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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: October 21, 2019

North Star public survey underway

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails has launched an online survey to seek public input as the department prepares to update the North Star Nature Preserve Management Plan.

The survey went live on Monday morning, Oct. 21, at www.pitkinOSTprojects.com (click on the North Star link). It will close Jan. 6, 2020.

Pitkin County Commissioners adopted an updated management plan for North Star in 2015. That plan is to be updated every five years. Open Space and Trails is seeking public feedback for a planning process that will extend into spring of 2020. The newly updated plan is tentatively scheduled for adoption in May 2020.

The survey asks respondents about the conditions they experience and/or hope to find at North Star and asks them to rate their experiences. The survey also poses questions about what activities respondents pursue at the nature preserve and how often, at what time of day and in what seasons of the year. There are also questions about how respondents get to and from the property, and the survey quizzes respondents about the rules at North Star, among other questions.

North Star Nature Preserve near Aspen is comprised of about 240 acres bordered by Hwy. 82 and divided by the meandering Roaring Fork River. The preserve provides important wildlife habitat and most of the property, west of the river, is off-limits to people. The strip of land between the river and the highway offers only limited access. Most users visit North Star by floating through on the river.

The 2015 Management Plan for the property called for balancing the ecological values of the area with recreational/community use. Management efforts over the past five years have included a trail closure; restoration projects; commercial operator permitting; education and outreach through interpretive signage and sponsorship of ACES naturalist programming; discouraging the use of tubes in favor of more robust water vessels to mitigate litter and trespassing; installation of bicycle parking, trailhead and regulatory signage, including establishing “quiet zones” through private property areas and wildlife zones; and additional Open Space and Trails ranger staff and funding of forest protection officers.

Open Space and Trails staff will be using responses to the survey and other stakeholder input, as well as vegetation and wildlife studies, to help draft the updated management plan. OST anticipates releasing the new draft plan in February 2020 for a second round of public comment.

Contact: Lindsey Utter, Open Space and Trails Planning and Outreach Manager - lindsey.utter@pitkincounty.com or 970-920-5224

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