Tuesday, August 14, 2012 , 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.,
Natural Resources Administrative Offices
1800 S. County Road 31, Loveland, CO
Steve Johnson, Commissioner
The August 14, 2012, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Chair Russ Fruits at 5:35 p.m. The minutes of the May 8, 2012, meeting were approved.
The Parks Advisory Board photo for the 2012 Annual Report was taken by Charlie Johnson.
Three new members joined the Board at this meeting. Each briefly recounted their background and interests which are pertinent to their service on this board.
§ John Tipton, appointed to a 2 year term, is a grad student at CSU, a PhD candidate in Statistics. He is recently engaged and planning to marry in May
Steve Ambrose, appointed to a 3 year term,
lives in Ft. Collins. He is married, with two daughters. He spent 39 years
with the US Forest Service. His degree is from CSU in forest management. He’s
a master naturalist with the City of Fort Collins, and enjoys taking the kids
David Hattis, appointed to a 3 year term,
has been a forester with the USDA Forest Service for 25 years. Earlier in his
career he was involved with recreation management; more recently, he has
focused on managing campground vegetation. His wife is also a forester. He
has two sons. He is interested in learning about how the Board works with the
department and the Commissioners.
Two other Board members have been
reappointed to 3 year terms: Frank Gillespie and Forrest Orswell.
§ Barry Lewis has completed his service, and has left the Board as of June 30; but he has asked to remain on the distribution list, so that he can stay in touch with issues facing the department.
Current members of the Board also introduced themselves for the benefit of the new members.
Ron Kainer has been on the board one
year. He took the Larimer County 101 course, and that got him interested.
Frank Gillespie was also in Larimer County
101 last year, and found it very interesting. He is just beginning another
3-year stint. He volunteers for the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, and is a
naturalist with this department (Natural Resources.)
Frank Cada lives near Carter Lake; he is a
retired engineer from Hewlett Packard.
Linda Knowlton is an original member of
the Board, and of the task force which preceded it. She worked for the USFS for 20 years.
§ Rob Harris was also an original task force and board member. He and his family have been patrons of the parks for many years, waterskiing, etc., and he has a sailboat at Carter Lake.
Forrest Orswell is an attorney at CSU, beginning his second 3-year term. He is an avid fisherman.
Russ Fruits is the Chair of the Board and
beginning his sixth year with the Board. He owns a brewery in Loveland, and
used to be a lot more outdoorsy than he is now!
Steve Johnson, Commissioner, thanked
everyone on the board for their volunteer service. This board is a diverse
group of people to help guide us as a department and a County.
Orientation activities will be scheduled for the three
new members of the Board. The Board will be notified when the orientation dates
are set as well as be invited to participate in the orientation activities.
REPORTS – None
PUBLIC COMMENT – None
Natural Resource Events for this
month: See website
New County Recreation Maps are available –
includes slight updates/changes and is more durable.
If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, be sure
to “like” or “follow” our pages.
30 members of the Northern Colorado
Climbers Coalition worked with the trail crew on the Fawn Hollow trail at
Carter Lake Reservoir.
§ Board members are invited to attend the Colorado Open Space Alliance (COSA) annual conference on September 17-19 in Steamboat Springs, CO. The Colorado Open Space Alliance is a statewide organization of publicly funded local and regional open space programs, working cooperatively to share information, create public awareness and foster partnerships needed to protect and preserve the special places of Colorado. The conference agenda and session descriptions online at www.coloradoopenspace.org. If any Board members are interested in attending, please contact Deb Wykoff, at 619-4567, or Zac Wiebe, 619-4534, for more information.
§ The Poudre River and Regional Trail Corridor GOCO grant partnership project ranked #1 in the state and was funded at nearly $5.1 million. Gary Buffington and other staff members attended a press conference hosted by Governor Hickenlooper at Confluence Park to announce the results on 6/19. The project is being initiated with agreements among the participating parties. A celebratory media event was held at River Bluffs Open Space in mid-July.
