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angelaa


Nov 18, 2004, 11:36 AM
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**Flatirons Alert**

OSMP Visitor Master Plan - November 2004

Dear Climbers, Runners, Hikers,

As you may know the City of Boulder's Department of Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) has finished its Visitor Master Plan (VMP). Now seven years in the works, this document is a comprehensive plan for the management of our Open Space and Mountain Parks. The VMP has now been forwarded to the City Council for discussion and possible approval.

At this point, the history of the VMP is less important than its impact for people who enjoy the open space and mountain parks for recreation. Here are a few observations about the proposed VMP.

1. The VMP puts all of OSMP land into one of four categories; the map is a complex patchwork that is itself open to debate. But accepting the map as it stands, over 40% of the OSMP land would be in the most highly regulated category (called HCA for Habitat Conservation Area) with
rules that are more stringent than current rules. The HCA includes all land west of the high ridges between Chautauqua and Eldorado Canyon, Eldorado Mountain, plus various pockets elsewhere.

2. Within the HCAs the proposed VMP calls for no off-trail travel. All hikers must stay on designated trails (those with official trail signs). It's likely that non-designated social trails will be closed, restricting access to some
popular crags and long-standing climbing areas. This alarming evelopment might be acceptable if OSMP planned to build new trails. But that doesn't appear to be the case. In that last 10 years, while OSMP acreage doubled, a total of 7 miles of new trails were built.

3. The will be no access to HCAs at night; no more moonlight hikes up Green Mountain. This policy is both baseless and unenforceable.

4. The maximum group size on all OSMP land will be reduced from 50 to 25 people, without a special permit.

5. The current ban on competitive events will remain. While OSMP needs to have some flexibility to reject or modify requests for inappropriate competitive events, there is no need for a complete ban on all events. The policy prohibits innovative events such as last year's Cardiac Arete, in
which runners (up Mt. Sanitas) volunteered time for trail maintenance.

6. Overall, the Open Space Board of Trustees consists of people who don't have much understanding of the importance of recreation for many Boulder citizens. Their policies are exclusionary and their perspective on preservation and recreation is (they admit) skewed. Overall, the priority of
the Board is still acquisition of land (which is becoming increasingly scarce and expensive), rather than establishing new trails and maintaining existing trails. I think it's fair to say that the views of many Boulder people have been ignored during the writing of the VMP and are not reflected
in the VMP.


It's time to mobilize people who care about open space and mountain parks, who want to see it protected and preserved, but who believe that people should have reasonable access to the public land that they have purchased. Please write to City Council members, email them, or visit with them (see addresses below). Please write letters to the local newspapers. Please forward this message and get others involved in opposing the VMP. If you want to read the VMP, it's at http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/openspace/plan.htm.

On December 14 at 6:00 p.m., there will be a study session with both the City Council and Open Space Board of trustees at the Senior Center at 909 Arapahoe. Although the public will not be allowed to speak, try to attend and show support in numbers. The City Council is scheduled to reach a final decision on the VMP in February 2005.

* You can mail letters to City Cou! ncil mem bers at Office of City Council, P.O. Box 791, Boulder, CO 80306-0791.

* You can fax letters to City Council members at 303-441-3002.

* You can email letters to all City Council members at council@ci.boulder.co.us.

* City Council members read the Open Forum in the Boulder Daily Camera, so send letters (openforum@dailycamera.com or fax 303-449-0358).

COUNCIL MEMBERS:

Tom Eldridge, eldridget@ci.boulder.co.us, 303-449-8419

Robin Bohannan, bohannanr@ci.boulder.co.us, 303-524-9067

Crystal Gray, grayc@ci.boulder.co.us, 303-449-9680

Shaun McGrath, mcgraths@ci.boulder.co.us, 720-304-2165

Gordon Riggle, riggleg@ci.boulder.co.us, 303-530-7181

Mark Ruzzin, ruzzinm@ci.boulder.co.us, 303-417-9798

Andy Shultheiss, shultheissa@ci.boulder.co.us! , 303-44 0-3321

Jack Stoakes, stoakesj@ci.boulder.co.us, 303-449-3374

Contact: Buzz Burrell (Boulder Trail Runners, buzz@dimensional.com), Willie Mein (Flatirons Climbing Council, Willie.Mein@lasp.colorado.edu), Bill Briggs (wbriggs@math.cudenver.edu)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


killclimbz


Nov 18, 2004, 11:48 AM
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This needs to be front paged for awhile. My suspicion is that Boulder country residents are the ones that are going to have to scream the loudest. Out of county complaints will probably be ignored.


