Category Archives: News

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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City Council Accepts and Adopts OSMP Master Plan

On September 3, 2019, the Boulder City Council accepted and adopted the Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Master Plan, which will guide how the city will manage Boulder’s open space over the next decade and beyond. The product of input from thousands of community members, the OSMP Master Plan:
  • Describes five focus areas – or central management themes – and the related open space values community members share.
  • Articulates community aspirations and collective hopes as desired outcomes for the future of your Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.
  • Outlines 46 prioritized management strategies to achieve the desired outcomes as well as examples of actions that will fulfill Master Plan guidance.
  • Sets manageable expectations about what can be achieved.
  • Prioritizes strategies into three tiers to describe the relative importance of strategies and the general timing with which they would be accelerated or emphasized during implementation.
  • Identifies a set of Tier 1 strategies that OSMP will focus on first while scaling all other work to align with available funding.
Read the Master Plan’s executive summary and learn how the department incorporated community input, which included a statistically valid survey, to inform the resulting Master Plan and guide city open space management over the next decade. 

Both the Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) and the city’s Planning Board unanimously recommended the plan to City Council on August 1. With City Council’s final adoption of the Master Plan, OSMP will begin implementing the plan through a series of actions tied to the strategies and will begin annually reporting on successes and progress in achieving the vision laid out in the plan. A summary of the Master Plan also will be included as an amendment to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.

OSMP staff would like to extend our deep appreciation to the thousands of community members who told us why they value Boulder open space and shared their hopes and concerns for the future. We also would like to thank Open Space Board of Trustees members, who collectively, have provided more than 340 hours of their time to help the community and staff develop the OSMP Master Plan.

Staff also appreciates the valuable input we received from city council members at two joint Council-OSBT study sessions and the guidance provided by the OSMP Master Plan Process Committee, which includes two OSBT members and two City Council members.   

Thank you again for your contributions and for your love of open space. With this plan, we look forward to the next decade and working with you to continue Boulder’s special open space legacy for our community and future generations.

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BCPOS Partnership Appreciation Event

August 19, 2019.  Boulder County Commissioners and BCPOS Director Eric Lane present BATCO President, Suzanne Webel, with a photo in appreciation of BATCO’s work to support Boulder County Parks and Open Space.

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BATCO Joins Boulder Public Lands Coalition

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Recruitment now underway for Parks & Open Space Advisory Board

Boulder County invites residents to voice opinions, share expertise, and provide guidance on open space issues

Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County is seeking volunteers who would like to voice their opinions and help guide staff decisions on Parks & Open Space issues, including new land acquisitions and the management of existing properties.

The county is recruiting residents for five open at-large POSAC positions. Advisory boards and commissions provide recommendations to the Boulder County Commissioners and give residents the opportunity to have their voices heard within Boulder County government. The county, in turn, benefits from this citizen input.

If you have an interest or expertise in Boulder County Parks & Open Space issues, please consider applying!

To view descriptions and requirements for various boards and commissions now recruiting or to fill out an application, visit the Advisory Boards and Commissions Vacancies page of the Boulder County website.

The deadline to submit applications for the winter recruitment session is Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. 

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Eldorado Canyon State Park to Walker Ranch Trail Connection — please participate!

Open House Scheduled for Nov. 28

Boulder County Parks & Open Space, the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife will host an open house to present the findings of the feasibility study and the preliminary recommendations of the partner agencies for a preferred trail alignment between Walker Ranch Open Space and Eldorado Canyon State Park.

What: Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch Connection Open House
When: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 5:30-7:30 p.m. – presentation at 6 p.m.
Where: City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, 2520 55th St., Boulder

Laptops will be available for members of the public to submit comments on site at the open house, or they can be submitted via the online form beginning Wednesday, Nov. 28, through Sunday, Dec. 9.

The Feasibility Study and supporting materials will be posted on the project webpage in advance of the open house.


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BATCO Rocks at Heil Valley Ranch!

We had a great work day on the East Side Trail at Heil Valley Ranch Saturday, October 27, 2018, and here are a few photos to prove it!  Thanks to everyone who participated.

Laying out the turnpike.

Turnpike trail taking shape.

View across the valley from the old grindstone quarry.






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BATCO Recognized for Trail Stewardship

At an art reception on October 23, 2018, BATCO President Suzanne Webel accepted an Annie Gifford print from Boulder County Parks and Open Space in recognition of the Boulder Area Trails Coalition’s volunteer trailbuilding and fundraising for trails generated by sales of our Trails and Recreation Map of Boulder County.

