Open space, sustainability and conservation — all wrapped up in one new land acquisition

Some cities talk about the benefits of the outdoors and open space to a community’s vitality; others take action. And taking action is exactly what the City of Greeley is doing.

Along with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the City of Greeley recently announced an acquisition of land that not only doubles the city’s acreage of open space, it continues the city’s steady pursuit of community vitality through local conservation and equitable access to nature.

Initially dubbed the Shur View Property, the acquisition of nearly 1,000 acres culminates a decades-long effort by the city to acquire one of the last large parcels of land suited for open space in western Greeley.

Conceptual documents propose the creation of a “recreation hub” with a networked trail system between Greeley and Windsor and a spur trail to the 40-mile Poudre River Trail. With potential for miles of hiking, mountain biking and running trails, along with conservation of important wildlife habitat, the property doubles the city’s acres of public natural areas for the community to enjoy to over 2,000.

Benefits include outdoor recreation close to home, breathing room between communities, miles of trails to enjoy and a nurturing habitat for wildlife.

“Greeley has a true focus on getting people outdoors,” said Larry Rogstad, restoration manager at the Poudre Learning Center, whose focus is education and stewardship of northeastern Colorado’s Cache la Poudre River. “Shur View is an absolute bonus to what we are doing in terms of educating people on the ecological and sustainable benefits of the outdoors.”

The natural area includes more than a third of a mile of Poudre river frontage and bluffs that overlook the river and contains a missile silo park owned by Weld County, which the county is leasing back to Greeley to incorporate into the natural area’s trailhead.

The new land offers expansive views of the mountains and the northern front range. Assisting in this effort, Great Outdoors Colorado has approved a grant, as well as a grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, to create this new natural area.

Project partners will kick off a community visioning process this summer asking residents to share their vision for the regional outdoor recreation destination.

“The conservation of the Shur View Property embodies the vision of a community connected to nature and delivers on our commitments made in the ‘Get Outdoors Greeley’ strategic plan to conserve important lands with outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat values,” said Justin Scharton, superintendent for the city’s Natural Areas & Trails Division. “Our goal is to provide equitable access to the outdoors for everyone in Greeley.”

As if there weren’t enough reasons to love Greeley, now Greeley can enjoy almost 1,000 additional acres to explore close to home⁠—and that’s a story worth telling.

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