The Letter read as follows:
June 3, 2016
Dear Boulder City Council:
We are writing this letter in support of the east-side alignment of the connector trail as proposed in the North Trail Study Project (North TSA). The Colorado Native Plant Society is concerned that critical native plant communities and the wildlife they support will be at extreme risk if the west-side alignment is approved.
The Colorado Native Plant Society (CoNPS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the knowledge, appreciation, and conservation of Colorado native plants and their habitats. We have a local membership of 200 individuals and over 900 members statewide. Our year round programs are open to all and through education; stewardship and advocacy reach wildflower enthusiasts to professional botanists enriching their outdoor experience and respect for the natural world.
Our objection to the west-side alignment of any trail is that is bisects the North Foothills Habitat Conservation Area (HCA). It is one of the few remaining un-fragmented land parcels of the OSMP system providing an intact, continuous habitat that has some of the last mixed grass prairies along the Front Range. As such this community is home to many rare and imperiled native plant species that can only grow in the limestone and shale formations in Boulder and Larimer counties. Disrupting the established environmental balance that this HCA provides with any level of construction will only invite invasive plant species that typically replace the native plants; often permanently.
CoNPS members report that invasive jointed goat grass has already invaded the current “social” trail on this HCA. Changing this “social” trail to an established trail and adding the expected high level of recreational use will only exacerbate the impact of invasive plants….
We ask that the City Council maintain the North Foothills Habitat Conservation Area and approve the east-side alignment of the connector trail. Sacrificing this priceless resource for recreation purposes does not meet the measure of Boulder’s long standing commitment to respecting the natural environment.
If immediate approval of an east-side trail is not possible, we ask that the City Council delay their decision on the west-side trail in order to gather more information about the exact size and location of the trail so that there is minimal impact to the surrounding habitat. The North Foothills HCA is a critical refuge for native plants and the animals they support ; once disturbed any damage will be very hard and expensive to undo.
Colorado Native Plant Society