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Caribou Ranch
BCHA adopts the Switzerland Trail. Volunteers needed regularly!

Support your trails opportunities

Boulder Feeder Canal Trail Proposal

Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks
Marshall Mesa - Southern Grasslands Trail Study Area

USDA Forest Service, Boulder District
Brainard Lake - Environmental Assessment

South East Boulder County Open Space Planning

Lyons-Hall Ranch-Heil Valley Ranch Trail Planning

Forestry Thinning Projects - ongoing, arrange a time!

Equestrian Park Hosts for Boulder County Open Space Trails

Hurricane Disaster Equine Relief

How we can help and who to contact.


Public Input for the Boulder Feeder Canal Trail

Public Input for the Boulder Feeder Canal Trail! Please drop by the Open House, Thursday, Oct. 6, 4 - 7 PM, Altona Grange.

If you want to continue to ride on the canal, please attend and give your input. This goes to City Council in October. If you can't attend, please call or email your thoughts to the people mentioned below. BCHA is in support of Alternative C.

A copy of the draft report is available from the project website: http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/buildingservices/long_range/Bldr_Fdr_Canal.htm

A Public Open House will be held on Thursday, October 6, between 4 - 7 PM, at the Altona Grange at the corner of Nelson Road and 39th Street (9386 N. 39th). This facility is in unincorporated Boulder County, north of Boulder and west of Longmont. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information on the CEAP report and to receive public input on our draft report for a proposed trail along the Boulder Feeder Canal. No formal presentation is planned.

Contact either the City or County staff about the project:

Jean Gatza, City of Boulder Planning Department, 303-441-4907 gatzaj@ci.boulder.co.us

Tim Swope, Boulder County Transportation, 720 564-2658 tswope@co.boulder.co.us

Community and Environmental Assessment Process (CEAP)

The city of Boulder and Boulder County propose to construct a multi-use trail along approximately 11.5 miles of the Boulder Feeder Canal from Boulder Reservoir to the intersection of US 36 and State Highway 66 just south of the Town of Lyons. City and county staff is working to complete a Community and Environmental Assessment Process (CEAP) for the proposed trail. This includes alternatives and impact analysis as well as recommended mitigation measures to be included in the planning, design and construction of the trail.

The primary issue addressed in this CEAP is to identify potential impacts of the proposed trail on the city's drinking water supply and to evaluate the ability to mitigate those impacts. Other environmental impacts were addressed as well. Future efforts will address other issues such as exact trail alignments, trailhead locations, and impacts to adjacent property owners.

They are very interested in getting comments from the general public and adjacent property owners concerning the CEAP report and recommendations. Opportunities to review the document and comment include:

City and county advisory boards will review the CEAP report and recommendations. The boards will make recommendations to the City Council and County Commissioners who will consider the CEAP in October. A schedule for the meetings is available on the project website.



The saga of Caribou Ranch began almost exactly nine years ago – late fall of 1996, to be exact. At that time we became aware that this extraordinary property was being acquired by Boulder County Parks & Open Space and the City of Boulder. A lot of water has gone under this bridge since then (you can read the fascinating documentation of this arduous process in Vol III of Happy Trails) – but suffice it to say that BCHA offered way back then to adopt the Switzerland Trail as a means of showing our appreciation for equestrian access to this special place.

This summer Boulder County and BCHA formalized our agreement, and you can now see the nice plaque they have erected at the trailhead to prove it!

“Our” trail is officially called the Delonde Trail, named after one of the families that homesteaded the area in the 1800's and whose classic wood house still stands today in a meadow at Caribou, in mute tribute to their hard work making a living from this high mountain valley. Our commitment the last two years, during which time we need to put in a minimum of four trail days. We agree to remove trash along the trail, monitor weeds and erosion, note missing or vandalized signs, benches, and picnic tables, and look out for other hazards and problems. In addition, BCHA has earmarked funds for future trail construction at Caribou Ranch, and has a firm relationship with the Roundup Riders of the Rockies' Heritage and Trails Foundation which has agreed to provide additional funding should Boulder County request it.

We need volunteers to be our official “trail adopters”! This is a fun and satisfying way to show Boulder County that we are willing to be good stewards of the public lands we all enjoy. Please call Suzanne to sign up now!

Suzanne Webel
BCHA External VP, Trails and Public Lands Chair

Caribou Ranch

Upon reopening in October, enjoy a fabulous ride, ski, or hike!

BCHA has adopted a 2 mile stretch of the Switzerland Trail. Additional information about work days and activities will be announced as it becomes available from Boulder County Open Space.

