Natural Areas Enews
Maxwell Natural Area Reopens

In June, about 3100’ of the Foothills Trail at Maxwell Natural Area was repaired to protect ecological integrity and restore the trail’s natural drainage pattern. Though maintenance was performed annually by the Natural Areas Department staff and volunteers, the condition of the trail degraded past the point where any meaningful impact or improvement could be made with hand tools or even small heavy equipment. The trail suffered too much erosion through both use and weather and lost its ability to sheet water.

The trail maintenance at Maxwell Natural Area was informed by extensive public engagement including during the Foothills Management Plan process in 2019 and stakeholder meetings in 2020. Volunteers from Colorado Addicted Trailbuilders Society, Larimer County Conservation Corps, a helicopter, and several pack llamas from Buckhorn Llama Company all participated in the trail restoration. 290 tons of specially blended soil (designed for durability and better drainage) was integrated into the trail. Thank you, volunteers!

The multiuse Foothills Trail functions as a connector into two other natural areas and provides access to Horsetooth Reservoir. Outdoor enthusiasts of all types and abilities all use and enjoy this trail system.

Thank you Maxwell Volunteers!
A big thank you to everyone who helped work on the Maxwell Trail Refresh Project. The project could not have been completed without the help of the Colorado Addicted Trailbuilders Society (CATS), Larimer County Conservation Corps, and the help of a llama pack stock from Buckhorn Llama Company. Thank you, volunteers!

Plan your event at Primrose Studio

Plan your most inspired meeting or event at Primrose Studio at Reservoir Ridge Natural Area, where affordable space meets the unique backdrop of one of Fort Collins most treasured natural places. It is a secluded and intimate lakefront venue with a full kitchen and a spacious covered patio that can accommodate groups from 4 to 44, depending on the site design. So meet, eat, create, team build, celebrate, and play-- at Primrose Studio!

Submit an Event Request

Fishing in Your Natural Areas
Fishing can be a great way to explore your natural areas! Did you know there are 16 natural areas that allow fishing? If you do choose to go fishing this summer, use these helpful resources for a successful trip:

Visit the Fishing Webpage

Bring Your Own Water!

Bring your own water to protect you and your pets from harmful algal blooms. 

What are harmful algal blooms?
Harmful algae blooms (HAB's) are colonies of algae that grow out of control and can be harmful to humans, pets, fish, and wildlife. HAB's are in local ponds and can occur from mid-summer to early fall. The City does not monitor water bodies in parks and natural areas for algal blooms or cyanotoxins, but it is easy to stay safe.

Limit your exposure to potentially toxic blue-green algae by: 

  • Keep pets out of the water and bring your own clean water for them to drink. 
  • Never drink water from outdoor water bodies such as ponds, lakes, rivers, or streams. 
  • If you touch the water, use hand sanitizer and wash your hands with soap afterward. 
Learn more about HABs

Do's and Don'ts for Enjoying the Poudre River
Floating the Poudre River might sound like an enticing way to cool off, but it's important to play it safe. Following these dos and don'ts might just save your life!
  • DO wear a life jacket.
  • DON'T go if it's not safe. High flows are unsafe.
  • DO plan your take-out location before you go. Use this handy map
  • DON'T tie anything to yourself or your vessel. It could drown you.
  • DO float sober.
  • DON'T litter. Pack it in pack it out.
  • DO give others plenty of space.
Play it Safe on the Poudre Brochure

Free Upcoming Activities
Junior Naturalists: Leave No Trace and Community Science | Thursday, July 15 | 10 AM | Riverbend Ponds | Registration Required
Put on your thinking cap and help answer scientists' research questions that benefit local natural areas. Using your powers of observation, you’ll learn to monitor native plants, birds, and butterflies.

Skygazing | Saturday, July 17 | 9 PM | Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area | Registration Required
Volunteers from the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society provide telescopes and share their knowledge about the stars, planets, galaxies, and more.

Ecology Walk | Wednesday, July 21 | 10 AM | Fort Collins Museum of Discovery | Registration Required
Time spent in nature is never wasted. Learn a bit about local ecology and enjoy a peaceful walk along the Poudre River. Easy, up to 1 mile.

The Water We Use | Wednesday, July 28 | 6 PM | Gateway Natural Area | Registration Required; Ages 16+
here does our high-quality water come from, how much do we have, and how do we get it? Join Fort Collins Utilities experts to dive into these questions and more! These informative talks are designed for adults to learn more about research in natural areas and how their unique and valuable natural resources are stewarded.

Yoga in Nature | Sunday, July 25 | 9 AM | Gateway Natural Area | Registration Required; Ages 16+
This vinyasa style class will link poses and breath together while connecting to our natural surroundings. Come as you are and enjoy a mindful flow that is appropriate for all levels. Props available upon request.
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