Boulder County annually approves capital and stewardship projects for Parks & Open Space.
Parks & Open Space Capital Improvement & Stewardship Projects
Capital improvement and stewardship projects are prioritized through a process that starts with the department’s internal strategic plan. Each workgroup identifies projects for the upcoming year based on their strategic priorities. Proposed projects are ranked based on strategic alignment and a variety of additional factors.
Capital improvement projects flow from management plans and master plans adopted by the Board of County Commissioners following a public process. Additional factors are priorities in the department’s 2025 Strategic Focus, purchase agreements, intergovernmental agreements, and requests from communities and the public.
Stewardship projects come from the Stewardship Fund, a new funding opportunity created in 2021 as a result of the department’s internal strategic planning efforts. This funding is designed to help address maintenance backlog and strategic projects that are over and above normal operating budgets.
The 2022 budget request includes a $1.5 million line item for capital improvement and stewardship projects. Funds for projects come from open space sales tax revenues. Thanks to grants and partner contributions, the department has been able to leverage an additional $2.8 million, for a total budget of over $4 million dollars.
Annual Open Space & Trail Requests
Each year the county invites the municipalities of Boulder County to submit requests for open space and trail projects. This is an opportunity to continue exploring and expanding partnerships on open space acquisitions and trail projects.
2022 Proposed Projects
Click on the project title to see a brief project description.
Recreation & Facilities
Previous Projects, Updates, & Accomplishments
Ertl Center Pivot Sprinklers
The Ertl property cultivates corn, wheat and barley. Eliminate flood irrigation by installing the last of three new center pivots on the Ertl property in 2022. Through years of research, we have found that center pivots are much more efficient to install, maintain, and operate than flood irrigation. Center pivots improve water use efficiency to 98% compared to flood irrigation, which is only 40% efficient. These improvements help to ensure water is not wasted and can help improve soil health and crop yields. Irrigating with the flood method can cause water logging, which can increase soil salinity – an effect that can reduce crop yields and land value. Like all other NRCS EQIP projects the cost that we will be faced with is for the infrastructure only for the center pivot.
Hygiene Dairy Produce Washing Facility
As a result of recent additions to the National Food Safety Act (NFSA), our smaller scale vegetable producers are facing a cost burden of upgrading their process to abide by the regulations put forth for food that is consumed by the public. Hygiene Dairy property currently occupied by Red Wagon. The project scope is spread over two years. In 2021, we contracted out engineering and design work in order to develop a realistic cost estimate for the facility. In year two, the goal is to build a steel building with power and water available on the interior so the tenant can operate their newly purchased produce processing equipment, an ADA compliant bathroom, space for walk-in coolers and a hand washing area for employees. The current tenant has also expressed interest in “renting” the new building from BCPOS for up to $10,000 per year to help recoup the cost of constructing this facility.
Bush Pond – Northern Leopard Frog Habitat Improvement
Northern Leopard Frog (NLF) is a Species of Special Concern in the BCCP ERE and a Tier 1 CPW Species of Greatest Conservation Need. BCPOS wildlife staff have detected significant declines in recent years. As part of the Front Range Frog Working Group, BCPOS and OSMP desire to collaborate on restoration of Bush Pond because it has a high chance of success in colonization of NLF from nearby Damyanovich OSMP land, is in the only region BCPOS has NLF populations (Erin Arsenault/Coal Creek) and has good habitat characteristics if restored. This project achieves the goal of recovering a species of concern of local and statewide importance. It may also improve drinking source for local grazing cattle if compatible. The goal is to burn cattail, clear up to 25% of cattail in 2022 with more clearance in following years, install a drain, survey depths, install a perimeter fence and treat for weeds by December 2022. Mac Kobza in Wildlife, along with collaborating staff in Agriculture, Water, Weeds, PE, Forestry and RAF will meet this goal by agreeing on the approach, mobilizing a crew of volunteers, buying equipment, cutting and removing cattail, disposing of cattail, controlling weeds and improving habitat, installing a Agri drain (if needed), and constructing a cattle-accessible perimeter fence. Accomplishing this goal will achieve a long desired and much needed increase of habitat for NLF for achieving the goals of the NLF Species Conservation and Recovery Plan and enacting a collaborative project with OSMP and the support of CPW and other Front Range Frog Working Group members.
