Natural Areas Enews
The 2022 Explorer is Here!
The Natural Areas Explorer is your guide to the outdoors all summer long. Choose from various programs such as Junior Naturalists, skygazing, stewardship, group hikes and so much more! All programs are free and open to the public. View the Explorer online or look out for printed copies at trailheads in your local natural areas.
Explore Free Activities

Trail Stewardship Opportunity
Volunteer on National Trails Day! This collaborative trail stewardship project, hosted by Larimer County Natural Resources (LCNR) and the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas (NAD), will help to repair and construct publicly accessible trails. Volunteers will learn trail design, construction, and maintenance techniques and better understand how LCNR and NAD work together to provide quality visitor experiences. Free lunch, swag, and a chance to win prizes for those who volunteer!
Sign Up

Maxwell Natural Area Trail Work Update

The volunteer project on June 11 (see above) kicks off work on a new trail realignment at Maxwell Natural Area to the east of North County Road 23/Centennial Drive. No miles of trail will be lost during the realignment. The section of trail was recently acquired and it created an opportunity to improve the sustainability of the trail and the visitor experience. The original trail alignment is a concern because it holds water during and after precipitation events, is highly eroded, and is braided in multiple sections. The new trail will be positioned on the western slope of the basin. The trail surface will be amended for durability, the new alignment will have better cross slope and drainage, and it will feature grade reversals and elevation gain. Work will continue through the summer and no trails will be closed during the work.

Say NO to the Flow

There is a time and place for everything but tubing the Poudre River right now is not the time or place. The Poudre River is not safe for novice recreation at this time. Throughout most of June, the river flows at medium to high levels through the City of Fort Collins, and even higher up the canyon. The water is fresh snowmelt which means it is ice cold and contains a great deal of debris. 

Poudre Fire Authority responders rescued 20 people from the Poudre River in 2021,18 of them were in town and trapped on or under debris piles. The Cameron Peak Fire burn scar has increased debris pile-ups, creating more hazards and even less predictability.

While many expect a "lazy river" experience through Fort Collins, that is not what the Poudre River delivers during this time. For now, say NO to the flow.

Learn more about the Poudre River, river recreation safety tips, swiftwater rescue technicians, and more at Poudre Fire Authority: Play It Safe on the Poudre.

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LGBTQ+ Community Hikes
Let's hike! Lets hike! Introducing summer LGBTQ+ Community Hikes! Explore Fort Collins natural areas and their importance to our local ecosystems and our own mental health and wellness. Hikes are intended to be a safe and inclusive space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to gather. Allies are welcome, please be mindful of the safe space. Register for the June 15 hike here.

Summer Bike to Work Day
Join the Natural Areas Department for Summer Bike to Work (Wherever) Day! The Natural Areas Department station will be located at Homestead Natural Area along the Poudre Trail from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. See you there!
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Xeriscape Garden Party and Pollinator Plant Swap
Join Fort Collins Utilities for the return of the in-person Xeriscape Garden Party on June 18, 9 a.m.- noon, at the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, 300 Laporte Ave. Learn about water-wise landscaping from local non-profits, City departments and Colorado Master Gardeners. Enjoy family-friendly activities, live art demonstrations, live music and a bite to eat from local food trucks. 

New this year: Take home free plants from the Pollinator Plant Swap. Dig up, divide and donate pollinator plants from your own garden. No plants to swap? No problem! You do not need to donate plants to take new ones home.

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Free Upcoming Activities
Yoga in Nature | Sunday, June 12 | 9 - 10:30 a.m. | Red Fox Meadows Natural Area
Take a short hike to a soothing spot in nature. Enjoy the natural areas and nourish yourself with yoga. Beginners and experienced are welcome. Bring a mat or towel.

Sights and Sounds of Gateway Natural Area | Tuesday, June 14 | 10 a.m. - noon | Gateway Natural Area
Explore where the river and foothills meet. See the birds, butterflies, and plants that live here. Bring your lunch to enjoy during a short presentation after the hike.

Searching for Baird's Sparrow | Wednesday, June 15 | 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. | Soapstone Prairie Natural Area
Soapstone Prairie is the only known breeding site for the rare Baird's Sparrow in the state of Colorado. Join biologists from the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and Fort Collins Natural Areas to look for the elusive birds and learn why conserving grasslands is important to their survival.

LGBTQ+ Community Hike | Wednesday, June 15 | 5 p.m - 7 p.m. | Location provided upon registration
Explore natural areas and their importance to our local ecosystems and our own mental health and wellness. Topics will vary. Hikes are intended to be a safe and inclusive space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to gather. Allies are welcome, please be mindful of the safe space. 2-3 miles; easy-moderate. 13+

Hiding in Plain Sight | Wednesday, June 22 | 9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. | Riverbend Ponds Natural Area | Registration Required
Have you ever been frustrated by no seeing wildlife on a hike? Use the SLOW method to increase your chances of seeing nature's creatures on your next hike. Chances are they are hiding right under your nose! This hike is family-friendly.

Real Colorado Roots | Saturday, June 25 | 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. | Gateway Natural Area
Discover Colorado's origins as pieced together by geologists using the theory of plate tectonics and evidence along the Black Powder Trail.
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