The current trail system, 4.5 miles roundtrip, is open to hikers and equestrians only at varying months of the year. Mountain biking is not permitted due to restrictions specified in the purchase agreement. Also, dogs are not permitted on the open space for wildlife habitat and water quality protection. Please be aware that all park visitors are required to stay on-trail -- no off trail use is permitted. This regulation is in place until hazards are mitigated (e.g. mining test pits, buildings); cultural resources are inventoried, secured and/or restored; and Phase 2 trail construction is completed.

The 2,180-acre property offers visitors a rich tapestry of wetlands, meadows, streams, forests and woodlands. Caribou Ranch is a haven for wildlife where 50 species of mammals could potentially live and/or travel through the open space annually. This represents nearly half of all mammal species found in Boulder County. The most common ungulates are elk and mule deer. A moose group has been observed on portions of the property in the past two years. Also, signs of mountain lion, black bear, bobcat, coyote, red fox, marten, and short-tailed weasel have been found.

This open space also includes the Blue Bird Mine complex. Mining began in the 1870s and operations followed the boom and bust cycles of the industry until the 1960s. In the early 1900s, Blue Bird became a tourist destination on the newly completed Eldora Line of the Switzerland Trail of America. The site was a "whistle stop" during the summer months to a growing demand by city dwellers who wanted to experience the beauty of the mountains. You won't be able to explore the Blue Bird Mine complex beyond the fence at this time because of safety considerations. As July progresses, many of the plains and foothill wildflowers will disappear, but plant life at Caribou Ranch Open Space will just begin to bloom. If you would like to escape the sizzling summer days on the plains, come discover the diverse vegetation at Caribou Ranch Open Space. Caribou Ranch Open Space is located on County Road 126, approximately two miles north of Nederland. For additional information about the property, visit the department's web page at www.co.boulder.co.us/openspace.

Directions: From the Nederland traffic circle, go north 1.9 miles on the Peak to Peak Highway to County Road 126 (just past mile marker 34). Go west on CR126 about 1.2 miles. Parking and trailhead are on the north side of the road.


Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks
Marshall Mesa, Southern Grasslands and other

In order to provide adequate time for the evaluation of proposed alternatives in the Marshall Mesa – Southern Grasslands Trail Study Area, the publication of the Draft Plan will be delayed until November 4, 2005. The public meeting to get feedback on the Draft Plan will need to be delayed also. It is now scheduled to be held on Tuesday, November 15, 6-8 pm, OSMP Annex, 7315 Red Deer Drive.

The Final Plan is now scheduled for publication on December 2.

If you have questions, please contact
Jim Reeder reederj@ci.boulder.co.us 720-564-2080
Joe Mantione: mantionej@ci.boulder.co.us 720-564-2047

BCHA is continuing to give feedback to OSMP as they begin the implementation of the recently adopted Visitor Master Plan. Developing Trail Study Area plans for several areas is an important project that will comprehensively address, for each area, trail access needs, resource protection needs, and trail improvements such as new trails, trail connections, and trail refurbishment.

OSMP has asked interested members of the community to participate in a survey to find out their ideas on what trail suitability and evaluation criteria should be considered in deciding: 1) where trails should be designated or built; 2) how to make trails physically and environmentally sustainable; and 3) what uses should be allowed on the trails (hikers, bikers, horseback riders, dogs, etc.). These criteria will be applied to each of the specific Trail Study Areas. BCHA continues to monitor and actively provide information to the OSMP.

The "advocacy letters" section below will give you BCHA's position on these and other public issues. Of current interest is the Marshall Mesa, Southern Grasslands Trail Study area.

USDA Forest Service - Brainard Lake - Trail Study Area

See "advocacy letters" for BCHA's questions and position on the progression of this study.

Hurricane Disaster Equine Relief Information

Thank you BCHA members, Anne Davidson and Melinda Helmick, who are in Nacogdoches, Texas assisting with horse rescue efforts. There are currently 300 horses at this town's Expo center, all in need of routine and specialized care. They will be working under the auspices of the American Humane Society and the ASPCA. Upon their return, watch for an update of the activities and needs of horses in hurricane stricken areas.

BCHA has sent hurricane relief contributions to The American Association of Equine Practitioners, Colorado Animal Response Team, and the American Horse Council. We will continue to accept monetary donations earmarked for horse care for displaced horses as a result of the hurricane. Mail checks to BCHA, PO Box 19601, Boulder, CO 80308-2601. Please write hurricane on the memo portion of your check. You may also donate directly to the organizations below.

