City Council Endorsements Announced

Diverse candidates align with our vision for good governance, access to Open Space

Boulder, Colo. (August 28, 2019)—With goals of having leaders who bring greater transparency and inclusiveness to our local government, make fact-based decisions, and understand that environmentalism and enjoyment of our public lands go hand in hand, Open Boulder today announced their endorsements for the 2019 Boulder City Council race.

Open Boulder is proud to endorse a diverse set of candidates after a process that included candidate questionnaires, in-person candidate screening meetings, candidate surveys and participation in the Raucous Caucus candidate event.

“Open Boulder connects citizens of all ages to our government and nature. Our progressive vision includes access to open space, responsible stewardship, and an open and inclusive Boulder,” states Michelle Estrella, Chair of Open Boulder. “These candidates really represent the best hope of Boulder becoming a more welcoming, inclusive and healthy community.”

As an incumbent, Aaron Brockett has established himself as a voice of reason and compassion based on his voting record on Boulder issues. Elected to a four-year term on Boulder City Council in 2015, he has consistently advocated for families and younger people, renters and the housing insecure, and improving transportation connections for bicycles and pedestrians.

During his time on council Aaron has served on the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the Dairy Arts Center for the Arts Board, the Boulder Valley comprehensive plan process committee, Open Space master plan process committee, the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, and served one year as Mayor Pro Tem. Aaron and his family have lived in Boulder for 16 years. He received a B.A from Swarthmore College and co-founded and owns with his wife a small business for 19 years.

A former Boulder Assistant City Manager, Benita Duran has over 30 years of experience as a civic leader having served on the boards of the YWCA, Family Learning Center, Intercambio, Attention Homes and Watershed School, as well as the Community Foundation of Boulder, the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, Boulder Community Health, and the State Economic Development Commission. She has practical ideas for addressing Boulder’s housing-economic-environmental-transportation linked crisis.

Benita owns and operates Duran Consulting serving as Project Director of the Latino Cultural Arts Center. She has a B.A. Degree in Economic and Public Affairs from the University of Denver and is a proud CU alumna with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Benita has lived in Boulder for over 25 years and is a fifth generation Coloradan.

Addressing the flood mitigation crisis in South Boulder is the major focus of Rachel Friend, a seasoned attorney and social activist. She sees everything through the lens of imminent climate crisis and advocates decisive action in all areas to address key challenges and that those actions be based on accurate and relevant data. Impact to our Open Space is certain and Rachel believes that, as good stewards of the land, Boulder needs to continue to care for Open Space while ensuring adequate acreage is accessible for recreation.

Rachel practices law, teaches in the Criminal Justice field at Front Range Community College and provides pro bono legal representation to asylum seekers detained in Aurora, CO. As a local activist, Rachel has served as the local lead for Boulder Moms Demand Action to prevent gun violence, as Deputy Director of Digital Outreach for Colorado Resistance, and as Events Development Coordinator for Blue Rising. Rachel is currently co-director of South Boulder Creek Action Group.

Having done her homework on Boulder issues, Junie Joseph will bring a fresh perspective to Council. She believes that housing plays a major role in the forms of inequality seen and experienced in Boulder and advocates for greater housing opportunities. Junie’s goals also include improved transit options, championing social justice, better programming for the homeless, government efficiency, open space management and protecting the environment.

With an established record advocating for human rights in Colorado and internationally, Joseph has served with the United Nations, and locally on Boulder County’s Health and Human Services Citizen Panel Review and Community Corrections Board. She has degrees in political science, anthropology, and applied human rights, and is currently studying law at CU Boulder.

A leader in the community, Mark McIntyre currently serves on the Transportation Advisory Board where he advocated for safety and traffic calming on the North Broadway redevelopment project. After a strong, but unsuccessful bid in the 2017 City Council election, Mark was appointed to the Boulder Campaign Finance Working Group, creating what is now Boulder’s election finance code. While McIntyre’s top issues are housing, transportation, and open space, he has taken strong stands to promote social justice, increase economic vitality, and support CU South flood mitigation.

Mark has lived in Boulder for 42 years, attended CU, graduated with a B.F.A. and subsequently owned a business for 32 years.

For Bob Yates, transparency is the essence of good governance and, as a current member of Council, his regular updates on “how I voted and what I was thinking” sets the bar high. The top vote-getter in 2015, and as an incumbent Yates will be a popular candidate. He loves his community service work on Council and has been a strong advocate for sensible Open Space access, increasing housing opportunities, and supporting the arts and nonprofits in Boulder.

Bob, who retired from a successful career at age 50, has dedicated all his time to community service—as chair of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, co-chair of a capital investment strategy group, member of the boards of the Dairy Arts Center and the Colorado Chautauqua Association, committee chair for the Conference on World Affairs, and as a kindergarten reader for the YWCA’s Reading to End Racism program.

Open Boulder is 501c4 as defined by the IRS

Final Draft of Master Plan Completed

OSBT & Planning Board Approve and Recommend to Council

Open Boulder supports the 2019 Open Space & Mountain Parks Draft (final) Master Plan. OSMP staff have led a commendable process in engaging the community and using those ideas to create focus areas that define broad management themes for OSMP’s next 10 years.

