PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO EXPLORE OUR INTERACTIVE MAPPING TOOL
The Our Lands, Our Future project has launched an online mapping tool to show where willing property owners have conserved open space today, and to gauge your values for voluntary conservation opportunities for the future. There are three steps to follow, which will allow you to send a map of your preferred opportunity areas to the project team.
A citizen survey was completed in 2012, the results are here.
As this study moves forward, the partnering agencies would like to hear from as many citizens and groups as possible. To schedule a presentation or interview about Our Lands - Our Future, please contact Zac Wiebe.
For the first time in Colorado, all of the municipalities in the same county are joining together to evaluate the achievements, opportunities and possible gaps in our region's land conservation, open space, and nature-based recreation programs. Larimer County has launched a county-wide study of the community's needs and preferences related to recreation, stewardship and conservation of public lands with the following partners:
"Our Lands - Our Future" is a grassroots process to determine the next generation's vision for the critical landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities throughout Larimer County. Over the next 12 months, this regional study will identify how local governments, businesses, and nonprofits can bring together their separate efforts to more efficiently and effectively achieve the community's goals and values.
"Our Lands - Our Future" will:
In 1995, Larimer County voters passed an initiative for a $0.0025 (1/4 cent) county-wide sales tax specifically for the purchase and protection of open space, natural areas, wildlife habitat, and regional park preserves, regional trails, and agricultural lands. This sales tax initiated the Larimer County Open Lands Program. The tax revenue is shared between Larimer County (~45%) and partner municipalities (~55%), which include Ft. Collins, Loveland, Estes Park, Berthoud, Wellington, Windsor, Johnstown and Timnath.
In 1999, Larimer County citizens voted to extend the existing sales tax until 2018 and establish bonding authority for Larimer County. In addition, the City of Fort Collins "Open Space Yes!" 0.0025% (1/4 percent) sales tax was passed in 2005 for a 25-year period (to end in 2030). No other municipality has a dedicated open space sales tax outside the share they receive from the county sales tax, though several have other programs in place for purchasing and maintaining parks, natural areas and open space.
Just over 10 years after completing its first open lands master plan in 2001, Larimer County Natural Resources Department today manages over 25,000 acres through fee-simple acquisition and, including conservation easements, monitors over 34,000 acres with the use of county open space sales tax dollars. The Department also manages over 9,000 acres of recreation lands at four Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs, campgrounds in the Estes Valley and smaller parks in the Big Thompson Canyon. Fort Collins' Natural Areas Department has helped conserve 47,600 acres and manages 35,000 acres. The other cities and towns that receive a portion of the county open space sales tax along with the active land trusts in the county also manage thousands of acres of open lands and natural areas.
Each of the partner agencies has established their own land conservation and recreation priorities, which represent a broad spectrum of conservation values and associated recreational uses. "Our Lands - Our Future: Recreation and Conservation Choices for Northern Colorado" will explore how to align local goals with shared regional values.
"Our Lands - Our Future" is organized into four phases with a series of public events and activities leading to the final study report:
There will be many opportunities for the public and stakeholders to get involved throughout the "Our Lands - Our Future" process. Throughout the entire process, the public will have the opportunity to provide feedback to staff from the partner agencies and members of the advisory board. Regional workshops will be held periodically, as well as local presentations and work sessions in cities and towns throughout the community. Mailed and online surveys will be sent to residents to gather input on conservation and recreation priorities, preferences, and needs. An interactive mapping website will allow residents to examine options and tradeoffs for the future.