Property Management Executive Summary by obr77693


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									Executive Summary


                Jefferson County Open Space Mission

To provide a living resource of open space lands and waters throughout
Jefferson County for the physical, psychological, recreational and social
             enjoyment of present and future generations.
Executive Summary: Pine Valley Ranch Park Management
Park Location and Description
Pine Valley Ranch Park (PVR) is located in the southern part of Jefferson County, just
west of the town of Pine.

The North Fork of the South Platte River bisects the park diagonally from the northwest
to the southeast, and defines the character of the park. The valley area, home to two
federally-listed threatened species, is heavily used for recreation, social gatherings, and
both natural and cultural interpretation, while the remainder of the park is steep, rocky
and forested.

Park Vision
The vision for the management of this park is to provide visitors year-round access to
the richly diverse cultural and natural resources so abundant at Pine Valley Ranch Park,
while protecting the park’s fragile resources. The objective is to balance the public’s
present level of access to the park’s natural resources with increased access to the
varied cultural resources derived from the property’s historic uses. Pine Valley Ranch
Park is a microcosm of Colorado’s history during the 19th and 20th centuries, and
provides myriad interpretive opportunities.

Pine Valley Ranch Park has two management unit designations, each emphasizing
different priorities for the provision of recreational opportunities and protection of the
park’s resources.

The Parkland Recreation Area includes those areas that emphasize the amenities to
serve the needs of the park’s visitors. This area includes the parking lots; ranger’s
residence; Baehr Lodge; picnic shelters; a warming shelter for ice skating; picnic areas
and shelters; gazebo; the “Depot” information station; restrooms; observatory; concrete
trail; a section of the river; as well as Pine Lake and its associated facilities. This area
offers ADA accessibility, including accessible fishing piers. This Parkland Recreation
Area also serves as a trailhead for access to an extensive trail network located in the
Pike National Forest. Any areas connected to possible future amenities, such as
increased use of the Lodge, will come under the Parkland Recreation Area designation.

The Natural Area management unit comprises most of the park’s acreage and is
managed primarily for the protection of the park’s natural resources and its natural
surface trail opportunities.

A Sensitive Area has not been designated in this park. However, the park contains
some very critical habitat that must be managed accordingly. Pine Valley’s Parkland
Recreation Area and, to a lesser extent, its Natural Area contain habitat and populations

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Revised 2006
of two federally-listed threatened species, the Pawnee montane skipper and the
Preble’s meadow jumping mouse. In order to protect these two species, the sensitive
habitat within the Parkland Area as well as the Natural Area will be monitored and
maintained to an acceptable level for the species.

Natural and Cultural Resources
Natural resources of note for this park include steep, rocky and forested hillsides
composed largely of granitic soils that are highly erosive; 17.5 acres of wet meadow; a
valley floor dominated by Pine Lake; and the North Fork of the South Platte River. Two
species are federally-listed as threatened, the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse and the
Pawnee montane skipper butterfly. Habitat for these species includes the valley floor
and the lightly forested hillsides. In addition to these species, Pine Valley Ranch also
contains habitat for elk, bobcat, deer, bears, and mountain lions. Significant fisheries
exist in Pine Lake, and in the North Fork of the South Platte River.

Cultural resources for the park consist of Baehr Lodge, a restored observatory, a
gazebo (“pagoda”), the narrow gauge railroad bed, and other traces of a ranch that was
fully operational until after World War II. Baehr Lodge is the focal point of the cultural
tapestry that Pine Valley Ranch represents.

Visitation and Use Trends
Pine Valley Ranch Park receives approximately 36,600 visitors annually. Pine Valley’s
group picnic shelters are generally reserved (through a paid reservation) for nearly
every Saturday and Sunday from May through September.

Park Services’ records indicate that Pine Valley Ranch Park attracts by far the greatest
number of large groups of all Open Space parks, despite being the Open Space park
furthest from Metro Denver. Future visitation to the park is likely to be even higher if
Pine Valley’s facilities are expanded. Staff believes that a strong market exists for those
expanded facilities, particularly if they were to include opportunities for more year-round

Park Capacity
Pine Valley Ranch Park can accommodate a maximum of 180 cars between its three
parking lots. Including non-motorized access to the area, this equates to approximately
515 visitors at any one time on the park.

Many of Pine Valley’s visitors use the property as an access point for longer outings into
the Pike National Forest. Consequently, although the parking lots may be at capacity,
the park itself may not have reached capacity. Also, the high number of large group
activities held at Pine Valley Ranch Park and the associated concentrated use in the
core Parkland area may give a false impression of a park that has exceeded its
capacity. The collection of further data is necessary to draw meaningful conclusions.

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Revised 2006
Management Units
Open Space lands are classified into management units according to ecosystem and
cultural resource protection requirements, and their capability and suitability to provide
opportunities for visitor experiences.

Open Space staff have adopted three land classifications:

   1) Sensitive Areas are those that are very special, fragile, and highly valued for
      their natural or cultural features. A Sensitive Area in this park has not been
   2) Natural Areas are relatively large areas where ecological processes dominate
      and humans can typically experience a sense of solitude and remoteness. The
      Natural Area management unit at Pine Valley Ranch Park comprises most of the
      park’s acreage and is managed for the protection of the park’s natural resources
      and its natural surface trail opportunities.
   3) Parkland Recreation Areas provide opportunities for a wide variety of passive
      outdoor recreation experiences while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the
      natural resources. The Parkland Recreation Area includes those areas that
      emphasize the amenities to serve the needs of the park’s visitors. At Pine Valley
      Ranch Park this area covers approximately 25 acres.

Park Operations
On-site management of Pine Valley Ranch Park is predominantly the responsibility of
Open Space’s Park Services section. The Park Services section and each its
subsections utilizes operational documents to guide their management activities. A list
of these documents can be found in Appendix B.

Park Issues and Management Approaches
Attached is the Concept Plan, Appendix A, and the Management Directions (a portion of
Chapter IV) which briefly describes the major issues that have been identified by Open
Space staff and the management approaches selected to respond to those issues.

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Revised 2006

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