Open Boulder made comments in support of staff decision making process that utilize good science and best practices. This approach honors the public process and will lead to developing sound management plans to achieve the goals of our community.

Overall this is a solid master plan, but it will impact our community’s interests, and thus Open Boulder will continue to champion that:

  • New acquisitions that are strategically important to fulfill OSMP Charter provisions, including the potential for new trail connections

  • Decision-making based on sound science and best practices

  • Allowing additional passive recreational access public lands currently closed under OSMP’s purview and spreading use out among low use areas

  • Encouraging passive recreation for the health and well-being of our community!

Members of the public can still share comments on the final draft at the City Council meeting on September 3, with a public hearing on the Final Master Plan.

Balance is Needed on the Open Space Board of Trustees

An important appointment to the City of Boulder’s five-member Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) will be made this Tuesday July 16 by City Council. The current balance on this board is tipped towards an ideology that views conservation and recreation on our Open Space lands as antithetical, with two ultra-conservationists, one moderate conservationist and two trustees representing the recreation community. Recently, one of the recreation-friendly board members, Andria Bilich, has resigned, as she and her family are moving out of state. We are concerned that her replacement will be another stridently anti-recreational access candidate. If you engage in any of the following activities on Open Space, you too should be concerned: trail running, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding or dog walking—your access to Open Space depends on the decisions that get made by this board and by City Council.

We have only to recall the West Trail Study Area (WTSA) and, earlier, the original Visitor Master Plan, wherein responsible passive recreational users experienced significant losses because a slim majority of Open Space Trustees and City Council members at the time viewed conservation and many forms of recreation as fundamentally incompatible. And, for the most recent example of the divergent visions of Open Space that exist in our community, look no further than the North Trail Study Area (NTSA) process in 2017 and its hotly debated North Sky Trail, an important connector trail on the west side of highway 36 that was narrowly adopted into the final plan. Two of the current Open Space Trustees and a now-city council member along with extreme preservation groups came out fiercely against this trail, even though much of this former railroad grade has existed for decades and is used daily by runners, hikers and equestrians. In spite of this pressure, the North Sky Trail was approved. Given the current composition of both OSBT and City Council, this definitely would not have been the case if voted on again today.

In fact, some groups that favor greater restrictions to our current access and some on City Council are currently advocating ideas that would have an immense, negative impact on our use of Open Space. These suggestions include pre-dawn/post-dusk closures (do you run or walk your dog in the early-morning hours or after work in the winter?), no off-trail travel (do you climb or scramble in the Flatirons and use climber-access trails not shown on any OSMP maps?), and limitations on visitation to address “carrying capacity” (possibly requiring a permit for every visit we make to our taxpayer-funded Open Space?). Also up for debate is whether or not we should continue to acquire properties and manage them as “closed” Open Space while the maintenance backlog for our existing trail system is estimated to be $40 million.

It is unfortunate, but true, that our Open Space has become an ideological battleground—those who tirelessly advocate for more closures and restrictions pitted against those of us who just want to responsibly recreate on and maintain our public, taxpayer-funded lands. We believe that our Open Space trustees should be committed both to the sustainable management of recreational activities and infrastructure on open space, and to maintaining the many ecological, agricultural, and scenic values of these treasured places. Balancing recreation and conservation need not be an “either/or” proposition and framing it as such has created bitter, divisive battles. Sustainable recreation is a vital element of our overall conservation strategy and a key part of why we live in Boulder and continue to tax ourselves to fund Open Space. That’s why this upcoming board appointment is so critical. If you agree, please write to City Council today asking them to consider the following:

  • The recreation community is losing representation on this board with the departure of Andria Bilich. She was appointed by City Council to serve until 2022; in fairness and to honor the intent of that appointment, City Council should choose someone to serve the remainder of her term that is supportive of recreation.

  • Your constituents need this board to be a balanced representation of our community, and this representation will provide Council with a mix of viewpoints, which is one of the purposes of the boards and commissions.

  • Recreation groups and their members are paying attention to this vote. It does matter deeply to us to have our interests equally represented on the Open Space Board of Trustees.

Signed,

  1. Tony Gannaway, Secretary FIDOS (Friends Interested in Dogs on Open Space

  2. Lori Fuller, Board member FIDOS (Friends Interested in Dogs on Open Space)

  3. Rui Ferreira, Chair Flatirons Climbing Council

  4. Matt Samet, Former chair Flatirons Climbing Council Fixed Hardware Review Committee

  5. Greg German, Chair Boulder Climbing Community

  6. Jim Illg, Former Chair Boulder Climbing Community

  7. Marcus Popetz, President Boulder Mountainbike Alliance

  8. Wendy Sweet, Operations Manager Boulder Mountainbike Alliance

  9. Buzz Burrell, member Boulder Trail Runners

  10. Bill Wright, Founder and Race Director for the Rattlesnake Ramble

  11. Bill Briggs, Former OSBT (2006-2011)

  12. Shelley Dunbar, Former OSBT (2012-2016)

Master Plan Update

Next Opportunity for Public Comment July 31

What We're Still Concerned About...

