MINUTES

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 , 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.,

Bison Visitor Center , 1800 S. County Road 31, Loveland, CO 80537

Text Box: The mission of the Larimer County Parks and Open Lands Department is to establish, protect, and manage significant regional parks and open lands, providing quality outdoor recreational opportunities and stewardship of natural resource values.  We are committed to fostering a sense of community and appreciation for the natural and agricultural heritage of Larimer County for present and future generations.

Please call Deb at 619-4567 if you are unable to attend a meeting.  Votes require a quorum.  Thanks!

 

Present:

    Board members:

    Mark DeGregorio

    Russell Fruits

    Frank Gillespie

    Linda Knowlton

    Barry Lewis, Vice Chair

    Chad LaChance

    Tom Miller

    Forrest Orswell

    Trudy Haines, OLAB liaison

 

Staff:

Gary Buffington, Director

Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager

Debra Wykoff, Business Operations Manager

Chris Fleming, Blue Mountain District Manager

Charlie Johnson, Land Agent

CJ Cullins, Volunteer Coordinator

 

Absent:

Frank Cada

Dave Coulson

Vickie Traxler  

 

The February 9, 2010, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Vice Chair Barry Lewis, at 5:30 p.m.  The minutes of the December 8, 2009, meeting were approved.

 

BOARD MEMBER REPORTS

  • The Board minutes which appear on the County website print with peculiar formatting. Deb will check with the webmaster to see whether this can be remedied.

 

  • Tom Miller reported that the Loveland Fishing Club and the department are co-sponsors of a Fishing is Fun grant for to build steps at Flatiron Reservoir to access the shore where the embankment is too steep to navigate safely.

 

  • Trudy Haines, OLAB liaison to this Board requests that the Board advise her of anything that should be taken or reported to the Open Lands Advisory Board.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Items not on the agenda - NONE

 

GENERAL INFORMATION: 

§  Natural Resource Events for January. See website http://www.larimer.org/naturalresources.

§   2010 Board meeting schedule has been emailed to all members.

§   2010 Board and staff contact info has also been emailed – please review and let us know of changes.

§   Gary appointed Kerri Rollins as the Interim Open Lands Manager. Kerri will be in this temporary position assignment through May 2010. At that time a number of factors will be evaluated and a decision will be made regarding the process of permanently filling the position.

  • Negotiations on Fossil Creek IGA between Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins are complete and the IGA is signed.  Effective 1/1/2010, Ft. Collins has assumed management responsibility at Fossil Creek.  We are occupying the building, doing patrol and paying utilities.  They are doing and funding maintenance and public events.

§   A $200,000 GOCO grant was awarded to Larimer County for a Colorado Youth Outdoors project at Swift Ponds for a fishing pier, restroom and outdoor classroom.  There will be no change in public access to the property.  Chad LaChance questioned the use of GOCO funds for a group that has denied use by some outside people or groups since they took control of the property.  Chad notes that previously any youth group was welcome, but many requests have been turned down since.  Tom Miller noted that the Girl Scouts were allowed access; and in his experience, CYO was always very accommodating.

§   Clearance for the Habitat Conservation Plan that involved 6 years of restoration/mediation work for Preble’s meadow jumping mouse was received from the USFWS at Eagle’s Nest Open Space!

§   The Artist of the Year reception for Diane Findley (the 2009 artist) was held January 15th in the Commissioners Lobby.  Her piece, The Poudre River, will be on display this year in the lobby (2nd floor of the County Office Building) and then permanently on display in one of the county buildings.

§   Linda Knowlton will serve on the committee to select the 2010 Artist of the Year.’

§   Gary reviewed top Open Lands projects for 2010 (see handout.)

§   Board members are invited to join Gary at The Ranch for an arena football game on February 18.  Deb will send out an email invite for people to respond to.

 

PRESENTATIONS

§   Volunteer Strategic Plan and the Outreach video on connecting visitors to the resources CJ Cullins, Volunteer Coordinator  (See handout – Volunteer Program Strategic Plan overview.)

§  Potential new locations for the Fort Collins Rowing Association facility – Several alternative locations have been identified, which would have to be approved by the BOR.  We have received some negative comments about the unsightliness of the container used to store the boats.  We would like to continue that partnership, and provide a location for them.

Board comments;
Mark DeGregorio:  Is there an opportunity to combine this with the Sail & Saddle club facility?

Linda Knowlton:  Cautions against creating another exclusive private use.  If it were included in the S&S Club facility, at least it would not create another exclusive use. 
Russell Fruits:  Would like to hear from the Club about the options they have identified and their perspective on it.

Tom:  Can’t we avoid giving such groups their own lots.  Why can’t this be accommodated at the Inlet Bay Marina, which is designed for boat storage?

Staff response:
Gary Buffington:  We like to have balance in our recreation opportunities.  We think we can promote this without creating new exclusive uses. 
Dan Rieves:  These boats are difficult to transport.

STANDING AGENDA ITEMS:

Park District updates and Parks Master Plan implementation progress report –Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager

§  Blue Mountain District Ranger, Cindy Claggett, has been re-assigned from Carter Lake to open the Estes Park campgrounds.

§  Maintenance Supervisor, Rick Goltz, will oversee maintenance for the entire park district.

§  8 weddings and several events have already been booked for the year at Hermit Park.

§  Seasonal hiring has begun.  Both park districts will have mostly new staff this year.

§  The Sr. Ranger selection process is almost complete. [Note:  Fred Quarterone, recently retired from the Colorado Division of Wildlife, was hired to fill the position.]

§  The new campground reservation system includes a pilot program in the Estes area for a new online networked point of sale system.

