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Boulder Star Closure to Remain in Effect; Fencing to Be Installed in the Area

The Boulder Chamber will relight the Boulder Star on Wednesday, Nov. 11, to celebrate Veterans Day.

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) will continue an existing closure around the Boulder Star on Flagstaff Mountain and will replace temporary fencing with reinforced wood fencing in the area. These actions seek to help restore vegetative growth in the mostly barren Boulder Star area and come amid ongoing safety and ecological concerns, along with COVID-19 precautions to discourage large group gatherings.

No designated trail currently leads to the Boulder Star, which sees large gatherings during the winter. The star is located on steep terrain that has sustained significant plant and erosion damage because of increasing visitation – leading to numerous wildlife habitat disturbances.

The Boulder Chamber plans to relight the Boulder Star on Flagstaff Mountain on Wednesday, Nov. 11, to celebrate Veterans Day. Community members will be able to enjoy the livestream ceremony via the Boulder Chamber’s YouTube channel. The city recognizes that hiking to the Boulder Star during the winter has been an enjoyable experience for many community members. As Boulder businesses continue to experience challenges from COVID-19, the city and the Chamber highly encourage open space visitors to support Boulder restaurants and small businesses and “view the star under the stars" at a restaurant rooftop or outdoor dining experience.

The city will work in partnership with the Boulder Chamber and the broader community to update long-term management guidance for how members of the public can experience and enjoy the Boulder Star. In 2021, the department anticipates announcing opportunities for the public to participate in that process.

For the short term, compounding ecological and safety concerns have led OSMP to erect more stable fencing in the area and to continue a COVID-19-related closure the city instituted in late March to discourage gatherings in the area. Ecological and safety concerns beyond COVID-19 that have led to this closure extension and permanent fence include:

  • Increasing visitor use on undeveloped, “undesignated trails” over the decades has led to significant plant damage and erosion in the area.
  • The area’s steep slope and loose soils have resulted in vegetation damage and pose risks to visitors who hike up the slope during snowy and rainy conditions.
  • Illegal activity – such as drinking, smoking and vandalism – has left the area littered with broken glass and trash.
  • Risks to pedestrians who need to cross Flagstaff Drive near a blind curve to access the Boulder Star area. These risks increase during snowy and rainy conditions – and especially at night.
  • Wildlife habitat closure violations near the Boulder Star area.

OSMP anticipates that the fencing in the Boulder Star area will be built in November. Visitors entering the Boulder Star closure area can face up to a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail.

Media Contacts:
Phillip Yates, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, 303-349-2438
Maye Cordero, Director of Marketing & Events, Boulder Chamber, 303-938-2091

Published: Oct. 20, 2020