Capital Improvement Plan

Open Space & Mountain Parks

Spending on Projects within Open Space & Mountain Parks

Overview of Open Space & Mountain Parks Projects

The 2023 Open Space & Mountain Parks (OSMP) Department capital budget includes projects that are a part of the department’s core mission, including capital maintenance of trailheads and trails; agricultural lands management; capital ecosystem maintenance and restoration; and strategic and resource planning. The department’s 2023 capital budget fully incorporates guidance from the OSMP Master Plan for the third year. Projects will align with the Master Plan focus areas, which serve as departmental work program priorities for 2023:



Agriculture Today and Tomorrow

Agriculture and water projects aim to improve soil health, integrate sustainable agricultural practices and resource protection, take care of existing infrastructure, and support the next generation of ranchers and farmers.


Community Connections, Education, and Inclusion

Interpretive and integrated planning projects support enhanced communications across the system, foster connection with nature, and engage youth corps to encourage stewardship as a career and responsible lifestyle.


Ecosystem Health and Resilience

Ecological and restoration projects safeguard large habitat blocks and corridors, reduce undesignated trails, maintain and restore grasslands, forests, wetlands and riparian areas, control invasive species, and promote biodiversity of plants and animals.


Responsible Recreation, Stewardship, and Enjoyment

These projects maintain and improve trails and visitor infrastructure, support enjoyable passive recreation opportunities on OSMP lands, protect scenic resources, and address visitation levels and growth where appropriate.


Financial Sustainability

Capital projects across OSMP support department efforts to take care of what we have and understand total cost of system management. In 2023, OSMP will continue to invest in asset management and other systems in support of Master Plan objectives.



Gebhard Site Plan Implementation: Construction

This project focuses on the implementation of tasks identified in the Gebhard Integrated Site Plan prepared for the area along South Boulder Creek corridor in East Boulder near the Greenbelt Meadows residential area. Work began in 2020 and will continue through 2023. In this phase, OSMP will design and construct a bridge over the creek to provide access to the trail from the adjacent neighborhood while restoring sensitive habitat areas that have been heavily impacted and/or damaged by undesignated trails. A separate bike path to the trails will be added in the Greenbelt Meadows community. The goal of this project is to protect rare and federally threatened wildlife and plant species and their habitat while providing access to trails along the South Boulder Creek corridor.


2023-28 Budget (or total appropriation for project)

$200,000

2023 Budget

$200,000

Hire Youth Corps. and Contracted Crews for Trail Projects

This project supports annual hiring of contracted trail crews and youth corps to augment and accelerate work of staff trail crews to reduce the backlog of trail maintenance across the system. Annual contracts are adjustable based on available crew weeks and trail maintenance needs. Corps members benefit from exposure to a variety of trail building skills, career development, and an increased understanding of recreation management within a complex system of trails. In 2023, work will focus on trail improvement projects that are prioritized through the department’s asset management system to consider trail condition, amount of use, and other criteria to determine highest needs.


2023-28 Budget (or total appropriation for project)

$1,750,000


2023 Budget

$275,000

North Trail Study Area Implementation: Eagle Trail Restoration and Repair

This project begins design efforts for repairs on Eagle Trail, as identified in the North Trail Study Area (NTSA) plan. The project will focus on needed drainage repairs and resurfacing on Eagle Trail to address significant surface issues, including mud during the wet season and after storm events. Implementation will take place along 1.3 miles of trail, from Eagle Trailhead to the gate north of Boulder Valley Ranch. Preliminary scoping began in 2022 and design efforts will move forward in 2023.


2023-28 Budget (or total appropriation for project)

$515,000

2023 Budget

$515,000

North Trail Study Area Implementation: North Sky Trail and Associated Restoration

Construction of the North Sky Trail, which includes final design of the Foothills Trailhead and Deep Draw, and restoration of Schneider Draw. In 2023, work will focus on construction of three bridges, mostly crossing sensitive drainages for the trail connection, and improvements to visitor safety and parking at Foothills Trailhead. Design efforts will also begin in 2023 to remove upstream and downstream road crossings and restore impacted areas.


2023-28 Budget (or total appropriation for project)

$996,172


2023 Budget

$996,172

Prairie Dog Conservation and Management

Implementation of prairie dog management and coordination efforts as guided by the Grassland Management Plan and the city’s Prairie Dog Working Group, made up of 12 community members representing a variety of viewpoints. This project includes relocation of prairie dogs from agricultural properties, evaluation and construction of barriers or other exclusion/mitigation methods on agricultural lands, and implementation of surveys to gauge public awareness and concerns related to prairie dog ecology. Strategies for prairie dog management are evaluated and reviewed publicly throughout the life of the project.


2023-28 Budget (or total appropriation for project)

$2,350,000

2023 Budget

$350,000

Restoration of Vegetation, Riparian Habitats, and Wetlands

This project includes implementation of vegetation, riparian, and wetland restoration activities across the system. Ongoing work will implement best opportunities and designs identified in prior year planning stages. In 2023, this project will focus on planning efforts at Coal Creek, restoration of vegetation at Gunbarrel Hill, and restoration of floodplain riparian habitat and wetlands at Boulder Creek. Restoration activities are critical to maintain native vegetation, support wetland and riparian species, and control erosion.


2023-28 Budget (or total appropriation for project)

$925,000


2023 Budget

$175,000

Soil Health Improvement Projects

This project will improve soil health and increase resilience to climate extremes on leased and unleased agricultural properties. Funding will support systematic implementation of soil health principles: reducing tillage, integrating livestock, armoring soil, diversifying plants in time and space, and maintaining continuous live plant and root systems. Methods will include keyline plowing, cover-cropping, mob grazing, and compost application, while also experimenting with cutting-edge practices found in the agricultural literature and through consultation with colleagues at partner agencies.


2023-28 Budget (or total appropriation for project)

$590,000


2023 Budget

$199,000

Trailhead Improvement Projects

This project involves renovating South Mesa Trailhead to address many key priorities that are highlighted through condition assessments, visitation data, sustainability measures, ecological enhancement, climate strategies, and various planning studies. Redesigning the trailhead will include conceptual designs, schematic plans, design development of construction documents, and implementation. In 2023, OSMP will also begin to plan, design, and manage a minimum of five native restoration areas at several trailheads to develop standards for this type of vegetation.


2023-28 Budget (or total appropriation for project)

$490,000


2023 Budget

$490,000

Visitor Communication and Education Enhancements

This project will enhance visitor communications, provide system-wide since enhancements, update interpretive amenities and improve regulation compliance through several initiatives: deploying mobile wireless internet hotspots at trailheads to provide additional ways to pay at parking fee areas, updating and replacing signage at trailheads and in high visitation areas to improve visibility of regulations and wayfinding, and updating interpretive amenities at Marshall Mesa, Sawhill, and Flagstaff Summit. These initiatives will accomplish department goals around welcoming and enhancing communication with visitors and assist in inspiring visitors to be good stewards of the land.


2023-28 Budget (or total appropriation for project)

$323,000


2023 Budget

$223,000