Why is Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park closed for the season?

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Why is Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park closed for the season? 

11.19.18 

Dear Maria,

We so much appreciate the parks and open spaces in and around Loveland. Thank you for creating and maintaining these priceless public recreational assets. 

Curious and somewhat disappointed about the following: 

Closure of Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park “for the winter." We were thrilled when you got this park rehab finished and we have visited it several times since. We really like the natural manner in which you reconfigured it. It is scenic and comfortable and a nearby opportunity to experience nature in a relaxed manner. We were so looking forward to using it as a year-round picnic site, especially in the winter, since it is so nearby. Why do you have to close Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park for the winter ???  Doesn’t seem like a huge cost burden to plow the parking lots and trails a few times over the winter. Is it a problem with the restrooms ? 

For that matter, what’s the reason for closing the restrooms in several parks, especially Rivers Edge and Mehaffey Parks? Do people in Loveland not need restrooms between November and May ? We use these parks extensively for fitness walks and sometimes (surprise) need to relieve ourselves. What is the problem with the restrooms? (By comparison, the restrooms in the county parks and in the city parks in Fort Collins remain open year-round. ) 

Finally, what is the status of the Skyline Natural Area and its presumptive trails? We live near the area and have so been looking forward to having this new asset open. There must be specific problems interfering with the opening of this area. What are they?

Having raised these concerns, thanks again for all the excellent work you have done and continue to do in making wonderful outdoor assets available to us. We really,really appreciate your work and the overall quality of the Loveland parks, trails and open spaces.

Loveland residents B. and J.

Hi B. and J.,

Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park Seasonal Closure

Prior to the 2013 Flood, Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park had a full-time employee living at the park.  Also, prior to the flood, the park looked and acted much more like a traditional park you would see in town. During the early days post flood, many options were reviewed for the future of the park including everything from a complete rebuild to not opening the park at all. The new park design was decided for a number of reasons, but one important one included no longer having a caretaker. In the end, the winter closure reflects a combination of the number of park users, reduced seasonal work force and/or contracted services with Larimer County. 

Although we do close some of our restroom facilities in town, we do keep a number of them open during daylight hours in the winter months.  When we first opened River’s Edge Natural Area, we kept restrooms open the first winter, as they were designed to operate through the cold season, but we still had major freeze damage in this facility.  The County is able to leave restrooms open year-round because the majority of their restrooms are vault toilets. 

We’ve had to close the Mehaffey Park (north restroom) and Kroh Park restroom due to repeated vandalism.  We close a few others in town, but we operate winter restrooms at: 

We also place port-o-lets at most of these locations in order to provide service.  Current locations include: 

Regarding the Skyline Trail

We, too, are anxiously waiting to start the Skyline Natural Area trail system but are waiting for infrastructure and development projects at 22nd and Cascade to get underway.  A trailhead and access for the northeast corner of Skyline is dependent on the development of the sub-division (Hunter’s Run II) in that area. 

The timing of the trail will align with that project.  We are currently in final design for the new 3.3 miles of trail at Prairie Ridge (57th and Wilson) that will connect with Fort Collins' Coyote Ridge to be constructed in 2019.  We hope that the construction of Skyline Trail will follow in 2020.

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