Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

MINUTES

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 , 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.,

Natural Resources Administrative Offices, 1800 S. County Road 31, Loveland, CO  

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Present:

Steve Ambrose

Frank Cada

Mark DeGregorio

Frank Gillespie

David Hattis

Ron Kainer

Linda Knowlton

Russ Fruits

John Tipton

 

Staff:

Steve Johnson, Commissioner

Gary Buffington

Mark Caughlan

Chris Fleming

Dan Rieves

Debra Wykoff

 

Absent:

Rob Harris

Forrest Orswell

 

The October 9, 2012, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Chair Russ Fruits at 5:34 p.m.  The minutes of the August 14, 2012, meeting were approved.

           

PUBLIC COMMENT: Items not on the agenda - None

 

GENERAL INFORMATION: 

  • Natural Resource Events for this month: See website http://www.larimer.org/naturalresources.

  • The Regional Land Conservation, Stewardship and Recreation Study kicked off on July 12. Logan Simpson Design, formerly known as AECOM, is the consultant for the study which will include a large outreach effort to the public, including electronic and mailed surveys, as well as opportunities to speak with groups that have worked with our department in the past on projects. The online survey is now available on the Department’s webpage. The kick off event for the Regional Study took place 9/12/12 – 150 people attended and over 75% of attendees completed the survey.

  • The City of Loveland has hired Robert Burdine as the Natural Areas Director for the city’s Open Lands Department.

 

  • The county commissioners agreed to collect a 2% fee in lieu of taxes for camping reservations at Hermit Park to be paid to the Estes Park Marketing District. The fee was approved because the campground benefits from the marketing provided by the district as well as to be fair to the other private sector campgrounds in the area which are required to collect the fee.

    We also collect the fee on all camping reservations at the two Estes campgrounds (Mary’s Lake and East Portal.)  This revenue will be remitted to the Estes Valley Parks and Recreation District with our annual payment to them.

 

  • More than 225 people attended he COSA conference in Steamboat Springs.  Various staff gave presentations.

  • The Devil’s Backbone OS restoration project at Indian Creek received a COSA Blue Grama Award that was presented at the conference.  It will be presented to the BOCC later this fall and displayed in the courthouse case.

  • The Plug in to Nature Project received a GOCO Starburst Award.  It will be presented to our BOCC at a future date.

  • The public meeting for Energy By Design was held 9/10/12 at the county office building with over 35 attendees – a formal presentation was given and input was received via questionnaire cards seeking input on balancing recreational/visual impacts with resource protection in regards to actual well siting.

  • The 8th Annual Northern Colorado Birding Fair was Sat. September 29 at Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space. This event is planned in partnership with several local organizations, and includes a tour of Three-Bells Conservation Easement.

  • Restoration of the banks of the Poudre River at Lion’s Open Space began mid-September and will be ongoing thru mid-October.  Work includes reshaping the severely eroded and cut bank, planting over 5000 trees and shrubs and providing river access points.  The City of Greeley was required to do some mitigation related to installation of their pipeline through that area.  The trail has been rerouted, but is still open.  Should be finished up in the next few weeks.

  • Regional Open Spaces Boards meeting will be November 14, starting at 4:30 or 5pm (TBD) at the County Courthouse Offices building, 1st floor, Carter Lake Room, 200 W Oak Street.

  • We received 17 applications for Small Grants for Community Partnering (7 for agriculture-related projects, 5 enhancing open spaces or providing linkages, 2 education/interpretation, 3 research in open spaces).  The subcommittee members are reviewing and will start site visits the 1st week of October. We award $20,000 for these projects.

  • The PAB new member orientation program occurred on Monday and Tuesday, October 8 and 9.  Linda Knowlton joined the group for the Blue Mountain tour on Monday afternoon.

 

PRESENTATIONS

LCSO Commendations

  • Sheriff Justin Smith presented commendations to Rangers Colby Zander and Jim Likens for their actions on June 30,2012, during the High Park Fire.  There was a fast-spreading fire in the county, at which these officers were the first to arrive.  They found 30 ft. flames.  They worked to contain the fire until assistance arrived.  The efforts of these men possibly saved lives, in preventing the fire from cutting off access to over 40 homes. 