LSU, Louisianna State University, School of Veterinary Medicine, is actively involved with horse rescue, sheltering displaced horses, connecting horses with their owners, and providing care to horses needing assistance as a result of the recent hurricane. Their website will connect you with relief efforts, volunteer needs, and how to make a donation for horses as well as other animals. This site has extensive up-to-date information:


The American Association of Equine Practioners (AAEP) Foundation has an established Equine Disaster Relief Fund to support disaster response efforts and the development of disaster preparedness resources for horses, veterinarians and horse owners. Donations to the Equine Disaster Relief Fund will support response efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina as well as additional emergency needs.

A donation form is available online at http://www.aaep.org/f_disaster_relief.php . For more information about this effort, contact Amelia Geran, AAEP Foundation Coordinator, at 800-443-0177 or ageran@aaep.org.

Updates on relief efforts may be found by reading AAEP's newsletter: MyHorsematters E-News Volume 5, Issue 18, Sep 2nd, 2005.

The AAEP Foundation's outreach efforts in this area have included funding satellite telephones for Florida veterinarians during the 2004 hurricane season as well as the development of emergency and disaster preparedness short courses for AAEP student chapters.

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is teaming with the United States Equestrian Federation in asking for "your help in assisting ALL horses and horse owners who have been impacted by this unprecedented disaster." Donation and relief information can be found on the AQHA website: http://www.aqha.com/news/09032005_hurricanerelease_html

The Colorado Animal Response Team reports, at present, the biggest need is for hay, feed, and veterinary supplies for relocated horses. These are currently being supplied by states closer to the stricken areas. It is also anticipated that financial assistance will be needed in the months to come. BCHA will keep you informed, as information becomes available, of how we can make donations.


Equestrian Park Hosts Needed

Be A Park Host!

Do you enjoy being outdoors? Do you enjoy friendly conversations with other park visitors? Are you a Boulder County resident? If you answered 'yes' to these questions, you should consider becoming a Boulder County Park Host this year.

Park Hosts have many opportunities to make a difference while hiking, biking and riding at seven premier Boulder County properties— Betasso Preserve, Caribou Ranch, Hall Ranch, Heil Valley Ranch, Rabbit Mountain, Walden Ponds and Walker Ranch .

After training, you'll be able to describe an area's natural and cultural resources, recreational opportunities and current resource management projects. You'll be given an official T-shirt, ball cap and nametag to wear whenever you're hosting a park. You will also be invited to Parks and Open Space trainings and special events.

For more information and an application, contact

Michael Bauer at 303-441-1645


South East Boulder County Open Space Planning

BCHA is invited to participate in a collaborative planning process toward the creation of a long-term land management plan on a group of Boulder County Parks and Open Space properties. The properties that are the focus of this collaborative planning process are located east of US highway 287, extending approximately a mile east and north of the city of Broomfield. The properties are currently dryland farmland. Tentatively the County's plan's are to take them out of agricultural production and establish native grasslands. About 400 acres of the area is already in some stage of conversion.

The collaborative planning process involves stakeholders and recognizes the needs and issues of a specific area. The process identifies solutions and alternatives through a series of facilitated discussions. Through these discussions each stakeholder will be able to express their unique perspective on the situation as well as share their knowledge about the area and its uses. The use of the collaborative planning process allows opposing sides of an issue to work together towards an agreement that is satisfactory to each participant.

As a part of the collaborative planning process you will also be asked to participate in a research study conducted by researchers at Colorado State University's Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Watershed Stewardship. The study is being conducted to examine the outcomes of the collaborative planning process on county open space.

Rob Alexander
Boulder County Parks & Open Space

Lyons-Hall Ranch-Heil Valley Ranch Trail Planning


A management plan for the Hall Ranch and Heil Valley Ranch properties (collectively referred to as the North Foothills Open Space) was adopted in April 1996. This plan outlined the goal of connecting these two destination open space properties to the town of Lyons by establishing trail connections. This plan proposed conceptual trailheads and trails in the area to achieve this goal.

In 2000, the Town of Lyons adopted a Parks, Open Space & Trails (POST) Master Plan that outlined some specific goals and proposed trail alignments to help facilitate implementation of these trail conncections. For the last several years, the Town has consistently ranked the connection to Hall Ranch as its top trail priority. A considerable amount of public support and interest for these connections has also been demonstrated over the last few years.

Consequently, the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Department has had this project listed on its Capital Improvements Plan for several years. The Department's current plans are to study the project and develop preferred trail alignments in 2005.

