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Find out all the fun fall happenings at Larimer County Natural Resources
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Regional Trails Grants

Larimer County is partnering with Loveland and Fort Collins to submit grants for two new connections between the existing regional trail systems in those cities. Regional trails are concrete, 10-foot wide trails that provide alternate transportation opportunities for commuters and safe, free, recreational opportunities for all. 

The Long View Corridor trail would continue the partnership vision of the Loveland-Fort Collins community separator by providing a 4.4 mile trail connection through Cathy Fromme Prairie, Hazaleus, Colina Maiposa Natural Areas, Long View Farm Open Space and Lovelands new 57th Street Parcel. 

The Loveland to Fort Collins Colorado Front Range trail connection would provide a 2.2 mile connection between where Loveland's Recreation trail ties into Boyd Lake State Park and where Fort Collins Fossil Creek Trail ends currently. 

These two connections would provide the first trail access between the two existing systems, connecting over 65-miles of trail. If the grants are successful construction will take place in 2016 and public access will begin in 2017. 

You can help support these efforts by signing the petition that will be submitted along with the grants and find out more about the projects (including maps!) on our regional trails webpage

Open Lands Master Plan

The Larimer County Natural Resources Department is currently seeking public comment on the draft update of the Open Lands Master Plan. The public comment period lasts through Friday, November 21. To view the draft plan and provide feedback, visit: http://larimer.org/olmasterplan/
 
This planning process began in 2012 with a partnership between Larimer County and all of the municipalities within to complete a regional study of land conservation, outdoor recreation, and natural resources stewardship. The study, titled Our Lands – Our Future, examined citizen preferences for conservation and recreation, analyzed the economic benefits of open space in Larimer County, and developed an online interactive mapping tool. After the completion of Our Lands – Our Future in 2013, Larimer County embarked on its own effort to update the 2001 Open Lands Master Plan.
 
This more recent process has collected additional public input in order to outline the specific role that Larimer County plays in land conservation, outdoor recreation, and local agriculture. The available draft is a culmination of both efforts and the County is seeking public review once again.
 
After final public input has been received, the plan will be refined and presented for adoption to the Board of County Commissioners in early 2015. Once complete the updated Master Plan will help guide the Larimer County Open Lands program for the next 5-10 years.

Dalmatian toadflax

An aggressive noxious weed 

Ellen Nelson - Larimer County Weed District 

Dalmatian toadflax, a large yellow snapdragon-like plant, was originally introduced as an ornamental landscape plant. A hardy, xeriscape plant it promptly “escaped” from ornamental plantings and invaded thousands of acres in the arid west. It has bright yellow flowers arranged in spikes on the stems. Dalmatian toadflax prefers sunny areas with well-drained, coarse-textured or even rocky soils. You can observe it on steep, rocky slopes throughout the foothills.
 
Dalmatian toadflax is a perennial that can grow up to 3 feet tall.  It has waxy, bluish-green, heart-shaped leaves that clasp the stem. Flowering occurs from early summer to early fall. Dalmatian toadflax can quickly colonize an area because it spreads by sprouts from the lateral roots and by seed. Over its lifetime, a single plant can produce up to 500,000 seeds that persist in the seedbank for up to 10 years. The roots of a Dalmatian toadflax plant extend 10 feet and can send up shoots for a new plant every few inches.
 
Because it grows on steep, rocky, slopes and is a waxy, tough plant, it can be difficult to control. Mowing and grazing can be effective because they prevent the plant from flowering and producing seeds. Herbicide is used on Dalmatian toadflax, and is most effective when applied in the fall, on new rosettes. The tough waxy cuticle on this plant can make herbicide penetration difficult, and may necessitate higher application rates.
 
For established infestations on steep, inaccessible slopes, a practical approach is bio-control using a stem-boring beetle, Mecinus janthiniformusus, or a moth, Calophasia lunula, whose larvae feed on toadflax foliage. There have been several releases of Mecinus in Larimer County in an attempt to suppress the population of Dalmatian toadflax and slow its spread in steep inaccessible terrain where other means of control are not feasible. Bio-control insects can be ordered online from the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Palisade Insectary.   
 
Healthy grasses in properly managed range and pasture are the best defense against the spread of Dalmatian toadflax. Overutilization of forage by grazing animals create opportunities for Dalmatian toadflax infestations. There is evidence that fire can also facilitate increased size and density of a Dalmatian toadflax infestation. Fire destroys seedlings and burns plants, but new shoots and seedlings rapidly emerge with any soil moisture. These new plants proliferate in the nutrient-rich soil, especially without competition from native grasses.
 
For more information on controlling Dalmatian toadflax or other Noxious Weeds, contact the Larimer County Weed District. The Weed District provides free site visits, plant identification, advice on controlling noxious weeds, and land and pasture management guidelines. Contact the Larimer County Weed District at (970) 498-5768 or http://www.larimer.org/weeds/
 

Winter Boating Hours take effect November 1. 

 
Horsetooth South Bay 8am-4pm
Thursday-Sunday
Carter Lake North Ramp 8am-4pm
Thursday-Sunday

Hikes and Events 

Check out all the great hikes, events, and opportunities coming up in November.
Photos top to bottom, left to right: Brenden Bombaci, Rich Ernst, Courtesy of National Park Service, Harry Strharsky, Heather Young 
Copyright © 2014 Larimer County Natural Resources, All rights reserved.


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