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We're a few min away from the #Boulder city council / open space board of trustees joint study session. I'm watching from home tonight bc my lower back is *fully* wrecked...
...or at least trying to. The links don't seem to be working for me. Any of my regular readers wanna help me out?
Ya'll, this is embarrassing. I've been directing you to watch meetings online for *months* and yet idk how to do it.
I don't have TV, so I'm not sure what to do.
I'm going to leave you in the capable hands of @CassaMN while I figure this out. (tbh, I was going to take her story anyway instead of writing my own.)
OK, I've found the YouTube live stream. But it says "waiting" on City of Boulder soooo....?
There are 3 ppl apparently waiting to or already watching this. Me, @elispat and who else. Who is the third person??
I realize I should stop distracting you from @CassaMN v important live tweeting of this. Imma be quiet until/if this thing starts streaming.

Deryn Wagner is saying "We got comments that we have too many priorities. 17 of 46 strategies initially prioritized. “Some said, narrow that even further and think about things you can really achieve in the near-term.” And put more emphasis on them.
Council to approve the open space master plan by Sept. 3
But "something may emerge" to impact the ability to finish the master plan by then.
Either from council feedback or feedback from the OSBT meeting tmrw.
After council approves the Open Space Master Plan, then "we make it pretty."
Council has until June 16 to make comments on the content of the plan. Tonight is a "high-level" discussion.
"The strategies themselves and how we’ve prioritized those strategies," Wagner says.
It's good that OSMP is receiving fewer comments over time, consultant says, bc that means the public is being heard and happy with the refinements over time.
We're talking about Venn diagrams and infinity circles. Is it just me, or is it harder to follow along at home?
These are the strategies for the open space priority around ecosystem health and resilience: EHR. 1) * Conserve and restore Boulder’s natural heritage
EHR. 2) * Reduce undesignated trails
EHR. 3) * Extend on-trail requirements
EHR.4) * Reduce human disturbance
EHR. 5) * Manage entire ecosystems using a holistic approach to planning
EHR. 6) * Control invasive species
EHR. 7) Prepare for a changing ecosystem
EHR.8) Develop a learning laboratory approach to conservation
EHR. 9) Reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions
No. 5 and 8 are universally agreed upon among council/OSBT, so they won't be discussed. But the others will.
The * are for .... I don't remember what they said.
Carlisle on EHH Strategy 1: "Using the best available science, we protect healthy ecosystems and restore those we have impaired." Protect how? Where is the data for this? I would like to see data in the plans
Referencing public feedback about death (to open space) by 1,000 paper cuts. Wants data so "we can see trends over time."
"What are we starting with?" Carlisle says, referencing permits for off-trail areas. Avg. number of ppl per year data doesn't break it out annually, just in 5yr chunks. How many were there in 2007 and how many in 2017. "Someone" talking about visitors growing 25% to 6M+ in 2017.
Brockett: You can't get that all in a master plan. Pulling in representative data is helpful, but maybe we could reference that there's more data. But to your point of tracking things, how about a dashboard? City uses those a lot.
Staff is working on that.
Back to the off-trail permits. Morzel: I know when we started this permit system, we weren’t going to try and stop ppl. But it’s clear we want to limit off-trail uses. ... None of these are for research.
Chatting now about whether or not to split the strategy of conserve/restore into two different strategies.
Karen Hollweg, OSBT: I don't care whether they're split. I just want to make sure there's "more than 5 lines" on conserving open space.
More emphasis on conserve, is the general feedback. Jones: I think what ppl are dying to know is the 'what next' part? What ecosystems we're going to prioritizing restoring, etc.
Carlisle: The emphasis is on the protection, bc the restoration is what happens after what we're trying to protect gets trashed.
Wagner: We're not getting into which undesignated trails to remove, or which areas to protect. Tonight's purpose is "setting ourselves up for (those later) policy discussions."
Carlisle pushing back, saying the trails strategy plays into protection.
Morzel: And the bigger q of do we even want to add new trails?
Curt Brown, OSBT: Should the global strategy of "no net loss" be put in the master plan?
