City and State of Colorado designate new State Natural Area on city-managed open space because of its rich plant and wildlife biodiversity.

The City of Boulder and Colorado's Natural Areas Program have designated 1,470 acres of city open space south of the Flatirons Vista Trailhead and west of Colorado Highway 93 as a new "State Natural Area." The Colorado Natural Areas Program is a statewide program focused on the recognition and protection of areas that contain at least one unique or high-quality natural feature of statewide significance.

The new Coal Creek Tallgrass Prairie State Natural Area contains large undisturbed areas of prairie grassland vegetation, along with plant communities that are rarely found where the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plans meet. The area is also home to several species the state has identified as having "greatest conservation need" in the state, such as grasshopper sparrows, golden eagles, prairie falcons and the Northern Leopard Frog. While the area is closed, OSMP does invite the public on guided hikes in the area.

The state has also expanded the following State Natural Areas on OSMP-managed land:

  • The Colorado Tallgrass Prairie State Natural Area, located east and west of Highway 93 south of Boulder, highlights tallgrass prairiew, which once covered hundreds of millions of acres in the Great Plains and is now nearly all gone. The area is home to rare plant species and many animals that the state and Open Space and Mountain Parks work together to help protect, including burrowing owls, grasshopper sparrows, northern leopard frogs and the Preble's jumping mice.

  • The White Rocks State Natural Area, located east of Valmont and 75th streets. The unique rock formations are home to rare and critically imperiled plant species. The area is also a sensitive wildlife area, habitat for species that are considered “species of greatest conservation need” by the state. Most of the natural area is only open to public hikes led by OSMP staff. However, part of this can be accessed through the East Boulder-White Rocks Trail.

The rich biodiversity in Boulder open space has led Colorado to designate two other OSMP areas as State Natural areas:

  • The Boulder Mountain Park Natural Area, which includes diverse mountain areas west of the Chautauqa Meadow and on Flagstaff Mountain.

  • The South Boulder Creek Natural Area located along the South Boulder Creek corridor southeast of the city and is accessible the South Boulder Creek Trail.

Learn more State Natural Areas on Open Space and Mountain Parks-managed lands.