Dickens Farm Nature Area is on a 52-acre site located between Main and Martin Streets along the St. Vrain Creek. It is bordered by Boston Avenue to the north. It will be a trailhead for the St. Vrain Greenway trail system.
- Work on portions of the nature area in and around the St. Vrain Creek began in early 2017. This work is being done in coordination with construction on Resilient St. Vrain, the City’s extensive, multi-year undertaking to fully restore the St. Vrain Greenway and improve the St. Vrain Creek channel to protect people and property from future flooding.
- Work on the remaining nature area improvements are anticipated to begin in late 2018, with completion estimated for late spring 2019.
This project has been funded for construction.
Plans & Reports
The original master plan for Dickens Farm Nature Area was adopted by City Council in July 2013. The flooding that occurred in September 2013 altered the site, making a master plan update necessary. The Master Plan Update was presented and approved by the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board on Aug. 11, 2014, and reviewed by City Council on Aug. 26, 2014. The 2017 Master Plan graphic reflects changes made to the nature area's site as the design of Resilient St. Vrain project work in the area evolved.
Nature Area Design Highlights
- A centrally located parking lot with access from Boston Avenue, as well as on-street parking
- Additional trails to new program areas and for recreation
- Put-in and take-out areas to access the creek using boats and tubes
- Slower-moving water play areas
- Passive recreation areas
- Restroom facilities
- A bike skills trail for beginners on easy rolling terrain and built with various trail materials
- Nature playground area and nature play discovery trail with an ADA-accessible, nature-themed play area
- Multiple shelter areas, including a medium-sized group shelter
- Historical and environmental interpretation areas (including information on the Dickens family, pond ecology, and native fish)
- Native grasses planted throughout much of the nature area
- Areas that will improve water quality before it reaches the creek
- Habitat areas for more environmental diversity
Previous Master Plan Versions
Project Background Information
The name Dickens Farm Park was adopted by the City Council at its July 9, 2013, meeting. Dickens was the original homesteader for the property and was a founding father to Longmont. It was updated to Dickens Farm Nature Area in 2016.
- This site (Pavlakis Open Space) was originally master planned in 2001 as part of the St. Vrain Greenway Master Plan, East Corridor Update. The site was identified for trailhead and passive park purposes and also included a proposed Whitewater Park.
- A Recreational In Channel Diversion (RICD) was obtained by the City in 2004 to retain water in the creek for this boating amenity.
- Site condition changes since the time of the original master plan include:
- Boston Avenue now crosses the property's north end
- Dog parks are no longer considered compatible within this nature area setting
- Shared parking and restroom facilities with the adjacent Fire Training Center are no longer possible because of the Boston Avenue roadway
The St. Vrain Creek is unique from other nearby creeks. Although all are transitional streams (from mountain to plains), they are now very different in terms of fish that inhabit the creeks. The St. Vrain Creek within Longmont has 21 different fish, including 13 native species. "Transition zone” rivers have cooler temperatures than in the downstream plains area, yet are warmer than in the upstream mountainous areas. The stream channel in the transition zone generally features a meandering channel and has a relatively flatter grade.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has conducted fish sampling in Longmont's creek. This sampling found the following species that are protected by the State of Colorado:
- Iowa Darter - State listed Species of Concern
- Stonecat - State listed Species of Concern
- Common Shiner - State listed Threatened Species
Project Manager: Steve Ransweiler
Project Location: 361 Martin Street (north of the St. Vrain Creek between Main and Martin Streets)
Listen as Senior Project Manager Steve Ransweiler provides an update on the nature area during a November 2016 Bike & Learn event in the 4-minute video below.