  • Sgt. Russell also noted LCSO’s thankfulness whenever Natural Resources rangers show up to assist in emergency situations.  The relationship between our two departments has been tremendous.  Sgt. Russell and his squad nominated these officers for their efforts in the specific instance described above.

 

Regional Study

  • Kerri Rollins, Open Lands Program Manager, explained that the question under consideration is what the Open Lands program should look like from now through 2018, when the open space sales tax sunsets – and beyond.

  • When the tax passed in 1995, up to 55% of the proceeds were designated to go to the towns and cities in Larimer County, with the balance going to Larimer County.  All the partners in the Regional Study are contributing in proportion to the percent they receive from the tax.

  • This project is a study to provide information to the partners to use in updating their master plans and making decisions for the future.

  • Phase 1:  Public engagement and gap analysis (What resources should we  conserve and why?)
    • Logan Simpson Design (formerly AECom, formerly EDAW) is the consultant on the project.
    • Surveys and questionnaires – 7500 household surveys sent to proportional samples in all areas; survey is also available online and on paper.
    • Follow-up survey – 300 household surveys will be sent out to confirm initial results.
    • Plan van and events – Open house at New Belgium Brewery – 150 people attended.
    • Workshops and community group presentations – to any community groups, including  coffee house chats.

  • Phase 2:  Financial Stewardship
    • Evaluate the  cost components for different types of land acquisition, levels of infrastructure development, and ongoing management levels of service
    • Evaluate the revenue component for sales tax estimates, underlying working assumptions, other revenue source trends.
    • Conservation funding analysis – Evaluate the effective use of sales tax revenues.

  • Phase 3:  Economic value – estimate the worth of conserving Colorado’s natural heritage.
    • The Trust for Public Land’s economic analysis methodology will be used to assess the effect on property values, recreation, tourism, agriculture, economic development.

  • Phase 4:  Greenprinting – open space modeling process.
    • Allows us to determine criteria and weights for the layers of GPS data, including working farms and ranches, urban trails, and regional trails.
    • Interactive – public can use slider bars for various criteria to view impact of the overlay data – a fun, hands-on tool.

  • Board members are encouraged to take the survey, and distribute the cards with that information to their own contacts.  The study will wrap up next spring.  Kerri will return to the Board with interim updates.

  • There is an advisory board assisting with the project.  If any PAB members are interested in participating, please contact Kerri.

 

Board and staff comment:

Steve Ambrose:  Really likes the cooperation among agencies.

 

Russ:  Is there conflict with people who don’t want their adjoining property to increase in value?  What happens with properties that are so far out, no one gets to see the view that’s been preserved?

Kerri:  There are different values to different types of properties – not everyone receives the same benefit from every property.  Some types of benefits may be more common to urban open space (community gardens for example) versus other types more appropriate to rural, county open space, like hunting.

 

Linda Knowlton:  What has the response rate been so far?  (About 20% so far, which is comparatively high.)

 

John Tipton:  Re 300 follow-up questionnaires sent to individuals from the pool who responded?  (Yes.)  It could be good to send some out to those who did not respond, if they can be identified.

 

 

ACTION ITEMS

 

Sail & Saddle Club License renewal – Mark Caughlan, Horsetooth District Manager

This year the Sail & Saddle license fee is $9000.  Staff recommendation is to extend the license and to maintain the same level and the same contract for the next five years.

Linda Knowlton made, and Frank Cada seconded, a motion to approve the staff recommendation.  After the discussion following, the motion was approved.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Board and staff comments:

Linda Knowlton:  Why not increase the fee, like the Carter Lake Sail Club?

Dan:  The rate is reasonable compared to the market.  There is no one expressing interest in that facility; we don’t want to make it cost prohibitive for them.


Mark:  The club pays $4000 per year for road access to the facility, which they own.

Ron Kainer:  What is the size of the club (20 families, based on slip capacity.)

Gary Buffington:  There is no public access by land; only by sea.

David Hattis:  Is there a non-discrimination clause in the license? (Yes – BOR requires federal provisions as attachments.)

Dan Rieves:  The club owns the building.  If a different user group came in, they would have to buy out the facility.  The license is not transferable, so it would be difficult to sell the facility without the county’s cooperation.  The department currently has no use for that facility.  Access issues could be prohibitive.  We would probably lease it out.  The building is concrete bunker-esque.  The road would not meet public use standards.


