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Outdoors

  • Jeffco Open Space closes areas of parks to protect wildlife

    To protect raptors and waterfowl in nesting season and elk that are calving in its parks, Jeffco Open Space is closing areas in its system to visitors on a seasonal basis beginning this month. Seasonal closures allow wildlife to successfully nest, rear young and survive a critical time in their life cycles, according to information from the agency.

    Here is a list of closures and dates:

  • County to realign trail that connects two Open Space parks

    A hiker-only trail on Jeffco Open Space will be rebuilt to connect Deer Creek Canyon Park and Hildebrand Ranch Park, and will accommodate horseback riders and bicyclists in the future, according to a plan approved Jan. 5 by the county commissioners.

  • Waiting for the stars to fall

    The Geminids meteor shower is about to make its annual appearance, and Jeffco Open Space will host a watch party Saturday at Hildebrand Ranch Park.

    The event will feature activities for both adults and kids as they experience the meteor shower and the rest of the night sky, said Mike Dempsey, an Open Space naturalist.

    “The Geminids meteor shower happens every year in the middle of December, and what we do is ask folks to come out, bring some … chairs or blankets, and watch the shower,” Dempsey said.

  • Jeffco Open Space revises guidelines for events at parks

    To better manage events in its parks, Jeffco Open Space is establishing new guidelines, which the Open Space Advisory Committee reviewed on Nov. 5.

    Events attended by more than 200 people will be limited to five per year, with a maximum of one for each user type, said Dave Davenport, Open Space’s outdoor recreation coordinator.

    Also, events that fall on holidays or holiday weekends will not be considered, according to the revised park-permit guidelines.

  • Jeffo Open Space lands grant for programs to connect with youths

    The Be Wild, Jeffco coalition of Jeffco Open Space has received a $75,000 grant to encourage youths to experience the outdoors.

    The funding from Great Outdoors Colorado is aimed at creating programs and expanding parks to improve access for young people, said Open Space spokeswoman Thea Rock.

    Many Jeffco youngsters live in areas with gaps in nature connections, Rock said — similar to people who live in “food deserts” that lack readily accessible grocery stores.

    “Maybe there is no park in their neighborhood,” she said.

  • Proposed 2016 budget for Jeffco Open Space reflects increase in revenue, expenses

    The Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee has recommended approval of the proposed 2016 budget, which reflects increases in both revenue and expenses in the coming year.

    Jeffco Open Space is projecting a 3 percent increase in sales-tax revenue in 2016, which is expected to generate additional revenue of $16.7 million for the agency, said Hugh Wilson, Open Space business manager. Operational costs also are anticipated to increase by 3 percent in the coming year, Wilson said during a presentation of the budget draft on Sept. 10.

  • Nine West Metro firefighters battling California blazes

    Nine firefighters from West Metro Fire Rescue are in California as part of a national effort to battle several massive wildfires in that state.

    The firefighters have been in California for about two weeks and are stationed at several major wildfires. The group includes a five-man strike team and a fire engine from West Metro Fire Station 9, located at C-470 and Morrison Road, that are working the Mad River Complex Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest west of Redding.

  • Recreational closures lifted on South Platte, its North Fork

    Officials have lifted the recreational restrictions that have been in place on the South Platte River and its North Fork since mid-June, according to a news release.

    The Jeffco Sheriff’s Office and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office closed the streams to recreational uses after rains and snowmelt created dangerously high water levels.

    The streams, which were closed to tubing, rafting, kayaking, fishing and swimming, were reopened as of Monday morning, according to the release from the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office.

  • Effort to relocate prairie dogs under way

    Work has begun to save part of the prairie dog population at the site of a future BMX bicycle track at the Schaefer Athletic Complex in South Jeffco.

    The Foothills Prairie Dog Task Force, a group of volunteers, was given the go-ahead by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to move 15 of the 45 prairie dogs that live on the site. The rodents will be relocated to 1.8 acres just south of where the track will be built at the complex.

  • Jeffco Open Space moves forward with major land acquisitions

    Jeffco Open Space is moving forward with plans to acquire more than 1,000 acres on Douglas Mountain near Golden and another 37 acres adjacent to Meyer Ranch Park in Aspen Park. The Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee unanimously recommended the acquisitions, which were endorsed by members of Plan Jeffco and the Clear Creek Land Conservancy at the June 4 OSAC meeting. If approved by the county commissioners, Open Space would spend nearly $5 million to purchase the properties.