Tuesday, September 13, 2011 , 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.,

Boyd Lake Room, Larimer County Courthouse Office Building,

Text Box: The mission of the Larimer County Parks and Open Lands Department is to establish, protect, and manage significant regional parks and open lands, providing quality outdoor recreational opportunities and stewardship of natural resource values.  We are committed to fostering a sense of community and appreciation for the natural and agricultural heritage of Larimer County for present and future generations.



Frank Cada

Mark DeGregorio

Russ Fruits

Frank Gillespie

Rob Harris

Ron Kainer

Linda Knowlton

Barry Lewis



Gary Buffington

Chris Fleming

Charlie Johnson

Steve Johnson, Commissioner

Dan Rieves

Debra Wykoff



Glen Doughty

Forrest Orswell

Steve Schweitzer


The September 13, 2011, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Chair Russell Fruits at 5:36 p.m.  The minutes of the August 9, 2011, meeting were approved.


PUBLIC COMMENT: Items not on the agenda

Scott Christensen, Colorado State University Department of Art :  He read the following proposal, which was also emailed to Commissioner Johnson:


I have a vision for the operation of two riverboats and an Education and Cultural Center on Horsetooth reservoir to be located at the north end.  My duties as Creative and Managing Coordinator follow through the inception and as a continuing position, part of a necessary staff included in the concept.  My statement of purpose for the “riverboat” concept is:  A unique vessel and vehicle for a valuable change and future.

I am trying to connect with the appropriate people for this vision.  If there is support I will pursue grants and other sponsorships available to begin the process.

I have a plan for this to be funded from grants, sponsorships, and the operation’s business profits. This approach has CSU, Larimer County, and Fort Collins, along with non-profit and private support team-up to conceive, build, and operate two clean/green-powered “riverboats” on Horsetooth reservoir.  An Education and Cultural Center will be constructed as well, and this supports further opportunities.  Benefits include education and classes, research, invention, innovation, conferences, community outreach and connections to natural resources, medical therapy, tourism, family entertainment, arts exhibition, performance, music entertainment, dining, and other possibilities.

In my vision the value starts from considering the research for clean and green energy, technology, mechanics, water, and other natural resources.  As an example, research and development for people to get petroleum fuel away from use in water, from motor boats to commercial barges.  This “riverboat” could be a model for research and development as well, and becomes a “floating classroom” for experiential learning, education, and research.  The overall concept is significant.  Consider the possibilities that may be utilized for natural resources research innovation and information.  I have support in a foundational connection to the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.  I believe the unique research laboratory and classroom setting may help technology, engineering, and a broad range of sciences solve problems of environmental issues and concerns.  It could look like the classic kind, but this may change when it connects to art, design, and engineering for the “housing” and façade of 21st century features.

The effort would be completely extensive, requiring much more planning and work than I’ll mention here, and should be of universal/world class and quality.  If it is worthy to pursue it would be a new step toward advancing valuable qualities to people.  Stemming from various CSU areas such as clean energy and research, engineering, construction management, design, art, marketing/business, and others, this is an opportunity to connect CSU to Fort Collins, Larimer County, private, non-profit, and other groups and individuals. Thinking big it could be an example for compromise and benefit.  It may become an emblem and the highest/only clean “riverboat” in the nation.  My vision includes a plan integrating qualities for both sciences and cultural enrichment and benefits.

In the end there is a kind of “riverboat” or watercraft made for people for the values of clean energy and technology, education, research, cultural enrichment, and entertainment.  A ship, built to an appropriate scale, full of people makes its way around Horsetooth reservoir.  The other ship alternates with the schedule to maximize an efficient method of research, operations, and maintenance.  At times it is a classroom for study of clean energy, technology, water and natural resources.  Significant and supporting this is the Education and Cultural Center, where people gather for various purposes.  During peak summer times it may be a tourist attraction with music, art, dining, and other cultural entertainment.  Medical rehabilitation centers may wish to use the ride as therapy for patients.  This is to mention just a few things.

In closing, thank you for reading this, I believe you will give it your open thoughts and consideration.  I am a dreamer and aware it is “out there” a bit, but maybe not too far.

