Tuesday, March 13, 2012 , 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.,
Bison Visitor Center , 1800 S. County Road 31, Loveland, CO 80537
Please call Deb at 619-4567 if you are unable to attend this meeting. Votes require a quorum. Thanks!
Steve Johnson, Commissioner
The March 13, 2012, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Chair Russ Fruits at 5:36 p.m. The minutes of the January 10, 2012, meeting were approved.
BOARD MEMBER REPORTS
– if any
5:40 PUBLIC COMMENT: Items not on the agenda
5:45 GENERAL INFORMATION: (Questions – 5 min.)
§ Natural Resource Events for this month: See website http://www.larimer.org/naturalresources.
Larimer County Thistle Guide: A report from the Weed District – Casey Cisneros, Weed Specialist
Board and staff comments:
Linda Knowlton: Asked Casey to talk about yellow star thistle.
Casey: In Larimer County, we have less than 2 acres, in the south corner of the County.
Frank Cada: Asked about knapweed. Have they worked with the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers?
Casey: Yes – they work together a lot. If Frank will provide a
number of guides needed by the group, Casey will provide.
Overview of the Education and Volunteer Programs for 2011 – Rob Novak, Outreach and Education Specialist, CJ Cullins, Volunteer Coordinator, and Heather Young, Education Program Assistant
Board and staff comments:
Rob Harris: Do we charge for the survival clinics? [Free to public, like all other programs.]
CJ: Staff loves the chance to interact at this level.
Frank Gillespie: What’s the age of Tiny Trekkers, and focus of the interpretation?
Heather: Focuses on a natural resource idea – read a book, do a craft, e.g., about prairie dogs, for preschool age children.
Frank Gillespie: The curriculum for 4th graders doesn’t work for 2d graders, he’s learned, so he’s glad to hear the curriculum is tailored to the audience.
CJ: Doing volunteer equestrian training in May with Poudre Wilderness Volunteers.
Plug in to Nature: Study Results – Rob Novak, Community Relations Specialist
Comments by Board and staff:
Russ Fruits: With 2 kids under age 5, he thinks 87% is high. He thinks parents don’t understand what a good nature connection is – there’s a difference between a manicured lawn and a trail. Thinks Tiny Trekkers is a great idea! He also loves the idea of a natural playscape.
Rob: We don’t have the capacity to serve the audience that’s out there, or to offer as many programs as we would like, but have many more volunteer naturalists this year eager to do it, so we can expand.
Frank Cada: Any follow-up with agencies to get the information out there? So this will be a big part of what you do this year?
Rob: He’s doing many programs to present the information; they are also working on a coordinated marketing campaign, and working closely with school districts to team up on it.
Mark DeGregorio: Compliments county staff working on it – Kerri and Rob did a great job balancing the needs of GOCO and the contractor – they did a masterful job of bringing everyone together and getting a consensus.
Dan Rieves: The true success of this movement will be when it becomes self-perpetuating, and every community has a great natural playscape, so kids have an alternative to the “soccer field” mindset, where the only activity that comes to mind when kids see a big open field of grass is soccer and other organized sports.
Rob: We do need a sea change here – the excitement we’re seeing from the agencies and program providers is encouraging to our hopes that the plans won’t just go on the shelf. We’ve got the info now – now we need to provide the services. Kids are driven by societal values to do structured activities like sports, music, etc.
Ron Kainer: Is the County involved with Colorado Youth Outdoors?
Rob: Yes – they’re already involved in a big way.
Mark DeGregorio: Offering up fee-free days is critical to expose local residents to what we have available.
Frank Gillespie: What he hears from this is that we want to put our priorities less on open space that looks like Red Mountain, and more that looks like the Environmental Learning Center.
Rob: People want areas closer to home, but also very high value natural resources – they want both. The big message is convenience, but they don’t want to sacrifice the natural resource values.
Russ Fruits: People want areas where you can go off trail, touch things, take your dog. People are tired of being told don’t go off trail, don’t touch anything, don’t take a dog, etc.
Frank Cada: Need to get this out to public officials as well. It shows the importance of open space.
Dan Rieves: If times get tough, we can always grow a lot of vegetables on all those irrigated soccer fields!
