Rocky Mountain Greenway
Panoramic landscape of Boulder County from US 36 at Davidson Mesa Scenic Overlook

Rocky Mountain Greenway Extension

Note: The Greenway partners have agreed to post all updates (related to trail connections near the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge) on the Jefferson County webpage at: https://www.jeffco.us/3639/Rocky-Mountain-Greenway

Summary

In 2016, the City of Arvada, City of Boulder, Boulder County, City and County of Broomfield, Jefferson County, and City of Westminster submitted a grant to extend a regional trails project, referred to as the Rocky Mountain Greenway (RMG). The grant supports the creation of underpasses at Indiana Street and Hwy128 that would ultimately connect trails in Broomfield’s Great Western Open Space into Boulder County. The Greenway Steering Committee will determine if the trail connection will go through Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge or near the refuge in order to make the connection between Broomfield and Boulder counties.

The overall vision of the project is to ultimately connect the three Front Range National Wildlife Refuges (Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Two Ponds, and Rocky Flats) with Rocky Mountain National Park through an interconnected, multi-use, regional trail system.

Prior to beginning the construction of the project, the governments independently procured a contractor to conduct soil analysis in the areas of the proposed trail crossings.

There are three current and ongoing soil sampling efforts in and around the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge: sampling related to the Jefferson Parkway along the Indiana Street right of way, sampling within the Refuge where new trail construction will take place, and sampling related to the FLAP grant and the access facilities planned to connect the Rocky Mountain Greenway trail to the Refuge. While these are separate projects, it is the intention of the FLAP group to compile the results of the three efforts, which will comprise a dataset of around 300 surface and sub-surface samples. Once finalized, all data and analysis will be presented to the public through this as well as other communications channels.

With respect to the FLAP grant sampling effort, the final report is available here. Each of the partner organizations is reviewing the report results and making their final decisions regarding participation in an intergovernmental agreement to support road crossing construction during the spring of 2021.

Rocky Mountain Greenway Background

The Rocky Mountain Greenway is a Colorado the Beautiful statewide priority trail project that has been designated by former President Barack Obama as an official project of America’s Great Outdoors.

The vision of the project is to ultimately connect the three Front Range National Wildlife Refuges (Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Two Ponds, and Rocky Flats) with Rocky Mountain National Park through an interconnected, multi-use, regional trail system.

Brief Background of Rocky Flats

From 1952-1989 the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons plant produced cores from plutonium, highly-enriched uranium, beryllium, and other materials as a secret U.S. Atomic Energy Commission facility. On June 25, 1989, the FBI and Environmental Protection Agency raided the U.S. Department of Energy’s plant for suspected environmental crimes. Rocky Flats was closed following the raid, the site was designated as a superfund site and a 10-year, 7 billion dollar clean-up was completed in 2005. The 1,300 acres that comprised the production site are referred to as the “Central Operating Unit,” and remain under management of the Department of Energy as a Legacy Site – this site is not open to the public.

Through the Rocky Flats Act of 2001, the 5,237 acre “buffer area” surrounding the Legacy Site was designated as a National Wildlife Refuge. Though the land designated for the Rocky Flats Refuge was determined to be safe for residential use by the EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, the designation of the site as a wildlife refuge ensures that area will not be developed for residential use.

Rocky Flats Stewardship Council

Boulder County is one of 10 local government members of the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council, along with three community organization members, and one individual. The Rocky Flats Stewardship Council was formed in 2006 to provide on-going oversight of the post-closure management of the Rocky Flats site.

Prior to 2006, Boulder County was a member of the Rocky Flats Coalition of Local Governments, which consisted of each of the seven local governments that border the Rocky Flats site or that own open space adjacent to the site. The intergovernmental agreement was created to work collaboratively with the community to ensure the U.S. Department of Energy’s clean-up of the Rocky Flats site was protective to human health and the environment.

Anyone with general comments or suggestions about Rocky Flats should direct those comments to the comment form on the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council.

Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge

For information regarding the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge itself and public access, please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.