April 2016
Naturally Yours
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Updated Natural Areas Map & Annual Report

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A new Natural Areas Map has been printed and is available as a pdf online.  It shows new trails at Arapaho Bend Natural Area, the bison pasture at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, and more. Find printed copies in City of Fort Collins Natural Area kiosks.

The 2015 Natural Areas Annual Report was also just published, highlighting accomplishments of the year including the reintroduction of bison to Soapstone Prairie and Larimer County's Red Mountain Open Space, over 1,000 acres of land conservation, and record-breaking attendance and volunteer contributions.

Fishway = Passageway for Fish


A special partnership has rebuilt and improved a diversion structure by including a fishway (a passage for fish). North Poudre Irrigation Company’s Fossil Creek Reservoir Inlet Ditch diversion was damaged during the September 2013 flood and needed to be completely rebuilt. This presented the opportunity to work with Colorado Water Conservation Board, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to design the diversion to allow trout and native fish such as dace, shiners, and stonerollers to move past. Read the press release >>>

Give Back to the Places You Treasure: Volunteer


Volunteer opportunities in April, May, and June are now open for registration!

National Volunteer Week Mid-day Clean-up

Thursday, April 14, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Join us for a mid-day trash clean-up near the junction of the Poudre River and Spring Creek trails. Natural Areas will supply gloves, trash bags, and yummy snacks. All volunteers under that age of 16 must be with an adult 18+. Meet at the trailhead on the eastern edge of the Riverbend Office Complex, near the Wholeness Center, 2620 East Prospect Road. No registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up in NatureTracker.

Earth Day Native Plant Gardening

Friday, April 22, 9 a.m.- 12 noon

Celebrate Earth Day by being part of a community volunteer project! Volunteers will be preparing the Nix Native Plant garden for spring including trimming bushes, spreading mulch and maintaining garden trails.

Natural Areas will provide all project supplies, gloves and snacks. Volunteers under the age of 16 must be with an adult 18+. Registration is required on NatureTracker (you must login or create an account).

Poudre River Clean-up

Saturday, May 28, 9 a.m.-12 noon
Lee Martinez Park, 600 N. Sherwood St.

Pitch in and help clean-up the Poudre River Corridor! Join Mountain Whitewater Descents, Save the Poudre, and the Natural Areas Department for the annual spring clean-up. All you need is gloves, sunscreen and the desire to make a difference. No registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up on NatureTracker. Please carpool, bike or walk to reduce congestion. When you arrive sign-in at the check-in table prior to the clean-up.

National Trails Day

Saturday, June 4, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Get outdoors and give back! Volunteers of all ages are invited to help maintain the trails at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. Kid-friendly projects and activities will be available. A free celebratory lunch will be offered at noon. This project is sponsored by REI, Backcountry Delicatessen and Larimer County Conservation Corps. All volunteers under the age of 16 must be with an adult 18+. Free, registration is required on NatureTracker (you must login or create an account).

Tracks & Trails Activities Online


Tracks & Trails is your booklet guide to free activities on natural areas, June-October.  The full schedule of activities, classes, events and programs is available now online on the NatureTracker calendar. Printed copies of the booklet are expected in May. Upcoming activities include:

Skygazing, Friday April 8, 8 -10 p.m.

Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, meet in the parking lot off Carpenter Road.

Enjoy viewing the night sky with telescopes and knowledgeable volunteers provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Dress warmly and bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Free, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com. For weather updates and cancellations, visit nocoastro.org.

Bison Exploration, Saturday, April 9, 10 a.m.- 12 noon

Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the North Parking Lot

See American bison in their natural habitat, the shortgrass prairie! We will meet at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area to learn about the bison and their impact on this ecosystem as we observe the herd. Please note: The bison are constantly on the move and we cannot guarantee that they will be visible. Bring binoculars, snacks, water, closed-toe shoes, and sun protection. ½ mile, easy. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Parking Fills Up


With warm spring weather, several popular natural area parking lots have been filling up on the weekends.  If you are headed to natural areas in the foothills such as Bobcat Ridge, Coyote Ridge, Reservoir Ridge or Maxwell, please have an alternate destination in mind in case the parking lot is full.  Parking illegally will result in a ticket. Parking lot sizes are set for conservation values and visitor experience.

Spring Restoration Report


What restoration projects happen in the spring? It is the season for seeding natural areas!  In March, about 110 acres at Coyote Ridge, Cathy Fromme Prairie, Hazaleus, and Kingfisher Point natural areas were planted with native seed. The idea is to replace smooth bromme grass, an exotic plant with very little wildlife value with native grasses that support wildlife from grassland birds to pollinators.

Along the Poudre river corridor, restoration through transplanting is underway. Willows from a construction site will now prevent erosion at McMurry Natural Area and an old road at Springer Natural Area recieved transplanted native grass to jump start it's recovery.

These projects are part of the Natural Areas Department's commitment to manage and restore land to it's native state while providing meaningful education and appropriate recreation opportunities.


naturalareaslogo.gif 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 zshark@fcgov.com.

To learn more about Natural Areas, visit our website.

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