7:30 DISCUSSION ITEMS
Annual Permit Redesign – Dan Rieves
Board and staff comments:
Russ Fruits: What about hangtags?
Dan: Not favored by respondents.
Mark DeGregorio: What are some of the reasons for/against the differential fees?
Dan: A lot of visitors from out of county. These are federal properties – but we are localizing the fees which is unfair to out-of-county visitors who “own” the reservoirs just as much as local residents. It is a hindrance to people who would buy an annual permit if the price is raised $20. If you want to make money, eliminate annual permits altogether. But politically, that would be a difficult to change that in an election year.
Linda Knowlton: It’s an incentive for people to vote for the sales tax renewal if there is a differential fee – if we eliminate it, it’s a disincentive to vote for the tax.
Rob Harris: Agrees. If you eliminate the differential, you must convince residents that they are not paying for the parks in other ways, like taxes.
Russ Fruits: The guy from out of county doesn’t vote up here.
Frank Cada: Could be losing revenue from residents that stop buying annual permits. People vote on what “feels right” – differential fees feel right.
Linda: Has some problems with the survey: It is not statistically valid, self-selecting; the sample size is inadequate. It makes her nervous to base decisions on the survey. The survey didn’t explain the implications of the answer to the question.
Dan: The survey was based on the questions we hear frequently. What he was trying to find out was whether the comments we get at random are reflective of general opinion.
Linda: Why aren’t we considering the State Parks solution – a permanent sticker with a punch-out for the date?
Dan: When we get into pricing, transferability may be the determining factor. Because State Parks offers a rolling year permit at no extra charge, we can’t base a fee increase on that.
Linda: Did state consider a transferable sticker?
Dan: State said they did not lose revenue when they went to the rolling year permit – it leveled off revenue throughout the year. State said they don’t go to automated pay stations because of the cost to implement state-wide. They are now analyzing the transferable option.
Mark DeGregorio: Just make a decision – don’t do something different every year.
Dan: Wants feedback on whether we’re on track.
Linda: Wants to see an analysis of the revenue impact of a transferable pass.
Dan: Annuals are 5% of total permits sold.
Russ Fruits: About $24,000 in revenue from 2d vehicle permit may be at risk.
Deb Wykoff: Some people buy a 2d vehicle permit because they want to bring two vehicles.
Rob Harris: Wants to see data on the number of permits sold by type.
Frank Cada: Do a best/worst case analysis on revenue projections. There are so many variables, it’s hard to get a handle on it.
Frank Gillespie: Need a list the top 5 or 6 decisions to be made: What’s a given, what’s iffy? What do we want to change to improve service to the public?
Dan: We will feel the need to raise the price to offset estimated revenue loss. We want to be responsive to the public, but without suffering negative revenue consequences. He will provide the numbers to board, and a list of priority decisions to be made. Transferability may be jettisoned if we feel we can’t raise fees.
STANDING AGENDA ITEMS:
Park District updates and Parks Master Plan Implementation Progress report – Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager
§ Chad LaChance is on the poster for the Fishing Expo – his casting contest is going viral.
§ Airstream trailer – 1976 retrofitted, to be placed in a full-hook-up campsite at S. Bay for the summer, and rented for around $100 per night. In the fall, it will move up to Estes. Throughout the year, it will be used for various marketing purposes and public relations.
§ Horsetooth is almost full; Carter is filling.
§ Flatiron Fishing is Fun project, to improve access to shore, will be done this spring.
§ Working on re-opening Cheyenne Day Use, on the south side of Flatiron, which was closed in 2001 after 9/11.
§ Adding monument signs at the Visitor Center/Administrative Offices, the north end of Carter, and on CR8E at the south end of Carter.
§ The remodeled shower house at Mary’s Lake should be finished on May 1.
Mark DeGregorio: Will we lose campsites due to the monstrous power pole in S. Bay?
Dan: Not losing any campsites. The new power pole actually has a smaller footprint than the 3 wooden poles it replaced.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30.
Russell Fruits, Chair
Next regular meeting: April 10, 2012, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., in the Boyd Lake Room at the Larimer County Courthouse Offices, 200 W. Oak St., Ft. Collins, CO.
Public can view agenda and minutes at www.larimer.org/parks