If you wish to contact me my home phone is 970-226-4438.  My email is  scott.christensen@colostate.edu
Scott Christensen, CSU Dept. of Art, Office M105, ph. 970-491-5739


Board comments:

Linda Knowlton:  What is Scott’s next step?


Gary Buffington:  He should make an appointment to meet with staff to discuss his ideas in more detail.


Barry Lewis:  What were your thoughts on the presentation tonight?

Gary:  There will be a lot of things to discuss.  There is the marina license, which provides the right to provide certain services on the reservoir.  The specifics of the operation also will require much analysis – the size of the boat, where it would be docked, implications for the neighbors, etc.

Linda:  You might check with the CSU contact to find out what kind of support for the project is envisioned.


GENERAL INFORMATION:  (Questions – 5 min.)

§  Natural Resource Events for June: See website http://www.larimer.org/naturalresources.

  • COSA Conference reminder – Glenwood springs Sept 19-21, registration coming out soon.  There will be an emphasis on sessions for Board and Commission members. Gary Buffington invited Parks Advisory Board to attend and to RSVP to him. He is offering two scholarships.
  • Larimer County Board Reception – you are invited!  Hosted by the county Commissioners on 9/26 4:30-6pm at the Courthouse Offices Hearing Room.  RSVP by 9/21 to dtokarz@larimer.org
  • The Plug In To Nature public survey for parents launched August 19th.  Anyone can go to www.larimer.org/plugintonature to take the survey.
  • The Northern Colorado Birding Fair will take place on September 24th.  There are several fun-filled birding trips, including one to our new 3 Bell Conservation Easement.
  • 10 applications were submitted for the Small Grants for Community Partnering program
  • A Conservation Excellence grant for completion of the Regional Study and Master Plan was submitted on 8/10 to Great Outdoors Colorado.  Letters of commitment were received from all cities and towns in the County.
  • Orientation for new Parks Advisory Board members is being planned.  One day will be classroom; one day will be tours of park areas. 
  • We closed on the Bartels parcel (Area 23) for $10,750.  We manage the Big Thompson properties at a cost of about $30,000 per year, funded by these sales and by General Fund.


Big Thompson Flood Parcels – Charlie Johnson, Sr. Land Agent
See staff report, attached below.  This will commence the 60-day public comment period on these two areas.

There is no update on the previously discussed parcels. 


Area 3 (Upstream from Big Thompson Elementary)

  • Charlie showed slides of the area, and distributed maps.
  • The State of Colorado has posted both sides of the highway as no parking.  This just occurred this year. 
  • The ROW extends 50 feet from the centerline, and our ownership begins where the ROW ends. 
  • See report below.


Public comment:

David Jessup, with Sylvan Dale Ranch:  Sylvan Dale owns both sides of the river from the diversion dam down to Riverside Campground and then on down to the second diversion dam.  They have posted no trespassing along the river.  They have private fishing along there, and don’t want tubers disturbing their fishing clients.  Tubers also tend to throw out a lot of trash.  Sylvan Dale’s owners and their fishing guides ask people to leave, and if they don’t, they call the Sheriff.  Clients of theirs have had hunting and camping equipment stolen. 

Mr. Jessup is all for public access to the stream where the public owns the stream, so he supports this designation with 3 provisos: 

  1. A survey so the boundaries are identified.
  2. Substantial fencing to prevent trespass – he envisions a 5-strand barbed wire on the upper and lower ends.
  3. Signage, similar to the one that is already there, but more – indicating where the public can and cannot be.  If the school would permit a sign at their parking lot, that would be helpful, explaining that people can’t trespass below the diversion dam.

Mr. Jessup hopes there will be cooperation with the school, because of the parking there.  He would like to see a sign posted there explaining the access location and rules and explaining the law about trespass.  They have already posted “No Trespassing” on the bank at the point where their property begins.  But there are problems with fishermen and tubers trespassing.  A lot of tubers who are asked to leave are belligerent about their right to be in the stream.  But they don’t understand that they cannot touch the bank.  And there is no way for them to pass the next diversion dam without leaving the river and trespassing. 


Board comments:

Barry:  If parking is prohibited along the edge of the highway, that limits our ability to provide access to the river.  Why is the area posted “No Parking”?  [Unknown.] Can private owners block the river with a fence across it?  [No – that is illegal in Colorado.]

