Category Archives: Hot Topics

Most Boulder County Parks & Open Space Back Open After Fires

Many Boulder County open space closures will be lifted Nov. 10, parks officials announced.

BOULDER COUNTY, CO — Most Boulder County Open Space closures have been lifted, parks officials said.

The parkland is reopening “due to the decreased fire danger and current weather conditions,” Boulder County Parks and Open Space said in a news release. Heil Valley Ranch will remain closed for resource and safety assessments.

Level 2 fire restrictions remain in effect for all areas of unincorporated Boulder County, officials said. Information about what Level 2 restrictions entail can be found here.

List of properties that are set to reopen Tuesday:

  • Anne U. White
  • Bald Mountain
  • Caribou Ranch
  • Castle Rock climbing area
  • Grassy Top
  • Hall Ranch
  • Hessie trailhead
  • Mud Lake
  • Reynolds Ranch
  • Sugarloaf Mountain
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National Forest Closures due to the fires

Here is an article from Colorado Public Radio about our local National Forest closures.

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Boulder County properties closed due to the fires

Click here for latest information.

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The Time is Nigh for the UPRR / RTD Rail Regional Trail !

Ta Da!!!  It’s been a long time coming, but with your help we may soon have an amazing new trail extending more than 9 miles between Boulder and Erie!

BATCO identified this trail alignment waaaay back in 1996 and we have been carrying it as one of our “Top 10 Trail Projects” ever since.  It would utilize the former Union Pacific Railroad bed and would connect several favorite trails such as Walden/Sawhill Ponds, the East Boulder Trail at Gunbarrel (which in turn may someday be part of the Trail Around Boulder), and a network of trails in the Town of Erie. Boulder County and several partner agencies have been working diligently on this project since 2003.

NOW is the time for all non-motorized trail advocates to support this exciting opportunity!  Please open the following link and familiarize yourself with the project:  Write the Regional Trails Planner Tonya Luebbert at by August 31.  There are also a few opportunities to join a virtual townhall on Aug 26 and 27.

That’s less than two weeks to get your voice heard! GO!

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Recreation in the Time of COVID-19


Our shared open space and parks make Boulder, Boulder. However, during this extraordinary time, please remain at home as much as possible and avoid visiting crowded open space and park areas.?Please share this important message with our community. 

We recognize that outdoor recreation, which is allowed under the current stay-at-home order,  is important for helping community members to get through these trying times. However, please, remain at home as much as you can.  

City and Boulder County open space trails are seeing increased usage and a significant number of people who are not following public health orders and guidance to practice physical distancing and wear face coverings when leaving home.

If this continues or if new health guidance is issued, additional park areas and open space trail closures may need to be considered. To ensure that our shared public lands remain safe for everyone, the city would like to share important responsible recreation guidelines that will help protect community members, first responders, and parks and open space maintenance staff.

Please share these important reminders with your friends and your family members. The city requests the cooperation of the public to maintain more than 6 feet of physical distancing, follow face covering guidelines, and avoid unnecessary travel to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to flatten the curve. Community members are also asked to adhere to open space and parks management efforts, including forthcoming measures like one-way travel for popular open space trails.

Think twice before you recreate

  • Don’t forget. Follow stay-at-home orders and protect each other.
  • Stay home as much as possible, and do not go into public if you are sick.
  • If you still plan to recreate, go with members of your family or your household only.
  • Plan to wear face coverings — even in open space and parks areas.
  • Avoid travel and unnecessary car rides. Visit areas as close to home as possible.
  • Avoid busy open space trails and trailheads. If you do visit open space, leave early or arrive late to avoid crowds. If a parking lot is full, move on.
  • Protect open space rangers, police officers, firefighters, medical personnel and parks maintenance staff. Don’t take any risks.

Access city information resources

If you still plan to visit

  • Keep the space” in open space and our parks. Stay more than 6 feet away from anyone not in your household. That is about the length of a bicycle or a pair of skis.
  • Don’t forget to bring a face covering to help protect others.
  • Stay on open space trails and walk through mud but step off the trail to let others pass.
  • Hike and bike single file to allow physical distancing. Announce yourself when passing others from behind.
  • Remove your trash and pick up after your dog.
  • Due to increased visitation, leashes are encouraged in Voice and Sight areas.
  • Leave park equipment untouched. Wash your hands. Cover coughs and sneezes into your elbows. Don’t shake hands.