§ AECOM, formerly known as EDAW, was awarded the Regional Land Conservation, Stewardship and Recreation Study RFP and a subcontract was awarded to Trust for Public Lands for the mapping and economic portions of the study. The informational study will cover topics such as public surveys, financial stewardship, conservation funding, and gap analyses. A partnership has been formed in order to fund the study to include Larimer County and the cities of Fort Collins, Loveland, Estes Park, Berthoud, Wellington, Windsor, Johnstown and Timnath.
§ A major re-route and redevelopment of the Foothills Trail at Horsetooth Reservoir associated with the State Trails/Overland Bike Grant was completed by the Natural Resources Trail Crew. The trail spans from the Rotary Park to the Sunrise Day Use Area.
§ Tim D’Amato, Land Stewardship Manager, led a State Weed Network tour with 50+ people in attendance. The tour highlighted numerous weed management sites in the county including the successful outcome of the most recent Rx Burn/herbicide treatment for restoration on the west side of the Indian Creek Valley (off Mildred Lane). The turnout for the tour was great and really demonstrated our efforts in controlling leafy spurge.
§ Estes Valley Land Trust hosted a breakfast meeting at Hermit Park on 7/15. Kerri Rollins gave the keynote address, while our Education and Outreach staff organized and led activities for the estimated 100-110 attendees. The breakfast meeting included events coordinated to showcase the Hermit Park renovations, wildflowers and wildlife, a hike to Kruger Rock and activities for kids.
Commissioner Donnelly and staff
will host public hikes at the Devil’s Backbone Open Space on 8/24, from
8:30-10:30, as community outreach efforts.
§ Dan Rieves reports that we started out early with hot weather, and heavy camping during the early season, followed by the High Park Fire, followed by the drought and low water. It’s been a crazy year!
Election of officers
This business would normally have occurred at the
July meeting, but was postponed because that meeting was cancelled.
: Russ Fruits was nominated by Linda Knowlton;, seconded by Rob
Harris. Nomination was unanimously approved.
Vice-Chair: Rob Harris was nominated by Linda
Knowlton; Forrest Orswell seconded. Rob noted that he will not be going
to Winter Park this winter, but may be going on a church mission next
year. Nomination unanimously approved.
PRESENTATIONS - None
Big Thompson Flood Parcels – Charlie Johnson, Sr. Land Agent
Charlie explained for new
members that these parcels resulted from the Big Thompson Flood in 1976.
Properties damaged more than 50% were purchased by the County. We are now
working to convey, trade or sell these areas which are inappropriate to
bring into public use.
When we transfer parcels, we
retain a 10 ft. buffer for public access along the river, and this
requires surveying each parcel. For one parcel, we hired a surveyor, and
it was very expensive. Most are surveyed by County surveyors at no
There were a 166 parcels
totaling less than 120 acres. Many parcels are just a small strip of land
between two adjoining parcels.
Several local recreation groups
provided a list of priority parcels to the Board; and it was decided to
address those first. Most of those have been accomplished and have been
retained for recreation access. Each parcel requires PAB review followed by Commissioner review.
Charlie has had no time
available to work on this project, due to other priority commitments.
: Charlie reviewed the map. We
expect these parcels to be surveyed in September.
- Charlie reviewed the parcels and the expected changes in ownership. These properties are first offered to the current adjacent owners and the previous owners. If neither wants it, then we go to a sealed bid process. No building or camping is allowed on most properties. Proceeds of sales go toward management of the remaining properties.
- Indian Village : Charlie reviewed the map.
Area 17: There is one
buildable 5-acre parcel here. It will be sold on a sealed bid basis,
retaining the river corridor in its entirety, along with a 10-ft. buffer.
Board and Staff CommentS:
Linda Knowlton: Noted for the
benefit of the new Board members that this item has taken more time of
this board over the past 5 years than any other topic.
Steve Ambrose: Were there any
limitations on the properties when the County acquired them?
Gary: Yes, the Land and Water
Conservation Fund conditions on the properties were transferred to other
County open space areas to allow us to dispose of these properties.
Frank Gillespie: Can the public
go down the road on the south side of the road?
Charlie: Doesn’t know for
sure. It’s private property.
Gary: We will try to get the no
parking signs removed in the area near Big T Elementary.
