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. 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.

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

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. 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.

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

Have a specific question for the project team? Submit it here.

Q&A

  • Why aren't people allowed to ride human-powered bicycles anywhere at Button Rock?

    rmhackett asked 8 months ago

    Hi there,

    Per Button Rock Preserve's rules and regulations, bikes are not allowed on the premises. Nearby areas that do allow bikes include Hall Ranch and Heil Valley Ranch. 

    To stay engaged in the management plan process, please sign up for email updates on this main page. We appreciate you reaching out.

  • What were the E.coli levels in Ralph Price reservoir prior to the city changing regulations at Button Rock allowing only one dog per visitor?

    Ruby asked 7 months ago

    Ruby,

    If the interim dog restrictions are having an effect on E. coli levels in Ralph Price Reservoir, our water quality testing is not sensitive enough to pick up on a change at this fine scale in a water body this large.

    To stay engaged in the management plan process, please sign up for email updates on this main page. We appreciate you reaching out.

  • Can the Sleepy Lion Trail at Button Rock off-leash dog area be reinstated? I was so disappointed finding the leash only sign. For over 40 years I've enjoyed the peace of our back trails, and held respect for our beautiful Colorado. I have just one friendly dog. Would you please consider allowing off-leash at Sleepy Lion Trail for dogs?

    Kathleen1 asked 4 months ago

    Kathleen,

    City Council has passed an interim ‘dogs on leash, one dog per person’ rule while the Button Rock Management Plan is ongoing. No permanent decisions about dogs have been made or will be made until the management planning is complete at the end of 2020. 

    To stay engaged in the management plan process, please sign up for email updates on this main page. 

    We appreciate your understanding as we develop a plan that works for all!

  • If I am some one who is a serious permit purchasing fisherman at the reservoir for the past five years when will myself and others know what changes lie in store for 2020?

    mitchell301 asked 4 months ago

    The plan process is ongoing in 2020 so any changes to permitting would not start until 2021 at the earliest. If there are changes to the permitting system for 2021 or beyond, City of Longmont will notify people through our website or residents can also check with CPW.

    Thank You,

    Danielle