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Caring for Button Rock Preserve, Upcoming Changes for Visitors & Four-Legged Friends
The City of Longmont is kicking off a multi-year project to develop a foundational plan for long-term, sustainable, and adaptive management of Button Rock Preserve resources. Public engagement will be a key component of this management plan process.
Button Rock Preserve is located seven miles west of the Town of Lyons in the lower montane foothills of the St. Vrain Creek watershed. A section of the North St. Vrain Creek runs through the eastern third of the Preserve and elevations range from 6,000 feet to almost 7,500 feet. The City of Longmont purchased the Preserve primarily to protect and maintain the main municipal drinking water source for Longmont and Lyons.
As Button Rock was acquired, the City designed for visitor use and passive recreation at a level of between 5,000 – 7,000 visitors per year. Today, as more people live in and visit the area, Button Rock Preserve sees upwards of 60,000 visitors annually. This increase in visitor use impacts Preserve resources and infrastructure and makes protecting the reservoirs, surrounding ecosystems, and other resources more difficult.
The City of Longmont is working on a Button Rock Preserve Management Plan now because it is an opportunity to gather data about Preserve resources. Evaluating the state of existing resources will provide the context needed to assess visitor use as well as Preserve rules and regulations that were developed in the 1990s and make sure they match up with current Preserve management needs.
Because of concerns for the health of the watershed, Longmont City Council directed staff to implement new rules requiring all dogs be on leash when in the Preserve and allowing only one dog per visitor. These new rules go into effect on May 1, 2019. The rules will remain in place until the final Button Rock Preserve Management Plan is adopted at the end of this project. Research, feedback and findings in development of that plan will be used to determine the future dog visitation policy.
Visit Engage.LongmontColorado.gov/button-rock-preserve to learn, share, listen, discuss, comment and participate in this important project!