Insights From City Residents to Shape Draft Plan
The Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Master Plan will shape the City of Boulder’s approach to future stewardship policy questions, such as: how to continue conservation of natural, cultural and scenic areas while also providing enjoyable visitor experiences, how to address population growth with increased visitation, how to create an inclusive environment where all visitors are welcome, in what ways can soil health improve on agricultural lands and how can the city make its natural areas more resilient amid climate change.
As part of the community engagement undertaken to provide resident and stakeholder feedback for the Master Plan, the City of Boulder contracted with National Research Center to conduct a community survey. OSMP gathered feedback from members of the public through three different surveys: a statistically valid survey, an open participation survey online to which all residents were invited, and through a Spanish survey circulated to Spanish-speaking members of the community.
Boulder Valley residents strongly support OSMP’s Master Plan focus areas, especially the two most important focus areas of Ecosystem Health and Resilience (79%), and Responsible Recreation Stewardship and Enjoyment (67%). Residents also emphasized stewardship of existing lands and trails over acquisition of new properties or construction of new trails. Survey respondents preferred that OSMP focus on improving ecosystem health (68%) over acquiring more lands (32%) and the maintenance and design of the existing trails (76%) over building new trails (24%).
Public Lands Access & Recreation Key Findings
In our April newsletter, Open Boulder urged our constituency to take the online survey and to pay comment on the areas listed below. Here’s what the survey revealed:
Dog Off Leash Restrictions
To manage high visitation rates, 62% of residents supported requiring dogs to be leashed on more trails.
Resident sentiment was split on whether OSMP should provide more areas where dogs can be off-leash, or provide more areas where dogs are prohibited. Not only were nearly equal proportions leaning one way or the other, the strength of the sentiment in both directions was also nearly equal.
When all survey participants were asked why they did not visit OSMP areas more often, only 2% felt there were too many dogs or dogs off-leash, while a different 2% perceived the opposite, believing there were not enough dog-friendly/off-leash trails.
Nighttime Use Restrictions
No mention of specific night time (temporal) restrictions, however, 86% of residents supported closing trails for a period of time to protect wildlife and habitats
Reclaiming/Closing Unmanaged (Social) Trails
Survey respondents supported closing unmanaged trails to better protect natural resources (89%)
Increasing Recreation & Biking Opportunities
Survey respondents preferred that OSMP focus on the maintenance and design of the existing trails (76%) over building new trails (24%)
A slight majority (56%) felt OSMP should address increasing visitation by spreading out usage and creating amenities at other locations to attract visitors
While 85% of residents reported hiking as their predominant activity, 59% support improving opportunities for biking
Horse Trailer Parking at Trailheads
Seventy-two percent preferred that horse trailer parking be reduced at trailheads
OSMP staff will now develop a draft Master Plan that will be released to the public to review beginning Monday May 20. A public online comment period will follow and will close on June 12. Look for the Open Boulder “Action Alert” to be distributed by close of business May 25 with highlights of the Master Plan that impact public lands access in the City of Boulder.