Frank Cada:  People avoid the no-parking zones and park at Big Thompson Elementary and walk back up to fish there.


Area 17 (Downstream from Glen Comfort store) 

  • On one parcel there is a gazebo and a water well which encroach on our property.  Charlie has spoken with the new owners of the property, who are eager to get that resolved.
  • One parcel is potentially buildable.  There is a flat area up above on this parcel which offers a good view and has access. 
  • One parcel has a wide flat side road area which offers potential parking.
  • See report, below.


Public comment:   None.


Board comment:

Frank Cada:  Will each of these parcels be addressed separately?  [Unknown at this time.]


Charlie Johnson:  The County survey crew has other priorities before they can get to these properties again.  That is why Charlie is not entering into any negotiations at this time on the parcels previously discussed (Indian Village and Narrows.)  These are the last two parcels on the work plan for this year.



Carter Lake Marina – Phase 2 Parking – Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager – 30 minutes

During the redesign of the facilities for the Carter marina in 2008 the County designed the boater parking area in two phases.   Phase one of the parking area was constructed concurrently with the new buildings and road access while phase two set aside until the need was more apparent.  Site plan review by the County and the BOR was completed on both phases as one whole project.


After three summers of operation at the new location the need for the second phase of parking has become evident.  The recent high water levels have put a strain on the existing parking areas and have required many boaters to park off site from the boat ramp area.  When the water recedes, there is a lot more parking, but that has not been available the past two seasons, with high water continuing well past July 4.  The forecast is for this to continue for another two years. 


Another factor leading to the decision to continue with phase two of the parking area is the upcoming addition of twenty four new electrical slips by the marina concessionaire.  These new electric slips will be ready for the 2013 boating season. 


Engineering redesigned the lot to accommodate 39 single car spaces and 8 pull-through trailer parking.  Current lot capacity is 8-10 single car spots and 15-16 trailer spots, just at the boat ramp.  There is additional parking available across the road at Eagle.


A public open house for neighbors and interested parties was held on September 12, 6 – 7:30 pm, on the deck of the Marina Store.  About a dozen people showed up.  There was only one comment of note – one person thought electrical slips meant campsites.  There were no other concerns expressed. 


Between the service road and the existing parking, that area will be leveled out.  There will be a lot of trees removed, which are about room ceiling height.  This will open up the view of the lake from the road.  We will save as many as possible.  Electrical service will be trenched in to a location which is accessible later for the electrical slip project.  We hope to add a few day use sites in the area.  There is no electrical lighting in this parking lot.


The cost is about $90,000; this is less than originally budgeted.  The entire cost will be paid with County money.


Dan displayed the site plans for the project.

Linda Knowlton made, and Frank Cada seconded, a motion that the Board approve the plans for Phase 2 parking at the Carter Lake Marina.  Following the discussion, below, the motion passed unanimously.


Board discussion:

Rob Harris:  How often is the North Pines parking lot at capacity? 


Chris Fleming:  Every weekend during the height of the recreation season.














Park District updates and Parks Master Plan Implementation Progress report – Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager

§   Summer is over, and that’s a significant transition.  All indications are that it was a good revenue season.  Seasonal crews were really great.  At this time of year we go from boats to backhoes. If the weather continues to be mild, boating will continue through the end of October.

§   Somebody caught a 5 lb. walleye on Friday night – walleye season is on!

§   The County-wide Fleet Utility Board work continues.

§   A small hydro-electric plant is being constructed just downstream of Carter.  It will be very unobtrusive from a public viewpoint.

§   Zachary Cook was hired to fill the vacant Open Lands Ranger II position.  Zach has worked with our Open Lands program for several years, with a year off to serve in Afghanistan. 

§   Open Lands grazing leases are in the process of being awarded.

§   Shannon Barnes was hired today for the new Visitor Services Specialist position.  Shannon has worked with our Visitor Services Program for nine years.  This position will run the campground reservation system, and provide staff support to Dan.

§   Kat Parker, a seasonal ranger with the department, and a CSU intern with 600 hours available, will be designing fitness testing standards for the ranger program.