Open Boulder made recent a public comment supporting the initial draft Master Plan at the OSBT Special Meeting held June 11. Subsequent to that meeting, Open Boulder offered the following comments for consideration in the final document to be released mid-July:

  • Please highlight edits and substantive changes from the initial draft MP document from the final document to preserve transparency in the process. [These changes, stemming from City Council and OSBT Special Meetings, are important to consider for good governance purposes.]

  • Don't be tempted to weigh the final report down with endless background history and prior planning documents. As most people (community, staff, and policymakers) will access this document electronically use hyperlinks to pertinent resource materials and, when appropriate, infographics, graphs, charts and tables.

Next Steps...

Members of the public will have final opportunities to share comments on the revised draft plan, due out in mid-July, at the following meetings:

  • Special OSBT meeting on July 31 with a public hearing on the revised draft plan;

  • Planning Board meeting on August 1 with a public hearing on the revised draft plan;

  • City Council on September 3 with a public hearing on the revised draft plan.

Additionally, you can email City Council, OSBT, or OSMP staff:

OSMPmasterplan@bouldercolorado.gov

Emails to the Open Space Board of Trustees and City Council:

  • osbt@bouldercolorado.gov

  • council@bouldercolorado.gov

Open Boulder previous comments on the OSMP Master Plan can be viewed here & here.

Draft Master Plan Comments

WHAT WE THINK…

In general, Open Boulder supports the draft MP and applauds the community, OSMP staff, planning consultants, Open Space Board of Trustees and City Council in developing a sound plan for managing our public lands for the future. OSMP has led a commendable process in engaging the community and using those ideas to create focus areas and values to define big, broad management themes for OSMP’s next 10 years. Importantly, the Draft Master Plan describes the Outcomes the community wants, the Strategies we've prioritized, but does not necessarily presume specific Actions (e.g. management or area plans).

WHAT WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT…

Open Boulder strongly encourages that the process is honored and that OSMP Staff are entrusted with developing sound, impactful and thoughtful management plans to achieve the goals of our community. To this end, Open Boulder will continue to support OSMP Staff and participate with Action plan development, such as Integrated Site Projects and weigh in on how the public process is utilized. Of concern is that previous public process and decisions are reevaluated, reinterpreted or even reversed! Area Plans will be a key issue needing attention from our community if we want to assure public access to our public lands.

SPECIFIC ISSUES…

Overall this is a solid plan, but it will impact our community and thus we advocate for:

  • Decision-making based on sound science and best practices

  • Encouraging recreation! It’s for the health and well-being of our community.

  • Additional off-leash areas for our dogs and their guardians

  • Applying the strategy of closing undesignated trails uniformly across the urban-open space interface without regard to socio-economic or political status of the neighborhood.

  • Allowing additional recreational access to closed public lands under OSMP’s purview and spreading use out among low use areas.

  • And, remembering our horse heritage of the West and encourage use where appropriate and improve the infrastructure of those trailheads.

Draft Master Plan Released

Public Comment Due by June 12

What We Think

OSMP has engaged the community and used those ideas to create focus areas and values to define big, broad management themes for OSMP’s next 10 years. Most recently, staff developed a draft Master Plan and released it to the public for comment. In general, Open Boulder is in support of the document and applaud the community, OSMP staff, planning consultants, Open Space Board of Trustees and City Council in developing a sound plan for managing our open space for the future.

What We're Still Concerned About

The Draft Master Plan describes the Outcomes the community wants, the Strategies we've prioritized, but does not presume specific Actions (e.g. management or area plans). Open Boulder will weigh in on Action plan development, such as Integrated Site Projects and how the public process is utilized. Of concern is that previous public process and decisions are reevaluated, reinterpreted or even reversed! Area Plans will be a key issue needing attention from our community if we want to assure public access to public lands.

Open Boulder, along with community leaders and open space advisers, analyzed the plan. Overall this is a solid plan expressing a wide swath of our community's voices. Specifically, the plan will impact our community in the following areas:

  • Dog Off-Leash Restrictions, pp 45-46, 57-58

  • Nighttime-Use Restrictions, p. 36

  • Closing Undesignated (social) Trails, pp. 33-34, 36

  • Increasing Recreation Opportunities, pp. 45-46

  • Additional Biking Opportunities, pp. 45-46

  • Horse Interests, pp. 45, 56

How You Can Help

Between now and June 12, 2019, the main opportunities for public comment on the draft plan include:

  • An online comment form. Comments received through Monday, June 3, will be summarized to inform discussion with the Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) and City Council Tuesday, June 11

  • Comments received June 4 through June 12 will be considered before releasing a second draft of the plan for consideration by OSBT and the Planning Board

  • Community drop-in hours to meet with project staff at the OSMP Hub (2520 55th St):

    • Thursday, May 30, from 4 – 7 p.m.; and

    • Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.;

  • Emails to OSMPmasterplan@bouldercolorado.gov

  • Emails to the Open Space Board of Trustees and City Council

  • Public comment at a regular OSBT meeting Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Great Scooping of the Poo at CU South!

