When Boulder's Open Space Visitor Master Plan passed two years ago, it designated the following "habitat conservation areas," making habitat protection the primary management concern in each:

North Foothills

Borders the western edge of U.S. 36 just north of town.

Contains the only known rattlesnake hibernaculum - a place where dormant animals sleep - on open space land.

Contains rare, red-lipped plateau lizards.

Various rare butterflies depend on the area, including the cross-line skipper, arogos skipper and two-spotted skipper.

Western Mountain Parks

A long strip of land that sits behind Flagstaff Mountain and the Flatirons.

Contains many rare plants, including white adder's mouth, Sprengle's sedge, rattlesnake fern, smilax, frost weed and calypso orchid.

Important habitat for the threatened Townsend's big-eared bat.

Eldorado Mountain

Sits on the southern border of Boulder County a few miles west of Colo. 93.

Contains several rare plants, including the birdsfoot violet and the dwarf leadplant.

Northern goshawks and flammulated owls both live there, indicating a mature forest ecosystem.

Jewel Mountain

Situated south of the Boulder County line and bordering Colo. 93 to the west.

This is a high-quality tallgrass prairie containing big bluestem, little bluestem, yellow Indiangrass, Switchgrass and western wheatgrass.


Jewel Mountain Lake has the largest population of painted turtles on open space land.

Southern Grasslands

Sits on the southern border of Boulder County to the east of Colo. 93.

The largest Prairie Dog Habitat Conservation Area on open space land.

Contains the threatened Preble's jumping mouse.

Tallgrass Prairie East

Straddles U.S. 36 just southeast of its intersection with Table Mesa.

Harbors the rare American groundnut.

Contains Ute ladies'-tresses and Preble's jumping mouse

Sombrero Marsh

A small area south of Arapahoe and east of Cherryvale Road.

It contains a rare alkali marsh that periodically dries out and provides mudflats for wading birds.

Lower Boulder Creek

Situated a few miles east of Gunbarrel.

The only home of the six-lined racerunner lizard on open space land.

Wintering habitat for bald eagles.

Cottonwood Grove

A remnant concentration of riparian forest along Boulder Creek.

Source: the Visitor Master Plan

Archived comments

The permit system for going off trail in an HCA is not reflective of actual usage and should be abolished. The HCA boundaries should be redrawn and/or trails going through HCA should have at least a 30' easement on each side of a trail where people can go off trail without fear of penalty. Lastly, OSMP should abandon their "nature as zoo" management approach.


6/24/2007 9:38:54 AM