§  New vault toilets at the cabins at Hermit Park are going out to bid. 

§  The South Bay swim beach project involves a new access road with day use areas on the waterfront.  New facilities will include a new group use pavilion with a flush restroom, changing rooms, outdoor showers, and volleyball courts.  The beach grade has been reduced from 12 to 8%.

§  The group use facility at S. Bay has been removed and donated to Colorado Youth Outdoors. 

§  A study impact on permit sales of the Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) inspection program found no impact on boating preferences.

§  ANS inspections begin on 4/1.

§  At a state-wide stakeholders meeting on ANS, we requested that the state handbook be implemented consistently at all boating locations.  State Parks has deviated from the protocol, while we have adhered to it.  The Division of Wildlife insists that the protocol be strictly followed; State Parks refuses.  It is now a state issue.  The use of drop boxes, which State Parks implemented last year at Boyd Lake, would be much more convenient for us as well.

§  Jim Hawkins was the Larimer County Employee of the Month for his role as coordinator of the ANS inspection program.

§  The Visitor Services Program relationship with the Sheriff’s Department is excellent.

§  Monthly meetings with the Bureau of Reclamation on water levels help to facilitate scheduling of water deliveries to accommodate recreation.  We expect to be full by spring.

§  Eagle Campground camper services building will be funded by BOR ADA funding and a $200,000 GOCO grant has been applied for.  The Board approved a letter of support for the grant.




Board comment and staff response:

§  Russell Fruits:  What about the tax increase for lodging in Loveland – what impact?  Rich Harter is on the commission appointed to attract more visitation to Loveland.  Loveland is showcasing the natural beauty of Loveland, including the Devils Backbone.

§  Dan:  We have never paid any kind of lodging tax for camping.  Nowhere in Colorado does a government agency pay lodging tax on campsites.

 

DIRECTOR’S REPORT                

Gary highlighted two articles of interest:

·   Chad LaChance reported that 2009 was the first year since the 1970’s that fishing license sales are significantly up.

 

·   Federal Stimulus funding totaling $600,000 was used to build the underpass for River Bluffs Open Space trail connection.

 

·   2009 revenue summary shows revenues up over 2008.  Revenue maximization is critical.  In the future, Gary anticipates that the department’s General Fund allocation may shrink in the next few years as County budgets grow tighter.  The new Estes park campgrounds represent another revenue generation opportunity.

 

·   Hermit Park revenues were up $80,000 in 2009.

 

·   Gary reviewed the Master Plan Priority One projects.  Construction started in 2008; 6 of the top 10 priority projects have already been completed, as well as 3 Priority 2 projects (the Carter Lake Marina and the two Horsetooth swim beach projects.)

 

·   Funding for the projects comes from:

$2 million BOR funding for ADA projects

$1 million Lottery

$1 million GOCO grants

$1.2 million loan from Solid Waste

 

·   That’s $5.5 million invested in new infrastructure, of which this Board can be proud.  Gary hopes that by year 5 of the Master Plan, most of the priority projects will be complete.


Board comments:

·   Barry Lewis and Linda Knowlton requested a written update by project.

 

·   Russell Fruits:  He heard the issue of the loan discussed at the political caucus for the recent County Commissioner selection process, with a misunderstanding about what had occurred.

 


ACTION ITEMS:

 Big Thompson Canyon:  Hayden Subdivision contracts for sale – Charlie Johnson

  • See handout, listing lots and prices, for a total of $33,087.  We have retained the river corridor, with a fence line between the public and private property.  The board had numerous questions about the access to the river from the bridge, which Charlie clarified. 

Russell Fruits made, and Linda Knowlton seconded, a motion that the Board recommend to the County Commissioners approval of these sales.  The motion passed, with seven in favor and one abstention.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 


Commercial use of lands owned or managed by the Department of Natural Resources – Gary Buffington, Director

  • Gary reviewed concession revenues for 2009.  The final draft of a new Concession Management Policy was distributed.  Gary requested a recommendation to the Commissioners for approval of the policy only.  The Concession Management procedure manual will come to the Board later.

    Board comment:
  • Chad LaChance:  How often and why are concession applications denied?

  • Mark Degregorio:  What is the involvement of the BOR in concession management? 

  • Tom Miller:  Questioned whether BOR concession guidelines should be or shall be complied with – if it says should, it opens the door to exclusive uses.  He also commented on apparent rogue operations by the same boat operators with different loads of people twice a day.

    Staff response:
  • Dan Rieves gave some examples, based on insufficient business plans, inability to meet insurance requirements, etc.  We also look at the services already provided and what consider whether there is an unmet demand for the service.  Scuba companies no longer use our lakes because they must obtain a short term concession license instead of paying a $50 flat fee.

 

Linda Knowlton made, and Russell Fruits seconded, a motion that the Board recommend approval of Chapter one of the concession procedure manual (the policy only.)  Motion approved.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 


EXECUTIVE SESSION

Russ Fruits moved that the Board enter into executive session, pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(a), for discussion pertaining to the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of any real or personal property interest.  Motion approved.  The Board entered executive session at 8:20 p.m.  On a motion by Russ Fruits, the board came out of executive session at 9:05 p.m.

 


Respectfully submitted,

 

Debra Wykoff

 

APPROVED:

 

 

_______________________________________________

Barry Lewis, Vice Chair

 

FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:

  • Marina concession @ Carter Lake
  • Commercial Use of DNR Lands – Concession Management procedure manual

 

Next regular meeting:  March 9, 2010, Boyd Lake Room, Larimer County Courthouse Office Building, 200 West Oak, Fort Collins, CO.