
Ranger, Matt Kuehl
Situations faced by rangers in our park areas run the
gamut from assisting visitors, to making arrests and high risk stops, to talking
to fisherman, to fixing fence and moving cattle on open space areas.
Methods of Patrol – Blue Mountain Open Space Ranger,
of patrol include trucks, boats, bikes, horses and on foot.
department’s objective is to be identifiable to the public as county
rangers, and to be known for our professionalism.
program uses the strengths of each person on the team, e.g., boating
skill, mountain biking, emergency services, etc.
of new park or open space areas does not necessarily result in a staffing
Partnerships – Blue Mountain Open Space Ranger, Jacob
department is involved in many partnerships, from joint trainings, to tree
plantings with volunteers, controlled burns, the Colorado Open Space Alliance,
Boat Patrol and Boating Safety Programs – Blue
Mountain Ranger, Jim Hawkins
primary areas of concentration include:
Distributing information to the public,
Public education through safety fairs, individual
contacts and safety inspections on the boat ramps;
Enforcement of BUI statutes and safety regulations.
addition, boat rangers are trained to handle accidents, rescues and
goal of our program is to become the first agency to achieve a zero boat
accident rate on our reservoirs. We’ve come close (only one accident in
rangers work shifts from 8 am to midnight.
Field Operations and Statistics – Horsetooth Ranger,
the past year, our rangers have issued 1,249 citations for violations of
park regulations, based on 2.5 million visitor days. These included 95
citations for possession of drugs; 77 minors in possession; 132 fishing
license violations; 94 swimming in on-designated areas or cliff diving;
133 for safety equipment violations; 41 for children without PFD’s; 35 for
waterskiing without an observer; 24 for pets off-leash;.
the past year, rangers also issued 3319 windshield tickets, mostly for no
park permit. This is a $20 fee.
officers have a 2008 case load of 66 cases involving crimes and offenses,
including no driver’s license, domestic violence, 8 DUI and 4 BUI. The
latter two are down, which we hope represents the impact of education and
enforcement. There is a long list of other offenses which have been
Emergency Services – Blue Mountain Ranger, Vic Wilcox
rangers are often the first responder to medical situations in our park
rangers have basic first aid and CPR training. All full-time rangers are
also have several career EMT’s and firefighters on staff.
rangers also may respond to traffic accidents in the general area.
rangers are trained every year in helicopter response.
expectations of rangers in medical situations is high – rangers are
expected to effectively help them.
the 2008 season, we responded to numerous medical calls, including trauma,
heart attacks, etc.
the past few weeks, rangers have responded to a child bitten by a rabid
bat, a fatal heart attack, and a car accident. Another unusual situation
involved a helicopter crash during a forest fire.
has generously provided much of the medical equipment used in our parks.
The Ranger Legacy – Laramie Foothills Open Space
Manager, Charlie Gindler
first national park rangers rode out into the wilderness 100 years ago –
they were strong characters, and their job involved every aspect of land
stewardship. Over time, the skills and abilities required of a ranger have
continued to increase and expand.
of the more unique aspects of our ranger program include:
Managing agricultural leases for grazing and farming,
Working with ranchers,
Construction of range facilities like spring
Fencing to control livestock,
Administering hunting leases,
Monitoring and collecting data for CSU and CDOW for
wildlife, fisheries, geology, paleontology and forestry.
Stream bed restoration and erosion control projects
Conservation easement monitoring.
Interpretative programs like eagle watching and CSI -
Critter Scene Investigations.
duties of the modern ranger include:
management plan development,
public outreach at festivals
encountered by rangers include rattlesnakes, tornadoes, floods, heat,
cold, hostile visitors and injuries far from help.
staff represent a wide range of experience and strengths. A few examples:
Ranger Dillon Kirby, a local boy who returned after his military service,
talked about his experience first as an unarmed seasonal ranger, then as a
certified law enforcement ranger for the department.
Fleming, Hermit Park Manager, was formerly the Sr. Ranger for the Blue
Mtn. District. She is responsible for the seasonal training program which
involves 60 hours of classroom and interactive training, with 20
instructors from more than 10 agencies, covering 32 topics.
Gibson did two tours in the Persian Gulf with the Navy before going to
CSU. While there, he worked construction, fought fires, worked as a
seasonal ranger. This agency has provided great support and training,
which is very important. Steve was the first ranger for whom the County
paid for Police Academy training. The cost of sending an employee through
the Academy totals close to $10,000 ($3000/student plus transportation,
equipment, and wages.) Steve is under contract to the department for a
period of years in return for his training.
Jim Hawkins is a native of
Loveland who worked for the department for six years in seasonal
positions. His degree is from UNC; he also has two years’ experience with
local fire departments before joining the department.
- Will Talbot, Horsetooth District
ranger, had a 20-year career in retail management before becoming a park
ranger. He had always dreamed of being a ranger, so he finished his
degree at CSU and worked seasonally and completed police academy.
- Vic Wilcox has been with
the department for 12 years, following many years as a career
firefighter. Vic has been an EMT for 30 years.
Gindler, Laramie Foothills Open Space Manager, manages 15,000 acres in the
north county. Charlie grew up on a ranch on Horsetooth Reservoir, and worked
for several Federal agencies, all over the west, including Hawaii. He has
been with the department in various positions for 10 years.
Park District updates and Parks Master Plan Implementation
Progress report –Park District Managers, Mark
Caughlan and Dan Rieves
Shower house bids will be going
out on October 15.
Campsite plans are almost
finished; construction should begin by the first of the year.
It’s been a busy fall with good
weather and high visitation through September and October.
Concessionaire inspections and
ADA audits with the BOR have been completed.
End of season campground closings
visitation continues to increase.
Water predictions for next year:
Expected to be higher than recent past at Carter; Granby is almost full, which
looks good for our reservoirs next year.
Quagga mussels have been found in
Granby, but little is known about their lifecycle at high elevation. More
information on the impacts to our reservoirs may be available in the spring.
Monthly update to the Board – Natural
Resources Director, Gary Buffington
pointed out the display posters of the departments in the Public
Works Division, and the Annual Report, which has just come out. The annual
report is required by the open space sales tax language, but is also a good
marketing tool for the department.
Gary distributed the current Concession
Policy for review.
Reported on problems with rangers during the 2008 season:
A ranger spotlighting
with flashlight inside a camper’s tent during a 50th birthday party
– the park visitor was so offended that she will never return.
At a Sail Club race,
when rangers were checking permits on windshields of vehicles parked along the
road, the rangers were looking into the back seats and rear of SUVs.
Should have a
provisional permit for people who have other annual permits to bring up a
different vehicle to get their boat out of the water without having to pay for
another permit – Rangers gave a guy a ticket on a pick-up parked overnight at
the boat ramp while he slept on his boat.
about restroom conditions, lack of power, etc.
There is a one day permit available to address
the need described in “c” above. This appears sufficient to meet the need.
The boat owner who left his truck
overnight would have been covered by the one day permit, which is good until
noon the day after it is purchased.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
Implementation update on Hermit Park Management Plan –
Chris Fleming, Hermit Park Manager
Big Thompson Properties – Proposed plan for Drake area
parcels – Charlie Johnson, Land Agent,
Charlie will present the results of
the surveys done on these properties, and identify those parcels which are
proposed for retention and for sale.
To be scheduled:
regular meeting: November 18, 2008, Bison Visitor Center, 1800 SCR 31,