Carlisle: "From my perspective, absolutely."
Brockett: Idk what no net loss means. That sounds like a very big, vague thing to say. So I'd need a deeper dive on that.
lololol. Morzel is the only person on council/OSBT who wanted to talk about most of these strategies, like removing undesignated trails.
"I assume you're doing that?" she asks
Yeah, Jones says. "It's up there" as a strategy under the master plan.
Carlisle wants to discuss no net loss.
"You don't even have nouns" Jones says. No net loss of what? Habitat? Contiguity?
RE: Removing undesignated trails, OSBT member Tom Isaacson says the destination and function of the trails should be considered.
"There are lots of social trails that serve no redeeming purpose. But more than half of climbing destinations in the Flatirons aren’t served by a designated trail. Some have been in existence for 50 yrs."
Now chatting about nighttime use of OSMT. Less than 1% of visitation happens between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.; nighttime use has been halved in the past decade, Wagner says. So staff didn't call it out.
It's more common in some areas, Mark Davison says, like Flagstaff. So we could focus our attention there.
"I remember when that came up in 2005," Morzel says. "It was a hornet's nest."
"Before we ask this q," Jones says, "we should have a problem to solve." Declining nighttime use suggests it's not a problem.

"If it ain't a problem now, we've got so many others."
OK, the next focus area: Agriculture Today and Tomorrow.
Strategies: ATT.1) * Maintain infrastructure for agriculture & water
ATT.2) Integrate native ecosystems & agriculture
ATT.3) Support the success of ranchers & farmers
ATT.4) Diversify agricultural operations
ATT.5) Enhance enjoyment & protection of working landscapes
ATT.6) Reduce or eliminate pesticide use
ATT.7) * Reduce agricultural impacts from prairie dogs
ATT.8) Plan for the future of water
ATT.9) * Enhance soil health & resilience
1, 3, 4, 6 and 8 are universally agreed upon.
Though Carlisle wants "clarification" of 4: Diversify ag operations.
Here's the answer: "Not the traditional ranching." 9 dif locations id'd for veggie farming, micro-dairies, etc.
Jones: The conversation of beef vs. diversified ag, that's a public conversation, but we need to up our game.
Nagle: With respect to 3-4, I think I'd like to see a consideration that what we've been doing for the last 50 yrs isn't going to keep working. "We have to find innovative ways to do agriculture."
"It might not actually be ranching that we continue to do that produces so much carbon footprints. It's well documented." I hope ag we have now won't look the same in 50 yrs.
The carbon footprint of single-family neighborhoods is well documented, too... just saying.
Morzel: "There's this romantic view of ranches... but we can't keep doing the same thing. It's insanity. It has to change."
There's "a huge conflict/contradiction" between strategy 3 (support farmers/ranchers) and 4 (diversify ag).
RE Strategy 7: Reducing ag impacts from pdogs.
Morzel: That’s not an objective statement. No science on impacts from pdogs.
Nagle: It comes from drought, overgrazing of other animals other than pdogs. There’s no science behind it.
Carlisle. It’s there. It’s been sent to us. I’m happy to forward it. You have to read it.
Morzel: I can give you as many papers that say the contrary.
That strategy will be re-worded to say "Reduce conflicts between agriculture and prairie dogs."
This seems like a good place to drop this story I did on pdogs and the open space master plan last month: boulderbeat.news/2019/05/15/59-…
Talking about weed control on open space. Morzel wants to add a goal of being pesticide and herbicide free.
City did stop using glyphosate. But it's a balancing act, staff says, between reducing use and battling invasive weeds.
Estimated value of city's water rights on open space: $60-$70M. But that's outdated, Wagner says.
