Public Engagement Update
Thank you to everyone who shared feedback about Kestrel Fields and Soapstone Prairie natural areas and the 21 natural areas along the Poudre River. Over 330 people participated in onsite drop-in events, online feedback opportunities, and presentations.
The feedback is being processed and will influence the trail alignment at Kestrel Fields, and how Soapstone Prairie and the Poudre River natural areas are managed.
Kestrel Fields Natural Area
- The feedback is informing exploration of an updated trail alignment. There will not be access from the Greyrock Commons private property.
- The entry sign will feature mountains in the background and a grasshopper in the kestrel's beak.
- Further updates will be available by the fall.
Soapstone Prairie/Mountains to Plains Zone Update
- Further engagement is underway (see feedback opportunity below) to respond to comments that its hard to tell when you have arrived at Soapstone Prairie and that the trail signage is confusing.
- Minor changes are being made to the Zone Update document and a final draft is expected in the fall.
Poudre River Natural Areas
- The feedback will inform the upcoming draft Zone Update.
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!
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
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.
Proposed Trail Alignment#
Watch the recorded neighborhood Zoom meeting to learn more about the proposed trail and the next steps at Kestrel Fields Natural Area.
Feedback on the proposed trail is underway until May 31. There are many factors that could change the timeline. If all goes to plan, trail construction is anticipated in the last quarter of 2022 with Kestrel Fields opening to the public in early 2023.
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.
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.
The trail will be compacted gravel, in a color that blends into the landscape, approximately 6 feet wide.
Natural Areas Department staff are researching the status of Havel Drive and the potential use by visitors to Kestrel Fields Natural Area.
Natural Areas Department staff are actively working to secure access to the Solar Ridge neighborhood and hope to have a connection established prior to the site opening or shortly thereafter.
Discussions are underway with the Greyrock Commons community to create appropriate access.
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.
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.
Kestrel Fields is not yet open to the public. It is on Vine Drive, between Taft Hill Rd and Overland Trail Rd.