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

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

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.


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

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.

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