Community members can access the latest coronavirus and recreation information from the city by:

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Vote to Make the Boulder City Council Trail-Friendly!

Every trail, every management plan, all the funding to do maintenance or buy parcels to allow for a regional trail – all of these things come down to votes made by people we elect. So, it’s very important to elect people who will support recreation and access to public lands!  And now, it’s time to elect new members of the Boulder City Council.

As a 501(c)(3) organization, BATCO can’t endorse candidates. However, we are a member of the Boulder Public Lands Coalition (BPLC) which has sent a questionnaire about Open Space and recreation to all Boulder City Council candidates. Ten of the candidates responded;  please read their responses here.

We urge you to do some research and VOTE!

You can still register to vote and vote in person up to Nov 5.

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Heil Valley Ranch Corral Trailhead and new trails grand opening celebration

Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County Board of Commissioners and Parks & Open Space staff will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Heil Valley Ranch, located northwest of Boulder. Staff will be celebrating the completion of the Corral trailhead and connected trails, as well as the opening of the brand new Grindstone Quarry trail, an equestrian parking lot, and the restored historical Altona School.

What: Ribbon-cutting ceremony for Corral Trailhead and new trails
When: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 4 p.m.
Where: Heil Valley Ranch Corral Trailhead, 250 Geer Canyon Rd.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the event, enjoy the new trails, and explore the one-room schoolhouse. Staff will be on hand to talk about the new additions and improvements.

BATCO has been actively involved in developing this new trail system, including organizing several trail work days and donating a substantial sum toward the new equestrian parking lot from revenues on the sales of our Trails and Recreation Map of Boulder County.

The new trails bring the trail miles at Heil Valley Ranch to 19.5 and Heil Valley Ranch now comprises just over 6,230 acres. Because of sensitive wildlife habitat at Heil Valley Ranch, dogs are not permitted.  The Grindstone Quarry Trail (east side of the valley) is a pedestrian/equestrian-only trail.

For more information about Heil Valley Ranch and directions, go to


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Important Open Space Survey Now Open

And now, from our friends at Open Boulder (of which BATCO is a member) — please make your views known about the future of Open Space and Mountain Parks by taking a brief survey:

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:

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
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OSMP Trail Projects Open House Feb 26

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Gunbarrel Hill next up

Help create a vision for conserving natural grasslands and enhancing recreation on Gunbarrel Hill
City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) is seeking community participation as we create a vision for restoring healthy grasslands while improving the visitor experience on the open space at Gunbarrel Hill northeast of Boulder. OSMP is initiating a community discussion and engagement process to gather input to better understand community interests and values for this area and to hear preliminary ideas for this effort. Learn more about the Gunbarrel Integrated Site Project here and at:

The first of several community input opportunities will be held from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 23, at Heatherwood Elementary School in the Library. In partnership with our community, OSMP will gather information to help:

  • Improve the quality of the habitat for native ground-nesting birds experiencing national population declines, such as the Grasshopper Sparrow, and other wildlife.
  • Provide an enhanced and informed visitor experience to promote enjoyment of the area while being responsive to the conservation of native birds and wildlife.

No implementation efforts will occur until we hear ideas and interests from the community. Conservation efforts for the area will be refined through additional community input. The meeting schedule is:

  • 5 p.m.: Gunbarrel Ecosystem Exploration Gunbarrel Ecosystem Exploration – An introduction to the natural and cultural treasures of Gunbarrel Hill, setting the stage and background for this community engagement process.
  • 6 p.m.:  Introduction to Gunbarrel Open Space and Community Engagement Process – OSMP presentation on Gunbarrel Hill open space and background on the community engagement process.
  • 6:30 p.m: Open House to Learn More and Share Thoughts – Opportunity to share initial thoughts, along with questions and answers with OSMP staff.

We look forward working together with our community! Have questions? Please send an email to Maki Boyle at

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