Sherwood Gulch Forestry Thinning
Forestry thinning projects are designed to reduce forest fuels through the implementation of Forest Restoration concepts. Restored forests have a structure that is better at responding to wildfire events. In addition, they are strategically located on the landscape to protect communities, watersheds, and infrastructure at risk. The Forest Restoration Treatment and Fuels Reduction at Sherwood Gulch involves 100 acres of treatment. This is year one of a two-year project. The Colorado State Forest awarded $245,000.
St. Vrain Forestry Yard
With the 2013 Flood BCPOS lost the use of our Alaska wood storage yard. This yard allowed us to store woody biomass for use in our two biomass heating facilities. We have been looking for a property to utilize as a wood storage yard since the flood and purchased the Rami-Shadi property in 2/5/2019. We are in the process of bringing this property through the County’s Limited Impact Special Review process. In order to open the St Vrain Forestry Yard for wood storage and processing we will need to build an access road from St. Vrain Road to the work site. This will include installing a culvert and bringing in road base. There will also be the need for cut and fill. Additionally, there may be the need for a concrete slab to create a location to make processing of material easier.
Walker Ranch Hay Barn Reroof
Remove/Replace deteriorating wood shingles as well as cedar breather and underlayment as necessary. Walker Ranch is a landmarked property and one of the most valuable historic farmsteads on BCPOS property. A significant portion of the roof shingles have blown off and deterioration continues. If this work isn’t done in the coming year the building will take on unnecessary damage and cost more to repair in the near future.
McIntosh Barn Stabilization
The McIntosh barn is a major asset at the Agricultural Heritage Center museum tour. The McIntosh barn is a major asset at the Agricultural Heritage Center museum tour, annually visited by many members of the public, staff, and volunteers. If the foundation degrades further or collapses, it could pose a serious risk for visitors and staff. Structural repairs will preserve this asset while addressing potential future safety concerns. Project goal is to perform the necessary repairs to the damaged barn foundation under the guidance of engineered plans/recommendations.
Master Interpretation Plan for Museums: Part 1
Hire a consultant to develop long range interpretive guidelines for BCPOS’s Agricultural Heritage Center, Nederland Mining Museum, and Assay Office Museums. These plans will update educational themes to better reflect a more inclusive human history of Boulder County using culturally relevant language, assess and update current programs, signage, and training materials, and provide short- and long-term goals for future educational content and exhibits. Hiring a consultant to perform this work allows staff to continue working on operations at a high level while the consultant assesses sites and programs. Having a trained outsider look at operations will provide valuable insight. The proposed cost was derived from estimates given by museum colleagues going through similar projects. The project goal is to receive completed guideline documents that contain updated interpretive goals and material that will be used in future planning and training. The planning documents will be completed by December 31, 2022 and will begin to be implemented in 2023. Part 2 will address interpretive guidelines for Walker Ranch Homestead, Altona School & Cardinal Mill.
Complete construction implementation of the Coalton Trail Redesign plans and specifications in 2022. The Coalton Trail was originally part of Boulder County Road 67, which was partially vacated and abandoned in 1996 and converted to a trail. Coalton Trail is approximately 2.7 miles long and approximately 8 feet wide surfaced with road base. The trail is located roughly in the center of the old road right of way, which was fifty feet wide. The trail has functioned relatively well since it was converted from a County road in the late 1990’s but there is one section that is steep and does not meet ADA, Boulder County’s Regional Trail or the Rocky Mountain Greenway standards. This steep section provides a challenge for many trail visitors and often erodes, resulting in high maintenance costs.
Tolland Ranch Trail
In January, 2015, Boulder County partnered with the Colorado State Forest Service and Great Outdoors Colorado, with coordination by The Conservation Fund, to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 3,334 acres of the Tolland Ranch property near Eldora Ski area in western Boulder County and Gilpin County. The acquisition includes a 6.5-mile long trail easement. In 2018 a Class III Cultural Resource Survey of the trail corridor was completed. The purchase agreement stipulates that the trail must be open to the public no later than 2024. BCPOS submitted and was awarded a GOCO trail construction grant in fall 2019; a contractor has been hired and began construction in 2021. Project goal is to increase trail connectivity by adding six miles of new soft surface trails connecting two USFS properties between West Magnolia and Jenny Creek at Eldora Ski area.