RSVP & ENTER TO WIN COOL STUFF!

Join local land stewardship organizations, dog lovers and poo haters for the inaugural Scooping of the Poo at CU South on Saturday June 1 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Sponsors--Boulder Public Lands Coalition, Friends Interested in Dogs & Open Space, and Open Boulder--will be on-hand to provide everything you'll need for this event: gloves, trash bags, clothes pins (to hold your nose), drinks and refreshments (adult, kid and gluten-free friendly). Best of all, everyone participating will receive free raffle entries for cool prizes from local retailers and other businesses! Prizes will be announced soon. Sign up here.

  • What: Scooping of the Poo at CU South

  • When: Saturday June 1 from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

  • Where: CU South Tennis Complex open space

  • Why: Because we love our dogs AND environment!

  • How: By hand or by dog scoop (BYOPS--Bring Your Own Pooper Scooper)

FIVE REASONS TO SCOOP THE POOP

  1. No one likes running into pet waste in our neighborhoods, urban areas, parks, trails, or open spaces! Cleaning up your pet’s waste is part of being a responsible pet owner.

  2. Pet waste doesn't make good fertilizer. It isn't good for grass or plants like other animal waste, because it's too acidic. That's due to our pet’s high protein diets. Pet waste can actually poison grass and plants, including those in your yard.

  3. Pet waste can contain dangerous pathogens, viruses, bacteria and parasites like Salmonella, Coccidia, Roundworms, Tapeworms, Parvo, Giardia and E. coli. which can make people and other dogs very sick. Children playing outside and adults who garden are most at risk.

  4. Compost piles don't get hot enough to kill the disease-causing organisms in pet waste. You should never add pet waste to a compost pile.

  5. Stormwater and snowmelt wash pet waste into our waterways. Pet waste is high in nitrogen and phosphorus. Too much of these nutrients can cause algae to grow too fast. That can result in decreased oxygen in the water killing fish and other animals living in the water, the death of underwater grasses and plants, polluted habitat for ducks, crabs, and other animals, and water that is murky, green, smelly, and even unusable for swimming, boating, or fishing.

Important Open Space Survey Now Open

The Opportunity

Open Boulder members (you!) can weigh in on how they would like the City of Boulder's Open Space & Mountain Parks to prioritize your tax dollars over the next 10 years! What strategies should OSMP focus on first? Share your personal preferences by midnight, Sunday, April 7, through this online questionnaire: http://bit.ly/OSMP-Input5.

Last year, OSMP used community input to create focus areas and values to define big, broad management themes for OSMP’s next 10 years. Then in the fall, OSMP used your ideas and feedback to develop draft outcomes and strategies for advancing those focus areas and values. Please help prioritizing draft outcomes and strategies for the OSMP Master Plan. Your input from this online questionnaire will inform future spending and refinements to OSMP management strategies, and will contribute to the development of a draft OSMP Master Plan that will be released to the public in May.

Important Areas to Comment On

  • Dog Off Leash Restrictions

  • Nighttime Use Restrictions

  • Reclaiming/Closing Undesignated (social) Trails

  • Additional Biking Opportunities

  • Horse Trailer Parking at Trailheads

  • Increasing Recreation Opportunities

Please share this questionnaire through your social networks!

Mara Mintzer: These were the reasons behind the Wonderland Lake plans

Posted: 02/09/2019 07:04:15 PM MST

On Jan. 15, the city of Boulder hosted a public meeting to discuss proposed changes at Wonderland Lake via the North Boulder Trail Study Area (NBTSA). As I squeezed into the recreation center room, there was palpable anger from the 100-plus neighbors in attendance; they were concerned that the lake's serenity and nature would be destroyed by the city's proposal to include a fishing pier, boardwalk and shade structure at Wonderland Lake.

I can understand how residents, many of whom are my friends and neighbors, might fear the proposal if they did not know the history of how and why the city came to suggest these designs. My hope, however, is that my description below will provide greater understanding of why the pier, boardwalk and shade structure were recommended, and why I believe the principles underlying those structures should still be implemented, either at Wonderland Lake or elsewhere in Boulder.

In 2015, the city spent several months reaching out to diverse community members for the NBTSA through workshops and conversations at the Wonderland Lake trailhead, neighborhood coffee shops, grocery stores, parks and online. They engaged hundreds of Wonderland neighbors from low-income and high-income backgrounds, English speakers and Spanish speakers, and young and old. My organization, Growing Up Boulder, which seeks to include young people's voices in local decisions that affect them, partnered with the city's Open Space and Mountain Parks Department to include almost 100 children and youth, ages 3-18, in the NBTSA outreach. Here is what we heard.