Next focus area: Responsible recreation and stewardship
Strategies under that:
RRSE. 1) Support a range of recreational opportunities
RRSE. 2) Encourage multimodal access to trailheads
RRSE. 3) Provide welcoming and inspiring visitor amenities
RRSE. 4) * Update guidelines and standards for quality trail design and construction
RRSE. 5) * Reduce the trail maintenance backlog
RRSE. 6) Improve trail connections
RRSE. 7) * Manage increasing visitation
RRSE. 8) * Review and improve fee-based recreation programs
and RRSE. 9) Develop a learning laboratory approach to recreation

1, 2, 4, 6 and 9 have mostly achieved consensus
Brockett wants to call out in No. 6 (Improving trail connex) that the priority should be given to making regional connections. Morzel concurs on regional BUT "I'm also concerned about fragementation."
"I'd like to know what that means, improving trail connections," bc I might like some of them and some of them, I might not. (Morzel)
Dave Kuntz and Carlisle are "very uncomfortable" with No. 1: Support a range of recreational opportunities.
What's allowed is spelled out in the charter, they say. "Idk why 'range' is even here," Carlisle says.
Jones: It's recreational experiences that we want a range of, from wheelchair accessible trails, places for kids, dogs, etc.
Carlisle: I don't want to create an expectation that recreation is open for "whatever"
Morzel: The charter sets out what we can do and the master plan should be "married" to that.
Brockett: "There's all kinds of things ppl do on open space that aren't specifically called out in the charter." Bird watching, etc. So to limit is may be problematic.
Morzel questioning strategy 3: Providing welcoming and inspiring visitor amenities. "I just want to be clear that our parks and rec facilities are v dif from what our open space facilities are. When I see this, it's like, what are we talking about here?"
Wagner: We own a series of historical houses/structures, etc. And we provide opportunities to learn about the landscape through those structures.
Jones: "The better we build trails, the more ppl stay on them. That builds better stewards and better behavior."
Dave Kuntz, OSBT: When I see the word facilities, I think of bathrooms. Are we trying to build inspiring bathrooms?
Wants to replace "amenities" with "services" and delete the word "inspiring."
"I'm not sure we necessarily need to be inspired by these things."
Jones: I think of well-placed benches with inspiring views.
Kuntz: I just think using the word amenity basically means then if it's not, places without them are not amenable. It's a minimization of a number of these things provides the experience. It seems prejudicial to use the word amenities.
And NOW seems like a good time to re-share this article about Kuntz's appointment to OSBT. boulderbeat.news/2019/03/23/aff…
Talking about priority 7: Managing increasing visitation.
Morzel: We're over capacity.
This one is the "crux of the whole" discussion, someone said (I'm sorry, I forget. I think it was Mayor Jones, but I could be wrong.)
Morzel: maybe we can "manage visitation" more regionally so "maybe ppl aren't coming from such far distances."
Boulder politics in a nutshell: Trying to get the rest of the world to be more like Boulder so ppl stop coming here.
Carlisle: I think it's great we're working with other ppl and everything, but have you defined carrying capacity? Or do you just keep letting everyone come?
Burke: Staff is looking at some things that "get to the heart" of visitor use and seeing what we can do.
Carlisle: It's also about neighborhood impacts near popular places like Chautauqua and Sanitas.
Mark Davison, who has *the* most pleasant voice I've ever heard, is saying staff is looking at near- and long-term strategies for managing visitation.
Carlisle: I'd like to see you jump on it a little more.
OSBT's Karen Hollweg: We've had 34% increase in 13 years. If you keep that rate up, we'll have another 30-some % in the next 10 years, then another 30% percent … "We can’t just develop a toolkit."
"We’ve really got to come to grips with what are the numbers? Is there a limit? Or are we going to … project his continuing line, or are we going to bend the curve? That’s a policy issue council needs to decide."
Carlisle says one of the "big" strategies she wants to discuss is reviewing fee-based recreation programs. Talking about groups hiking and visiting here, including corporations. "When did we start monetizing open space use? How much do we permit? Where's the data for that?"
"It hasn't been done always, and I'm concerned about the growth of that. This is a publicly purchased system that is there for all of this, but it's not there for other ppl to make $$ off of."
Morzel: We get a lot of ppl who come in with horses and bikes, not from Boulder. I know we've tried to do permitting. Idk how well we're doing. I assume we our keeping our fees up to date?
Apparently we are not.
Commercial permits grew by over 60% from 2016-2018, Carlisle says.