§   Stan Gengler will be retiring as Director of the Estes Valley Recreation and Park District (EVRPD.)  His replacement has not been hired yet.

§   Reconstruction of Hermits Hollow campground at Hermit Park started yesterday.  It will continue to cater to tent campers.  Additional walk-in campsites will be added, along with 4 new vault restrooms.  We hope to have it ready to open next season.  There is a lot of road work required on this project.

§   The EVRPD and Bureau of Reclamation have provided additional funding to improve the Mary’s Lake and East Portal shower facilities.

§   Arrest Control and Defensive Tactic training for staff has been completed, taught by Chris Fleming and Steve Gibson.

§   The Corn Roast Festival and New West Fest were staffed by rangers and Weed District staff.

§   The Estes campgrounds will continue to be busy through elk bugling season.


·   The 2012 budget meeting with the County Manager went well.  All four programs are relatively financially healthy.  Our loan from Solid Waste has gotten us a long way in the past two years.  We won’t start repaying that until 2014.  The current interest rate is 0.9%.

·   Carter swim beach and Pinewood are next in line for future capital improvements as funding becomes available.

·   No fee increases this year or next year.  This is the first time that County fees are a better deal than State Parks.

·   County-wide Energy Performance audit – there are some changes recommended for our buildings.

·   Radio replacement / upgrade is budgeted at $200,000.


Commissioner Steve Johnson explained the proposed jail tax which will be on the November ballot:

·   The County has four separate sales taxes currently in place:  Open Space, Detention Center, Justice Center, and the Ranch.  These two (Jail and Justice) bring in $14 million, and both are expiring. 

·   In November, the County will propose that the two which are expiring be replaced with another tax of .375% for jail operations to bring in sufficient revenues to replace the $14 million.


Board comments:

Linda Knowlton:  Why can it be less than the original tax?

Mark DeGregorio:  Will jail capacity need to be increased in next 10 years?  Is there any spare capacity?

Steve Johnson:  According to the master plan, the detention center should have been expanded in 2005.   Strategies have been implemented to reduce incarcerations and extend that date.  Our population is capped at 460 beds.  We have a weekender program, and other alternative programs that are half the cost of incarceration.  A reminder call program for court dates has also reduced occupancy, since people who fail to appear for their court date will be picked up and held in jail.  There is no spare capacity.  There is no organized opposition.  If the tax does not pass, then that $14 million must be replaced from somewhere else in the County budget.

Gary Buffington:  Natural Resources is a low to medium priority in the County budget, because it is not a mandated service.  If the jail tax does not pass, we will likely lose our $250,000 in General Fund, which will significantly impact department operations.

Russ Fruits:  What is the effect on the Open Space Sales Tax?

Gary:  The open space tax sunsets in 2018.  After the jail tax passes, then we will begin focusing on renewal of the open space sales tax.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 pm.


Respectfully submitted,


Debra Wykoff







Russell Fruits, Chair



Next regular meeting: October 11, 2011, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., at the Bison Visitor Center, 1800 S. County

Road 31, Loveland, CO 80537

Public can view agenda and minutes at www.larimer.org/parks





Staff Report - Big Thompson Flood Parcel Project:  Areas 3 and 17



Area 3 – Upstream from Big Thompson Elementary School - Begin 60 Day Comment Period


·  2 parcels totaling 3.23 acres, with County ownership to the center of the river.

·  Only one adjacent owner has expressed an interest through the County database. One other has expressed concerns about trespass and tubing access.

·  Charlie Johnson has contacted four adjacent land owners and advised them of the 60 day comment period.

·  Parking access is fair, but was posted this year with State of Colorado no parking signs.

·  No surveying needs at this time.



Area 17 – Downstream from Glen Comfort – Begin 60 Day Comment Period


·  8 parcels totaling 10 acres, with County ownership to the center of the river or entire river.

·  One previous owner and three adjacent owners have expressed an interest through the County database.

·  I have contacted six adjacent and one previous landowners and advised them of the 60 day comment period.

·  Parking is good on the north side of US34 and parking is poor on the south side of US34.

·  One parcel (5.72 acres) may have the potential for building. Access needs to be investigated.

·  Surveying may be needed.