"People are always telling us to get out and enjoy nature, but then we can't do anything with it but walk," a 9-year-old boy informed us at the NBTSA family participation day in July 2015. Instead, he suggested the city add "a boardwalk with viewing hole, so I can watch the fish and ducks without scaring them." Preschool children made similar recommendations during their trip to Wonderland Lake. During the interpretive walk to Wonderland Lake, facilitators also noticed that the trail was not wide enough to accommodate children's frequent stops for snacks, water and observations. The group decided that a wider path and pullouts with shade might help young children make the journey to the lake.

On Jan. 15, the city of Boulder hosted a public meeting to discuss proposed changes at Wonderland Lake via the North Boulder Trail Study Area (NBTSA). As I squeezed into the recreation center room, there was palpable anger from the 100-plus neighbors in attendance; they were concerned that the lake's serenity and nature would be destroyed by the city's proposal to include a fishing pier, boardwalk and shade structure at Wonderland Lake.

I can understand how residents, many of whom are my friends and neighbors, might fear the proposal if they did not know the history of how and why the city came to suggest these designs. My hope, however, is that my description below will provide greater understanding of why the pier, boardwalk and shade structure were recommended, and why I believe the principles underlying those structures should still be implemented, either at Wonderland Lake or elsewhere in Boulder.

In 2015, the city spent several months reaching out to diverse community members for the NBTSA through workshops and conversations at the Wonderland Lake trailhead, neighborhood coffee shops, grocery stores, parks and online. They engaged hundreds of Wonderland neighbors from low-income and high-income backgrounds, English speakers and Spanish speakers, and young and old. My organization, Growing Up Boulder, which seeks to include young people's voices in local decisions that affect them, partnered with the city's Open Space and Mountain Parks Department to include almost 100 children and youth, ages 3-18, in the NBTSA outreach. Here is what we heard.

"People are always telling us to get out and enjoy nature, but then we can't do anything with it but walk," a 9-year-old boy informed us at the NBTSA family participation day in July 2015. Instead, he suggested the city add "a boardwalk with viewing hole, so I can watch the fish and ducks without scaring them." Preschool children made similar recommendations during their trip to Wonderland Lake. During the interpretive walk to Wonderland Lake, facilitators also noticed that the trail was not wide enough to accommodate children's frequent stops for snacks, water and observations. The group decided that a wider path and pullouts with shade might help young children make the journey to the lake.

Children ages 3-11 wanted access to nature so that they could view wildlife, play with sand, touch the water, get their feet wet, peer into the shallows for tadpoles, and generally experience Rachel Carson's sense of wonder that is critical in developing care for, knowledge about, and long-term interest in nature.

Meanwhile, Junior Rangers, teenagers who work for OSMP during the summer, requested improved access to the beach and water at Wonderland Lake. Because the location of trails was not clear, and people walked in areas where they were not supposed to, the teens felt that boardwalks could help define access and protect sensitive wildlife.

In summary, Boulder's young people requested close-up, tactile and respectful interactions with nature. This is what I believe the OSMP designs represented. The designs were not meant to turn Wonderland Lake into Coney Island, but instead to offer opportunities that would simultaneously protect and allow for direct experiences with nature. Not only did children share what they wished for Wonderland Lake, but they shared how impactful this civic engagement process itself was to them. One Junior Ranger summarized the experience by saying, "We felt honored that they came to us and gave us a chance to participate in the decision-making process at such a young age. It was nice to have a day to think and reflect on our times in OSMP ... while you knew you were contributing to something real." This engagement, and the city's responsiveness to it, have since been internationally recognized as an example of best practice in the area-youth participatory planning.

In moving forward, I request that City Council, city staff and the community honor the input that these young people, and so many others, contributed in 2015. Please do not discard suggestions from the 2015 outreach process in favor of public outcry from 2019; instead, let's sit down side-by-side, new voices and old, and young and old, to talk and listen to each other about how to make our natural spaces engaging for all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Boulder, let us listen our young people's voices and show that we are the international example of inclusive youth engagement that others believe us to be.

Deadline to Get on Board! Feb 15th 5pm...

Are you one of the 106 civic-minded Boulderites who registered for one or both of our "Get on Board (or Commission)!" events in January? Weren’t able to make it but you’re still interested in applying for a position?

We wanted to remind you about the 5pm application deadline on February 15th, and provide some helpful resources. We strongly encourage you to apply. It is a great way to help shape our community and with 20 or so boards with varying time commitments you are sure to find one that fits. 

If you would like assistance with finding the right board, completing your application, or preparing for the interview, please contact us to schedule a phone consultation. Here are all the ways to reach us:

Email: info@OpenBoulder.org | text: 303-818-2032
Message us on Facebook or Instagram  or tweet at us on Twitter

Please share! The more people get engaged, the better local government works.

Resources 

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Thank you and good luck from the Open Boulder Board!

Volunteer for Boulder Boards, Commissions

Every year Boulder looks to fill a variety of seats on the city's advisory boards and commissions — for open space, parks and recreation, transportation, planning and many more — and they're currently accepting applications now through Feb. 15. If you want to be active in shaping our community's future or want to serve in an area that you have a passion for, applying to one of these positions is a great way to do that.