couchwarrior


Nov 18, 2004, 12:33 PM
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Devils advocate here but the gist of your post seems to be as follows:

1. New map with more stringent rules. Stringent being undefined.
2. No cutting new and unregulated trails that degrade habitat for man and creature.
3. This is unenforceable, as you say. So who cares?
4. Group sizes limited to 25. Seems like that only rules out the Denver Broncos and really annoying youth / church groups.
5. Status quo stays in place.
6. Subjective. and I happen to think land aquisition is more critical than new trail establishment.

I run in the Foothills, lived in Boulder, work in Boulder, and have climbed in the Flatirons for 15 years. They are a treasure, even if I avoid them like a plague on the weekends these days. I strongly agree that feedback to the regulatory bodies is critical but I'm not pulling the fire alarm yet.


petsfed


Nov 18, 2004, 12:48 PM
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In reply to:
Devils advocate here but the gist of your post seems to be as follows:

1. New map with more stringent rules. Stringent being undefined.
2. No cutting new and unregulated trails that degrade habitat for man and creature.
3. This is unenforceable, as you say. So who cares?
4. Group sizes limited to 25. Seems like that only rules out the Denver Broncos and really annoying youth / church groups.
5. Status quo stays in place.
6. Subjective. and I happen to think land aquisition is more critical than new trail establishment.

I run in the Foothills, lived in Boulder, work in Boulder, and have climbed in the Flatirons for 15 years. They are a treasure, even if I avoid them like a plague on the weekends these days. I strongly agree that feedback to the regulatory bodies is critical but I'm not pulling the fire alarm yet.

1. That eliminates Seal Rock or at least the spur of the Harmon(?) cave trail that leads to it. Various others.
2. A climber trail is not an established trail. We could get screwed here.


Partner uitdoorqi


Nov 19, 2004, 7:47 AM
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Thanks for putting this up. Though I'm not a Boulder Country resident, I use these areas. While there's a balance on overuse of land and the exclusion of human activity, it seems we're back to the far end of limiting human use. These are some nice areas but taxpayers and users should get more access to recreational areas (trails). So what's the solution here?


timstich


Nov 19, 2004, 7:57 AM
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In reply to:
So what's the solution here?

Point out that a city park adjacent to a neighborhood with a high voltage power line and a massive water storage facility in the middle of it does not constitute a pristine natural area. Coyotes think nothing of going into the hood to scrounge food.

If they want a nature area, tear down the power line in Bear Canyon, demolish the water tank, storage complex, and rip up every paved road.


nthusiastj


Nov 19, 2004, 8:19 AM
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The bitch of this is, as most of us know, is that the tourists tend to be the ones going off trail and being destuctive. I have been hiking on the trails up there and have had a *huge* boulder rolled down at me from one of the scree fields by some stupid tourisits that probably had no idea that there was a trail below them.
The climbers and most of the locals tread lightly and respect the park for what it is.


mingus


Nov 19, 2004, 8:55 AM
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The scariest crux of this thing is #2. It IS NOT about new trails - the problem is the definition of 'official' trails. Most climber trails could easily be construed as unmarked and unofficial trails. The wording of the VMP leaves a LOT open to interpretation.

The people that wrote this aren't dumb - the political acumen displayed by the ambiguity here makes me nervous. I think there are lots of people involved with the writing of this document that would like to see a lot of long-established trails closed. Yes, plenty of others would be more moderate, but who's going to be making the determinations as to what actually constitutes 'off trail travel'?


angelaa


Nov 24, 2004, 6:40 AM
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Bump :!:


timstich


Nov 24, 2004, 7:14 AM
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In reply to:
The people that wrote this aren't dumb - the political acumen displayed by the ambiguity here makes me nervous.

I agree totally. I don't even want to know some of their ulterior motives.


photon


Nov 24, 2004, 7:50 AM
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As long as rollerskates are still allowed on the flatirons what's the problem?


jcinco


Dec 2, 2004, 3:50 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Devils advocate here but the gist of your post seems to be as follows:

1. New map with more stringent rules. Stringent being undefined.
2. No cutting new and unregulated trails that degrade habitat for man and creature.
3. This is unenforceable, as you say. So who cares?
4. Group sizes limited to 25. Seems like that only rules out the Denver Broncos and really annoying youth / church groups.
5. Status quo stays in place.
6. Subjective. and I happen to think land aquisition is more critical than new trail establishment.

