Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge

Ryan Moehring / USFWS

Story updated Oct. 11, 2019.

Rocky Flats used to be a nuclear weapons plant in Northern Colorado. Now, parts of the site that used to be a security perimeter around the plant have been turned into a wildlife refuge (the former plant itself remains closed to the public). The site went through years of cleanup, but a number of groups are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about safety concerns, and ongoing soil sampling has shown varying levels of radiation, continuing the debate over whether it's safe to visit the refuge.

U.S. Department of Energy

New soil samples from Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge show safe levels of plutonium at the former nuclear weapons manufacturing site. That's after elevated readings were found this summer. 

Courtesy of David Abelson

Court documents in a pending lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say trails at the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge in northern Colorado will be closed until at least Sept. 15.

Courtesy of David Abelson

Building a visitor center at a wildlife refuge doesn’t sound controversial. But when that refuge is on the site of the security buffer zone of a former nuclear weapons facility, it gets complicated quickly. Unless a federal court intervenes, a visitor center will open at the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge in Golden in the summer of 2018.

Ryan Moehring / USFWS

A greenway to connect Denver with Rocky Mountain National Park would provide greater access to wildlife refuges by foot and by bike, but some say the plan would put nature lovers at risk. That’s because part of the trail will snake through Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, the site of a former nuclear weapons manufacturing facility.

With the deadline for a funding grant looming, several cities have chosen sides -- will they contribute to the effort to secure the federal money or not -- and Arvada is the next in line.