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NIST Protected Area Trails


The City of Boulder (the City) holds a Protected Area Easement on about 103 acres of the NIST campus and is responsible for maintenance of the Protected Area by a memorandum of understanding between the City and NIST. In response to concerns of environmental impacts from erosion, trail sustainability and visitor safety, identified by NIST, OSMP will be implementing a multi-phased project to address these concerns.

Phase I began in the fall and winter of 2014 and includes the following actions:

  • OSMP and NIST will work to create a plan for a designated trail system and present the options for public feedback.
  • Widen a pedestrian path that goes around the lower NIST vehicle gate on Kusch Road (complete). 
  • Fix the vehicle gate and install a pedestrian gate at the boundary of NIST and OSMP at the top of Kusch Road (complete).

Phase II will begin in 2015 and will include the following actions:

  • Evaluate the options to cross Skunk Creek that are sustainable.
  • Construct two new, sustainable trails which will connect the Greenways multiple-use path to the NIST Service Road (Kusch road). Two existing social trails will remain open during construction allowing visitors to make that connection. These undesignated trails will be closed and restored once the new trail connections are complete.  
  • The remaining undesignated trails between the Greenways multiple-use path and Kusch Road will be actively closed and restored. 
  • Install the Anderson Ditch Crossing.

Phase III will begin in 2016 and will include the following actions:

  • Install permanent signs showing the designated trail system and regulations for visitor use while on NIST.
  • Determine the trails that will be designated between Skunk Creek and Broadway. Conduct necessary work on the designated trails and take actions to close and restore the remaining undesignated trails.
  • Designate trail connections to Four Pines open space and from Four Pines to Kohler Mesa (across NIST).


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