The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department is getting closer to having a final plan for the Bobcat Ridge Natural area. The latest draft includes the On The Rocks Trail addition and minimal added parking spots. The final plan should be available within the next few months. See the full update from the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department below.
The management planning process is complete and a final plan will be available in mid-2017. Highlights of final management actions are below.
Management planning is guided by the mission of the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, which is to conserve and enhance lands with natural resource, agricultural, and scenic values, while providing meaningful education and appropriate recreation opportunities.
Management Plan Update Vision: Bobcat Ridge Natural Area is conserved because of its diversity of wildlife, ecosystems, and natural processes. It is treasured for its unique recreational opportunities, and connection to the past. Thus, it will be managed to provide high-quality visitor experiences without sacrificing conservation priorities.
Final Management Actions
After review of public comments, discussions at follow up meetings, and review by the Land Conservation and Stewardship Board, the draft recommendations have been finalized with a few changes.
Trails-A short trail on the west side of Bobcat Ridge Natural Area will be added for pedestrian and bike use. A proposal for this trail has already aptly named it the “On the Rocks Trail.” This trail will give visitors stunning views, unique experiences, and creates a 1.5- to 2-mile loop on the west side of Bobcat Ridge.
Parking- The draft recommendation remains the same. Natural Areas will add minimal additional parking within the existing footprint of the current parking lot. No parking will be taken away from the horse trailer parking area. Natural Areas will continue to employ multiple other techniques to help manage parking on high-use days.
Elk Management- In the short term, Natural Areas will implement a monitoring program for elk movement and vegetation conditions. If warranted, Natural Areas will consider a limited on-site hunt in coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Further public outreach will be conducted at that time. Natural Areas will not be granting special access permits across the natural area.
Ecology- Natural Areas will continue to increase restoration efforts focusing on grassland restoration, cheatgrass control, targeted grazing, and ponderosa pine forest restoration. Natural Areas plans to enhance riparian and grassland habitat to support habitat necessary for federally-threatened Preble's meadow jumping mouse.
More details on these recommendations will be available in the final version of the Bobcat Ridge Management Plan Update to be available later in 2017.