104th Street Trail Connector
Connecting the Coal Creek Trail with Rock Creek Farm via the S. 104th Street corridor has been identified as a high priority for Louisville and Lafayette. This connection would provide access from these two communities to Rock Creek Farm and its trail system with a regional trail connection from the intersection of Empire Road and Coal Creek Trail, south, crossing Dillon Road and south to the trail head and parking at Stearns Lake. Louisville has secured grant funding for part of the $2.24 million dollar Phase I of the project. The project is to construct a primarily soft-surface/crusher fines (concrete in some small sections), 8 foot wide, separated multi-use trail that links the regional Coal Creek Trail, which extends from Louisville and Superior to Lafayette, to the Rock Creek Trail which connects Boulder and Broomfield County trail systems. The trail will be constructed on publicly owned open space lands and, if needed at select locations, within public road right of way. It will consist of 2.6 miles of new trail that will travel through several jointly owned open space properties. These properties are managed for multiple purposes with a high emphasis on Agriculture. The trail will be set back as far as possible from the road to provide a separated, open space experience, however in some areas agriculture operations and other uses will necessitate the use of right of way closer to the road. From the northern trail connection to the Coal Creek Trail on the mesa top between the Aquarius Trailhead and the Empire Road crossing, the trail will proceed east to an at-grade crossing of Empire Road where it will then travel south, cross SH 42, and continue south along 104th St. A traffic signal at SH 42 and 104th Street (installed in 2019) was configured to support the trail alignment and necessary pedestrian crossings. The trail will continue south along the east side of 104th Street on the Mayhoffer 15 Open Space property, where it will parallel the agricultural activities and the continue south on the west edge of the Boulder County Land Venture property to the intersection of Dillon Road and 104th. At this point, there may be a need for some concrete sections and curb and gutter infrastructure due to existing easement and private property lines. From Dillon Road, the trail continues to travel south along the east side of 104th, on the Boulder County Rock Creek Farm property, crosses the bridge over the NW Parkway (where a concrete sidewalk currently exists) and enters the Carolyn Holmberg Preserve. The trail will follow the Open Space on the east side until it reaches the parking lot at Stearns Lake. Just north of the parking lot there is a ditch crossing and wetland area which will require a small bridge and boardwalk area.
Twin Lakes Bank Stabilization & Erosion Control
The goal is to improve public access at Twin Lakes Dog park while stabilizing west lake banks from erosion and tree loss by 2022. This site has been devastated by severe neglect due to maintenance backlog. Trails have expanded into and are damaging tree roots along the banks, extreme water levels have exposed multiple tree roots along the bank and many of the grass areas have been severely degraded due to heavy traffic. Safety issues with this site consist of multiple access points near bridges degrading the soil around abutments allowing them to become vulnerable to failure. Entry points into the water and ditch can lead to unsafe access possibly causing harm to humans or dogs if continued to erode. Tree limbs that need to be cut back and maintained. Landscape architects and grounds staff will meet this goal by stabilizing all eroded banks with soil riprap and korimat erosion control blanket to reduce losing additional resources from dog/human impacts, improve publics access to lake with dedicated entry points, close off dangerous entry points into ditch and headgate area, fence along banks for revegetation of site and tree protection, reestablish trail. Accomplishing this goal will benefit both the community members that use the dog park and the land itself.
Heil Valley Ranch Parking Lot Capacity Increase
The pandemic accentuated trends of increased visitor use, and Heil Valley Ranch is one of the parks with highest visitor use. Project goal is to increase parking capacity by designing and constructing a new lot on the south end of the property near Left Hand Canyon Road, at the former site of Bud and Velma Heil’s home. We hope to design for 20 spaces if the space (and survey) allows. Expansion of parking will mitigate law enforcement activities and maintenance issues with illegal overflow parking.
CHP & Brewbaker Sorenson Well Development & Improvements
Water Resources is proposing to implement two well improvement projects on the Rock Creek Farm and Brewbaker Sorenson properties. The wells on these properties need to be rehabilitated and redeveloped to become functioning, legal wells compliant with State permitting regulations. These projects are part of a larger BCPOS effort to inventory the County’s groundwater wells, including the current condition, identified needs, location, and State permitting status. Through this process, the County, working with the State Engineers Office, will identify wells which require services provided by a general well improvement continuing services consultant(s) to meet project needs and state requirements. The work to be completed will be dependent on improvements specific to each well and permitting requirements from the State. This 2022 well development and improvement effort will initiate the larger well program development we are undertaking. The project goal is to develop functioning livestock water wells to provide supplemental water supply for cattle and reduce livestock in the riparian areas at Rock Creek Farm and Brewbaker Sorenson by the end of February 2022.
