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.

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

Tell your story

As the project team explores what sustainable management of this important property looks like, we need to hear from you. 

Please share your story of what you value most about Button Rock Preserve.

Thank you for providing insights to the Caring for Button Rock project team by submitting your story. It will be one piece of several tools and evaluations to inform development of the Button Rock Preserve Management Plan.

You need to be signed in to share your story.

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    Buttonrock popularity great for tourists; not so much for this Longmont Dam Road resident

    by Regina, 4 months ago

    I'm glad to see city's efforts toward data collection and surveys around sustaining Buttonrock Preserve for wildlife and visitors. If you want to truly understand the total impact, I'd strongly encourage that the data gathering extend to the people who bear the brunt of the explosive growth of traffic; that is the people who live on Longmont Dam Road (LDR).

    As a homeowner on LDR since the 70's, I've experienced all the downsides that come with such popularity:

    On weekends, between 80 - 120 cars per hour driving by
    This number is not large for a highway, but for this... Continue reading

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    No Bikes Period!

    by mitchell301, 11 months ago

    -This is not a Boulder County or City of Boulder Open Space area and it should not be managed like one

    -I ride a road bike on paved roads for exercise so I am not anti-bike

    -Allowing mountain bikes would only compound the access and parking issues that seem to be getting worse

    -As a serious fisherman at the reservoir I not only purchase a permit but also a Colorado fishing license which typically includes a fee for search and rescue

    -Who would pay for frequent ambulance service to the preserve and additional City of Longmont staff needed to rescue... Continue reading

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    Button Rock is a Jewel

    by Mollie28, over 1 year ago

    I became acquainted with Button Rock after it reopened to recreation in July 2015. I have lived in Boulder County and now Longmont for 30 years. Hiking with my dog is one my greatest pleasures but prior to finding Button Rock we only hiked on the Boulder OSMP system where she can be off leash. We hike year round here, often multiple times a week.  I bring out of town guests and family to share this lovely place and never disappoint them with the beauty and accessibility of the area. It is a privilege to have this gem and I... Continue reading

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    Wildlife and fishing

    by fishyerik, over 1 year ago

    I've been fishing Button Rock for 15+ years and the impact of the flood has been facinating to watch.  Yes, the fishing hasn't been as good, but that is nature and we can't control it.  What has been wonderful to see is the positive impact of fewer people in the back reaches of the preserve.  On a recent trip I saw way may deer, elk, and mountain lion sign.  I'm glad to see the animals getting some relief.

    Also, I'll note that bug life is returning to the river...I saw lots of midges and one big stone fly.  Both are... Continue reading

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    Ruination by outsiders

    by Vargabright, over 1 year ago

    Disgusted by the number of non locals that frequent and trash the preserve. Too lazy and entitled to pick up their dog stool and leave bags of pet waste on the trail. Theses non locals have descended on Button Rock en masse. Because of these inconsiderate jerks, an onerous dog policy is in force on May 1, essentially ruining my fishing and outback hiking experience with my two well behaved dogs. Now these people want bikes in the preserve after screwing it up for dog owners. I paid 30 dollars for a fishing permit this year to enjoy the preserve... Continue reading

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    Balanced and Connected

    by Fred, over 1 year ago

    After reading about the management goals, and understanding Button Rock’s  need for balanced use, I would like to propose that stakeholders explore opening some of Button Rock to use by bicyclists as a connector of trail systems in the North St. Vrain area. Considering how active this user group is in maintaining trail systems, I believe this user group would be a valuable addition to Button Rock Preserve. 

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    Regional Trail Connectivity

    by Cdilis, over 1 year ago

    As a Lyons, CO resident, conservationist and environmentalist, I ask staff and the city to consider allowing bicycles to use existing roads and trails within Button Rock Preserve, and to work with the neighboring public lands managers (Boulder County Parks & Open Space and the Forest Service) on connections for people on bikes to their lands.

    For people on bicycles, the Button Rock Preserve is a crucial missing link in regional public lands access from Estes Park to Lyons. Opening such a link would allow people on bikes to ride on trails and Jeep roads from Lyons to the Peak... Continue reading

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    No Bikes at Button Rock Preserve!!

    by Ruby, over 1 year ago

    I do not agree with others posting here.  As a Longmont resident, I do not want bikes at Button Rock.  Keep Button Rock as a preserve without bikes. 

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    Regional trails access needed via Button Rock Preserve

    by rmhackett, over 1 year ago

    As a Longmont resident, conservationist and environmentalist, I ask staff and the city to consider allowing bicycles to use existing roads and trails within Button Rock Preserve, and to work with the neighboring public lands managers (Boulder County Parks & Open Space and the Forest Service) on connections for people on bikes to their lands.For people on bicycles, the Button Rock Preserve is a crucial missing link in regional public lands access from Estes Park to Lyons. Opening such a link would allow people on bikes to ride on trails and Jeep roads from Lyons to the Peak to Peak... Continue reading

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    Regional trails

    by dquince, over 1 year ago

    We need more regional trail connectivity for bikes.