Outside 285 Master Plan

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COMBA, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), and the South Platte Ranger District of the Pike National Forest (USFS-SPRD) have initiated a regional planning effort focused on identifying opportunities for trail improvements and wildlife habitat conservation within public lands surrounding the US-285 corridor southwest of Denver. Intended to serve as a tool for public land managers, the Outside 285 Master Plan will offer recommendations for habitat conservation, trail-based outdoor recreation, and management and maintenance. The year-long, planning effort will begin with a comprehensive habitat analysis of the Outside 285 region in order to identify critical wildlife habitat. The planning team will then evaluate the area’s recreation infrastructure, analyze needs and constraints, and identify suitable locations for trail and other recreational amenity improvements.

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Click to see PDF map.

Goals of the Outside 285 Master Plan include:

  • Producing a regional planning document to guide project decisions in the Outside 285 region

  • Building consensus among agencies, wildlife and recreation advocates 

  • Locating desirable and critical habitat areas for protection

  • Determining potential opportunities for improved recreational amenities and capacity 

  • Identifying suitable locations for trail linkages, improvements, or expanded trail systems

  • Developing a system for trail maintenance and identify funding resources

  • Strengthen relationships and mechanisms for future project determinations 

  • Providing a model for future regional trail planning

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Photo ©Diana Robinson

A Collaboration of Agencies, Wildlife Advocates and Recreation User Groups

COMBA, CPW and USFS-SPRD have brought together a diversity of partners to work together to develop shared solutions for public lands planning in the Outside 285 region. The Outside 285 Master Plan steering committee includes the following land managers, wildlife biologists, wildlife advocates and recreation user groups:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife | U.S. Forest Service | Colorado Mountain Bike Association | Backcountry Hunters and Anglers | Bailey Hundo | Clear Creek County | Colorado Mountain Club | Colorado Wildlife Federation | Denver Mountain Parks | Denver Mountain Parks | Denver Water | Douglas County | Front Range Back Country Horsemen | Human Potential | Jefferson County | National Wild Turkey Federation | Park County | Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society | Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation | Team Evergreen Cycling | Trout Unlimited | Wild Connections.

Outside 285 Habitat Analysis

 

The purpose of habitat analysis is to identify, prioritize, and map sensitive wildlife habitat within the Outside 285 study area. This information will be used to identify areas where trail and recreation development may be more or less suitable, and areas where additional conservation efforts would be beneficial. The planning team created two maps to summarize the habitat analysis findings. The Existing Disturbance Map documents the existing levels of disturbance and fragmentation within the Outside 285 study area, resulting from existing human uses and developments including highways and roads, homes and subdivisions, trails, trailheads, campgrounds, and commonly used social trails. The Habitat Sensitivity Map provides a visual illustration of the areas with the highest relative sensitivity and conservation priority. Highest priority habitats are shown with the darkest color, while lighter shades represent sensitive habitats of lower priority. 

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Click images to see PDF maps.

Stay Tuned to Outside 285 and Share Your Ideas

This Fall, after completing the habitat analysis and field work necessary to understand the Outside 285 region’s resources, the planning team will solicit input from community stakeholders. Given Covid-19, it’s likely that the project’s community outreach and engagement efforts will be virtual. We will keep interested parties updated via a digital newsletter and Facebook (@Outside285) and invite comments, ideas and concerns via email. Please email us at Outside285plan@gmail.com to sign up for our project updates.