Thursday, July 26, 2007 – 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Loveland Library MP Room


The mission of the Larimer County Open Lands Program is to preserve and protect significant open space, natural areas, wildlife habitat, develop parks and trails for present and future generations.  These open lands provide opportunities for leisure, human renewal and protection of our natural and cultural resources.








Open Lands Board Members:

Sue Sparling

Jim White

Jean Carpenter

Peter Kast

Ben Manvel

Nancy Wallace

Don Griffith

Ted Swanson



Gary Buffington

Jerry White

Meegan Flenniken

Windy Kelley

K-Lynn Cameron

Charlie Johnson

Emily Saeli

Jeffery Boring



Bill Newman

Brian Hayes

Bob Streeter

Bill Pinkham


Chair, Peter Kast called the meeting to order at 5:15 p.m.


 Sue motioned to approve the June minutes.  Jim seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



No public comment



·  Randy Eubanks was sworn in on July 18 as the new County Commissioner for District 2.

·  Fort Collins City Council will consider a donation of $90,000 toward Hermit Park on August 21, 2007.

·  COSA Conference. See Handout. Kerri- noted the conference is expanding to 3 days due to demand for repeating several of the popular sessions. Peter and Sue will attend on behalf of the board. Jim White is an alternate.

·  LTA Rally update: free landowner seminar from Steve Small entitled “Preserving Family Lands: Protecting field trip has the most registrants (11 total so far) of all 12 trips offered!

·  The Northern Colorado Birding Fair date is set for 9/29/07 at Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional O.S.

·  The Northern Colorado Networking Forum will be meeting 8/2, 3-5 pm at Coopersmith’s in Fort Collins.

·  The Open Lands staff will have their mid-year retreat on 8/1

·  Staff and interns have submitted grants/awards for the Starburst Award (Laramie Foothills MTP project);

·  Sat. August 25 is the donor appreciation for Hermit Park - The OLAB is invited.

·  Charlie shared that the Fort Collins Running Club and the Horsetooth Half Marathon each donated $500 to the Open Lands program in memory of Tom Green.



·  New Open Lands Board members:

o  Don Griffith, Member at large

o  Nancy Wallace, Planning Board representative

·  Jeffery Boring is Parks & Open Lands new Open Lands Specialist I.

·  Emily Saeli is the Colorado Conservation Trust Fellow. Her time is spent between Larimer County Parks & Open Lands and the Legacy Land Trust.



·  No board comments.



·  Intra-County Transfer of Development Units (TDU) Proposal – Russ Legg (TDU Administrator) and Jill Bennett, Planning Dept.


Using the existing transferable development unit (TDU) program at Fossil Creek as an example, Russ provided an introduction on how the Planning Department is working to create a TDU program for property around LaPorte and Red Feather Lakes. A transferable development program is a land-use tool designed to preserve open space by transferring development rights from one parcel (sending area) to another (receiving area). The Planning Department is working with both the LaPorte and Red Feather Lakes communities as to whether or not they are interested in participating in a TDU program.


Jill said they are in the third planning phase of the TDU process for the LaPorte and Red Feather Lakes communities. Presently, the LaPorte community advisory board has not agreed on a vision for the future development and/or land management of their area. The LaPorte advisory board is thinking through how they want the river corridor to look into the future, as this is a primary value to the community. Jill noted that LaPorte has an existing zoning pattern; however the parcel sizes are not equal.


The community advisory board for Red Feather Lakes has not reached an agreement either, however they have fewer expectations for where they want to see development. The open zoning (10 acre lots minimum for agriculture and residential use) around Red Feather Lakes is beneficial for the TDU program, because all of the lots are equal in size. Jill added both communities are interested in a “free market” conservation method, where transactions and issues are handled between buyers and sellers without too much influence from the county.


Russ explained they have asked both communities if there are areas they want to preserve as sending areas. He noted both communities are able to identify sending areas, but it is more difficult for communities to identify receiving areas.


Peter asked whether or not the units of exchange can only occur between the communities of Red Feather Lakes and Laporte under the new TDU program? Russ said the plan is flexible. For example if a sender from the Fossil Creek area wants to send a TDU to LaPorte, discussions can take place between the two communities. He noted if this was to occur it would be an amendment to the program.


·  Draft: Hermit Park Management Plan. See handout. Meegan recapped where we are in the Hermit Park Open Space Management planning process and highlighted a few key points from each section of the management plan.


Meegan explained sensitive areas will be interpreted from a distance to protect the sensitive species/resource (ex. Rocky Mountain cinquefoil and the wetlands). She added we are working with the Colorado Division of Wildlife to create an elk management plan which will include hunting management on Hermit Park Open Space. The management plan also addresses the relocation of the corrals to camp area #3 which would be zoned for equestrian camping. The county is working with a consulting firm, EDAW, to address programming questions related to recreation facilities at Hermit Park. Hermit Park Open Space will have to meet the County Planning codes and regulations and go through the special review process.


