Natural Areas Enews
Win a Garden in a Box

We need your help! Nature in the City is working with Colorado State University to learn about what Fort Collins residents are doing to plant native plants or encourage others to plant natives.

The survey takes about 10 minutes.

All participants who complete the survey will be eligible for a drawing for a free “Native Meadows Garden in a Box” (a $150 value).

Please take the survey about native plant gardening

Pollinators in Autumn | Support Pollinators with a Project

While we dig out sweaters and jackets to stay warm on these crisp fall mornings, many of our region’s pollinators adapt by storing up energy and preparing their underground nests for over-wintering. Did you know that your fall blooming flowers, like sunflowers, offer important support to these pollinators? Rabbitbrush (pictured), another fall beauty, provides a critical nectar resource for over 60 species! These pollinators also need to find a safe, dry place to spend the winter. Many bees nest underground or find a hole in soft wood, while layers of leaves and pithy plants are ideal spots for other species.

Do you have an idea for bringing more native plants and pollinators to your home and neighborhood? Nature in the City has funding to support projects in your front yard, at your schools, and greenspaces across the city’s neighborhoods. Community Grants help integrate the conservation mission of Natural Areas across private landscapes and protects urban wildlife such as pollinators. Let Nature in the City know that you are interested, and you'll get an email when the grant cycle opens this November!

Learn about funding for native plant & pollinator projects

Check Before You Go
Fall is a great time to get outside, and trails and parking lots get busy. You can learn about trail closures and parking in 5 handy places:
  • Natural Areas Trail Conditions webpage features webcam images of the trailhead parking lots at Coyote Ridge, Bobcat Ridge and Reservoir Ridge natural areas and closure notices.
  • (map includes City of Fort Collins Natural Areas, paved trails in Fort Collins, Larimer County Open Spaces, and Lory State Park closures)
  • Facebook ( when closures happen)
  • Twitter (@FCNaturalAreas when closures happen)
  • Call an on-duty Ranger, 970-416-2147

The busiest times at natural areas are 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. on weekends, so try visiting earlier or later, or on weekdays 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! Only park in designated spaces.

Trail conditions website

Bird Lists Now Available Online
Thanks to a terrific volunteer, Alan Godwin of Fort Collins Audubon, bird lists for each natural area are now available. Just check the "Related Information" section of each natural area's website. Kingfisher by B.Bombaci photo.

Natural Area Closures for Cheatgrass Treatment
The control of cheatgrass, a non-native plant in the foothills is a high priority because of the threat it poses to plant and wildlife communities. Cheatgrass also increases the risk of wildfire. Bobcat Ridge and Soapstone Prairie natural areas will be closed on one weekday the week of October 7 for aerial herbicide application. The treatment prevents the germination of cheatgrass and does not affect native plants.

"What I love best about volunteering for Natural Areas is... EVERYTHING!"
Meet Lynn Hansen, our volunteer of the month who in addition to the wonderful compliment above (we are so flattered, thank you) said, "Everyone I work with while doing this work is special, from the amazing staff, to the other dedicated volunteers, to the incredible participants who make my work here possible. Add that to the beauty of the areas themselves, the wildlife we get to observe (and who observe us), and the lessons learned with every step I take in the Natural Areas, and it is a magical recipe for an excellent life!  I am grateful for the privilege of being a Natural Areas Master Naturalist.  Thank you Natural Areas, for all that you give to me!!!"
Learn more about volunteering

You're Invited!
October 12, 2019 | 10 a.m. to noon
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: 10:30 a.m.
201 East Vine Drive

The Poudre River Whitewater Park is a milestone achievement for the City of Fort Collins and would not have been possible without the passion, dedication and support of the community. Habitat improvements included the removal of the grouted boat chute and Coy diversion structure and new fish passages in the boating features.
Learn more about the park and opening

Connect with Nature on a Free Guided Activity

Science Behind the Scenery: How Are the Birds? Thursday, October 3, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Please NOTE: This location is different than the one advertised in the ExplorerNorthside Aztlan Community Center, Eagle Rooms 1 and 2. These informative talks are designed for adults to learn more about research and science related to natural areas. Ten years of bird research and conservation at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area reveal exciting trends. Join Natural Areas Wildlife Biologist Aran Meyer and Rocky Mountain Bird Conservancy’s Community and Outreach Specialist Erin Youngberg to learn more. Parking is limited - please carpool, bike or walk. Bring a snack if you like. Activity is accessible and free, registration required at

Forest Therapy, Wednesday, October 9, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Reservoir Ridge Natural Area, Meet at Primrose Studio. Experience the Japanese tradition of Shinrin-Yoku on this guided nature walk. Learn to open your senses to nature’s healing power. Bring water, sun protection, closed-toe shoes and any other comforts you may need. 18+. Free, registration required at

Science Behind the Scenery: Bats of Colorado and Fort Collins Natural Areas. Thursday, October 10, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Nix Farm Office, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road. These informative talks are designed for adults to learn more about research and science related to natural areas. Enjoy a presentation on bats of Colorado and learn about the research and data gathered at Gateway and other natural areas over the last few years. Parking is limited - please carpool, bike or walk. Bring a snack if you like. Program is accessible and free, registration required at

Astronomy at Bobcat Ridge, Saturday, October 19, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, meet at the parking lot. Enjoy a brief, family-friendly astronomy program followed by skygazing. Volunteers from the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society provide telescopes for your viewing pleasure. Dress warmly, bring water and a blanket or chair to sit on in the parking lot. Program begins at the picnic shelter, a 0.25 mile-walk. Please arrive on time! The gate closes shortly after start time and parking is not allowed on the road outside the gate. Free, registration required at

Calendar of free activities

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 Community Relations 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