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Natural Areas

Kestrel Fields Natural Area#

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Kestrel Fields Update October 2022#

Thank you to everyone who shared feedback this spring about Kestrel Fields. 

Kestrel Fields Feedback Report- summarizes the responses gathered from the online feedback form, with a special focus on the open-ended questions.

Over half of the participants recommended a realigned trail. This feedback informed the updated alignment shown here which also considered habitat, surrounding property owners, the active farming operation, right of ways and utility easements. This trail alignment will:

  • Connect the trail to Havel Ave (pedestrian, bike, horse access only, no parking)
  • Eliminate a proposed trail loop on the west side
  • Create a trail loop around the farming operation, open seasonally, November- April
  • Maintain habitat with future improvements planned

This final alignment includes a year-round trail that connects to Havel Ave (no parking) and a seasonal trail around the west and south side of the farm that will be open November-April. The seasonal access is designed to facilitate safe, efficient farming operations during the growing seasons and provide community access. Habitat will continue to increase as the restored areas establish themselves and the next phases of restoration are installed. 

Next steps include securing multiple permits from Larimer County and then trail construction can begin. If all goes to plan, Kestrel Fields will be on track for opening to the community in the first quarter of 2023. Updates will be provided here and in the Natural Areas Enews, subscribe at the top of the page, "newsletters"

Description#

This site is not yet open to the public.
Kestrel Fields is a 73-acre link in a corridor connecting the foothills and the Cache la Poudre River. 

Watch for birds of open lands, including American kestrels and migrating sparrows, shrikes and bluebirds. Observe how this site changes as habitat restoration and conservation agriculture by Poudre Valley Community Farms increase diversity over time. A community fundraising effort provided extra resources for habitat restoration, thank you!

Photos#

Kestrel Fields Natural Area in winter by Doug Swartz

Kestrel Fields Natural Area in summer by Doug Swartz

An American kestrel, the namesake of the natural area by Doug Swartz

Trails#

Kestrel Fields is not yet open to the public. It is leased for conservation agriculture by Poudre Valley Community Farms. Please respect the farm by staying out. Future public access is being planned.

Originally Proposed Trail Alignment#

Frequently Asked Questions About the Proposed Trail and Management
When might Kestrel Fields be open?

There are many factors that could change the timeline and if all goes to plan, trail construction is anticipated in late 2022 with Kestrel Fields opening to the community in the first quarter 2023.

What will the rules be at Kestrel Fields?

Natural Areas regulations will apply including:

  • On-trail only
  • Pedestrian, bike, and equestrian access only, no motorized use
  • Dogs must be on-leash
  • Visitors are welcome to cross-country ski or snowshoe on-trail. Natural area trails are not groomed. 

Hours will be either 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. or dawn to dusk.

What is the plan for future restoration/plantings?

 Restoration at Kestrel Fields Natural Area presents interesting and unique challenges. The goal of restoration is to restore missing ecological elements and facilitate environmental rehabilitation. Kestrel Fields has the advantage of irrigation water availability and intact soil systems which will both support restoration efforts. The plan (image on the left) was influenced by the conservation agriculture goals at Kestrel Fields and consideration of the viewshed for visitors and nearby residents. A phased approach was designed to minimize spreading weeds into the agricultural area, and prioritize bird habitat with trees and shrubs.

What will the trail surface be?

The trail will be compacted gravel, in a color that blends into the landscape, approximately 6 feet wide.

How wide is the corridor between the farm and the property line on the south?

There are fifty feet between the eastern property line and the agricultural field. The proposed trail is in this corridor. At this time, the edge of the agricultural field can not be changed.

If arriving by car, where will visitors park?

Kestrel Fields will not likely be a destination itself given the nature of its trail system. The great majority of access is anticipated to be on foot or bike. Parking on public roads is permitted and legal as long as it is not blocking driveways or posted otherwise. With similar natural areas such as Puente Verde or Tanglewood, there have not been problems with parking in the nearby neighborhoods. An onsite parking lot is a possibility in the future.

When the site is open, neighbors are asked to please share concerns about parking with Natural Areas to assist with monitoring the situation.

Share Feedback About the Management of Natural Areas

Directions#

Kestrel Fields is not yet open to the public. It is on Vine Drive, between Taft Hill Rd and Overland Trail Rd.

Hours#

Not yet open to the public.