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June 4, 2015

Study Session:

A field trip to observe the construction of the Peaks to Plains Trail in Clear Creek. This segment of trail begins in Clear Creek County and will continue downstream in Jefferson County to about the Mayhem Gulch Trailhead. Thus far most of the construction has been in Clear Creek County and includes a tunnel under Highway 6 and return under the bridge where Highway 6 intersects with Highway 119. The trail routing ranges from at the creek side to up the slope away from the creek to avoid potential Prebles Mouse habitat. Bridges will be installed in the Jefferson County section as well as access points for fishing.

Regular Session:

Alex Head have a brief presentation on the proposed Golden Giddyup. A bicycle event to be held in September 2016 to raise funds for trail construction and also to give bicyclists the opportunity to be volunteer stewards of the existing trails.

Nancy York gave a presentation on the status of acquisition proposals and park planning projects. Presently staff are monitoring 17 referrals from the County Planning and Zoning and are evaluating 8 proposals for acquisition.

The Advisory Committee approved final terms for acquisition of the 37-acre Pendleton Property on the North side of Highway 285 across from the main Meyer Ranch Park. The property is also is adjacent to a Denver Mountain Park. This acquisition will provide the opportunity to add trails to the part of Meyer Ranch Park that is North of the highway.

The Advisory Committee approved final terms for acquisition 1,037 acres on or adjacent to Douglas Mountain. Essentially it is the property on the Northwest corner of Golden Gate Canyon Road and Robinson Hill Road.

The southern boundary is behind the homes along the North side of Robinson Hill Road. About 75 acres are on the East side of Golden Gate Canyon Road and include stone “Centennial House” built in 1876.

Natural Resources - The properties border the Mount Tom Potential Conservation Area identified by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. The properties are also surrounded by the Clear Creek and Ralston Creek Jeffco Open Space Conservation Study Areas. During a preliminary site visit, heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia) was found and serves as an indicator of a healthy, well functioning ecosystem. Previously, a prairie falcon nest had been identified on Douglas Mountain.

Nature-Based Experiences - The potential for trail development on these properties is limited by the steepness of the slopes throughout. A series of many switchbacks may be required to reach the higher elevations at sustainable grades. Access to the property is limited. Potential trailhead locations could be along Golden Gate Canyon Road, which has the potential to have impacts on the property’s natural resources, or a much smaller trailhead along Robinson Hill Road, the only other public road adjoining the property.

Historic, Archaeological and Paleontological Resources - The 75-acre property on the north of Golden Gate Canyon Road contains multiple historic structures, most notably the Centennial House built between 1872 and 1876. It served as a stage stop for travelers along the historic Gregory Toll Road. Originally referred to as Sheep Mountain, Centennial Cone was renamed because of the Centennial House. The property on the southern extent has been certified through the American Tree Farm System as a sustainable Tree Farm, illustrating the property’s significance to the local wood products industry. Historic cabins also exist on the property south of Golden Gate Canyon Road.

Scenic Resources - The properties are the scenic high point along the western reaches of Golden Gate Canyon Road. The property on the south contains Douglas Mountain and provides an opportunity to preserve the special scenic qualities of this peak. On the upper end of the southern property, there are multiple locations that provide scenic views, including of Centennial Cone Park and Mount Tom.

Contiguity & Buffers - The property on the north side of Golden Gate Canyon Road is adjacent to 573 acres owned by Jeffco Open Space. The south property is approximately one mile north of the 3,369 acres of Centennial Cone Park. These properties fill a gap within the Jeffco Open Space system, providing contiguity and additional buffers for wildlife corridors, habitat and plant communities, as well as other uses.

Congruence with Other Plans - During previous referral processes for these and similar properties, these properties have been identified as part of the North Mountain Community Plan. This Plan recommends securing as much open space as possible and preserving resources within the Golden Gate Canyon Road Visual Resource Corridor and diffusing the impacts of recreational development throughout the area.

The acquisition would facilitate future trail connections between Centennial Cone Park, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, and White Ranch Park.

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