Meegan noted the cabins must meet county building codes before they can be rented to the public and these improvements are underway. The shower house and bandshell do not meet county building code and will be removed, although in the master plan there will be new shower houses installed within the campground areas over timeParking is a primary concern and several options are being explored with EDAW. Additionally, improvements to the entrance will include adding a left hand turn lane on Hwy 36, better circulation, and entrance station and a visible entrance sign to the highway.


There will be an internal trail system accessed via a series of small trailheads – one at the overlook, one at the Hermit’s Cabin, one in the vicinity of the group use area, and one near campground #3 or #4.  The trailhead at the Hermit’s Cabin will also include a small amphitheater for educational purposes. There will not be access within the cabin, because it does not meet county structural standards, rather it will be interpreted from the outside. The Line Shack is structurally sound and will be accessed via a boardwalk from the group use area for educational purposes.  The ~ 5-mile on-site trail system will connect to the existing Untied States Forest Service (USFS) Homestead Meadows 12-mile trail. Windy is working with the United States Forest Service to complete the NEPA process for creating a trail to Kruger Rock.


During the public meetings we heard a need to have RV and tent camping separated. We are working with EDAW to locate the best sites for RV’s to meet their needs (i.e. slope of terrain).  


Ted expressed equestrian use is commonly lower on multi-use trails due to horses being “spooked.” Meegan said with an entrance fee to the park, trail use is not anticipated to be too high. Don suggested a formal and thorough emergency service medical plan be implemented and enforced. Meegan noted that an emergency plan is required in the special planning process and we are working on an emergency access agreement with Meadowdale Ranch.


The next public meetings will be open houses for Hermit Park Open Space, on Aug 30th in Estes Park and September 6th in Loveland, both from 5-7 p.m.


·  Draft: Red Mountain Open Space Management Plan. See handout. Meegan recapped where we are in the Red Mountain Management planning process and provided an overview for how the management plan is organized. She explained that the management plan was developed around conservation targets that are important to protect at Red Mountain Open Space. The plan addresses what is significant about the ecological, cultural and western heritage resources that exist at Red Mountain Open Space. For example, one of the most significant ecological conservation targets is the mountain mahogany shrubland community.  To protect this community, users will be required to remain on developed trails unless they are granted a Special Use Permit which will consider timing, frequency and duration of requested appropriate activities.  Meegan continued by stating the western side of the Big Hole is the least fragmented portion of the open space and has some of the highest ecological and cultural resource values. 


Meegan addressed the second conservation target, cultural heritage by noting we were aware of over a 100 archeological sites via our cultural resource surveys in 2006 and 2007.   By concentrating use on the trails we hope to minimize the impact to these archeological sites. Additionally, we will locate trails at least 30 meters from known sites. We hope to partner with the Colorado Archeological Society to monitor the arroyos in-case other artifacts surface.


Livestock grazing will be maintained on the property working with adjacent landowners as lessees or in a grass banking situation. With the goal of protecting the riparian areas (i.e. weeds, water quality, etc.) we are looking to develop several springs to provide drinking water to cattle. Currently 125 AUM graze the entire open space on a rotation system. Meegan reminded everyone that one of the main goals for Red Mountain Open Space is to continue livestock grazing and to preserve the western heritage.


The final target Meegan addressed is the proposed recreation activities on the open space. County Road 21 will be the primary access road to the trailhead and from there over 12 miles of trails will be provided.  We are proposing to have one 2.5-mile hiking only trail, and a series of loops with varying levels of difficulty. The county’s property will have a total of 12 – 14 miles of trail, while the City of Fort Collins anticipates they will have about 30 miles of trail. The proposed trailhead at Red Mountain Open Space was designed working with a professional landscape architect. The maximum build-out capacity of the trailhead is 50 cars and 15 parking spaces for horse trailers; however the initial phasing will be for 30 vehicles/10 horse trailer spaces. We will have a base of operations with a maintenance garage and an efficiency living area. This facility will be located near the trailhead, but tucked away to preserve views.


Meegan highlighted why we will not offer backcountry camping (at least initially). Reasons included the lack of water and high winds. Gary added fire is also a concern. Meegan said we are still moving forward to not allow dogs on the open space. She noted that after proposing not allowing dogs at the first public meeting and in subsequent published materials, there we have only received one comment opposed to not allowing dogs at Red Mountain. The next public meeting is an open house on Thursday, August 16th from 4 – 8 p.m.



·  Gary – The Parks Advisory Board had their second board meeting on Tuesday, July 2nd. The board has two new members. Gary also noted the new Weed Management Building open house is Friday, July 27th and Saturday, July 28th.


EXECUTIVE SESSION: (24-6-402(4) (a) C.R.S. Purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of any real or personal property interest.  Ted moved to go in to Executive Session at 7:23 pm, Jim seconded and the motion carried unanimously. 


The meeting was adjourned by a motion from Ted.  The motion was seconded by Sue and carried unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:02 pm