As a former member of the Open Space Board of Trustees, I can attest to how rewarding it is to serve the community. However, as an average citizen and small business owner, I certainly could have benefited from an event like the ones that Open Boulder is hosting, called "Get on Board (or Commission)!" before I applied for the Open Space board.

Attend one or both of these events and you'll learn more about Boulder's boards and commissions directly from people who are currently serving on them, you'll get practical tips on how to apply, and City Council members will be there to give you the real story about how council makes these appointments.

Open Boulder, a local grassroots organization that's dedicated to good governance and responsible stewardship of Open Space, is hosting the first event on Jan. 16 from noon-1 p.m. at the Boulder Public Library and the second on Jan. 31 from 6-8 p.m. at the Alfalfa's Community Room. Both are free and open to the public. Register at: openboulder.org/governance-get-on-board.

Shelley Dunbar

Boulder

Open Boulder Offers Free Civic Engagement Seminars

Open Boulder Offers Free Civic Engagement Seminars During City of Boulder Board and Commission Recruitment Period

“Get on Board (or Commission)!” Series Encourages Broader Participation

(Boulder, CO, January 5, 2019) – Open Boulder, a local grassroots organization dedicated to good governance and responsible stewardship of Open Space, will host two public seminars for Boulder residents interested in participating in City Boards and Commissions.The “Get on Board (or Commission!)” seminars will take place on January 16th from 12-1 pm at the Boulder Public Library, and again on January 31st from 6-8 pm at the Alfalfa’s Community Room.

“Boulder’s system of boards and commissions is an incredibly rewarding and accessible way for citizens to become actively involved in important policy discussions that can impact Boulder’s future,” said Open Boulder Board Chair, Michelle Estrella, “We want Boulder residents, especially those who feel left out or disenfranchised,to know why city boards and commissions matter, and give them practical information about how to apply and get a seat at the table.”

Each event will include an overview of city boards and commissions, a panel discussion with a current City Council member and City Board and Commission members, and Q&A. The January 31st event will conclude with application assistance. Both events will be moderated by former Boulder City Council member Angelique Espinoza. Visit www.OpenBoulder.org/TakeAction/ to register.

Open Boulder is a local organization that encourages broad community involvement, government accountability, and practical local government decisions to enhance our lives, whether at home, work, or play.

Media Contact:

Bill Rigler

Open Boulder

(917) 415-0612

billrigler@gmail.com

End of Year Message

Hi Open Boulder Friends,

As we close out 2018, we’d like to thank you for your continued support and assure you that even though the 2017 city council elections were disappointing to us and for our city, we’re here to stay.

Open Boulder was founded to encourage openness and accountability in local government and to protect public access to public land. Our successes include helping with the election of three council members in 2015, a positive outcome in the North Trail Study Area, and passing term limits, both in 2016.

We’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over the past year (largely why we’ve been so quiet) which has helped us learn good lessons--mainly that we should stick to what we care about and needs the most attention. It is with that motivation that we are relaunching with a clear focus on good governance and sustainable access to Open Space.

We will continue working to provide citizens the voice and inspiration to get involved in local politics and we hope we can count on your involvement in the coming months. We will be reaching out to see what good governance issues you care about and what's most important to you regarding our public land. Expect to see another email from us...and please let us know what you think!

In January we will be hosting two “Get on Board” sessions to help citizens get involved in the community by applying to be on a board or commission. Keep an eye out for those dates.

Speaking of getting on boards. If you have interest in joining Open Boulder, please reach out to us at info@openboulder.org. We can always use smart, passionate folks to help make Boulder a better and more open place to live.

Happy New Year,

Open Boulder Board of Directors

Two Important Surveys for Open Space…

Hi Friends of Open Boulder & Public Lands!

Rarely do the citizens of a community have the opportunity to impact access to their open space in an efficient, but effective manner. Please take 5 minutes to participate as the numbers of positive comments do have an impact on the process.

Two surveys are currently open for citizen participation:

Eldo to Walker:

  • Public comments on the Eldorado Canyon trail to connect to Walker Ranch (this would be a regional singletrack, multi-use connection from Plains to the Peak-to-Peak). This does not exist in Boulder County at present. Please provide your thoughts by midnight, Dec. 9.

  • Boulder Mountainbike Alliance has provided a few succinct talking points to help in the comment sections.


OSMP Master Plan, Community Connections and Agriculture:

  • Please take a little time to share your ideas to help Boulder ensure an inclusive open space future, with welcoming outreach and volunteer programming, and to help the community preserve and enjoy Boulder’s agricultural lands. Please provide your thoughts by midnight, Dec. 18.

  • Open Boulder has provided talking points to assist in the comment sections.

  • Background information is here.


Open Boulder Board

Open Boulder's Comment on the OSMP Master Plan focus area Responsible Recreation

To OSMP:

Since our inception, the Open Boulder’s mission has been to connect people to our community’s treasured places in a sustainable manner and to assure that the voices of responsible citizens who enjoy recreating on our public lands are heard.

