Riverside Ranch Open Space Cultural Resource Survey
Riverside Ranch

Riverside Ranch Open Space Cultural Resource Survey

On March 1, 2023, History Colorado awarded Boulder County a $24,397 grant to complete a cultural resource survey on the 556-acre Riverside Ranch Open Space property under its Certified Local Government subgrant program.

Project Timeline

  • Fieldwork to begin – July 19, 2023
  • History Colorado and Alpine Archaeological Consultants project kick off meeting – June 28, 2023
  • History Colorado executed grant contract and notice to proceed – June 1, 2023
  • Alpine Archaeological Consultants awarded project – May 8, 2023
  • Request for Proposals released to hire archaeology consultant – April 4, 2023
  • History Colorado grant award notification – March 1, 2023
  • History Colorado sends executed grant award contract and notice to proceed – June 1, 2023
  • Initial consultation meeting held with History Colorado staff, Alpine Archaeological Consultants, and Boulder County– June 28, 2023
  • Alpine Archaeological Consultants begins fieldwork – July 19, 2023
  • Alpine Archaeological Consultants completes fieldwork – July 25, 2023
  • Boulder County staff completes project presentation at the Boulder County Historic Preservation Advisory Board public meeting – Sept. 7, 2023
  • Boulder County submit draft fieldwork reporting to History Colorado – Sept. 27, 2023
  • Boulder County submits final fieldwork reporting to History Colorado –Oct. 16, 2023
  • Boulder County closes out project with History Colorado – anticipated to occur in January 2024

View of mountains from the Riverside Ranch Open Space

Forested area and view of a mountain from the Riverside Ranch Open Space

View of mountains from the Riverside Ranch Open Space

Heavily forested area at Riverside Ranch Open Space

Project Priority

The Riverside Ranch Open Space cultural resource survey project is a priority to complete this year based upon numerous factors. From a policy perspective, the project supports the Cultural Resources Element of the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan to identify and protect cultural resources (Goal 1 and Policy 1.01). The Boulder County Comprehensive Plan is the county’s formally adopted guiding policy principles on land use issues that has successfully served the unincorporated areas of the county since 1978.

Boulder County Parks & Open Space (BCPOS) directly supports the Comprehensive Plan through its mission statement to “conserve natural, cultural, and agricultural resources, and provide public uses that reflect sound resource management and community values.” Goal 4 of BCPOS’s mission statement elaborates in further detail “to protect, restore, and interpret cultural resources for the education and enjoyment of current and future generations.” This guiding principal has fostered BCPOS’s 48 year effort to identify, document, and protect significant cultural resources on open space land that now encompass over 100,000 acres.

The project puts into action both the Comprehensive Plan Cultural Resources Element Goal 1 and BCPOS’s mission statement. The project will also serve as an invaluable management tool in advance of BCPOS’s 2024 participation in a wildfire risk reduction project on the property to protect cultural resources from adverse effects.

Cultural Resource Survey Fieldwork

The cultural resource survey fieldwork will be conducted by a team of two professional archaeologists from Alpine Archaeological Consultants between July 19-24, 2023. The systematic pedestrian inventory on the ground by the archaeologists will be conducted to provide as much coverage as possible given the large number of steep slopes in the project area. The archaeologists will walk systematic parallel transects across the entire survey area with less than 25% slope, complete sample surveys in areas with slopes ranging from 25-39% and exclude sloped areas over 39% due to field crew safety concerns.

During fieldwork activities all historic and Indigenous cultural resources that are 50 years old or older that are visible on the surface or in subsurface exposures will be documented according to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Identification and Evaluation and History Colorado’s Cultural Resource Survey Manual. These guiding documents ensure quality field work and reporting results.

What are cultural resources?

Cultural resources are an aspect of a cultural system that is valued by or significantly representative of a culture that contains important information about a culture. A cultural resource may be a tangible entity or a cultural practice. Tangible cultural resources are categorized as districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects.

What is a Cultural Resource Survey?

A cultural resource survey is a project that is a combination of fieldwork and post fieldwork reporting to identify and evaluate all cultural resources over 50 years in a specific project area like Riverside Ranch Open Space. The results of a cultural resource survey can be used as a management tool to protect significant resources from harm or destruction.

Project Funding

The project is financed in part with federal funds from the National Historic Preservation Act, administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior for History Colorado. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of the Interior or History Colorado, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the Department of the Interior or History Colorado. This program received federal funds from the National Park Service. Regulations of the U.S. Department of the Interior strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination in departmental federally-assisted programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, age or handicap. Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility operated by a recipient of federal assistance should write to: Director, Equal Opportunity Program, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1849 C Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20240.

Contact Us

Parks & Open Space

Carol Beam