Planning Process

The Department plans on spending all of 2005 developing alternative trail alignments that achieve the goal of connecting the two properties to Lyons. The Department will work cooperatively with the public to identify trail alternatives that are environmentally and economically feasible, and provide a safe, sustainable, high-quality user experience. The Department will strive to incorporate and balance the concerns of adjacent landowners and the general public in order to define alternatives that are environmentally, socially and politically feasible.

The first step was to host an open house, March 14, 2005, where the public was invited to provide input on the project to help define its opportunities and constraints. With this information, the Department will develop conceptual trail alternatives. Over 100 people were in attendance making it difficult for many to view the maps. People are asked to send their comments to the staff listed below. After any necessary field research, the trail altrnatives will be presented for public review and consideration sometime in July. With the help of the public, the Department then hopes to select preferred trail alignments and present this information to the necessary advisory bodies and decision makers by the end of the year.

There will be multiple opportunities for public review and input throughout the process.

Construction of the Hall Ranch trail connection is expected to take place in 2006, at the earliest, and the Heil Valley Ranch connection in 2007.

For more information on this project, contact any one of the following staff:
Patrick Malone, Natural Resource Planner, 303-527-0418 or pmalone@co.boulder.co.us
Tina Nielsen, Open Space Assistant, 303-441-4958 or tnielsen@co.boulder.co.us
Mary Olson, Landscape Architect, 720-622-0117 or molson@co.boulder.co.us

Forestry Thinning Project

If you have a group of volunteers, you can create your own volunteer project. Boulder County needs people to help thin unhealthy stands of Ponderosa pine trees with hand tools. This work helps improve plan and wildlife habitat while reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Contact Mary Wiener at 303-441-1647 or mwiener@co.boulder.co.us to arrange a time.

Sample Advocacy Letters

Do you want a closer look at BCHA's position on a number of local trail issues? Suzanne Webel has been kind enough to provide some recent letters she has written on behalf of BCHA to the local governing organizations. Please take a look at these PDF Files!

City of Boulder
Open Space & Mountain Parks
BCHA's Response to the OSMP Visitor Plan "Marshall Mesa-Southern Grasslands Trail Study Area" Sept. 2005

USDA Forest Service
Boulder Ranger District

BCHA's Response to the District Ranger's "Brainard Lake Environmental Assessment" Sept. 2005
City of Boulder
Open Space & Mountain Parks
BCHA's Response to the OSMP Visitor Plan "Advisory Committee Questions." Oct. 2004
City of Boulder
Open Space & Mountain Parks
BCHA's Response to the OSMP Visitor Plan "Detailed Description of Management Subareas" and "Selected Key Management Actions for OSMP Management Subareas." May 2004
City of Boulder
Open Space & Mountain Parks
BCHA's Response to the OSMP Visitor Plan Community Groups' Prioritization Agreements and Disagreements. May 2004
City of Boulder
Open Space & Mountain Parks
BCHA's Response to the OSMP Visitor Plan Community Group Questions. May 2004
District Ranger, USDA Forest Service
Following are some comments on behalf of the BCHA pertaining to the proposed reorganization of recreation at the Brainard Lake area. Dec. 2003
Refuge Planner, Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge
US Fish & Wildlife Service

Thank you for organizing such a thorough analysis and scoping process for the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan. June 2003
Broomfield City Council Open Space & Trails Committee
It is our understanding that you will be considering a Trails and Open Space Master Plan for Broomfield at several upcoming meetings... May 2003
Boulder County Transportation Dept
Thank you for providing an opportunity to comment on the allocation of 2001 Transportation Improvement Tax funds which may be allocated toward regional trail development in Boulder County... Feb. 2003
OSMP Visitor Plan Advisory Committee

Visitor Plan Overall Goals
1) Maximize human enjoyment while minimizing impacts
2) Don't prioritize OS purposes (the City Charter doesn't)
3) Do No Harm (Don't fix it if it ain't broke)... Mar. 2003

POSAC, Consultants, BCPOS Staff and County Commissioners Boulder County Horse Association (BCHA) has been looking forward to a safe, high-quality recreational trail along St. Vrain Creek between Lyons and Longmont for many years... April 2003
USDA Forest Service
Boulder Ranger District

Comments on the 2003 Environmental Assessment for Caribou and West Magnolia Travel Management Plans... April 2003


Boulder County Commissioner Meetings are available online

County Commissioner Meetings are broadcast over the internet! You can view them live, or go back and watch archived recordings from the past 30 days. You can also choose to just get the audio feed, if your Internet connection isn't fast enough to keep up with the video. Go to www.co.boulder.co.us/stream/index.htm to sign on!


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