I run in the Foothills, lived in Boulder, work in Boulder, and have climbed in the Flatirons for 15 years. They are a treasure, even if I avoid them like a plague on the weekends these days. I strongly agree that feedback to the regulatory bodies is critical but I'm not pulling the fire alarm yet.


1. That eliminates Seal Rock or at least the spur of the Harmon(?) cave trail that leads to it. Various others.
2. A climber trail is not an established trail. We could get screwed here.

Note that the areas which will be off-limits to off-trail use includes Micky Mouse Wall, the Matron, and Cadillac Crag (in Eldorado Canyon), as well as several other minor crags and scads of bouldering. The climbing in these areas could become a thing of the past!!!
The Matron and Micky Mouse have been climbed since the 1950's.

I just sent my letter calling to reject the VMP to the Boulder City Council. If you live in Boulder County and haven't sent a letter yet, then SHAME ON YOU!

Other Front Rangers should also consider sending a letter, as well as other people who have enjoyed climbing and scrambling in the Flatirons in the past.


killclimbz


Dec 2, 2004, 3:56 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
Devils advocate here but the gist of your post seems to be as follows:

1. New map with more stringent rules. Stringent being undefined.
2. No cutting new and unregulated trails that degrade habitat for man and creature.
3. This is unenforceable, as you say. So who cares?
4. Group sizes limited to 25. Seems like that only rules out the Denver Broncos and really annoying youth / church groups.
5. Status quo stays in place.
6. Subjective. and I happen to think land aquisition is more critical than new trail establishment.

I run in the Foothills, lived in Boulder, work in Boulder, and have climbed in the Flatirons for 15 years. They are a treasure, even if I avoid them like a plague on the weekends these days. I strongly agree that feedback to the regulatory bodies is critical but I'm not pulling the fire alarm yet.


1. That eliminates Seal Rock or at least the spur of the Harmon(?) cave trail that leads to it. Various others.
2. A climber trail is not an established trail. We could get screwed here.

Note that the areas which will be off-limits to off-trail use includes Micky Mouse Wall, the Matron, and Cadillac Crag (in Eldorado Canyon), as well as several other minor crags and scads of bouldering. The climbing in these areas could become a thing of the past!!!
The Matron and Micky Mouse have been climbed since the 1950's.

I just sent my letter calling to reject the VMP to the Boulder City Council. If you live in Boulder County and haven't sent a letter yet, then SHAME ON YOU!

Other Front Rangers should also consider sending a letter, as well as other people who have enjoyed climbing and scrambling in the Flatirons in the past.

Ok, I can see how this effects all the areas mentioned except for the Cadillac Crags. Last time I checked, that crag is located in Eldorado Canyon State Park and is not ran by Boulder County open space...


jcinco


Dec 2, 2004, 4:28 PM
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Ok, I can see how this effects all the areas mentioned except for the Cadillac Crags. Last time I checked, that crag is located in Eldorado Canyon State Park and is not ran by Boulder County open space...

A common misconception. Cadillac Crag is just outside of the State Park and is on Open Space land, while the adjacent Rincon is in the state park. (side note: Cadillac Crag does not fall under the supervision of the Fixed Hardware Committee)

However, I just checked the map which delineates the various "zones":

http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/...gmtAreasMap(3.1).jpg

It looks like the Matron is no longer in one of the Habitat Conservation Areas (HCAs: the closed areas). It's hard to tell for Cadillac Crag, though it looks like the obscure Eldo Crags like the Veil, SoBo Buttress, and Physical Crag are in HCAs. Also, it looks like the approach to Seal Rock is just fine. In the original draft, those areas were certainly included in the HCAs.

Someone with more knowledge than I should probably post as to which of the crags are actually affected in the final VMP. In any case, Micky Mouse (and all of Eldo Mtn), as well as the Sacred Cliffs are definitely in the HCAs.

EDIT:

Additionally, the entire Flatirons (minus Chatauqua, Flagstaff, and Sanitas) are to be an area classified as a "natural zone". As far as I understand this designation, off-trail travel is permitted on a probationary basis, meaning it could be revoked at any time.

