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Fort Collins' New Natural Areas Hope To Tap Into Trails, Views And Ag

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Fort Collins Natural Areas
Goose Hollow Natural Area

Funded by two quarter cent sales taxes at both the city and county levels, Fort Collins has added four more natural areas to their substantial network. These properties bring the total number of natural areas around the Choice City to 49.

“Our number one priority is to conserve wildlife habitat and our secondary goal is to provide appropriate recreation on those natural areas,” said Mark Sears, a natural areas manager for the city.

“To date, the 49 sites that we own, we intend to have public access on all of those.”

The two smaller acreage natural areas, named Goose Hollow and Tanglewood, will be open to the public within a year.

Soaring Vista and Flores del Sol are much bigger properties that add to the buffer between Loveland and Fort Collins.

Goose Hollow Natural Area

  • 4 acres 
  • Public access within a year
  • Great place to watch geese, ducks and songbirds
  • Good for children

“This is a unique property because it’s a partnership with the Fort Collins housing authority,” Sears said. ”They [the Fort Collins Housing Authority] own the majority of the land, but now the natural areas department is taking over management of the pond and turning it into a natural area. The plan is to build a trail on the north side of the affordable housing neighborhood of Village at Redwood, currently under construction. A natural surface trail will be built around three-quarters of the pond to provide access for pedestrians.”

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Credit Fort Collins Natural Areas
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Fort Collins Natural Areas
Tanglewood Natural Area

Tanglewood Natural Area

  • 10 acres
  • Public access in fall 2016
  • Accessible from Spring Creek Trail
  • Great for bird watching, including Red Tailed hawks

Another partnership with a city entity, Tanglewood will be co-managed with the City of Fort Collins Stormwater Utility.
“They decided to move their detention pond, so we are entering into a memo of understanding to manage the property,” Sears said. Natural Areas plans to manage the site for public access and wildlife habitat. Tanglewood is also on the Spring Creek trail.

“We’re just going to have a gate, or an opening in the fence that will allow people to walk on this site if they choose to,” Sears said.  

The other two sites, Flores Del Sol and Soaring Vista were purchased by the Natural Areas department, and are owned outright by the city, including the water rights.

“We purchased these primarily for open space within the community separator. Hopefully at some point in time they will be used for local food production that would be idea,” Sears said.

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Credit Fort Collins Natural Areas
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Fort Collins Natural Areas
Flores Del Sol Natural Area

Flores Del Sol Natural Area

  • 76 acres
  • Adjacent to the future Colorado Front Range Trail  
  • Agriculture and habitat
  • Opens in 2017

On Flores Del Sol, there will be a new trail, part of the Colorado Front Range Trail, that will connect Fort Collins to Loveland. The trail will go across the west end of this property, and will be open to the public in 2017.

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Credit Fort Collins Natural Areas
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Fort Collins Natural Areas
Soaring Vista Natural Area

Soaring Vista Natural Area

  • 113 acres
  • Wide-open views
  • Agriculture and habitat
  • No public access right now

“We plan to create a natural area around the farm, and have a trail around a portion of it. That will be open to the public after we can restore the land to native vegetation,” Sears said. “But a portion will always remain a farm.” Soaring Vista is part of a partnership with Loveland. 
Management proposals will be included in the Fossil Creek Natural Areas Management Plan Update, which will have public outreach in the fall of 2016.

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