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Natural Areas and Trails Rangers

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact a ranger?

If you are ever in need of assistance in an emergency, you should dial 911. For non-emergency situations such as reporting incidents and question regarding regulations, call (970) 416-2147. Your call will automatically be forwarded to the cell phone of one of the on-duty rangers. Rangers can be individually reached >>>

What are the hours natural areas are open to the public?

Natural areas are open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day except for Soapstone Prairie, Gateway and Bobcat Ridge natural areas which are open from dawn to dusk. Soapstone Prairie is closed in December, January and February. These hours allow wildlife a period of rest from human disturbance. In order to enter a natural area during off hours, a free, online permit is required.

Where can I run my dog unleashed?

The leash law applies in all natural areas. There are no natural areas or city parks where dogs are allowed to be unleashed. The City of Fort Collins Parks Department has dog parks where dogs can be unleashed within an enclosed area.

Is there a Lost and Found?

Yes, if you have lost an item of value (cell phone, wallet) in a natural area or on a paved trail, contact Fort Collins Police Services, (970) 221-6540. If you have lost items of smaller value (such as clothing), contact the Natural Areas Department office, 970-416-2815 or the on-duty ranger, 970-416-2147. Found items can be reported to the numbers above.

What do I do if I get a ticket from a ranger?

If you are cited by a ranger, follow the instructions on the back of your ticket at the bottom. Contact the court if you have any questions. The phone number for the court is printed on the back of the ticket. Be ready to provide your case number, which is written at top of your ticket.

I lost my copy of the ticket. What should I do?

If you have lost your copy of the ticket, the appropriate court will have a copy on file. You will have to wait 7-10 days after the ticket is issued before the court can pull your case number from the system.

What is the day-use fee for Gateway Natural Area?

The daily parking fee at Gateway Natural Area is $5 (check or cash only). Parking is free in December, January, and February. An annual pass is available and can be purchased at the Natural Areas Department, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road (8-5 M-F, check or credit card only) or at the Gateway Natural Area Office (hours vary, credit card, check or cash). Learn more at Gateway's website.

Is camping allowed within natural areas?

No, camping is not allowed in City of Fort Collins Natural Areas.

Can I bring alcholic beverages to a natural area?

No. It is illegal to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage in a natural area, as well as, parks, trails and all recreation areas. In addition, City of Fort Collins municipal code prohibits open alcoholic containers anywhere within the city limits. Glass containers are also prohibited within natural areas, parks, trails or recreation areas.

Can I hunt and fish in natural areas?

Hunting is not allowed in natural areas. Fishing is allowed in many natural areas, but not all. See the Natural Areas Finder and click the fishing icon to sort the list. Also see the Natural Areas Fishing website. If you are not sure, please contact a ranger. Fishing is regulated by the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW). You must have a valid fishing license. You can check fishing regulations at Please note that ice fishing is not allowed in any natural area.

Can I boat on the ponds in natural areas?

Yes, but only in a non-motorized or a boat with an electric trolling motor, and only in ponds that allow fishing. Please note that all Colorado State and U.S. Coast Guard rules apply.