The Sunset Vista Natural Area Management Plan is now available. Thank you to everyone who provided public input during the planning process.
The Long View Trail connecting Loveland and Fort Collins along N. Taft Ave./S. Shields Ave. will open in August 2018. The 4.4-mile paved multi-use recreation and commuter trail will tie in to the Loveland Recreation Trail System at Sunset Vista Natural Area, including intersection improvements for the trail crossing at 57th St and N. Taft Ave.
Loveland and Fort Collins, along with Larimer County, received funding from a CDOT Transportation Alternative Project Grant ($1 million) and a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Paths to Parks Grant ($1 million), to help pay for construction of the 10-foot wide concrete trail, trailhead/parking lot, and intersection improvements to connect to the Loveland and Fort Collins trail systems.
More information is available on the Long View Trail page.
Sunset Vista Acquired for Open Space & Trails
In August 2014, the City of Loveland acquired this key 87-acre open space property at the northeast quadrant of North Taft Ave & 57th Street, adding to preserved land in the 3,500-acre “community separator” between Loveland and Fort Collins. Sunset Vista also opens new connections for two long-awaited off-street trails: the Loveland Recreation Trail loop and the Long View Corridor Trail linking Loveland and Fort Collins. The $1.5 million purchase price for Sunset Vista was funded primarily by Loveland’s share of the voter-approved open space sales tax collected throughout Larimer County, and a $200,000 contribution from Larimer County Open Lands. The acquisition also included shares of CBT water and Louden Ditch water rights. The community separator also includes Loveland’s Prairie Ridge Natural Area, Larimer County’s Long View Farm, and Fort Collins’ McKee Farm.
A public naming contest generated over 300 names from more than 150 community members. In January 2015, the Open Lands Advisory Commission selected the winning name for this new open space: Sunset Vista Natural Area. Residents Jim and Pat Horner, who proposed the name, have enjoyed “the best sunsets in Loveland" over this open space.
The property provides a sanctuary for wildlife such as songbirds, raptors, amphibians, coyote, red fox, and deer. Tributary wetlands, a section of the Louden Ditch, and agricultural lands provide wildlife habitat, cover, and movement corridors for these species. Wetlands support common cattail, reed canarygrass, Emory and Nebraska sedge, coyote willow, and plains cottonwood. The property also offers sweeping views of the foothills and mountains.
Anticipated uses include development of a trailhead parking lot, construction of trails for recreation and wildlife viewing, and continuing use as a working farm. Park planners will implement a master planning process for the property that will include resource evaluation and public input to help identify long-term uses and future improvements.