Natural Areas Enews
The 2021 Natural Areas Explorer
The 2021 Natural Areas Explorer is here!  Activities range from stewardship, outdoor recreation activities, night skies, wellness, and much more. Throughout the publication, you will notice artistic contributions by community members, such as poetry, stories, and visual art. These contributions reflect the viewpoints and opinions of those individuals and their personal connections with nature. We are proud to feature the work of our community in this year’s Natural Areas Explorer! To register for events visit or call 970-416-2815.
View the Explorer Booklet

Updates on the Maxwell Trail Refresh Project
The work continues on the Maxwell Trail Refresh Project. Maxwell Natural Area is currently closed for trail maintenance. Repair and restoration of the trail is keeping it fun, safe and sustainable. Before restoration, sections of the trail were 3 feet deep and 20 feet across a deeply eroded channel. In the last two weeks, helicopters dropped 250 tons of material to improve the trail. Reopening the trail is a priority, and a huge undertaking. The opening is expected in mid-June. Thank you for your patience during this process. Follow on Fort Collins Natural Areas on Facebook and Twitter for more updates. Find out more about trail restoration projects by visiting the Trail Maintenace Explained webpage

Visit the Maxwell Trail Refresh Project

Get Trail Condition Updates
For the most accurate and up to date information regarding trail conditions and closures visit COTREX or the Natural Areas Trail Conditions web page.
To improve efficiency, Fort Collins Natural Areas will no longer be updating social media channels with individual trail condition reports for each natural area. Occasional social media posts about trail conditions will direct users to COTREX or the website. COTREX and the Natural Areas website will now serve as the main resource for real time trail conditions to get you back on the trails and doing what you love. To explore trails in your area, click the link below.

Wondering what to plant this year?

Looking for plants that support local wildlife and pollinators, are waterwise, and regionally appropriate? City of Fort Collins Recommended Plant List is here! This list is unique to Fort Collins and includes hundreds of plants native to Fort Collins and Colorado. This new resource will guide community members in the creation of sustainable and ecologically diverse landscapes and may just help you decide what else to plant in your garden.

Check out the Fort Collins Recommended Plant List! Find out more about the benefits of planting natives on the Natural Areas Native Plant webpage

See the list

Soaring Vista Natural Area is Now Open!
Soaring Vista is a new natural area located on the southern end of Fort Collins in the Loveland Community Separator off of County Road 30. A one mile loop trail is available for bird watchers, dog walkers, equestrians, bikers, and runners. The site was named Soaring Vista because of the expansive views of the Colorado Front Range to the West and the common sight of raptors soaring overhead. Eighteen species of birds, mammals, and reptiles have been recorded at Soaring Vista.
Learn more about Soaring Vista Natural Area

Reading this information could save your life!

Recently, Poudre Fire Authority (PFA) rescued six people from the Poudre River and directed two more to exit the water, likely preventing another rescue - in less than 24 hours.

Right now, the river is flowing high, fast and cold. While the river is never completely safe, this is an especially risky time to float. Precautions are needed on still water, too, especially with Colorado weather. Each year, PFA responds to calls in which people are separated from flotation devices and are at risk in rough water due to a quick change from calm weather to high winds.

Learn to Play It Safe on the Poudre

Natural Areas Volunteers Reawaken this Spring

Engaging with volunteers is an important way for the Natural Areas Department to achieve its mission and connect with the community. This spring volunteers Natural Areas Department staff trained 96 new long-term volunteers and worked with 68 one-day volunteers who planted over 1,400 native trees and shrubs.  

Volunteer Naturalist Assistant trainees enthusiastically participated in a three-day training to learn to educate the community about natural areas. Nature in the City volunteers learned to garden in native plant gardens to maintain Nature in the City sites and monitor for birds and butterflies on urban natural areas to help inform management decisions. 

At Coyote Ridge Natural Area, in partnership with the FC Volunteer program, volunteers helped plant 800 mountain mahogany plugs in the foothills ecosystem. At Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, volunteers helped clear a drainage filled with cottonwood branches in fire recovery efforts.  

At the newly acquired and closed-to-the-public Kestrel Fields Natural Area, volunteers planted 600 native trees and shrubs over three days. One volunteer shared, “The event at Kestrel Fields was a real pleasure. It was well-organized, well-managed onsite, and well-supported- with holes pre-dug and a plethora of details anticipated before the event began. I especially appreciated the City employees who were there. They were all extremely friendly, energetic and professional. They were also great with kids. I had a grandson and two granddaughters there, and the city employees were great with them, too.”  

This summer volunteers will continue to help with programs, trail work, community science, restoration, and much more. Thank you volunteers! 

Free Upcoming Activities

Frogs!   Tuesday June 8 | 7:30 PM | Nix Farmhouse | Registration Required
Learn about the importance of amphibian monitoring and what it tells us about the health of the ecosystem. Then, test your skills at a nearby restoration site.

Breathing with the Trees   Saturday, June 12 | 10:00 AM | Riverbend Ponds Natural Area | Registration Required
Walking the nature trail is an immersion experience. Nature has an intuitive sense for what we need. Enjoy a breath of fresh air as you breath the wellness scents of trees. This unique walk will leave you feeling rejuvenated and alive. Up to 1 mile; easy.

Astronomy & Stargazing   Saturday, June 12 | 9:00 PM | Bobcat Ridge Natural Area | Registration Required
Enjoy a brief, family-friendly astronomy activity followed by skygazing. Volunteers from the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society provide telescopes. 

A Walk Through Nature: Poudre River Nature Walk   Wednesday, June 16 | 9:30 PM | Lee Martinez Park | Registration Required
Enjoy a leisurely walk on the Poudre Trail. Explore the dance between the river and the land while observing birds, trees and butterflies along the trail. Bring water, sun protection and comfortable walking shoes. 1-2 miles; easy.

Junior Naturalists - Nature Writing   Thursday, June 17 | 10:00 AM | North Shields Ponds Natural Area | Registration Required
Learn from a local nature author how to identify themes in nature, connect them with everyday life, and communicate lessons from the natural world. Enjoy engaging activities that will guide you through methods and habits of nature writing. Bring sun protection, water and sturdy shoes. Up to 1 mile; easy

Forest Therapy   Wednesday, June 23 | 1:00 PM | Gateway Natural Area | Registration Required
Experience the Japanese tradition of Shinrin-Yoku on this guided nature walk. Learn to open your senses to nature’s healing power.

Know your City   Wednesday, June 23 | 6:00 PM | Sugar Beet Park | Registration Required
These informative talks are designed for adults to learn more about research and science related to natural areas and how their unique and valuable resources are stewarded. Parking is limited - please carpool, bike, or walk. Bring a snack if you like.

Fireflies   Thursday, June 24 | 8:30 PM | Riverbend Ponds Natural Area 
Light up the Night - Did you know that Fort Collins is home to one of the largest firefly populations in Colorado? Come see what makes it such a great place to live. Walks are offered on or near the full moon with lots of natural light—no need for flashlights! Dress warmly, wear closed-toed walking shoes, and bring water to drink. Bring insect protection. The program will include a 1-2 mile walk on unpaved trails, easy.

View the Event Calendar

Natural Areas News is published on the first Tuesday of the month with occasional special editions. Newsletter comments are welcome. Please contact Charlotte Norville, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Public Engagement Manager, 970-221-6311 or 

To learn more about Natural Areas, visit our website.

City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department
PO Box 580, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road
Fort Collins, CO 80522