As a result of support from the Fort Collins community and the Pulliam Charitable Trust, the popular Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, reopened on Saturday, September 18. All trails will be open, and visitors must stay on trails, dogs are not allowed. High visitation is expected so visitors are encouraged to check parking availability on the webcam at fcgov.com/naturalareas/status.
On October 17, 2020, the Cameron Peak Fire burned 80% of the Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. The wildfire burned grassland, shrub, and forest habitat while damaging infrastructures such as bridges, trails, and small portions of historic buildings. Bobcat Ridge has been closed since the fire.
Since the Cameron Peak Fire, the Natural Areas Department and community volunteers have worked hard to restore and repair Bobcat Ridge. Burned trees adjacent to trails were removed, bridges and boardwalks were reconstructed, Valley Loop trails were reconstructed after being washed out by several flash floods, and all trails underwent routine maintenance. Several visitor amenities were improved including the addition of parking spots, a new vehicle exit road before the horse trailer parking area, and a new equestrian ramp near the historic cabin.
To aid with the recovery process, Bobcat Ridge Natural Area will be an on-trail-only natural area. This will both keep visitors safe and allow vegetation a chance to recover.
Ecological restoration has begun and will continue over the next several years. The Natural Areas Department is monitoring and managing the burned area by restoring native grassland, removing invasive plants, and reseeding with native species to improve habitat for native wildlife and pollinators.
The Cameron Peak Fire also burned over a legacy dumpsite. The dump (located in an area closed to the public) will be cleaned up as required by a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment compliance advisory. Full mechanical removal of the undocumented dumpsite will take about six weeks and restoration of the area will follow.
The Natural Areas Department extends special thanks to the Pulliam Charitable Trust for providing grant funding and to the community for their support of natural areas!