Bordered on the east by the high plains and to the west by some of the most rugged mountains in the country, Colorado’s Northern Front Range is defined by its wide open vistas, a striking mountain backdrop, and a long agricultural heritage.
With the richest agricultural soils this county is experiencing the greatest growth pressures and as such is in danger of being over used and destroyed. To date, we have protected 2,929 acres through 19 projects in this rapidly developing part of Colorado.
The Northern Front Range is a colloquial geographic term for the populated areas of Colorado which stretch from the foothills of the Rockies just west of Boulder and Fort Collins, to eastern Weld County. Originally, most of this area consisted of short grass prairie. The rolling topography found along the western edge of the Northern Front Range is cut by the St. Vrain River, the Big and Little Thompson Rivers, and the Poudre River.
Perhaps of greatest significance in this part of Colorado are:
There are now more people living in the Front Range than were in the entire state 10 years ago. Recent estimates project that in 20 years, an additional two million residents will occupy the Front Range, a growth rate of 65% (CWCB, 2004) - or 43,500 acres developed per year (Hobbs and Theobald 1998).
Ironically, it is the counties with the richest agricultural soils that are experiencing the greatest growth pressures. Two of these counties - Larimer and Weld - grew an average of 36% between 1990 and 2000 (Colorado Demography Department).
Because of these pressures, soaring land and water values make land protection in this area challenging. Most residents are aware of the loss of agricultural lands and open space, and of how development pressures continue to alter the landscape and character of the area.
As a result, broad public support exists for the concept of open space protection; however, translating that general support into specific programs with the necessary financial resources is a different issue.
Integrating the different perspectives and needs of communities and citizens in a way that will improve their quality of life presents an exciting challenge and opportunity for Colorado Open Lands.
As a result of the ongoing development pressures in the Northern Front Range, significant changes are occurring. These changes include:
Colorado Open Lands strives to protect active family farms, thereby preserving the land as well as the long-term continuation of each property’s agricultural use. As a result of the combined conservation efforts of Colorado Open Lands, local landowners, city and county governments, other local land trusts, businesses, and the State, we are:
Our partners in the Northern Front Range include:
Your support is critical to our ongoing success in helping willing Colorado landowners preserve and protect the great natural, cultural, and working landscapes of Colorado. You can help support this project and Colorado Open Lands’ ongoing efforts by:
Working in conjunction with local landowners, the Towns of Berthoud, Mead and other local municipalities, Larimer County, State Parks, and the Legacy Land Trust, we have collectively protected 1,921 acres through 13 projects. These projects represent the preservation of multi-generational family farms, river corridors, high-visibility scenic areas, and wildlife habitat.
Ninety-nine percent of our revenue goes directly to our land conservation programs.