Open Space and Mountain Parks to institute seasonal wildlife closures Feb. 1

As part of the City of Boulder’s efforts to protect sensitive wildlife habitats, the Open Space and Mountain Parks Department (OSMP) will institute seasonal raptor closures on Sunday, Feb. 1.

These closures, which protect peregrine falcons, prairie falcons and golden eagles raising their young in nests located on OSMP, will be in effect from Feb. 1 to July 31. No designated trails will be closed as part of these protective measures.

The following areas will be closed starting Sunday:

  • Lefthand Canyon Palisades at the intersection of Lefthand Canyon Drive and Olde Stage Road. The Buckingham picnic area remains open;
  • Mount Sanitas Summit, accessible from the Mount Sanitas Trailhead a half mile west of Fourth Street and Forest Avenue. All designated trails in this area will remain open except those closed for the Sanitas Valley Trail repair project. A map of the closed trails is available at
  • Third Flatiron, including the East and West Ironing Boards, Queen Anne’s Head and Jaws, and WC Pinnacle, accessible from Chautauqua Trailhead;
  • Flagstaff Mountain, the north side of Flagstaff Mountain will be closed. The Boy Scout Trail will remain open;
  • Skunk Canyon, including Ridges 2, 3 and 4, the Aechean Pronouncement, the Dreadnaught, the North Ridge and the entirety of Sacred Cliffs, accessible from NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road;
  • The Back Porch and The Box, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road;
  • Bear Creek Spire, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road;
  • Fern Canyon, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road  The designated Fern Canyon Trail will remain open;
  • Shadow Canyon and the Matron, accessible from the South Mesa Trailhead. The Maiden will remain open and accessible from the east; Shadow Canyon Trail will remain open.
  • The Sphinx and The Wings, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road;
  • The entire Mickey Mouse wall, accessible from the Goshawk Ridge Trail.

The convergence of mountains and grasslands along Boulder’s mountain backdrop results in dramatic topographic changes that help to create a wide-range of ecosystems and high-quality habitats for a multitude of species. In fact, the cliffs that make up the Flatirons, and the rich food resources found there, make those iconic formations a regionally important area for nesting birds of prey.

OSMP relies heavily on the public to respect the closures, and the cooperation of visitors is greatly appreciated. OSMP raptor volunteers and staff will monitor the closure areas to determine if raptors are nesting. Closures may be lifted if monitoring indicates that raptors are not present or if nesting attempts fail. Trespassing into closed areas can result in a summons with penalties up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

For detailed closure maps and additional information about OSMP’s efforts to protect wildlife habitats, go to or call the department at 303-441-3440.


Open Space and Mountain Parks has temporarily closed trails and trailheads

The City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Department has temporarily closed numerous trails and trailheads because of muddy trail conditions. OSMP has closed the Marshall Mesa, Greenbelt Plateau and Flatirons Vista trailheads, along with access points in those areas. In addition, OSMP has closed the following trails:

Marshall Valley
Coal Seam
Marshall Mesa
Community Ditch
Cowdrey Draw
Greenbelt Plateau
High Plains
Flatirons Vista North
Flatirons Vista South
Prairie Vista
Doudy Draw
Springbrook Loop North and South
Goshawk Ridge
Left Hand

The Doudy Draw Trailhead will remain open for vehicle parking. This will allow visitors to access the South Mesa Trailhead and trails that stretch north of Highway 170. However, all trails leading south out of the Doudy Draw Trailhead will be closed. OSMP will reopen closed trails and trailheads when conditions improve.

OSMP has enacted these temporary closures to prevent trail and vegetation damage along many of the city’s multi-use trails. OSMP asks visitors to remain on trail while traveling along the department’s open paths because traffic around muddy areas lead to the widening and braiding of trails, which can harm nearby plant life.

For more information about OSMP trails, go to or call 303-441-3440.

Joder Ranch Update

Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Joe

It’s not over!

Last month more than 35 people spoke at the Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) meeting, with 29 speakers in favor of keeping trails open on the Joder Ranch, with parking. That is absolutely HUGE!!! Even more incredibly, the OSBT and City Council received more than 350 emails on this topic.

Congratulations and thanks! You guys have been doing great!

Alas, it’s still not over. The OSBT kicked the can into January… that’s now … and just today we learned that staff has kicked the can again, into February. After that comes the North Trail Study Area process, which they have promised will be completed in 2015.

So that means you will have several more opportunities to provide input, even if you have! Keep up the pressure, trail advocates!

We urge you to come to the next meeting of the Open Space Board of Trustees and speak under “Public Participation Items Not on the Agenda”:

Weds. January 14, 2015
Boulder City Council Chambers (Municipal Building)
Broadway & Canyon

It doesn’t have to be perfect, or eloquent, or creative. If you just want to say you support trails on Joder Ranch, that’s okay. Or you can just say that you support BATCO’s position, which is for a loop trail and trailer parking. Or you can elaborate on the history of the ranch and Bob & Eloise’s commitment to having it be open to horses and trails. But if you don’t say anything, they won’t know which side you’re on.

