This newsletter was originally sent on Jul 2, 2013.
JULY 2013
Naturally Yours
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The Coolest Trails


July brings warm days, so here are two trails to explore that offer shade or are near waterways. 

Butterfly Woods Natural Area- Park/begin at Lions Open Space and walk or ride east along the flat, paved Poudre Trail.  You'll travel over a much-loved shady and scenic bridge that follows the river downstream for about a 1/4 mile.  At Butterfly Woods you'll see a cottonwood forest along the river and an upland meadow along the paved trail.  The meadow is open and sunny (which means it can be hot).  Consider the contrast to the shady bridge area and appreciate the challenges that prairie plants have adapted to thrive upon.  You might also notice there is gravel mining nearby- a reminder that the river deposited cobbles in a wide swath in it's past meanderings. Head back to Lions Open Space from Butterfly Woods for about a 1 mile round trip or continue east on the Poudre Trail- you can go over 10 miles further!

Riverbend Ponds Natural Area- With 7 ponds and a stretch of the Poudre River, there is lots of water at Riverbend Ponds! Its a nice place for boating (non-motorized), fishing and walking.  There are about 3 miles of flat soft-surface trail.  Check out the northeast trail (near the Cherly Street entrance) for a boardwalk that goes through a sea of cattails, or the floating bridge between the northwestern ponds (near the Timberline/Cairnes Street entrance)- both are fun destinations. If you'd like even more trail mileage, use the underpass under Prospect Street (east of the Prospect Street parking lot) that leads to Cottonwood Hollow and Running Deer natural areas (hikers only and no dogs at these sites).

Cache la Poudre River Projects


The City of Fort Collins has many projects along the Cache La Poudre River that will cause trail closures and construction in 2013 and beyond. These projects will ultimately create a healthier river environment and benefit the community. You can learn about the projects and provide feedback at

This new brochure describes 7 projects that the Natural Areas Department is sponsoring including restoration work at North Shields Ponds and McMurry natural areas, a new trailhead at Arapaho Bend Natural Area and an Ecological Response Model to aid decision making.

Thank You REI!


REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) has awarded the Natural Areas Department $5,000 to fund volunteer stewardship projects at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, and along the Poudre River corridor. REI also sponsors National Trails Day volulnteer projects in June and National Public Lands Day volunteer projects in September.  Thank you for your support REI!

Are you so excited you just gotta dance?  Check out REI's fun 1 min. video of stewardship volunteers doing trail work and...dancing!

Free Activities Coming Soon to a Natural Area Near You


Nature Nuggets—Fun Frogs & Terrific Turtles Thursday, July 11, 10-11 a.m., Magpie Meander Natural Area, meet at Soft Gold Park parking lot. Bring your little ones (ages 3-7 years) to learn about nature with stories and hands-on activities. Parents/guardians must be present at all times. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at  Daycare centers and other groups should schedule a separate time.  

Plant Adaptations—Finding Water in the Foothills, Saturday, July 13, 9 a.m.-noon, Reservoir Ridge Natural Area, meet at parking lot at the end of Michaud Lane. Discover the plants that grow from the shortgrass prairie to the foothills. Learn about adaptations that help plants survive. Bring water, snacks, and sunscreen. 3 miles, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at

Soapstone Surprise, Monday, July 15, 9-10:30 a.m., Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the north parking lot. Discover the amazing archaeological and natural secrets of this special place. Hike with a naturalist after the program if desired. Bring water to drink and snacks. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at

Nature Nuggets—Fun Frogs & Terrific Turtles, Thursday, July 18, 10-11 a.m., Magpie Meander Natural Area, meet at Soft Gold Park parking lot. See description above, repeat of 7/11 program.

Natural Area Family Night Walk, Saturday, July 20, 7:30-9:30 p.m., location given at time of registration. Enjoy a short walk in the moonlight with interactive activities and stories related to nocturnal animals and night senses. Dress warmly, bring water. 1 mile or less, easy. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at For information, call 970-416-2815.

Loren Eiseley and the Ghosts of Lindenmeier, Sunday, July 21, 10-11 a.m., Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at north parking lot. Learn about the scientist/artist who helped excavate this famous archaeological site in the 1930s. ½ mile paved trail, easy.  Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at

Wade The River


Discover what lives beneath the surface of the Cache la Poudre River! 

Saturday July 27, 1- 4 p.m.  Follow the signs from Lee Martinez Park (600 N. Sherwood Street, lower parking lot by the tennis courts).

Biologists will be on hand to identify your finds. Fishes, insects, larvae, algae and more are all easily seen with field microscopes.  Bring your own towels, wear closed-toe shoes that can get wet and sun and mosquito protection.  All equipment provided.  Free, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at


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 Whyman, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Community Relations Manager, 970-221-6311 or

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