Unfortunately, this type of PC over-management, re-enforces all those Boulder stereotypes.


killclimbz


Dec 2, 2004, 5:17 PM
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Well I stand corrected. I took a look at the map. It does seem rather silly and ridiculous as to what they are proposing. It's like they need to justify the jobs they have and the money they are making. Unbelievable.


sandbag


Dec 2, 2004, 5:21 PM
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Boulder is caught in its own lil virtual reality, you ve got Hippies, Yuppies and the then the Yippies...the people that straddle both sides of the extreme and make a pretty homogeneous majority. Its truly an odd place....where else can you buy a relatively small house and pay San Fran prices with no ocean?


angelaa


Feb 23, 2005, 6:32 AM
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Flatirons Alert - Council Vote APRIL 5th! [In reply to]
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**Flatirons Alert** OSMP Visitor Master Plan Vote - February 23, 2005
Tonight 6pm - Keep Open Space Open

Attention Trail Runners, Hikers, Climbers, and Open Space Visitors

The City of Boulder Open Space Board of Trustees will discuss and vote on the final draft of the Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Visitor Master Plan (VMP) at their meeting this Wednesday night, February 23. The current VMP designates one-third of the Open Space to be Habitat Conservation Areas (HCAs) in which off-trail access would be prohibited. It also calls for no night-time access to HCAs. After almost TEN YEARS of negotiation, we thought we were finally close to a plan that balanced passive recreational needs with environmental preservation. Yet we now have evidence that some groups will demand even more closures at the upcoming Open Space Board of Trustees meeting!

Where there are impacts due to visitation (ie. erosion, soil trampling, non native weed propagation .), the VMP calls for restrictions to restore natural resources. However, where there is evidence of healthy bio-diversity under the current open access policy, the VMP also aims to protect these resources by restricting access. Hence, if there are impacts there should be restrictions, if things are healthy, then these resources must be protected. Preservation is a laudable goal of the VMP. However using the land for passive recreation is also a legitimate purpose for OSMP lands. The current VMP does not reflect this balance/duality of purposes as defined in section 176 of the City Charter.

The public should have access to public lands unless there are specific, documented sensitive resources that require such a degree of protection. The evidence that supports the current VMP closures is weak, controversial, or nonexistent. Rather, the closures are based on a part of the VMP called .Dealing with Uncertainty,. (VMP Pg 31) which shifts the burden of proof and allows for OSMP management action (restricting access) in cases of uncertainty .when there are reasonable grounds for concern regarding threats of potentially serious or irreversible resource damage.. Although a precautionary approach may be warranted, the current VMP misuses this subjective assessment as reason to close 40% of OSMP where historic use has had little impacts on the native habitats. The VMP even characterizes HCAs as .naturally functioning ecosystems. (VMP Pg 50), and the Eldorado HCA as .relatively unspoiled and lightly used. (VMP Pg A-52). The .reasonable ground for concern. in this case is the fear that there will be irreversible impacts in the future, as populations increase and visitation to OSMP jumps to 6 million visitors per year (according to the latest, unchallenged study by OSMP). Such fears are unwarranted as these HCAs are protected by their remoteness and isolation, and there are allowances in the plan to increment restrictions as necessary in the future. An immediate closure of the entirety of these lands is unjustified, unenforceable, and unnecessary to achieve the preservation goals of the VMP.

During the past ten years the Open Space and Mountain Parks program has more than doubled its acreage holdings while reluctantly building less than 7% more trail mileage. The OSMP budget still favors the acquisition of increasingly expensive and small parcels of land instead over trail building and maintenance. There is over 6 million dollars allocated for OSMP acquisitions this year, yet there is no money for maintaining the lands we already own. Due to this maintenance backlog, many trails have been categorized as .unmentionable. and slated for closure. Because OSMP stated that they can neither maintain nor monitor many areas in OSMP, the closure of vast areas is essentially a non-management solution to a budget imbalance.

Open Space staff (as opposed to Trustees) and some members of Council have recently tried to accommodate recreational groups only to be pressured into backing off this peacemaking effort by anti-access groups. The chances of convincing the Open Space Board of Trustees to find common ground and approve a VMP we can all live with are much more likely if:

(a) They get written messages from lots of people before the meeting, and

(b) They hear from additional people at the meeting on Feb 23.

