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Dickens Farm Nature Area

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An interactive nature area where the St. Vrain Creek runs right through


The new float course (also referred to as a tubing course or kayak course) on the St. Vrain Creek downstream (east) of Main Street is open to public use for tubing, kayaking and non-motorized small boat use. A designated open water access point at Main Street and takeout points east of Martin Street and at the 119th Street trailhead are marked by signs. (Click the map below to open a larger PDF version that can be downloaded or kept for reference.) Remember that any time you enter the creek, it is at your own risk.

Find answers to frequently asked questions about recreation activities in the St. Vrain Creek >

Graphic showing Water Access and Takeout Points along St Vrain Creek east of Main Street


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 and is a trailhead for the St. Vrain Greenway trail system.

Dickens Farm Nature Area is featured in this post on the Building a Resilient St. Vrain blog >

Project Schedule

  • Work on portions of the nature area in and around the St. Vrain Creek began in early 2017 and was completed in summer 2018. That in-creek work was completed as part of 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 flood risk.
  • Work on the remaining nature area improvements is underway and is expected to last through the summer of 2019.

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

Master Plan

2017 Master Plan for Dickens Farm Nature Area

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. A Master Plan Update was presented and approved by the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and then reviewed by City Council in August 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.

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 Longmont founder. The name was 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

Environmental Concerns

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 Information

Project Manager: Steve Ransweiler

Project Location: 361 Martin Street (north of the St. Vrain Creek between Main and Martin Streets)

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