To that end, we have a two-prong mission to increase government transparency and access to our public lands. Local city (and county) government decisions are ones that impact us the most. Open Boulder supports and encourages initiatives that will improve representation for Boulder’s broader population and encourage openness and accountability in local government decisions. We applaud the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Park’s Master Planning process.

Open Boulder fully believes that environmentalism and outdoor recreation go hand in hand. Many of us actively use City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks to hike, climb, run, bike and walk our dogs, and we value the ability to experience nature so close to an urban environment. To that end, we gladly pay open space taxes and we want local land managers to promote and expand recreational opportunities to distribute and balance use more evenly across the system. We believe that connecting people to our community’s treasured places in a sustainable manner is exactly what we need to do to build support for conservation.

We are concerned that striking a balance between recreational access and habitat protection will be based more on politics and horse trading than good science and modern management strategies. No studies exist that show that any species has been eliminated or severely degraded due to any type of recreational activity on Boulder City open space. We fully endorse the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance position that “the Master Plan should require open space management be based on data that was acquired using science and management best practices, because what we are not measuring (monitoring) we will never be able to manage effectively. Only a science-based and data-driven approach provides transparency and accountability, which are required for people to have trust in the process and the results.”

Open Boulder appreciates the opportunity to weigh in on the Responsible Recreation, Stewardship, and Enjoyment Focus Area. It is our intention that the values of outdoor recreationalists need to be stated explicitly in the master plan:

  • Promote plans, processes and budgets that promote long-term stewardship, excellent infrastructure, and encourage sustainable recreation.

  • Promote and expand recreational opportunities to distribute and balance use more evenly across the system.

  • Base management solutions on the best available data and science as well as monitoring protocols.

  • Maintenance of current open space stock should take precedence over acquisition of new properties. Acquired properties should by default be open, accessible and strategic to connect open space for both recreation and habitat.

In Cooperation,

Open Boulder Board of Directors

Michelle Estrella, Chair

Alex Lindsay

Bill Rigler

Brady Robinson

Buzz Burrell

Jan Burton

Jennifer Egbert

Jessica Yates

Shelly Dunbar

About Open Boulder

We are a grass roots, nonpartisan movement of open-minded, pragmatic and moderate individuals of all ages, cultures and economic backgrounds who want to ensure that the amazing assets that brought them here are open for all for generations to come. We are parents, we are young and not-so-young professionals, students and recent grads, long-time residents and recent arrivals. We are employees and business owners, entrepreneurs and technology workers. We are outdoor enthusiasts and outdoor athletes, we are animal lovers, and we are environmentalists.

Important Opportunity to Protect Access to Public Land

The workshop on "Responsible Recreation, Stewardship and Enjoyment" focus area for the Master Plan held Monday 11/5 was well attended...but, access to open space still needs your attention.

Please take this online survey (<10 mins) and make sure your vision of public lands is included.

Remember to address issues important to you personally and how you enjoy (or want to enjoy) our public lands.

Issues of concern:

  • Night time access to trails

  • Off trail travel

  • Multi-use trails

  • Dogs on open space

Suggestion: Make a brief statement of how, when, where & why you use currently use OS and what you desire in the future, e.g. I run with my dog at Joder Ranch each morning at 5AM to maintain my health and sanity...I want to see more opportunities to do this on other OS areas in the future!

SURVEY LINK HERE!

Additional Information from the Workshop.

Letter to the Editor: Community Input on Open Space Sought

Since our inception, Open Boulder’s mission has been to connect people to our community’s treasured places in a sustainable manner. Environmentalism and outdoor recreation go hand in hand. Many of us actively use City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks to hike, climb, run, bike and walk our dogs, and we value the ability to experience nature so close to an urban environment.

How we manage our public lands is currently being discussed and debated in order to develop a 20-year Master Plan for OSMP. The next opportunity for people who enjoy our public lands to have a substantive impact on the process is the Community Workshop on “Responsible Recreation, Stewardship, and Enjoyment.” This public comment event will be key to the master planning process for Open Space & Mountain Parks and will help determine access policies for public lands over the next decade and beyond… so it’s important!

The community workshop offers the opportunity for everyone to give their input on issues such as night time access, dogs on OS, off-trail hiking, multi-use trails, acquisitions of property for OS, and planning methodologies.

We urge you to attend the Community Workshop Monday Nov 5, 2018 at the Jewish Community Center, 6007 Oreg Ave in Boulder from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Open Boulder will be providing free, licensed childcare and pizza so busy families can attend the event and be represented. Please RSVP at info@openboulder.org with your name, number of children and their ages. Child ages limited from 3-10 years old and a total number of kids at 12.

Hope to see you all November 5th

Alex Lindsay

Board Member of Open Boulder

Access to Local Public Lands Workshop Nov 5th

Hi Friends of Open Boulder & Open Space,

This is a call to action to those who care about access to public land!