Linda Knowlton:  Federal requirements pertaining to exclusive use – how is that addressed?  Do they sponsor any public events?  We need to keep this in mind as license renewals come up, and as the master plan is updated.

 

Dan Rieves:  In the license, they must make it available for other public use.

Frank Cada:  Have they been good tenants, get along with other park visitors, etc?  As a landlord, if he has a good tenant who pays the rent, he is reluctant to raise the rent and risk losing them.

Dan Rieves:  The club has severe penalties for abuse of privileges.  In a recent example, the offending member was fined and excommunicated.

Gary Buffington:  We may look at this again in the next master plan update.

 

STANDING AGENDA ITEMS:

Park District updates and Parks Master Plan Implementation Progress report – Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager

·   High Park Fire business interruption costs – if you can dedicate someone who is talented with numbers, you can recreate revenues by the day.  Maryann King on the Admin and Accounting staff pulled together these numbers for us to submit to Risk Management.  Losses from High Park fire totalled $75,000 for the total period (3 weeks before and 3 weeks after the event); and $32,000 for the actual dates of closure for each park area.

§   ANS Monitoring budget for 2013 – we plan to ask for what we got this year, even though due to the fire and low water, we have not used all the money yet.,

§   Automated pay stations – ready for installation at 10 locations.  We have moved these away from the entrance station, and located them to be drive-though facilities where possible.  At some locations like Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, visitors need to first find parking before purchasing a permit.  All locations will be installed by about 10/15.

§   Dead trees in S. Bay have been removed, now that facilities manager, Steve Peck, is back from an extended absence.  We will be discussing with neighbors to decide whether additional trees are required.

§   We have identified brush to be cleared for survey crews to locate corner pins, etc.

§   A tour will be scheduled for the new board members of the Hermit Park and Estes campgrounds.  If interested, let Deb know. (Steve Ambrose is interested.)

§   There is another LCSO award ceremony at Timberline Church on October 29.  Kyle Williams, seasonal park ranger, is being recognized for meritorious service for the pitbull incident this summer.  A dog off leash bit a young girl, and refused to let go.  Ranger Williams was able to choke the dog with the broken leash until it let go.  While bystanders restrained the dog, he administered emergency first aid until the child was transported to the hospital.

§   Horsetooth Reservoir is beginning to refill – up 10 feet from the low point.  Above average snow pack is critical to next year’s water forecast.

§   Revenue at Horsetooth was still good, despite all the difficulties.

§   CSU homecoming float with a ranger on horseback is one of our PR events.

§   Riverbank restoration at Lions Park has been very helpful to restore stream bank lost during heavy run-off years.

§   Fishing at Horsetooth has been phenomenal this fall.  Our fishery tends to cycle for 5 or 6 years.  This is a good year.

 

Board and staff comments:

Steve Ambrose:  Thanked Dan for the tour.

Frank Gillespie:  Someone asked him how we are preventing Canada geese from transporting zebra mussels into Horsetooth Reservoir.

Dan Rieves:  There is no hard science to show that birds transport mussels between bodies of water.  It’s always due to interconnected reservoirs, or contamination by infected materials like boats, piers, etc.

DIRECTOR’S REPORT

·   The Narrows – Work was stopped waiting for surveying, which is happening now; we hope to get it done before the end of the year.  There will be a new list of priority properties for 2013.  Our goal is to retain as much fishing access as possible.  Many of the targeted trades and deals with private land owners are aimed at improving fishing access.

·   Gary wants to thank some people for getting our ranger program to the high quality we have.  Dan Rieves, Chris Fleming, Mark Caughlan and Travis Rollins have done a great job over the past 10 years to bring our program up to standard.

·   A list of the meeting dates for 2013 was distributed.  All but one are scheduled for the Courthouse, since so many meetings have been canceled this year and last which were supposed to be at the Courthouse.

           


The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Debra Wykoff

 

 

Approved:

 

 

 

 


Russell Fruits, Chair

 

Next regular meeting: November 13, 2012, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., Boyd Lake Room, Larimer County Courthouse Office Building, 200 W. Oak St., Fort Collins, CO

Public can view agenda and minutes at www.larimer.org/parks

 

 

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.