Sail & Saddle (S&S) Club License renewal – Mark Caughlan, Horsetooth District Manager
The Sail & Saddle Club President briefly
summarized the club’s activities. There are presently 20 families that
are members. There were 10 boats last year, and 12 this year. Everyone
helps maintain the club. No new members have been brought in except when
someone leaves, maybe five in the past five year. They maintain their own
docks and buoys, and do all the maintenance required.
Mark Caughlan reviewed the history of the club: Two
guys, Elton Collins and Tuck Howell, started the recreation department,
and also started the S&S Club. Only 2 counties in the country do
reservoir management. It’s a small one-room building. It has septic and
water. If the County took it over, the amount of improvements that would
be required to open it to the public would be prohibitive, just to get
water and sewer there.
Board and Staff Comments:
Rob Harris: What’s the ongoing fee?
Mark: Staff recommendation is to continue the
current fee of $10,000 per year for the next 5 years.
Gary: In comparison to the fee of the Carter Lake
Sail Club, it’s on a par for per-boat cost.
Dan: There are only so many slips and boats
allowed in our agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation. On a per-boat
basis, we make more money from the sail clubs than from the marinas.
addressed the exclusive use issue with the club five years ago. It is in
their contract to allow community access to the area.
Linda Knowlton: When water levels get low, how
does that affect their facilities?
Mark: It affects them before it affects us –
their ramps are shallow and are already out of the water.
Steve Johnson: What does the “Saddle” refer to?
The Club president explained that back in the old
days, you could ride everywhere from that location.
David Hattis: Sounds like a good working
relationship with the club?
Mark: We don’t even know they’re there – never
need to respond there. They are self-sufficient.
Dan: They are a model tenant – the type we want
to keep a good relationship with. If we ever decided to put this out to
bid, it would be difficult to figure out how to do that and what use that
location could be put to.
- Mark will bring a proposed license to the next meeting.
STANDING AGENDA ITEMS:
Park District updates and Parks Master Plan Implementation Progress report – Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager ; Mark Caughlan, Horsetooth District Manager; Chris Fleming, Blue Mountain District Manager
Staff is working on the annual permits to have them
ready by the holidays.
Carter Lake monument signs have been installed – one
at the entrance to the Marina, and one near Gate 1 for traffic coming up from
High Park Fire:
Many rangers worked roadblocks, evacuations, etc., including delivering feed to
livestock that had not been evacuated. Horsetooth Reservoir was closed for a
week; all equipment and staff were relocated. Financial impact of shutting
down was around $30,000 in revenue loss at Horsetooth.
Charlie Johnson is now working with up to 70
landowners to get permission to begin mulching and reseeding to prevent
Horsetooth Mountain Open Space was also closed for a
longer time. We were fortunate to suffer no damage to the Open Space.
Automated pay stations
: There have been challenges at Horsetooth Mountain –
it has been difficult to get connectivity there – we added an antenna. When
there is no connectivity, the data is stored until connectivity is restored.
Full implementation will be 11 additional machines – all stations will be
installed by 10/31. The old vault has been removed from HTMOS. The same system
will be used at other locations – the old vault will remain for a period of
time, with notice to the public that it will be removed eventually.
Board and Staff Comments:
Linda Knowlton: Will there be signs directing people
where to go if they don’t have a credit card?
Rob Harris: How much will the entrance stations still
Dan: Hours may be reduced in response to demand. But
the lion’s share will be in locations without an entrance station. We need to
do a good job of communicating all the places and methods of purchasing various
types of permits.
David Hattis: Is there a service contract with the
machines? What is the value of this system for us versus the cost?
Dan: The machines cost $8000. The machine notifies
staff when there is a problem. We’ve received excellent customer service from
Cale – they also supply CSU and other local locations.
Gary: The return on investment for us is customer
convenience and time savings for staff in processing revenues.
Dan: Estimates that 25% of permits in use at any time
are bogus. The machine has the ability to give a receipt for an annual permit
purchase – we’re not using that feature at this time.
