Open Space

Luke Runyon / KUNC

The Colorado trail runner who killed a mountain lion with his bare hands did exactly what he should have, according to David Baron. The Boulder-based science writer is the author of the book, “The Beast in the Garden,” about the growing clash between people and wild animals.

“With a mountain lion, you do not want to play dead,” Baron said. “If a mountain lion attacks you, it’s not because it’s defending its kittens. It’s not because it feels threatened, unless you maybe cornered it. If a mountain lion attacks you, almost always it’s because that lion, on that day, has decided that you look like prey.”

Fort Collins Natural Areas

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.”

Fort Collins' Building Boom Sparks Prairie Dog Debate

Jul 13, 2016
Jackie Fortier / KUNC

Some residents in Fort Collins are considered a nuisance. In Colorado, it is legal to kill them -- using slingshots and handguns. But the biggest threat to prairie dogs is the state’s rising population.

The rodents are native to North America, and live together in underground burrows. In past years, as developers eyed vacant fields, they could simply plow over the animals’ burrows with bulldozers, burying them alive. Currently the city requires that the animals be exterminated more humanely, with gas, before construction begins.

Now a group of advocates says there’s a way to save the prairie dogs.

Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media

If you want a front row seat to the fight over GMOs head to Boulder County, Colorado.

GMOs, or more precisely, genetically-engineered crops, are lightning rods in discussions of our food. For the farmers who grow them and the scientists who create them, they’re a wonder of technology. For those opposed, the plants represent all that’s wrong with modern agriculture.

That theater is playing out in Boulder County, where an elected board of commissioners is considering whether to pull the plants off large swathes of publicly-owned land.

Joe Lewandowski / Colorado Parks and Wildlife

For the first time, pronghorn hunting will be allowed in the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area north of Fort Collins. Six doe pronghorn permits will be offered by lottery until the end of February. Officials estimate there are over 3,000 pronghorn in the area.

“It’s indicative of a pronghorn population that’s quite a bit over what they [Colorado Department of Wildlife] would like to see in that area, so they are trying to find ways to reduce the pronghorn herd,” said Red Mountain District Manager Travis Rollins. “They have been getting a lot of complains from ranchers and local farmers in that area with crop damage and a variety of things.”

courtesy of Boulder County

The cost of flood insurance for thousands of properties in unincorporated Boulder County is going down for the next 5 years. For homeowners within the 100 year floodplain, the average savings will be $470 per year.  

“Boulder County is part of the National Flood Insurance Program and part of that is the community rating system,” said Stacey Proctor, a project manager for Boulder County’s Transportation Department.

Boulder County has been part of the CRS rating program since the early 90s. Proctor said the program “incentivizes communities to go above and beyond the minimum requirements,” getting them to look at flood plains comprehensively. Community flood insurance rates are set based on the CRS rating, which communities can improve in a variety of ways. As long as the county can keep it's current rating during an annual review, the insurance rates will be disounted. 

Boulder County Open Space

Boulder County plans to set aside another big chunk of land as open space. County Commissioners approved a 740 acre purchase of land west of U.S. 36 between Boulder and Lyons for $775,000.

Ron Stewart, director of parks and open space for the county, said the land is significant.

“All of the work that we’ve done over the years, looking, for instance, at things like biodiversity and natural plant communities, indicate that area of the north foothills is one of the most sensitive and important landscapes that we have in the open space system,” said Stewart.

Christopher, Tania and Isabelle Luna / Flickr - Creative Commons

Key property just west of a popular hiking trail outside of Loveland will not be developed.

Larimer County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase 6.88 acres directly west of the Devil's Backbone Open Space.

Douglas County Open Space To See Aquifer Drilling

Jan 27, 2013
United States Geological Service

The plan to draw drinking water from deep beneath the earth’s surface is based on a traditional premise - that water from far underground is uncontaminated.

More Drilling for Boulder County Open Space

Aug 1, 2012
Boulder County /

Five new oil and gas wells will be drilled on Boulder County Open Space in the next two weeks because the land’s oil and gas rights were already leased out prior to its purchase by Boulder County.