Join us for our last volunteer trailbuilding event of the year — Heil Valley Ranch, Saturday, October 27.  See details below.


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Calling All Trail Volunteers!

The new “East Side Trail” at Heil Valley Ranch is almost finished….

Help BATCO get it done!

What:Please join BATCO and Boulder County Parks & Open Space in a fun morning of completing the NEW PEDESTRIAN / EQUESTRIAN TRAIL at Heil Valley Ranch.  This new trail will connect the new  lower parking / trailhead at Heil with two other new trails, the upper trailhead, and the existing trail system.The work will be moderately strenuous and will include the use of hand tools such as McLeods, pick mattocks, rakes, and shovels.  (However, you can do as much hard work or as little as you like!)

When: Saturday, October 27, 2018
Meeting time: 9:00am        Project End time: 12:30 pm

Where:  Location will be provided when you sign up

RSVP: Chris Morrison

Weather in Colorado is unpredictable at any time of year.  It is important that you bring warm and waterproof clothing that you can work in, as we will try to complete the work even in slightly inclement weather (cold temps, light rain/snow).

What You Should Bring:
Water bottle and water
Sturdy shoes/boots – no sandals please
Pants – recommended
Work gloves (if you have a special pair) otherwise we will provide them
Layers of clothes
Rain gear
Backpack – for carrying clothing, food, etc.
Binoculars or camera (optional)

We will provide:
Work gloves
Extra Water
First aid kit
All necessary tools
Corny jokes

Thanks in advance for volunteering with BATCO and Boulder County Parks & Open Space!

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Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch Connection Feasibility Study

A group of three local and state governments have proposed a preliminary interagency recommendation for a regional connection between Eldorado Canyon State Park and Walker Ranch.

Public comments will be accepted until Dec. 9.

Note:  BATCO has not taken a position on this project because we have not reached consensus about our preferred alignment.

Feasibility Study

The feasibility study evaluated two conceptual corridors to make a multi-use connection between Eldorado Canyon State Park and Walker Ranch. While there is an existing pedestrian/equestrian link, the trail is too steep and rocky to accommodate bicyclists.

The study focused on a North Route (consisting of N1, N2, and N3 or N4 sub-alignments as identified in the plan) and a South Route (comprised of S1, S2 or S3, and S4 sub-alignments).

Partner Agency Recommendation

After collaboration to complete the Trail Feasibility Study and careful consideration of the findings, Boulder County Parks & Open Space, the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are jointly recommending the North Route (using segments N1-N2-N4) as the preferred alignment for an Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch multi-use trail connection. The project partners are recommending this alternative as it achieves the desired objective of completing the multi-use trail connection in a way the partners believe will best balance the conservation and recreation needs of the area.

The North Route will:

  • Provide a meaningful and quality visitor experience for multi-use recreationists.
  • Result in significantly fewer environmental impacts than the South Route.
  • Meet multi-use design standards to accommodate bicyclists and improve the sustainability of the existing Eldorado Canyon Trail.
  • Integrate the new multi-use trail with current uses and future activities within Eldorado Canyon – State Park.


There also is agreement among the project partners that current challenges facing Eldorado Canyon State Park must be addressed as part of future planning, design, and implementation phases. Eldorado Canyon State Park currently experiences visitation and capacity related concerns during peak summer months, particularly on weekends and holidays. The feasibility study and public comments identified significant challenges to successful implementation of either route due to these existing conditions. The findings call attention to several constraints that exist in the park and the surrounding town site of Eldorado Springs, especially regarding access and parking. It will be necessary to explore tools, best practices, and strategies for reducing the impact of additional users and develop a suite of options to address visitor management both within and approaching the state park.

With the recommendation to pursue the North Route, the partner agencies commit to continue working collaboratively to address the associated implementation challenges. The partner agencies will continue to work together towards strategies that provide access, connect visitors to enjoyable experiences, address traffic and crowding issues, and protect resources. Some of these approaches will rely on strengthening partnerships with other stakeholders.

While the project partners recognize that the extent of impact on their lands and management varies between the two alignment alternatives, we are united by a commitment to address these challenges and implement the recommendation collaboratively.

Public Comments

The public can use the online questionnaire to submit feedback on the agency recommendation. Input received will help the partner agencies confirm or refine the agency-preferred alternative to be considered by the City of Boulder, Boulder County, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife decision makers.

This online questionnaire closes on Sunday, Dec. 9.

Take The Questionnaire

The public and community stakeholders may also provide input during the upcoming public hearings to consider the staff recommendation.

Email Sign Up

Sign up to receive email updates about the Eldorado to Walker Project.

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