This newsletter was originally sent on Nov 5, 2013.
November 2013
Naturally Yours
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Last Month to Experience Soapstone Prairie


November is a great month to visit Soapstone Prairie Natural Area before it closes for the season on December 1 (it will reopen March 1 if weather permits). It's the city's largest natural area encompassing over 28 square miles of nearly pristine shortgrass prairie, mountain mahogany foothills, and dramatic white cliffs.  There are over 40 miles of trail to explore and world-renowned cultural resources.

Hikers might enjoy the Towhee Loop (3 miles), which gently climbs through the foothills.  Mule deer and birds are often spotted here!  Cyclists should check out the "big loop" which includes Cheyenne Rim, Canyon, Mahogany and Plover trails- over 20 miles of single and double track trail! Equestrians will enjoy the rolling terrain and expansive views of the Pronghorn/Plover/Sandwash loop, which is 14.6 miles long. Don't forget to visit the Lindenmeier Overlook- you'll stand where people camped over 12,000 years ago and learn about the significance of this National Historic Landmark.

Cameras Catch Wildlife


Automatic cameras at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area capture images of it's inhabitants including bobcats, bears, mountain lions, deer and much more.  The photos are posted monthly online!  We recently learned that the photos are making a difference internationally too! Jennifer Webster, a CSU graduate who returned recently from working at the Jane Goodall Institute, and also volunteers with the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy, showed Bobcat Ridge wildlife photos to Massai children on her IPad. “They don’t have any animals that are similar to bobcats, bears, and turkeys,” she said, “and they have not seen that much snow before.” Webster said the children were full of questions about the animals and the snow. She also shared photos with people in Gombe National Park who were equally enthralled with learning about the animals we have in North America. The Bobcat Ridge cameras help us understand our local wildlife better, but the outreach is worldwide!

Water Trust & Breweries Support River Restoration


The Cache la Poudre River has been called the heart of Fort Collins, and the City of Fort Collins has been focusing on improving the river’s health.  A healthy working  river is also key for another Fort Collins staple…beer! Local breweries and the Colorado Water Trust have come together to support a restoration project and the removal of the Josh Ames Diversion Dam at North Shields Ponds Natural Area.  In addition to a $300,000 grant from Colorado Water Trust, Odell Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, Pateros Creek Brewery, and Funkwerks Brewery, are contributing nearly $37,000 in matching dollars. Learn more >>>

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Upcoming Events


Skygazing, Friday, November 8, 7:00-9:30 p.m., Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space. Learn about stars, constellations, planets, the moon and more by observing the skies with telescopes provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Dress warmly and bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Meet in the parking lot. Free, no registration required, but you can sign up for updates by visiting

Healthy Grasslands and Grazing, Tuesday, November 12, 9:00-10:30 a.m., 215 North Mason Street, Community Room (use north entrance). Learn about how cattle grazing promotes healthy grasslands and supports wildlife at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area including an overview of the ranching history and current management.  You’ll hear from the Natural Area Department’s grazing tenant, the Folsom Grazing Association and Natural Areas staff.  Free, no registration required, but you can sign up for a reminder and updates at

Certified Interpretive Guide Course, December 3-6., 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Learn to give powerful presentations to any audience.  The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department is offering the National Association (NAI) for Interpretation's Certified Interpretive Guide course which is perfect for people who work with the public in settings such as museums, natural areas and parks. The course is $360 which includes instruction, workbook, certification fee and NAI membership. Class size is limited, sign-up early.  To register contact Sue Kenney, 970-224-6118 or

Twenty Years of Natural Areas

It has been two decades since the first citizen-initated sales tax that funds natural areas. Voters have approved sales tax funding four more times since then, thank you! Fort Collins has conserved over 40,000 acres with 39 natural areas to explore and over 100 miles of trail. Everyone is invited to help celebrate the 20th anniversary, join the fun!

November is the last month of the celebration.  We'll wrap things up with a look to the future in a Coloradoan newspaper "Green Living" article on November 16.  Get your Natural Areas Passports turned in, they are due November 15. We hope you had a wonderful time celebrating and are looking foward to at least 20 more years of natural areas!

Construction is Underway

The Natural Areas Department has grown out of our over 10 year old office building! We are constructing a new building that will be L.E.E.D. Gold certifiable (a building rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council).  Construction starts November 4 and will continue through May.  You may see geothermal drill rigs at the construction site, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road.  Learn more >>>


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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