Mechanical Forest Restoration
Banner Image for Antelope Park Forest Health Project

Antelope Park Forest Health Project

Total Project Area: 3,000 acres

Land managers from City of Longmont, Colorado State Forest Service, and Boulder County are collaborating on a forest restoration project in and around Button Rock Preserve. Ralph Price Reservoir, located in the preserve, is a crucial water resource for much of Boulder County, and this work will help mitigate risk from future wildfires to everyone who relies on the reservoir for their drinking water.

Project Objectives

  • Objective 1 – Water Quality: Button Rock Preserve’s primary Objective shall be maintaining and operating the Preserve as a healthy and resilient landscape that provides a reliable, clean water supply to the people of Longmont.
  • Objective 2 – Natural Disturbance & Disaster Resiliency: The Button Rock Preserve landscape shall be maintained in a manner that is resilient to natural disturbances and disasters.
  • Objective 3 – Healthy Forest Matrix Ecosystem: The uplands of Button Rock Preserve shall be restored to and maintained as a healthy forest matrix that is functionally equivalent to a forest with an appropriate and functional fire regime.
  • Objective 4 – Recovered, Resilient, and Healthy River System: North St. Vrain Creek shall be managed as a functioning, healthy ecosystem.

The project prescription will be guided by the Button Rock Preserve Forest Stewardship Plan and consultation with Colorado State Forest Service. The prescription will entail mechanical treatment to create clumps, openings, and edge habitat, and remove ladder fuels and slash per CSFS best management practices. Firewood sales will be conducted on Hall Ranch Open Space through an IGA with Boulder County Parks & Open Space at a nominal cost to the public.

The Antelope Park Project will lessen the chances of catastrophic wildfire to Longmont’s water supply, Longmont and Ralph Price reservoirs, and infrastructure both by a direct burn and through erosion and sedimentation pollution, which would be difficult and costly to mitigate and would negatively impact downstream users. The project will protect the Cottonwood Gulch subwatershed which drains into Longmont Reservoir and improve defensible space along Longmont Dam Road, the preserve’s sole emergency egress.

You can read more about the Button Rock Forest Stewardship Plan here.

Email Pryce Hadley, Senior Watershed Ranger, Button Rock Preserve