Caring for Button Rock Preserve

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Within this walk-in only preserve you will find Longmont and Ralph Price Reservoirs along the North Saint Vrain Creek. Longmont manages this natural watershed and reservoirs to preserve the resource and provide storage for the City's Water Utility.

Overview

Button Rock Preserve is located 7 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. The area also functions as a nature preserve to protect the fragile watershed and allow limited passive recreational opportunities.

Today, the Preserve is more than 3,000 acres and public recreation activities include passive recreational activities such as fishing, fly-fishing, rock climbing, hiking, wildlife observation, and dog walking.

Visitation and Use of the Preserve

As visitation continues to increase, the need to balance resource protection with passive recreation has become critical. Visitation policies were developed starting in the 1960s and 1970s and were substantially updated in the 1990s. We are evaluating current regulations to determine if they still align with the Preserve’s present-day management needs. Through the Caring for Button Rock Preserve project, a management plan will be developed and adopted as a foundation for long-term sustainable, adaptive management of Preserve resources based on best available information.

Visitation Through the Years

In 2021, the Preserve received more than four times the number of annual visitors than it did in 2000.

  • 1988: 3,200 people
  • 2000: 13,000 people
  • 2012: 31,000 people
  • 2020: 71,000 people
  • 2021: 58,000 people

The Button Rock Management Plan

The Button Rock Management Plan will provide specific management direction in the areas of:

  • natural and cultural resource protection
  • water quality protection
  • existing infrastructure and improvements
  • recreation
  • rules and regulations

Overview

Button Rock Preserve is located 7 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. The area also functions as a nature preserve to protect the fragile watershed and allow limited passive recreational opportunities.

Today, the Preserve is more than 3,000 acres and public recreation activities include passive recreational activities such as fishing, fly-fishing, rock climbing, hiking, wildlife observation, and dog walking.

Visitation and Use of the Preserve

As visitation continues to increase, the need to balance resource protection with passive recreation has become critical. Visitation policies were developed starting in the 1960s and 1970s and were substantially updated in the 1990s. We are evaluating current regulations to determine if they still align with the Preserve’s present-day management needs. Through the Caring for Button Rock Preserve project, a management plan will be developed and adopted as a foundation for long-term sustainable, adaptive management of Preserve resources based on best available information.

Visitation Through the Years

In 2021, the Preserve received more than four times the number of annual visitors than it did in 2000.

  • 1988: 3,200 people
  • 2000: 13,000 people
  • 2012: 31,000 people
  • 2020: 71,000 people
  • 2021: 58,000 people

The Button Rock Management Plan

The Button Rock Management Plan will provide specific management direction in the areas of:

  • natural and cultural resource protection
  • water quality protection
  • existing infrastructure and improvements
  • recreation
  • rules and regulations
  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Survey was open from Monday, Feb. 7 until Monday, Feb. 21. View Survey Results

    Staff is recommending the below language for the final update of the Code 13.20.060 for Button Rock Preserve. Please provide your level of agreement with the language proposed and any comments you have. 

    Purpose of the Code:

    • Current RegulationNo purpose currently set forth in the Button Rock Preserve code section. 
    • Staff Recommended UpdateThe purpose of this section is to protect, preserve, conserve, restore, and sustain Button Rock Preserve’s municipal drinking water storage and supply, native ecosystems, wildlife habitat, and cultural resources in perpetuity; to support Preserve management and enhance the ecological function of Button Rock Preserve’s natural systems as well as the greater St. Vrain Creek Watershed in which it presides; and to prescribe areas suitable for passive use in addition to areas closed for resource protection, facility protection, or public safety. 
    • The Reason for Changing: Defining the purpose of Longmont’s Button Rock Preserve provides context and justification to the regulations set forth below. 

    Regulations:

    • Current Regulation: Within Button Rock Preserve as described in subsection 13.20.020.A.5, in addition to the regulations set forth in section 13.20.050, it is unlawful to: 
    • Staff Recommended Update: In addition to the regulations set forth in 13.20.050, regarding public lands, the following regulations shall apply to Button Rock Preserve: 
    • The Reason for Changing: Updated language does not change the content of this Section. It is an introduction for the information presented in Sections C. through N. 
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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    View final survey results here.

    The third survey was conducted online. Thank you for providing your input.

    Take Survey
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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    View final survey results here.

    We want to gather some demographics, etc. about how you use Button Rock as we continue to examine the best use(s) for the Preserve. Please take a moment to give us your thoughts! Thank you!

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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    View final survey results here.

    To kick off the Caring for Button Rock Preserve project, we want to get an idea of who is interested in this special area and what you do there.

    Take Survey
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Page last updated: 18 Mar 2022, 01:31 PM