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Para integrantes de la comunidad:

Natural Areas

 Contact Information

Dept Director
  •   8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (M-F, except for holidays)

Natural Areas Permits

By applying for a permit you help the Natural Areas Department track activities in natural areas to manage impacts, increase safety, and avoid conflicts. Permit applications are reviewed and considered based on impacts to the natural area, agricultural and cultural resources, habitat, and visitor experience. Failure to submit required documentation may result in delay of application review. Please allow fifteen (15) business days for application review.  


  1. As of July 8th, 2020, the Natural Areas Department will no longer accept Special Use (group) Permit applications for gatherings larger than 11 or more participants. This action has become necessary due to COVID-19 related concerns.  This policy will remain in effect through the remainder of 2020.  This policy is not retroactive to existing approved special use permits.
  2. Currently, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment is allowing gatherings of 10 people or fewer in an outdoor setting.  While there is a variance process for groups larger than 10, the Natural Areas Department will not consider permit applications with pre-approved variances.  Finally, Natural Area users should understand that breaking groups into multiple groups of 10 or less is prohibited. For more information please check the Larimer County website at:
  3. As of July 8th, 2020, the Natural Areas Department is no longer approving Special Use Permits requesting weekend activities at Gateway and Bobcat Ridge natural areas. Regular visitation at these areas exceeds capacity in the early morning hours and for the remainder of the day.  Similarly, in light of COVID-19 circumstances, the Natural Areas Department is making a best effort to comply with Larimer County guidelines and not allowing these areas exceed capacity due to the density of visitors and the inability to maintain social distancing (staff to visitor and visitor to visitor) during peak times.  This policy will remain in effect through the remainder of 2020.

Research Permit: August 9, 2020 Update

Thanks for your on-going interest in research at City of Fort Collins Natural Areas. We are happy to announce that we are now accepting research permit requests for the fall 2020 cycle. 

Due to the volume of requests we received each year, our 2020 Research Permit application process continues to offer a spring and fall open cycle for research requests.  Due to on-going COVID-19 concerns we will only consider research permits for field groups fewer than 10 individuals at any one time.  If you have an on-going approved permit through the end of 2020 you do not need to take additional action.

Our online application can be found at:

Below are important dates for the 2020 fall request period:

Open Application period:  Monday, August 10th through Friday, September 4th, 2020.

Applicants will be notified by Friday, September 18th, 2020

Note that incomplete applications may not be considered

Permit Application Tips

  • Please be complete, fill in every applicable box.
  • Please pay close attention to the required documents which can include a research summary, maps indicating access points and research area, vehicles, persons included in the permit, dates and times of research and timeframe for when data would be available.
  • Please note that if you have held a past research permit and have not submitted your results your application will be denied.

We look forward to your application and thank you for contributing to the knowledge and understanding of our natural areas.  If you have any questions or concerns about the review process, please feel free to contact me at cmJhY2hhbmRAZmNnb3YuY29t or (970) 416-2183.

Special Use Permits

A Special Use Permit is required for a variety of activities that would normally violate a natural area, county or state regulation. The Natural Areas Department may permit activities that allow for a safe and enjoyable experience while minimizing impacts to natural resources and visitors. There is no charge for Special Use Permits.

Apply for a Special Use Permit

Commercial Use Permits

A Commercial Use Permit is required for commercial use activities on City of Fort Collins Natural Areas or facilities for which fees or donations are charged to a third party by an entity other than the City, or for the purpose of marketing or promoting a commercial entity. There is an administrative fee of $50 in addition to relevant user fee charges.

Apply for a Commercial Permit

Research Permits

Research permits are for groups or individuals seeking to do long-term or short-term research in City of Fort Collins natural areas to obtain data or research information. Those leading instructional courses or workshops that include a research component should apply for a Special Use Permit. There is no charge for Research Permits.

Apply for a Research Permit