Dear OSMP staff and contractors,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Systems Overview Report and general values, concerns, and hopes for the future for the OSMP program through the Master Planning process. My name is Erica Cooper, and I am a career botanist/ecologist who is currently the Boulder Chapter President of the Colorado Native Plant Society (CoNPS). I have personally volunteered on OSMP lands as well as organized many field trips, volunteer projects, and educational speakers with help from generous and invaluable OSMP staff members. CoNPS and OSMP have been partners for years, and our organization values the significant conservation and restoration work trusted and intelligent staff members have accomplished over the years.
CoNPS values native plants and communities, and their perpetual protection and conservation under the ownership of the City of Boulder. We were a bit disappointed that the natural resources section of the System Overview report was so short and lacking in any scientific data or summary of data that would allow the average member of the public to make informed decisions on how to conserve habitats and why it’s an important value. We are concerned about the pressure recreationalists put on OSMP to constantly receive access into new areas, fragmenting our native habitats. We hope for the future that OSMP will demonstrate this value shared by so many members of the public by weighing the conservation of native plants and communities more heavily than recreational values.
Other values shared by CoNPS members include rare plants and plant community protection, wetland protection and management, protection of Habitat Conservation Areas, and the preservation of large, undisturbed patches of native habitat. Some threats to these values include human uses (including agricultural activities, water diversions, and recreational), invasive species, and climate change. We hope for OSMP to continue managing invasive species, monitoring the effects of climate change, and monitoring the impacts of recreation on plant communities.
Our final hope for the future is that our trusted staff scientists will be respected and their advice heeded as we work to balance natural world against recreational users. OSMP scientists (including botanists and ecologists) are the best around, and they were hired to be the specialists informing decision makers on important matters concerning native habitats. The average recreational open space user cannot make trade-off judgement decisions because they are simply not specialized in these areas. We must value and listen to our trusted, specialized staff. Recreational users will always want more and better trails but staff knows the price when such access is granted.
Thank you again for considering our comments, and we look forward to participating in each and every step along the way to guide the development of the Master Plan.
Boulder Chapter President
Colorado Native Plant Society