Gaynor Lake & Howell Ditch Water Conveyance & Efficiency
Improved dam safety and water use efficiency improvements for Gaynor Lake and Howell ditch. The outlet ditch for Gaynor Lake is overgrown with cattails which reduces water delivery efficiency and presents a dam safety hazard. Water conveyance and use efficiency measures are needed at Gaynor Lake and Howell Ditch to more fully make use of our water rights and protect the safety of our staff and the public. The Howell ditch pipeline will pipe 1200 feet of ditch that is overgrown with cattails. This will provide a more efficient delivery of water for Wheeler Ranch. The water commissioner has said that the overgrowth of cattails is impeding the delivery of water and has said if vegetation is not maintained the state will not allow us to divert water. This project will implement a permanent solution to avoid cattail growth and improve water usage efficiency. Project goal is to have both pipelines built and able to deliver water before the need to irrigate and for the 2022 Gaynor Lake State Inspection (June).
Imel & Lagerman Land Rehabilitation
Project goal is to return agricultural land to a productive state following long term occupation by prairie dogs. Rehabilitation back to former/full productivity will require weed control (primarily herbicide application), leveling burrows, tillage/soil prep, and seeding. Focus of efforts will be 230 acres on Imel and 109 acres on Lagerman. Areas where perennial grass remains will receive herbicide and burrow leveling only. Herbicide and leveling, tillage, seed bed prep and planting will occur on 56 acres.
Signs Standards & Messaging Manual
The focus of this project will be for a hired consultant to work with BCPOS work groups on standards for signs and sign messaging on parks, trails, and open space lands that do not change on a regular basis. The use of standard international symbols and icons will be the preferred way to communicate many of our messages. This will minimize the need for lengthy narrative and excessive signs that can result from providing our messages in multiple languages. The consultant will be asked to provide recommendations on how these standardized messages and symbols can be incorporated into the wide variety of signs we post on county-owned open space. The terminology and symbols developed in this project will also be applied to our ever-changing types of communications (e.g., temporary and seasonal signs, web pages, social media, brochures, press releases, flyers, newsletters) whenever possible so that all BCPOS communications are consistent. We also want to limit customization of our terminology and signs across the Department. In addition, the Manual shall include standards for Spanish interpretation and transcreation for each major type of sign.
Castle Rock Climbing Improvements
The Boulder Climbing Community/Front Range Climbing Stewards have been working on climbing access near Castle Rock for the past three seasons. Currently, there is a myriad of highly erosive social trails that lead users to climbing areas. The goal is to consolidate and harden a trail system so access to climbing routes is confined to determined areas. this would be the last phase of the project. The project would complete a hardened trail system from the access at Boulder Creek to the Overlook destination point, which was identified as the ending point of the trail. This would be the last phase of the project. The FRCS have been making improvements to the area for three seasons and have engaged numerous volunteers and the BCC has funded several weeks of work along with BCPOS funding. This is a partnership that engages volunteers, consolidates use in the area and restores areas that have been impacted negatively.
LoBo Trail Resurfacing
Portions of the LoBo trail that connects Longmont to Boulder were constructed approximately 20 years ago and have received minimal maintenance over that span. There have been multiple reports of the trail being below grade and after precipitations, ponding forms in numerous locations and in winter, patches of ice are created. Over the past several years, we have received numerous requests to improve the surface of the trail so ponding does dot occur after precipitation. Resurfacing these portions with crusher fines will bring the trails back to standard and will minimize water ponding/freezing after precipitation events. Locations that will be resurfaced are the Cottontail Trail from N. 71st St – Boulder OSMP Cottontail junction just south of HWY 52, from N. 79th St – Niwot Road and from 63rd St underpass to the Twin Lakes dog park area.
Corona Hill Cheat Grass Control
Aerial Spray 350 acres on Corona Hill for control of Cheatgrass and wildfire buffer in either late February/early March or secondarily in the July/August time Frame.
Diversion Structure Adaptive Management
The Niwot Passage and the Longmont Supply Passage projects, both constructed in 2021, involved many diverse stakeholders with diverse objectives. The structure designs are unique and will need adaptive management as the many stakeholders seek positive results and lessons to apply to future collaborative structures. Adaptive management in streams is knowing that there are too many variables to control, and we will need to adjust to future conditions, and these adjustments often require funding. High flows in both 2021 and 2022 will show places where additional unanticipated work will be needed to maintain a sustainable structure. Each adaptive management action will be specifically designed and constructed to continue providing the multiple objectives of the structure. Many stakeholders will weigh into the design and implementation of each adaptive management action.