Caring for Button Rock Preserve

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.

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. The area also functions as a nature preserve to protect the fragile watershed and allow limited passive recreational opportunities.

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

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 1990’s. We are evaluating current regulations to determine if they still align with the Preserve’s present-day management needs.

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. The area also functions as a nature preserve to protect the fragile watershed and allow limited passive recreational opportunities.

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

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 1990’s. We are evaluating current regulations to determine if they still align with the Preserve’s present-day management needs.

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    Talking Together is a discussion forum. Please share your thoughts and comments on this topic respectfully.

    City of Longmont acquired Button Rock Preserve to build out and protect the majority of the drinking water supply for City of Longmont and Town of Lyons. Preserve forests, shrublands, meadows, wetlands, and the North St. Vrain Creek are all managed with this goal in mind and so that Preserve plant communities and wildlife habitats are healthy and resilient when faced with flooding or catastrophic wildfire, thus better protecting Ralph Price and Longmont Reservoirs.

    As Button Rock was acquired, the City envisioned 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. 

    In your opinion, what changes could we make today to improve and protect Button Rock Preserve?

    Talking Together is a discussion forum. Please share your thoughts and comments on this topic respectfully.

    City of Longmont acquired Button Rock Preserve to build out and protect the majority of the drinking water supply for City of Longmont and Town of Lyons. Preserve forests, shrublands, meadows, wetlands, and the North St. Vrain Creek are all managed with this goal in mind and so that Preserve plant communities and wildlife habitats are healthy and resilient when faced with flooding or catastrophic wildfire, thus better protecting Ralph Price and Longmont Reservoirs.

    As Button Rock was acquired, the City envisioned 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. 

    In your opinion, what changes could we make today to improve and protect Button Rock Preserve?
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    As described in the project overview, Button Rock Preserve (the Preserve) is seeing more visitors than ever before. The need to balance resource protection with passive recreation has become critical. 

    A key piece that seems to be influencing the increased visitation is the fact that currently people can bring their dogs to the Preserve and recreate with them in ways that other watersheds, preserves, open spaces and parks do not allow. 

    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.

    Please share your thoughts and comments on this topic respectfully.

    As described in the project overview, Button Rock Preserve (the Preserve) is seeing more visitors than ever before. The need to balance resource protection with passive recreation has become critical. 

    A key piece that seems to be influencing the increased visitation is the fact that currently people can bring their dogs to the Preserve and recreate with them in ways that other watersheds, preserves, open spaces and parks do not allow. 

    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.

    Please share your thoughts and comments on this topic respectfully.

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