New Natural Areas

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Four new natural areas were named with input from the public in 2018.  More than 75 names were submitted by 22 contributors for these property acquisitions. Thank you to everyone who participated. The following names were selected by the Open Lands Advisory Commission at their September 12, 2018 meeting: 

  • Boise Bend Natural Area

  • Boedecker Bluff Natural Area

  • Eagle Vista Natural Area

  • Medina's Crossing Natural Area

new open lands in Loveland map

View map of these four new natural areas (PDF)

Boise Bend Natural Area

East Big Thompson

1225 S. Boise Ave. (MAP and REGULATIONS)

The east Big Thompson site was named Boise Bend Natural Area for the bend in the river and the location along Boise Ave. The 12-acre property offers a 0.25-mile soft-surface trail loop, river access and a small parking area with kiosk map and doggie bag dispenser. 

Boise Bend lies south of the river, across from Old St. Louis Natural Area and west of Boise Ave.  For additional reference, Winona Pool and Osborn Park are north of Boise Bend.  The property was acquired in 2017 to preserve the riparian corridor and provide an extension of the Big Thompson trail to the east.

Access for fishing and wildlife watching, including views of a nearby heron rookery (communal nesting area), are available along a soft-surface trail. Native cottonwoods and willows provide shade along the river banks and refuge for songbirds, mammals and herptiles.  Mink, wild turkey and white-tailed deer have been spotted, and a healthy brown trout population thrives in the waterway.

Volunteers from Colorado Addicted Trail-builders Society (CATS) and other groups  constructed the soft-surface trails and trailhead area, and helped clean up flood debris and other material to improve and prepare the site for public access.  Sawyer crews from Larimer County Conservation Corps helped remove and treat invasive Russian olive and Siberian elm trees with funding from a Great Outdoors Colorado grant, to allow native vegetation to become re-established.  

Boise Bend was the site of a prescribed fire burn in coordination with the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority (LFRA) in September 2019.  This burn was intended to provide weed mitigation and opportunities for re-seeding improvements. As part of the 2019 Fire Academy, LFRA was able to utilize this activity to assist in training their newest 16 firefighters in wildland firefighting tactics. 

Boise Bend Natural Area is open to the public.  

Boedecker Bluff Natural Area

Boedecker Reservoir

West First St.

The North Boedecker (W. First St.) site was named Boedecker Bluff Natural Area based on its setting on a bluff above Boedecker Reservoir, a state wildlife area.  The 17-acre property is located along W. First St. south of Rossum Dr. and Mariana Butte.  The site is being developed for public access and is planned to open in 2019.    

The property was purchased in 2017 and provides a buffer to nearby residential development for wildlife using the reservoir and adjacent habitat.

The neighborhood natural area will offer natural-surface trails along the edge of the reservoir with fishing access, opportunities for wildlife viewing and scenic views. Native trees and shrubs, including cottonwood, chokecherry, wild rose and currant, offer diverse habitat for songbirds, raptors, small mammals and amphibians. The site may provide future trail connections to nearby open lands and trails in the Mariana Butte area.  

Until trails and other amenities are completed, public access to Boedecker Bluff is not permitted.

Eagle Vista Natural Area

Southwest Loveland

The Ryan Gulch property in southwest Loveland was named Eagle Vista Natural Area due to raptor use of the site and the property's outstanding scenic views. The land will be restored with native prairie vegetation and developed for trail use, wildlife viewing and other passive recreation. 

Ryans Gulch SouthwestThe 185-acre Eagle Vista Natural Area is located in southwest Loveland and is part of a 667-acre community separator between Loveland and Berthoud. The site was acquired in 2016 for wildlife habitat and a trail corridor for the south Front Range Trail connection.  Mule deer, elk, coyote, prairie dogs and cottontails call this vast expanse of prairie home.

Two irrigation ditches and wetland swales also meander through the property, providing a combination of upland prairie and vegetated waterways for a variety of foraging habitats and movement corridors for songbirds and mammals.  Birds of the open prairie are common, including red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, golden eagle, magpie, raven and western meadowlark.

Russian olive trees have been removed here as well, with assistance from the Front Range Community College Exotic Species Elimination Project. The property will be restored with shortgrass prairie species including native grasses, wildflowers and shrubs.  Future public use will be considered through a management plan process, including opportunities for public input. 

Until a management plan is completed, public access to Eagle Vista is not permitted.

Medina's Crossing Natural Area

731 N. Namaqua Ave.

The fourth recently purchased property, located along the west Big Thompson River, was named Medina’s Crossing Natural Area for its historical significance as the site of Mariano Medina’s homestead and bridge crossing for the Overland Trail route in the late 1800s. The property was named through an administrative process following procedures outlined in the Open Lands Naming Policy. 

This property will be managed for agricultural use, and the river corridor will be restored to a more natural and flood-resilient condition. Future public use will be considered through a management plan process, including opportunities for public input. 

Until a management plan is completed, public access to Medina's Crossing is not permitted.