Be polite but firm. Do not — ever — put down any other user group.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, click here to send a personal email to the Boulder City Council and Open Space Board of Trustees. Please write a short paragraph about your interest in the ranch, the Joder family, trails in general and access to our public lands. Send your email ASAP to give the OSBT members time to read it thoughtfully before the meeting.

Every person who communicates is a “vote” for trails in Boulder.

For more information about this item, please contact us at

Help (Re)Open Joder Ranch!

Please come to the next meeting of the Open Space Board of Trustees and speak in support of opening this wonderful property with more trails!

Wednesday December 10, 2014
Boulder City Council Chambers (Municipal Building)
Broadway & Canyon, 2nd Floor

The Boulder Area Trails Coalition (BATCO) supports a more equitable outcome for public access to the Joder Arabian Ranch than the proposal put forth by Staff at the November 12,2014, OSBT meeting. We were pleased to note that the Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) directed Staff to come back to them with more options for trails utilizing existing trails and parking facilities for discussion at the December 10 OSBT meeting.

We have the following observations and recommendations:

1) Joder Ranch should be reclassified as a Passive Recreation Area or a Natural Area; it should not have been designated a Habitat Conservation Area (HCA). This property has been a working ranch and an active equestrian center for more than 60 years. There are already more than eight miles of trails on it, with extensive infrastructure including several homes, barns, outbuildings, horse corrals, indoor and outdoor arenas, a cross-country jumping course, and a ropes/obstacle course. At its peak it was home to more than 90 horses, with a breeding operation, horse boarding, lessons, clinics, and more. The long-abandoned Boulder, Left Hand and Middle Park Railroad project dates to the 1880’s and includes a well-excavated railroad cut though the ridge near one of the homes. The Joder Ranch is not pristine wilderness! Its current HCA designation was inserted quietly in the acquisition package in 2013 by staff. Members of the OSBT have expressed concern that they were not aware of the clause and that there was no public process behind it. Staff’s desultory explanation was that it is an HCA because it is contiguous to another parcel that is an HCA. We fnd that explanation unsatisfactory.

2) Joder Ranch should be reopened to the public immediately, not postponed indefnitely as part of the North TSA. The explicit intent of the Joder family regarding the sale of several parcels to the City of Boulder OSMP and Boulder County Parks & Open Space was that the parcels would be used for trails, public access, and parking adequate for horse trailers (see attached memoranda; also please review the testimony of Dan Joder at the November12 meeting – his direction to you could not have been more clear that the family intends for there to be meaningful public access to his family’s ranch).

The Conservation easement specifcally allowed horses on the property and the fee acquisition should do the same. It has been more than 23 years since the frst parcels were acquired and we have been asking politely for the commitments made therein to be honored ever since then. Now is the time to do it! We do not accept the proposed tradeoff of opening a single trail across the property now in exchange for undergoing the full-blown process entailed by its inclusion in the North TSA, which could be several years away.

3) OSMP should develop and designate trails and supporting parking on the Joder Ranch immediately. The trail system should include the multi-use east-west trail proposed in the November 12, 2014 memo, which would allow mountain bikers to make an off-road short cut from Highway 36 to Left Hand Canyon Drive. However, pedestrians and equestrians would have no safe way of accessing that trail without crossing busy highways and, as a one-mile trail, it would be meaningless to them. Therefore, we support an additional trail on the Joder I acquisition, connecting around the southern boundary of the property to the Six Mile Fold acquisition, for pedestrians and equestrians only (the terrain along this alignment is unsuitable for mountain bike use). This would allow for a several mile loop trail for pedestrians and equestrians that would provide much more value. There should be a designated parking area either contiguous to the Six Mile Fold or on the disturbed site of the now demolished barns at the old ranch complex.

4) Joder Ranch should be considered the nexus of future trail planning west of Highway 36. There are signifcant existing trails south of Joder that should be used to connect with the old railroad grade south of the McGuckin warehouse complex as well as north on the Buckingham property to Heil Valley Ranch. The most important trail system across Joder should result in a regional north-south alignment and help us move in the direction of a multi-use foothills trail that connects Boulder and Lyons. We are willing to wait until the North TSA process to further discuss this potential.

5) Wildlife on the Joder Ranch will be suitably protected by the above plan. Joder Ranch has been home to various species of wildlife and plants, all of which lived compatibly with the myriad human activities described above for decades. The only species of concern that staff identifed at the November 12 meeting was a butterfly. There is no reason to think the butterfly would do anything but thrive with a few public trails.

Please click here to write an email to the Open Space Board of Trustees and the Boulder City Council supporting the BATCO recommendations by December 6 if possible, so the OSBT will be able to consider your thoughts before the meeting.  Thanks!

Here’s a map of the way our trail proposal would look:

BATCO Joder Map

Boulder County Parks & Open Space Stewardship Recognition


Chris M BCPOS Stewardship Photo

October 16, 2014.  BATCO Board Member Chris Morrison receives a photo acknowledging our volunteer support on Boulder County Parks & Open Space trail projects. BATCO has received this recognition annually since 2008, the inception of the BCPOS Stewardship Program.