Natural Areas Enews
Soapstone Prairie Opens for the 2022 Season
Soapstone Prairie Natural Area opens today, March 1st, for the 2022 season. Soapstone Prairie is Fort Collins Natural Areas largest natural area encompassing over 28 square miles of nearly pristine grasslands, wide-open vistas, and miles of trails. Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. Visit Soapstone Prairie to meet the past, enjoy the present and preserve the future! Soapstone Prairie is open March-November. Check COTREX for current trail conditions.
Visit Soapstone Prairie

Reserve your Garden in a Box
Reserve your Garden in a Box today! With just a click, you can order a xeric garden kit that’s ready to pick up and plant in May. These pre-designed kits with simple plant-by-number maps take the guesswork out of buying and planting. Be sure to check out the Colorado Oasis (pictured) and Native Nectar kits which contain plants native to Colorado and will help support wildlife in your area. Both kits are eligible for a $25 discount for Fort Collins Utility customers.
Reserve today

Know Before you Go!
Spring is just around the corner and you may be itching to hit the trails. Know before you go!

1. Check Trail Conditions
Trails are closed when wet and muddy to prevent damage to the natural area. Going around the mud widens the trail. Going through the mud damages the trail. Check closures at COTREX or on the NAD Trail Status webpage.

2. Make a Plan
The busiest times at natural areas are weekends, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., so try to plan outings around those hours or on weekday mornings for the best chance at parking! Have an alternate destination in mind. When parking lots are full try another trailhead or come back another time. Avoid a parking ticket by only parking in designated spaces.

3. Come Prepared
Spring weather in Colorado can change quickly. Come prepared with appropriate gear for your activity including layers, water, a map, etc. Have a dog? Don't forget to bring dog poop bags and dispose of them properly.

National Invasive Species Week
It's National Invasive Species Week. Did you know that invasive species are among the leading threats to native wildlife? Invasive species can create less biodiversity by outcompeting native species. Help prevent the spread with these tips: 
  • Clean your shoes and socks by knocking dirt and plant materials out of the treads before your next walk or hike.
  • Brush off your pets if they have been out romping on the trails.
  • Consider using weed-free feed for your pack animals such as horses, mules, or llamas.
  • Plant native plants at home. Use this recommended plant list of species native to Northern Colorado.

Nature in the City Awards over $280,000
Nature in the City helps fund projects that bring natural spaces into your neighborhood and community. This year, Nature in the City awarded over $280,000 worth of funding towards 15 implementation projects across the city. These projects, led by the community, will enhance habitat for wildlife, increase access to nature for the community, and encourage stewardship actions. You can learn more about Nature in the City funded projects at the link below.
Learn More

2022 Earth Day Challenge
What is Earth Day Challenge? 

The Earth Day Challenge is a fun, virtual competition to see who can lose the most CO2. Every pound of CO2 you reduce equals one point. Earn points to win prizes such as one year of free curbside composting or $200 in grocery store gift cards. Every household that earns 5,000 points will be entered into the drawing for this Grand Prize and will have a shot at other prize categories as well. Learn more about prizes and how the challenge will work this year at

This year, our goal is to remove 1,500 Tons of CO2 collectively!  This goal is well within reach, but we need YOUR help to expand the impact of the Earth Day Challenge even further! In fact, a great way to get started earning points for the 2022 Earth Day Challenge is to sign up for a free home efficiency assessment through Larimer County. You may even be eligible for a free water-efficient toilet!
Learn More

Free Upcoming Activities

Winter Nature Walks- Winter on the River | Saturday, March 5 | 1 PM | North Shields Ponds Natural Area | Registration Required
Discover a special Poudre River natural area right in town. The wetland and forest habitat supports a variety of plant and animal life. Take a winter walk along the river! Please dress for the weather, including shoes that can get muddy. 1.5 miles; easy

Skygazing | Friday, March 11 | 7 - 9PM | Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area 
Volunteers from the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society provide telescopes and share their knowledge about the stars, planets, galaxies, and more.

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 Zoe Shark, 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