This is a product of the Active Network reservation system company, which
allows us to manage walk-in camping sales, and also to sell permits at the
entrance station. For 2013, we will expand to use the camper registration
system at the reservoirs, but not the permit sales feature, to reduce the
amount of staff training and implementation required. Now working on
connectivity issues, e.g., to enable camp hosts to register campers onsite.
Rangers will no longer sell camping permits or camping.
New Short term concessions
: Stand up paddleboard rentals, classes and yoga at
the reservoirs, will be in operation as soon as next week. The concession
process ensures that vendors have proper insurance, and controls access.
Drawings and concept designs for Pinewood Reservoir will be the next project
brought to the Board. We will be going for a spring GOCO grant cycle
application. Next will be South Shore at Carter Lake, which will involve
adding camping loops, parking for Chimney Hollow future access, etc.
Our largest concessionaire sits in Inlet Bay, which loses water early. There
is a 100% quote this year, and a lot of water going out. We try to give the Marina a 2-3 week window to get his boats out. Only the South Bay ramps are still in the
water at Horsetooth. The problem is managing the public perception that the
reservoir is dry, when there is still 6 miles of water at Horsetooth. Our
fisheries endure the water fluctuations very well. Carter Lake will be about normal; may keep all ramps through Labor Day.
Really strong March and April recreation has balanced out the fire and low
water losses. The Carter Lake Marina has had one of its best years ever.
Airstream travel trailer
: We haven’t taken possession yet. We are purchasing
a 1976 Airstream, rebuilt with all new interior and exterior, for around
$36,000. It’s 34 feet long. It will rent for $100-120 per night. It will be
stationed at different parks throughout the summer, to attract different
visitation. It will be a marketing tool.
§ Hermit Park: There will be some cow elk hunting there this fall. We are working with the Division of Wildlife on this.
Board and Staff Comments:
- David Hattis: How were closures and public concerns addressed during the fires?
- Dan: The Sheriff’s public information website was very through, including park closures, road closures, etc. Our campground reservation system also did notifications on camping closures and handled refunds.
- David: What has been the impact of the power lines that were replaced in the campgrounds last year?
There were already power line poles in the campgrounds; the new ones look
different, are larger, etc.
From an operational standpoint, the footprint is smaller than before, and
the lines are higher, which is better.
There will also be lines replaced at areas in the Blue Mountain district
The cost of taking them underground was significantly higher, so not
Blue Mountain District :
are up. A ranger saved a young girl from the jaws of a pitbull. Another
ranger saved an 8 year old in anaphylactic shock. A major fish hatchery
had to dump all their fish – 30,000 at Carter, and 20,000 at another
Fishing is Fun grant project
: New fishing access at Flatiron is completed and receiving rave
Cheyenne Day Use Area:
Hope to re-open to public access in the next month.
are active in Hermit Park.
issues at Mary’s Lake continue.
EVRPD Director has been fantastic to deal with.
campground at Hermit Park will be started within a month. This will be
one of only two in northern Colorado.
Horsetooth District :
swim beach has been phenomenally busy.
and stride program – 40-60 people participating.
was cancelled due to the fire – hope to do it in 2013.
on the beach – 30-40 people per class.
has been great at Horsetooth.
trees were moved at S. Bay – it didn’t work. They will be replaced with
was the first year we saw the new beach at S. Bay.
is a new metal palm tree at the entrance to the beach. People line up to
get their photos taken with it.
DIRECTOR’S REPORT –
· Master Plan improvements: We’ve made millions in improvements since 2007. We borrowed $1.2 million from Solid Waste, and are currently making interes- only payments at .9% interest. Gary thanked and congratulated the Board on their help with that.
· Appreciation events for the advisory boards: Gary asked for feedback on what type of events are appreciated. He asked the board members to email him with input. Rob Harris commented that he enjoyed the hockey games.
· Orientation for new board members and tours will be scheduled soon. All members are welcome to attend. Information will be sent out.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
Russell Fruits, Chair
Next regular meeting: September 11, 2012, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., Larimer County Courthouse Office Building, 200 W. Oak St., Fort Collins, CO
Public can view agenda and minutes at www.larimer.org/parks