Please do one or the other to preserve and enhance our precious and historic access to Open Space. Here are some suggestions.

What: Write a short respectful note (it need not be longer than 5 or 6 sentences) to the members of the Open Space Board of Trustees

Who: Linda Jourgensen, Sean Kendall, Ken Dunn, Bruce Bland, and Allyn Feinberg at their e-mail addresses: ljourgensen@aol.com, sean.kendall@comcast.net, kendunn56@hotmail.com, bruce_2u@hotmail.com, feinberga@aol.com

When: As soon as possible
What to say:

* Please write as an individual (it's more powerful to write as a concerned citizen than as a member of a group, unless you are the President writing to represent the group.)

* If you live in Boulder, include your address under your name.

* Speak from your experience and give your personal opinion. You need not be an expert on all the facts. What counts is how you feel about this and why it's important to you!

The main message (please state this in your own words):

1) We need to preserve off-trail access in all areas of Open Space including HCAs, unless there are documented sensitive species in well-defined areas that require such restrictive measures for their protection. The current VMP misuses the .Dealing with Uncertainty.. Although a precautionary approach may be warranted, the current VMP misuses this subjective assessment as reason to close 40% of OSMP where historic use has had little impacts on the native habitats. The mountain HCAs are protected by their remoteness and isolation, and there are allowances in the plan to increment restrictions as necessary in the future. An immediate closure of the entirety of these lands is unjustified, unenforceable, and unnecessary to achieve the preservation goals of the VMP.

2) A guiding principle of the VMP calls for using the .least restrictive management approach. (VMP Pg 31) possible to achieve management objectives. Starting at closure by requiring on-trail use in areas with few or no trails is a violation of this guiding principle. Please urge the OSBT to .encourage on-trail travel, but not require it, in all areas of OSMP.. There needs to be flexibility in the management strategies applied to these areas, and one management .on-trail required. solution for the entirety of the HCAs is not appropriate.

3) Prohibiting off-trail use will do little to protect the land, alienate users, and erode support for OSMP and compliance with other regulations (raptors, bats, temporary wildlife closures for bears,.).

4) The proposed on-trail restrictions are unprecedented and are found to be unnecessary by peer agencies (see OSMP.s own peer review in VMP), state parks, national parks and national monuments.

* For more information, analyses, and links, please visit the Boulder Outdoor Coalition's website, www.boulder-outdoor-coalition.org .

PLEASE come to the OSBT meeting -- Wed., Feb 23, 6 p.m., City Council Chambers (Municipal Building, Broadway and Canyon, second floor)

Note: Each speaker will only be given 3 minutes to speak during the public participation part of the agenda. If you plan to speak, you must come early (by 5:00 p.m.) to sign up in advance.

Regardless of what happens at the OSBT meeting on Feb 23, the VMP will come up for final approval by City Council in April. So be ready to contact Council members in the run-up to that meeting.

(received as an enewsletter from Flatirons Climbing Council)


salparadise


Feb 23, 2005, 7:39 AM
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bump!


roc-dude
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I did my part. Let's all get behind this effort.


flamer


Feb 23, 2005, 10:38 AM
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Fucking boulder.....

Bump!


josh


8flood8


Feb 23, 2005, 12:09 PM
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bump..

i don't yet live in boulder but i was thinking about naropa for grad school.

BUMP


andrewscott


Feb 23, 2005, 8:05 PM
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I could write for hours about this but I think the sum of what I would say has already been said. "Fucking Boulder."


crag_shwagger


Feb 23, 2005, 8:23 PM
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Boulder sux ass BUMP! :x


roc-dude
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Feb 24, 2005, 6:25 AM
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How did the meeting go last night?


jcinco


Feb 25, 2005, 1:05 PM
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Registered: Aug 27, 2002
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Re: **Flatirons Alert** [In reply to]
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Boulder sux ass BUMP! :x

Yeah, Boulder sucks. What a shitehole that places is.

Now Missouri.... that's the place! I'm practically wetting my pants at the thought of my upcoming roadtrips to the Ozarks, a.k.a. the land of a rusted appliance in every valley.

Getting back on topic, did anyone hear if the Board is willing to back off some of its preferences in the VMP, or are they adamant about their agenda?

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