December 2016
Naturally Yours
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Introducing NoCo Trail Report

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Have you ever gone all the way to a trailhead to find it closed for mud or trail work? What a bummer! Have you ever had to check three or more websites for trail condition information? What a bummer!

The frustration of an unexpected or unknown trail closure can now be avoided by checking which covers trails managed by Larimer County Natural Resources, City of Fort Collins Parks, and City of Fort Collins Natural Areas.

City Gets International Recognition


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has selected the City of Fort Collins’ 2014 Poudre River restoration projects as one of ten international restoration case studies employing “nature-based solutions”.  The report, “Nature-based Solutions to Address Global Societal Challenges” draws international attention to the City Natural Area Department’s river restoration projects at McMurry and North Shields Ponds natural areas, completed in 2014. Read the full report here. 

The City of Fort Collins’ Nature in the City program was selected through an internationally competitive process to be featured as a Success Story on IUCN's NatureForAll’s website, The website is meant to inspire a new generation of thinkers and doers across all sectors of society to connect with nature and take action to support its conservation. Nature in the City seeks to increase people’s connection to nature while enhancing wildlife habitat through innovative partnerships, policies, and projects .

Gather at Primrose Studio


Host your next meeting or retreat in a unique space at Reservoir Ridge Natural Area. Primrose Studio is a quiet, beautiful spot with a full kitchen, spacious patio, and comfortable seating for your next gathering of up to 36 people.

Private groups, $200 for up to 5 hours, non-profit/government groups, $100 for up to 5 hours.

Learn more here.

Become a Volunteer Ranger Assistant


Did you always want to be a park ranger? It’s not too late! Become a Volunteer Ranger Assistant and help park, open space and natural area rangers accomplish much of their important work.  Larimer County Department of Natural Resources and City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department are now accepting applications for their joint Volunteer Ranger Assistant program. Training will be Tues., February 21, 6-9 p.m. Thurs., February 23, 6-8 p.m. and Saturday, February 25, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers attend 20 hours of training and are asked to contribute 20 hours of service in return. Applications are due January 20. Learn more >>>

2016 Ecological Restoration Highlights

  • Volunteers and staff planted over 2,000 native wetland plants for habitat at North Shields Ponds, Arapaho Bend, McMurry, and Running Deer natural areas.  Native grasses and wildflowers were planted on 135 acres of prairie natural areas.
  • Non-native cheatgrass weeds were treated by aerial spraying via helicopter(!) at Coyote Ridge, Reservoir Ridge, Bobcat Ridge and Soapstone Prairie natural areas. There were a total of 1,350 acres of cheatgrass control in 2016.
  • Over 100 acres of non-native weeds such as Canada thistle, musk thistle, knapweed and dalmation toadflax were inhibited by releasing weevils, goat grazing, and other methods.
  • A controlled burn improved habitat for the federally-threatened rare orchid, Ute ladies'-tresses at Reservoir Ridge Natural Area

Eagle Watches Start Next Week!


Bald eagles from northern states and Canada make Fort Collins their winter home. City of Fort Collins Master Naturalists will be stationed at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area to explain the eagles’ natural history and help visitors view them through spotting scopes and binoculars. Free, drop in any time during these programs.  If temperatures are below freezing, or it’s windy or foggy, or unsafe to drive, the Eagle Watches may be canceled. Be sure to visit before you go. Cancelations will be posted at least two hours before program start times.

Friday, December 16, 3:00-4:30

Saturday, December 17, 3:00-4:30

Friday, December 30, 3:00-4:30

Saturday, December 31, 3:00-4:30

Friday, January 6, 3:30-5:00

Full schedule here.


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

To learn more about Natural Areas, visit our website.

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