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Local Natural Areas
While the primary focus of the City’s Natural Areas Program in 2004 was on regional natural areas, acquisition and management of local natural areas continued.
Acquisition

A 153-acre site (temporarily known as the Andrijeski purchase) was acquired in northwest Fort Collins. This site, currently leased out for grazing, is on Overland Trail south of Michaud Lane. The site’s natural values include a wet meadow that contains the Ute ladies’- tresses orchid, a plant classified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a threatened species because of its rarity. A 5-acre portion of the site containing a house and farm buildings will be sold.

Foothills Trail Improvements

Due to erosion and new federal security regulations, several improvements were made to the popular Foothills Trail.

  • A quarter-mile segment at the northern end was rerouted to mitigate erosion; restoration of the old trail portion was begun. A local youth corps assisted with this project.
  • Rerouting was started on a half-mile trail segment along the base of Soldier Canyon Dam to meet new Bureau of Reclamation security regulations requiring trails to be kept at least 100 feet from the dam.
  • A new bridge was installed where the trail crosses an irrigation ditch at the southern edge of Soldier Canyon Dam.
Reservoir Ridge Natural Area
Reservoir Ridge Natural Area
A portion of the Foothills Trail was rerouted
A portion of the Foothills Trail was rerouted
Fossil Creek
Fossil Creek Natural Areas Management Plan
In late 2004, approximately 80 people attended public open houses and provided comments on the draft Fossil Creek Natural Areas Management Plan. This document will direct management of the 11 Fort Collins local natural areas, totaling 2,105 acres, in the Fossil Creek drainage: Cathy Fromme Prairie, Hazaleus, Colina Mariposa, Hidden Cattails, Redtail Grove, Two Creeks, Prairie Dog Meadow, Pelican Marsh, Fossil Creek Wetlands, Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, and Eagle View.
City of Fort Collins Image

These natural areas provide an abundance of habitat for wildlife:

  • Eagles and great horned owls roost in the trees at Cathy Fromme Prairie and Eagle View;
  • Pelicans, coyotes, and foxes enjoy Pelican Marsh;
  • Raptors hunt for prairie dogs at Prairie Dog Meadow;
  • Tiger salamanders inhabit Two Creeks;
  • Peregrine falcons have found valuable habitat at Fossil Creek Reservoir
Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space
In October, Larimer County opened the 470-acre Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space along Carpenter Road near I-25. The City of Fort Collins and Larimer County are joint owners (50-50) of the site, with Larimer County managing the site. Fossil Creek Reservoir and the adjacent lands provide one of the region’s key wildlife habitats, a complex of open waters, wetlands, riparian areas, and grasslands that attract large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds as well as wintering bald eagles. The site provides 2.2 miles of hiking trails, with some areas closed seasonally to protect sensitive wildlife.