Mountain bikers, if you don’t do read any further, please fill out this survey!

The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department is updating the Management Plan for the Bobcat Natural Area. If you would like to see new trails added within the next ten years you must speak up now.  The clock is ticking. We already failed to show up in numbers to the open house that was held earlier this week.  Please fill out this survey and let your voice be heard, you have until Oct 14th. More info on the Management Plan proposal below.  Note they have preliminarily declined to add more trails to the area. 



It is time to consider how Bobcat Ridge will be managed for the next ten years!

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.

The original management plan (pdf) was completed in 2005 and Bobcat Ridge opened in the fall of 2006.

Share Your Thoughts

The Natural Areas Department wants to know what you think about how Bobcat Ridge Natural Area should be managed for the next 10 years.

Staff and volunteers will be at the Bobcat Ridge parking lot on Sunday, September 18 from 9 am- 2 pm with information and comment forms.

Everyone is invited to learn more and share your thoughts at an Open House, Monday, September 26, 4-7 p.m. at the Harmony Library Community Room, 4616 S. Shields St., Fort Collins. Free, drop in anytime.

You are also welcome to read the recommendations below and share your thoughts here by October 14.

Draft Recommendations

Trails- Wildlife habitat remains the top priority for Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. Trail proposals will be carefully weighed to minimize resource impacts while maintaining visitor satisfaction. There are 18.6 miles of trail currently. Although several trail proposals were explored, no change to trails are being proposed. Additional trails would create more habitat fragmentation contrary to conservation priorities. Overall visitor satisfaction is high, and there is concern about new trails attracting more visitors, making parking issues worse. Read more in this summary

Parking- Natural Areas seeks to manage parking more efficiently while maintaining the visitor experience, avoiding crowding, and preventing resource impacts. The Bobcat Ridge parking lot filled to capacity 18 times in 2015. A parking attendant has been hired to manage parking on the weekends. It is proposed to add 5 additional parking spots within the current parking lot footprint, develop increased parking communications (such as live web stream, social media, or parking reservations), and install a gatehouse for staff to welcome visitors. Read more in this summary

Hunting/Elk Management- Bobcat Ridge Natural Area hosts a migratory herd of more than 300 elk during winter with about 60 elk present in the summer. The concern is that a resident herd may be forming, leading to resource damage including overgrazing, and a decline in plant diversity (creating challenges for other wildlife). As an initial action, the reccomendation is to permit access from Bobcat Ridge to adjacent National Forest Service lands for licensed hunters.Read more in this summary

Ecology- It is recommended 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.

Please read the recommendations above and then share your thoughts here by October 14.


Updates since the original plan:

  • Prior to opening, surveys of natural resources and public preferences were performed.
  • Road improvements to CR 32C were made, and parking lot, restrooms, and 18.6 miles of trail were constructed.
  • Mountain bike alternate line trail segments and features were added to Ginny Trail with volunteer mountain bike groups.
  • Visitation has steadily increased from an estimated 44,000 people in 2013 to 75,000 in 2016.
  • More than 450 educational programs have reached over 11,000 residents.
  • Fire activity- three wildfires (35 acres, total), three prescribed fires (100 acres, total), burning of 150 slash piles to clear fuel loads from 2000 Bobcat Fire.
  • Cultural resources such as the pioneer barn and corrals have been stabilized or restored with financial contributions from the State Historical Society and Pulliam Charitable Trust grant funds. Interpretive signs and brochures help tell the ranching history story to all visitors.
  • In 2015 and 2016, an American woodcock attracted hundreds of visitors. Nine species of rare plants are found onsite.

Management Plan Process

  • Stakeholder information gathering including outreach to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Overland Mountain Bike Club, Boulder County Open Space, Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy, Colorado State Forest Service, Larimer County Natural Resources, and others.
  • Draft reccomendations developed for public input.
  • Press release, social media posts, postcards to neighbors, Natural Areas Enews article, and emails to stakeholders.
  • Onsite outreach 3 weekend days.
  • Open House 9/26
  • Land Conservation and Stewardship Board meeting 10/12
  • Comment form closes 10/14
  • Final recommendations developed based on public feedback, updated management plan administratively adopted.