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Flatiron Freddy Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

The new year means a new mode of travel for Flatiron Freddy – Boulder’s very own meteorological marmot 

Flatiron Freddy, a stuffed marmot, standing in the snow

Flatiron Freddy – Boulder’s top-hat-wearing, stuffed marmot – predicted today that we will see six more weeks of winter. Freddy made the prediction as part of an annual Groundhog Day celebration with City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) rangers. 

Because Freddy is a bit shy, Dave Gustafson, a lead ranger for OSMP, had to coax him out of his burrow. There he found a ticket and, strangely, a blueprint for a gondola – something the city is exploring as a means for public transportation. Freddy did not disappoint, arriving soon after by gondola from the roof of the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage. 

The celebration was followed by coffee, snacks and a hike around the cottage, while rangers shared more about the history of Groundhog Day. They also talked about the importance of marmots and other rodents and how they’re being impacted by climate change. 

 

The legacy of Flatiron Freddy 

About 10 years ago, Flatiron Freddy existed peacefully as a deceased, stuffed yellow-bellied marmot (a close relative to the groundhog) in Boulder's Flagstaff Nature Center.  

When the center closes for the winter, mounts are typically stored until the spring. But that winter, Freddy was inadvertently left out, and his fur damaged. He was placed in the garbage, but Gustafson felt he deserved more.  

"When I saw him there I thought of the reduce, reuse, recycle principles the city has instilled in all its employees,” said Gustafson. “I pulled him out of the garbage, gave him a top hat and cape to cover his wounds, and Flatiron Freddy was born (or ... reborn)." 

Since then Freddy has made his way out of his burrow each year in various ways, such as skiing down a trail, driving a car out of his burrow, and even by zip line in a canoe. It’s up to OSMP rangers to interpret Freddy’s weather forecast.  

It’s a quirky, uniquely Boulder tradition that continues year after year. 

 

Celebrate with OSMP

Want to get to know Flatiron Freddy's colleagues? The City of Boulder invites community members to an event Thursday, Feb. 20 to celebrate the completion of the city’s first-ever Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Master Plan and to invite and encourage community participation in the plan’s implementation.

During this event, OSMP staff will thank community members and partners for their involvement in developing the Master Plan, which the Boulder City Council accepted last September and will guide the management of the city’s open space over the next decade and beyond. 

Published: Feb. 2, 2020