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Open Space and Mountain Parks Master Plan

Open Space and Mountain Parks Master Plan

Final Draft of OSMP Master Plan, with Minor Modifications, Recommended for City Council Acceptance by the Open Space Board of Trustees and Planning Board

To all those who love and protect Boulder’s open space system, thank you. The Open Space Board of Trustees and Planning Board have recommended that City Council accept the OSMP Master Plan with minor modifications. The Final Plan, including the minor modifications from OSBT, will be released on August 22 and considered by City Council on September 3. Members of the public can share final comments on the plan at the City Council meeting on September 3.

Following City Council’s final acceptance of plan content this fall, we will prepare an illustrative document to bring our shared vision to life, as well as staff work plans to make it real. 

Final Draft of OSMP Master Plan

The final draft of the OSMP Master Plan was recommended, with minor modifications, to City Council for acceptance by the OSBT on July 31, 2019 and by Planning Board on August 1, 2019.

To see community feedback that has informed the final draft of the plan visit our What We’ve Heard page.

First Draft of OSMP Master Plan

The first draft of the OSMP Master Plan reflected more than 10,000 public comments and input from thousands of community members. It was then revised with additional feedback we heard during the final engagement window.

To see community feedback that has informed the draft plan visit our What We’ve Heard page.

About the Master Plan

For nearly 120 years, generations of Boulder residents have created an innovative public land legacy in building the city’s 45,630-acre open space system. Help us to continue and improve on that proud legacy by creating an inclusive, community-based master plan to guide the management of our community’s open space over the next decade and beyond.

The Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Master Plan will shape the City of Boulder’s approach to future stewardship questions, such as: How to continue conservation of natural, cultural and scenic areas while also providing enjoyable visitor experiences, how to address population growth with increased visitation, and how the city will make its natural areas more resilient amid climate change.

Community feedback during the first and second windows of engagement, OSMP purposes in the City Charter, and the department’s System Overview Report led to the development and City Council approval of focus areas- or management themes- which will help provide a foundation for the development of draft OSMP Master Plan strategies. During the third window of engagement OSMP shared preliminary Master Plan outcomes and strategies related to four Master Plan focus areas: Ecosystem Health and Resilience; Responsible Recreation, Stewardship and Enjoyment; Community Connection, Education and Inclusion; and Agriculture – Today and Tomorrow. OSMP kick-started community conversations about desired results for city open space and how the city can achieve them by sharing staff-generated preliminary outcomes and strategies derived from community feedback, existing OSMP policies, and best practices in managing open space and public lands. 

OSMP used community feedback as well as input from staff and the Open Space Board of Trustees to develop revised Master Plan strategies. During the fourth window of engagement community input and results from a statistically valid survey informed how these draft strategies will be integrated across the focus areas and compared against three funding scenarios and financial sustainability strategies. 

Read our System Overview Report to review the state of your Boulder open space. Sign up for email updates on the Master Plan.

Why develop a Master Plan?

For decades, the City of Boulder has worked to preserve and improve its open space through a series of management plans. However, current and future trends require a more comprehensive approach. For example, there is less land available for acquisition in the Boulder Valley. Open space sales tax increments that fund acquisitions are scheduled to sunset or decease over time. Population in the Front Range is growing, and increasing visitor use and carrying capacity are topics that open space areas along the Front Range are beginning to address. In addition, many youths are becoming more sedentary, with more children growing up without a connection to nature. At the same time, climate change and invasive species are affecting OSMP’s ability to conserve important landscapes, and resilience to wildfires and flooding is a focus for the City of Boulder and other communities along the Front Range. We also live in a diverse world and we recognize the need to be more inclusive, welcoming all who live in our community.

In addressing these topics, the OSMP Master Plan will create a community-supported management plan for the future and satisfy citywide expectations that master plans have been developed to guide service delivery.

What will the Master Plan accomplish?

Community members’ input will be used to address management topics, helping the city to:

  • Focus OSMP’s operations around key management topics and measures of success.
  • Define and prioritize strategies that will help OSMP fulfill open space purposes as defined in the Boulder City Charter.
  • Build community understanding that compromises and a balanced approach are important to establish management priorities that are inclusive and equitable.
  • Develop financial scenarios to anticipate future funding over the long term.
  • Help to confirm, refine and add new management approaches, including recommendations to update existing plans, and to pursue new planning and design efforts that align OSMP’s services with broad guidance in the Master Plan.

The OSMP Master Plan will not include site-specific recommendations, such as the exact placement of trails or facilities or allowable activities or visitor-use levels for specific locations. Updated or new plans that emerge after the Master Plan will provide more specific, on-the-ground guidance. The OSMP Master Plan will not recommend changes to open space purposes in the Boulder City Charter. Learn more about the process and engagement plan pdf for the Open Space and Mountain Parks Plan.