We urge you to attend the OSMP Master Plan Community Workshop Monday Nov 5, 2018 at the Jewish Community Center, 6007 Oreg Ave in Boulder from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. The Master Plan is “to guide the management of our community’s open space over the next decade and beyond.” So it’s important. The community workshop on Nov. 5 is for everyone to give their input on “Responsible Recreation, Stewardship, and Enjoyment”.

In-person comments and conversation have a significant positive impact on what’s at stake, namely these recreation concerns:

  • Night time access to trailheads, trails and open space

  • Dog access on trails and open space

  • Off trail access or cross country travel

  • Multi-use trail access

  • Prioritizing maintaining current OS rather than purchasing expensive properties

  • Planning methodologies that are not a fair process

Please share this information with your friends and anyone else you feel would like to know.
 
Open Boulder is planning a get-together in November in order to hear more of how you would like your public lands to be managed.  Details will be forthcoming.

We look forward to seeing everyone there...oh! and parents...
 
Open Boulder will be providing childcare for outdoor recreation advocates attending the event. Please RSVP at info@openboulder.org with your name, number of children and their ages. Child ages limited from 3-10 yo and a total number of kids at 12. OB will also provide pizza and a drink for parents and kids.

Open Boulder Board

Open Boulder Comments on Open Space and Mountain Parks Master Plan

The following letter was submitted to Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks staff on March 30, 2018.

Dear City Open Space & Mountain Parks Staff:

Open Boulder welcomes the opportunity to submit comments on the Open Space &
Mountain Parks Master Plan during the first engagement window. The City has posed
the question, “What Are Your Values, Hopes and Concerns for Boulder Open Space?”
We have identified several areas of focus for our comments. We look forward providing
greater detail and specific suggestions during future engagement windows; for the time
being we have kept our comments general in nature.

Habitat and Recreational Access

We appreciate the incredible open space system we have built, with all its values,
including ecosystem protection, wildlife viewing and recreation. We appreciate the
ability to run, hike, climb, bike, walk dogs on and off leash, ride horses, observe nature
and enjoy peace and solitude. We value the ability to balance busy schedules and
access open space before and after dark with headlamps. We value being able to
access climbing areas and boulders, including those that don't have a designated trail to
them.

We value recreational closures to protect wildlife that are based on good science, are
limited in time and space to the greatest extent possible, and that are actively
monitored and lifted when the underlying concern has passed. We believe most user
conflicts can be mitigated through management best practices, including physical and
temporal separation. We are concerned that certain user groups who have been vilified
in past planning processes could be vilified once again in the future. We hope that the
city and our community can see that nearly everyone who is passionate about open
space is also dedicated to protecting it, not matter their preferred manner of enjoying
it.

We are concerned that striking a between recreational access and habitat/resource
protection will be based more on politics and horse trading than good science and
modern management strategies. We are concerned about management actions that
may result in a net loss of recreational access with little environmental gain. We hope that concerns regarding increased usage and impacts will inspire the City to build
infrastructure and take management actions that disperse usage. We hope that overly
simplistic management methodologies (ie carrying capacity) are supplanted by more
holistic and nuanced methodologies, such as limits of acceptable change.

Financial Health

We value a well funded open space system that enjoys broad public support. We are
concerned that too much focus on land acquisitions far from our city center and of
dubious public value will continue to divert our attention and resources from managing
and caring for what we already have. We hope world class management planning,
infrastructure and stewardship will define the next era of Boulder’s open space system.

Infrastructure and Maintenance

We value well defined, durable trails that encourage good behaviors from the public.
We appreciate bathroom facilities and trash receptacles that are well placed and
maintained. We hope that the City will invest in well engineered and constructed trail
systems that will endure the upcoming period of population growth and open space
visitation. We are concerned that this has not been a high enough priority in the recent
past. We challenge the City to look at other parks (and even civilizations such as the
Inca) that have successfully taken a multi-generational approach to trail construction
and stewardship. This will take a serious commitment of time, money and political will
to achieve. We believe we can do it.

Trail Networks and Regional Connectivity

We value our rich and growing network of trails, which disperse usage and support a
diverse range of rec options. We value the ability to get from point A to point B without
having to drive a car. We hope that future trail plans and land acquisitions focus on
connectivity, close to home access, and dispersing usage patterns.

Acquisitions

We value land acquisitions that accommodate a diverse range of users. We encourage
the city to prioritize those properties and easements of greatest public value, and to be
willing spend more on management and stewardship vs less crucial acquisition
opportunities.

About Open Boulder

Open Boulder is the voice of Boulder-area citizens who came to this community to “live,
work and play,” and who want to ensure that the amazing assets that brought them
here are open for all for generations to come.

We are a grassroots, nonpartisan movement of open-minded, pragmatic and moderate
individuals of all ages, cultures and economic backgrounds. We are parents, we are
young and not-so-young professionals, students and recent grads, long-time residents
and recent arrivals. We are employees and business owners, entrepreneurs and
technology workers. We are outdoor enthusiasts and outdoor athletes, we are animal
lovers, and we are environmentalists.

Sincerely,
Jessica Yates, Chair, Open Boulder
Brady Robinson, Board Member, Open Boulder