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Natural Areas

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Upcoming Free Activities

Ferrets First Festival, Saturday, September 5, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, 408 Mason Court. One year ago, a group of endangered black-footed ferrets were released at Soapstone Prairie, a landscape they once inhabited. Join Natural Areas and the Museum of Discovery to celebrate the anniversary of the ferrets’ return home! Events include talks with scientists, a live black-footed ferret, and more! See the schedule at  Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at or call 970-416-2815. Museum admission is required for the main exhibit hall.

Astronomy & Skygazing at Bobcat Ridge: Our Cosmic Address Saturday, September 5, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, meet at the picnic shelter 0.1 miles from the parking lot. Enjoy a brief family-friendly astronomy program at Bobcat Ridge. Skygazing follows with telescopes provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Dress warmly, and bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at or call 970-416-2815.

Nature’s Harvest Festival, Saturday, September 12, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Gardens on Spring Creek. Celebrate and explore adventures in NoCo’s big backyard! The Nature Festival is combining with the Harvest Festival. Everyone is invited to a free day of fun and learning for the whole family that includes live animals, a butterfly release, interactive activities, live music, food, vendors, presentations, giveaways, and more! Learn more at

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Funds for Enhancing Your Natural Area

The Natural Areas Department encourages stewardship of all natural areas so financial assistance is available for projects to enhance or restore private or public natural areas in Fort Collins. The Natural Areas Department is appropriating $15,000 from the citizen-initiated Open Space Yes! sales tax for the Enhancement Fund in 2015.  Applications are due on November 6.  Learn more >>>

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Core Natural Areas Management Plan Input Sought

The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department manages 43 natural areas ranging in size from the 1-acre Williams Natural Area to the 22,258-acre Soapstone Prairie Natural Area. The Core Natural Areas are small, urban sites:

A draft management plan has been written for these sites and the public is invited to share their thoughts. Learn more here.  Comments will be accepted until September 15.

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Bison Coming to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space

This fall, plains bison will be reintroduced to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area in a partnership between the City of Fort Collins, Colorado State University, the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and Larimer County Natural Resources Department. The species conservation effort uses assisted reproductive technology to address the key challenge to bison- preserving genetic diversity and mitigating the disease brucellosis. Bison once roamed the shortgrass prairie and they are integral to its ecology. Soapstone Prairie’s management plan (2009) calls for bison reintroduction. Preparations for the bison include re-routing the first 2 miles of the Cheyenne Rim Trail, installing a fence for the pasture, and fundraising. Learn more at

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Grant Received for Historic Great Western Sugar Company Effluent Flume and Bridge

The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department has been awarded a grant of $10,000 from the History Colorado State Historical Fund.  The grant will be used to fund a Historic Structure Assessment of the Great Western Sugar Company Effluent Flume and Bridge, which spans the Cache la Poudre River on Kingfisher Point Natural Area.  After 60 years of being out of use and only minimally maintained, the flume and bridge are in need of attention to ensure that they will be here for today’s visitors and future generations. The Historic Structure Assessment will be performed by an engineering firm with experience in restoration of historic structures and will take approximately 6 months to complete. Read more >>> 

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River Restoration Video Released

Restoration that creates a more diverse, resilient and healthy Cache la Poudre river corridor is a lasting conservation legacy for the Fort Collins community, the river and the river's wildlife.  Innovative river restoration projects are underway right now. You are part of this inspirational work! A new 3-minute video produced by Roothouse Studio of Boulder, Colorado, reveals the case for river restoration through real photos, time-lapse photography, and video animation. See the video on the City’s YouTube channel, . Learn more about the projects at North Shields Ponds and McMurry natural areas websites.

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Natural Areas is on Facebook and Twitter

Get all the latest news from the Natural Areas Department, like us on Facebook (FCNaturalAreas) and follow us on Twitter (@FCNaturalAreas)!

Natural Areas

Physical Address: 1745 Hoffman Mill Road, Fort Collins, CO 80524
Mailing Address: PO Box 580, Ft. Collins, CO 80522-0580
Phone: (970) 416-2815
Fax: (970) 416-2211
Normal Business Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday

Directions: From Lemay (the part of Lemay between Riverside and Mulberry), turn east onto Poudre River Drive. Follow Poudre River Drive as it curves, changes names to Hoffman Mill Road and eventually dead-ends at Nix Natural Area and the Natural Areas Department's offices.

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Yours to Explore
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Yours to Treasure: Volunteering and Stewardship