In this issue: Ash Trees, Rattlers and Wildlife Closures
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Carter Lake
NR News Issue 32 | April 2017
Tree Planting

Larimer County Department of Natural Resources staff planted a variety of species to replace ash trees, including bigtooth maple, Ohio buckeye and bur oak. Photo by Dave Lentz.

County Prepares for Possible Invasion of Forest Pest

With the emerald ash borer established in Boulder County, Larimer County is preparing for a possible invasion of this insect, which kills ash trees and poses a significant threat to economic, environmental and human health. Seventy-two ash trees were removed from county parks and open spaces and replaced with other trees. Seventeen ash trees of high value will be treated against the pest.

Read more about this proactive effort in this Reporter-Herald article »


Rattlesnakes are generally more active during the early and later parts of the day. Most bites occur when people threaten a snake or act inappropriately toward it. Photo by Brian Vick.

Know What to Do If You See a Rattlesnake on the Trail

Rattlesnakes are a vital part of the ecosystem in Larimer County's prairies and foothills, but their bite can be fatal. With spring arriving, rangers and visitors have started seeing rattlers on the trail. Follow these tips to make sure you, your dog and your family stay safe in rattlesnake country:

  • If you encounter a rattlesnake, assess the area and go around the snake, giving it a wide berth. Mention the sighting to others.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Watch where you put your hands and feet.
  • Keep dogs on a leash and on trail.
  • Wear closed toed shoes and long pants.
Hermit Park Open Space

Hermit Park Open Space is located 2 miles southeast of Estes Park. Photo by Dave Marvin.

Crews Busy Enhancing County Parks, Open Spaces

Thank you for your patience as we improve your parks and open spaces!

Lions Open Space - Crews will be at Lions through Saturday, April 15 planting trees and shrubs. No parking area or trail closures are expected.

Hermit Park Open Space - Hermit Park will be closed April 17-20 for general road maintenance. It should reopen to the public on Friday, April 21.

Bald Eagle

A bald eagle perches on a tree along the Cache la Poudre River on a conservation easement property directly north of River Bluffs Open Space. Photo by Charlie Johnson.

Seasonal Closures Protect Sensitive Wildlife

The following temporary, seasonal closures are in effect to protect nesting raptors and other sensitive wildlife.

Eagle's Nest Open Space - Fishing access downstream of the bridge over the North Fork Cache la Poudre River is closed until mid-July.

River Bluffs Open Space - Access to the Poudre River downstream of the trailhead parking lot to Highway 392 is closed.

Horsetooth Mountain Open Space - Spring Creek Trail is closed from its junction with Soderberg Trail to its junction with Wathen Trail. Backcountry Campsite #3 (site accessed from Soderberg Trail) is also closed.

Larry Tucci

Fort Collins Painter Selected as 2017 Visual Artist

Larry Tucci has been named as the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources 2017 Visual Artist. Larry will create a work of art inspired by Larimer County's parks and open spaces.

An accomplished painter and fine artist, Larry hopes to further people's love of nature through his artwork by "making connections for people between amazing wild creatures and the beautiful habitat they need to survive."

Read more about Larry and the Visual Artist program »

Volunteer Project

Service projects allow citizens to be a part of conservation in Larimer County. Photo of a trail-building project at Hermit Park Open Space last fall by Pam Mayhew.

Volunteers Needed for Trail Building, Visitor Study

Trail Building, May 6, 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., Hermit Park
Help construct a segment of the new trail system coming to Hermit Park Open Space near Estes Park. Lunch provided. Volunteer for project.

Visitor Study, All Summer, Various Parks and Open Spaces
Assist with a visitor study this summer. Various hours and shifts will be available. A commitment of at least 15 hours and mandatory training are required. For info or to sign up, contact Jennifer Almstead at

Devil's Backbone Night Sky

Learn to take stellar photos of the night sky during a free workshop on Thursday evening at Devil's Backbone Open Space. Photo by workshop instructor Rod Cerkoney.

Upcoming Guided Hikes and Programs

Night Sky Photography - April 13 (Thurs.), 7:30 p.m., Devil's Backbone Open Space

Stargazing with the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society - April 15 (Sat.), 8:30 p.m., Devil's Backbone Open Space

On the Trail of Predators: Red Mountain - April 22 (Sat.), 9 a.m., Red Mountain Open Space

Geology of Devil's Backbone - April 22 (Sat.), 10 a.m., Devil's Backbone Open Space

Wildflower Walk - April 29 (Sat.), 8 a.m., Devil's Backbone Open Space

Plein Air Workshop - May 6 (Sat.), 8 a.m., Devil's Backbone Open Space, presented by 2016 Visual Artist Lyse Dzija

Geology of Red Mountain Open Space - May 6 (Sat.), 10 a.m., Red Mountain Open Space

Tiny Trekkers - May 9 (Tues.), 10 a.m., Devil's Backbone Open Space

Wild and Wonderful Plants of Devil's Backbone - May 13 (Sat.), 8 a.m., Devil's Backbone Open Space

Registration is required for all programs.

Information and registration:, or Andy Grinstead at (970) 619-4565 or

Registration for guided hikes and programs is through our new Offero system. You will need to create a free account in Offero to register.

NoCo Trail Report

Know Before You Go with NoCo Trail Report

April showers bring May flowers ... and muddy trails. Before you head to your favorite park, open space or natural area, check to see if trails are closed for mud, wildlife or other reasons.

NoCo Trail Report includes trails managed by City of Fort Collins Natural Areas, City of Fort Collins Parks and Larimer County Natural Resources.

Masthead photo: Carter Lake by Harry Strharsky
Copyright © 2017 Larimer County Natural Resources, All rights reserved.

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