In this issue: Winter Fun, Devil's Backbone and Visual Art
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Horsetooth Mountain Open Space
NR News Issue 18 | January 2016
Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

A cross-country skier slides across the Swan Johnson Trail at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Trails occasionally are covered in enough snow for winter travel. Photo by Jim Janicki.

Snowy Trails Offer Winter Adventures in Larimer County

After a snowfall, Larimer County's parks and open spaces are magical places to explore. Don't let the cold temps deter you from getting outside!

Hiking and trail-running work best on popular trails where the snow gets packed down. Trails can be slick and icy, so wear appropriate clothing and shoe spikes. Hiking poles can also help. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing work best after a big snow before trails get packed down by hikers. The same regulations apply during the winter, so you need to stay on trails.

On-ice activities like ice fishing or skating are prohibited. But you can fish from shore or kayak and canoe on open water. Have fun out there!

Open Lands 20th Birthday

Natural Resources staff members kick off the 20th anniversary celebration of Help Preserve Open Spaces with a birthday party for the Open Lands Program. Photo by Pam Mayhew.

County's Open Lands Program Turns 20 Years Young

In 1995, citizens first approved the Help Preserve Open Spaces sales tax in Larimer County. Thank you, voters!

The successful initiative launched Larimer County's Open Lands Program on Jan. 1, 1996, to conserve special places around our communities. Without Help Preserve Open Spaces funding, we wouldn't have amazing open spaces like Devil's Backbone, Red Mountain, Hermit Park and Eagle's Nest. This week, Larimer County kicked off the 20th anniversary celebration of Help Preserve Open Spaces with a birthday party for its Open Lands Program.

We've got a year of fun, free activities for the public planned in 2016 to mark the anniversary. Stay tuned!

Devil's Backbone Site Plan

A site plan shows upcoming improvements to the Devil's Backbone Trailhead, including more parking spaces. The parking lot will be closed during construction.

Improvements, Closures Coming Soon to Devil's Backbone

In 2016, areas of Devil's Backbone Open Space will get a makeover, resulting in temporary closures. Improvements will include expansion of the trailhead, a new multi-use trail through Hidden Valley, designation of the Wild Loop Trail as hiking only and additional interpretive materials and play features.

Construction and closures are expected to begin in February and will be posted on the Devil's Backbone conditions webpage.

River Bluffs Sunrise by Jeanne Mackenzie

River Bluffs Sunrise by Jeanne Mackenzie, 2014 Visual Artist of the Year. Alison Dickson, the 2015 artist, will unveil her piece at a public reception Feb. 10 at the County courthouse.

Calling All Artists! Apply to Become Our Artist of the Year

Artists of all ages, grab your paintbrushes, pencils and cameras and inspire people's appreciation of nature through your artwork. Larimer County is seeking applicants for its Visual Artist of the Year program. Applications due Feb. 19.

Learn more and apply for the Visual Artist Program »

Volunteer Naturalist

A Volunteer Naturalist leads a program on birds. Photo by Mac McNeill.

Get Outside as a Volunteer Ranger or Naturalist

Have you ever wanted to be a ranger? Now you can! Apply to be a Volunteer Ranger Assistant with Larimer County and City of Fort Collins Natural Areas. Training held in February. Apply by Jan. 20.

Learn more and apply to become a Volunteer Ranger Assistant »

Inspire curiosity in nature as a Volunteer Naturalist with Larimer County. You'll teach school groups and lead hikes and programs on parks and open spaces. Training held in March. Apply by Feb. 24.

Learn more and apply to become a Volunteer Naturalist »

Mountain Lion

This Mountain Lion was captured on a wildlife camera at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch by David Neils. His upcoming hikes are waiting list only, but we hope to offer them again!

Upcoming Guided Hikes and Programs

On the Trail of Predators: Part 1 - Jan. 9 (Sat.), 8 a.m., Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch (waiting list only)

On the Trail of Predators: Part 2 - Jan. 23 (Sat.), 8 a.m., Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch (waiting list only)

CSI: Critter Scene Investigations - Jan. 30 (Sat.), 10 a.m., Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

Tiny Trekkers - Feb. 2 (Tues.), 9:15 a.m., Loveland Public Library

Registration is required for all programs except Tiny Trekkers.

Information and registration:, or Heather Young at (970) 619-4489 or

Poudre River Forum

Cultivating Connections for a Healthy, Working River

The 3rd annual Poudre River Forum will be Feb. 5 at The Ranch in Loveland. Enjoy panels, presentations, interactive booths, videos, lunch, music, beer from Odell Brewing and more, with a focus this year on water for agriculture. Register by Jan. 25. Cost is $50. Scholarships and reduced rate available.

Learn more and register for the Poudre River Forum »

Masthead photo: Horsetooth Mountain Open Space by Brendan Bombaci
Copyright © 2016 Larimer County Natural Resources, All rights reserved.

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