$34,600 taken in fees.
Morzel: Visitor master plan was the last time fees were looked at. 14 yrs ago.
Most common type of permit is a person doing portrait photography. Very few permits for nature camps, climbing. 5 commercial biking applicants last year. (Some staff member who didn't give his name.)
Kuntz complaining about a "mass" of bicyclists who rode "as a mass" on the Eagle Trail at 6:30 in the morning while he was running. "If I'm running on the Eagle Trail and I confront a group of 50 bicyclists, what's going to happen."

Wants to consider group permits and fees.
Next focus area: Community Connection, Education and Inclusion
CCEI. 1) Inspire environmental literacy and new involvement in OSMP
CCEI. 2) Cultivate leaders in stewardship
CCEI. 3) Foster wellness through immersion in the outdoors
CCEI. 4) Heighten community understanding of land management efforts
CCEI. 5) * Enhance signs and communications
CCEI. 6) * Welcome diverse backgrounds and abilities
CCEI. 7) * Connect youth to nature
CCEI. 8) * Consult and collaborate with federally recognized Native American nations and help support indigenous peoples
CCEI. 9) Preserve and interpret Boulder’s cultural heritage
Brockett first up to say he wants more focus on getting underserved youth into the outdoors, like other places do.
Jones: Hiring a diversity of rangers from dif backgrounds also facilitates the welcoming piece bc you see ppl who look like you.
"We'll hopefully get better at that" Davison says.
RE: Kids on open space. The "gaps" are in ages 3-6 and 12-15, Davison says.
"This is open space, not parks and rec," Morzel says. "There are activities that are totally suitable" where we can partner with parks & rec.
Next topic: Funding priorities
FS.1) Stabilize funding
FS.2) Budget for future uncertainty
FS.3) Understand total cost of system management
FS.4) Take care of what we have
FS.5) Target acquisitions
FS.6) Partner to protect lands beyond target area
FS.7) Participate in other acquisition opportunities
FS.8) Evaluate existing real estate assets on OSMP lands
FS.9) Invest in workforce development and operational needs
FS.10) Update planning framework
But first.. council and staff are stretching it out a bit. I'm doing the same at home.
Crap. Took too long a stretch. Catching up now...
Due to limited funding, public wants to focus on improving health of existing lands (68%) vs acquiring new (31%). To this end, OSMP has made 17 of its 46 funding strategies as high-priority. That's where they will focus.
Plan is to "scale our work to available funding," Wagner says. If they get more $$, they can do things like restore more miles of creeks, restore junior ranger program, etc.
Morzel: I appreciate the comments on we should take care of what we own, but I would hope that when there are key acquisitions that come up, that would be a priority. It affects the other priorities on open space if it were instead developed.
"There's a good chance we might put (an open space tax) on the ballot," Jones says.
That will be discussed July 16.
Some dark humor going on at council about climate change and its impacts on the natural environment.
"We're going toward extinction!" Morzel says.
"It's all going to heck!" adds Jones.
I'm sorry; I'm drifting a bit. I'll slap myself and re-focus.
"High priorities will shift as conditions shift over the 10 yrs" the master plan covers, Burke says. But they will likely remain high-priority at least for the first 3 yrs.
RE: Encouraging multi-modal transportation to trailheads. Brockett wants to keep encouraging that, since there's momentum and it's working.
Carlisle: Somebody told me recently that the Chautauqua shuttle is declining in ridership and ppl are returning to parking.
Jane Brautigam breaks in: It still is hugely successful. It's very, very successful. The ridership decline has been very slight.
Brockett: And we're only two weeks into the season.
Morzel: It's eased things up in terms of parking.
Carlisle: Maybe not in the neighborhoods. If parking fees need to go up, maybe they need to go up.
I'm sorry I didn't explain how/why we got on this topic. I don't rightly know myself.
I think we're talking what's high-priority vs. not.
I solved the riddle! All the strategies listed above that have * are the 17 high-priority items. Go me. I'm a genius. (But a bad listener, bc I know staff said that earlier.)
Young: I don’t have a full picture to say put this in, take this out, bc these don’t exist by themselves. To me the highest priority would be the ones that have the most circles touching it. Without seeing that graphically, I can't really say.
Morzel: How were these priorities planned? Who came up with 17?
Wagner: We did staff review, public feedback, then the board of trustees. Got further refined.
Brockett has had the idea of tiers to the priorities.
Morzel likes this. "17 is a lot. There are some I would take off."
Burke says staff did a tiered system: High, highest and... whatever the other one was.
Morzel: Nirvana, maybe?
Hollweg: 2 priorities have gotten overwhelming support: Managing increasing visitation, and Conserving and preserving Boulder's natural heritage.
"It seems to me they would be easy to set aside as the big kahunas everybody thinks are importance."
"Those two are overarching," Jones says. But we're also considering timeliness.
Brockett: I agree those are important, but why do they need to be put out on their own. What about increasing diversity. That doesn't have to cost a lot, but man we struggle with that.
Morzel: Water, for me, rises way to the top. Connecting youth with nature is important, but it's a little icing on the cake. I would look at these priorities more as what do we have to do?
Tom Isaacson: Most if not all of these are things we're already doing. I don't think anyone is proposing we stop doing those. But in a world of financial constraint, it's about which ones we do first.
Wagner concurs. It's about what is emphasized earlier and what gets pushed for later.
They're picking two top items in each focus area. I'm sorry that I'm missing what those are. Council is a bit all over the place.
Morzel suggests de-prioritizing signage. OSBT tried to do that, but staff didn't like to. They're explaining why now: It's important for ppl with disabilities and the Spanish-speaking population. It helps ppl follow the rules, etc.
"There's a lot of bang for your buck" in making this a high priority says (I think) Andria Bilich of OSBT.
But it's OK for you to disagree with staff, Burke says.
"When you say things are high priority, it's sending a message to the community," Brockett says.
The selection here will help us make calls between giving $$ to one program over the other if the money is tight, Burke says.
Under the agriculture focus, most of council wants to prioritize diversifying agriculture options.
Forgot to say that Yates has not spoken yet tonight, I think. And Weaver is not here.
My laptop is overheating, and so is my brain.
Lots of disagreement over ag priorities.
OK, two primary ag strategies: Enhancing soil health and resilience and diversifying ag. That's what will get emphasis in timing and cost.
I guess I should have clarified earlier that the council went down the road of developing a tiered system of priorities.
What's the most priority-est of these priorities? Pretty much sums up tonight's meeting.
The open space board is meeting tomorrow night and will continue this work.
Final Thoughts from Council
Young: Funding is pretty fundamental.
Wants to move the funding chapter up in the plan.
Jones: By the time you get to the end, you're like, holy crap we need more money. It builds that way.
Young: The way it feels to me is we don't have much $$ and we need to be more restrained. Instead of adding more stuff, we may want to take away stuff. You only have so much budget when you go to the grocery store. Sometimes you don't buy the Belgian chocolate.
ALWAYS buy the Belgian chocolate. Life is too short.
(That's an aspirational statement. I def have had to put chocolate back when I don't have enough cash.)
hehehe Nagle just said "hit it from both sides." I'm DYING and my roommates are concerned.

Sorry I'm still basically 15 years old.
Morzel just said "before the doo doo hit the fan."
C'mon guys. I'm trying to be a serious journalist here. Ya'll killing me.
Morzel is making a serious point about "severely underestimating the needs of the system."
Burke: Getting all our trails into routine maintenance will cost upward of $40M.
Carlisle: This deferred maintenance and degradation happening at an even faster pace now.
Jones: It's clear that a lot of work has gone into this (master plan). The public process piece ... clearly you have done that. That is laudable. So thank you.

But everybody's going to want to know what's already underway for the next 2 yrs and then what's next.
I'mma give the last quote to Morzel, thanking staff for their work: "Open space is never easy, bc everybody has 10 opinions."
Last thing: Staff presentation: www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/OSMPMP_Jo…
See ya'll next week, hopefully recovered and back in chambers.

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