Boulder County
Parks & Open Space Foundation

Strengthening connections between the public and the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Department.

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Projects & Programs

The Foundation's goals are to fund specific projects and programs that are beyond the financial capacity of the Parks & Open Space Department and to promote citizen stewardship of open space.

Cal-Wood Fire Restoration

CalWood Fire

On October 17, just before noon, the Cal-Wood Fire started in the foothills of Boulder County. It raced downwind and downslope towards Heil Valley Ranch. It consumed 5,000 acres in about five hours. In the end, it covered 10,105 acres with more than half of that on Boulder County Parks & Open Space property (4,400 acres) and conservation easements (1,400 acres). In addition, 27 structures on private property were impacted, many of them people’s homes that were lost.

Boulder County Parks & Open Space will be leading the efforts to stabilize the soil on both Heil Valley Ranch and private land. We hope to get federal funding for this work, but the county will need to provide a 25% match. The soil stabilization work could be in the millions of dollars.

If you would like to help with the emergency soil stabilization measures to protect life and property, please consider a donation.


2020 Projects

Volunteer Naturalist Center

The Foundation contributed to the following projects in 2020:

  • Nearly $400,000 to remodel the Volunteer Naturalist Center at Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat. This included replacing the center’s roof, installing energy-efficient skylights, painting the exterior, wi-fi installation, replacing the HVAC system, and site surveying for an interpretive storage building and a small picnic/program shelter next to the center.
  • $15,000 to purchase a portable sawmill to use for forestry project logs to create benches and tables for visitors.
  • Funding a wildlife staff to reach out to adjacent landowners for wildlife protection and partnerships.
  • Contributing to the graphic design services of the Walnut Wonders booklet.
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Anne U. White Restoration

Anne U. White Trailhead

Thanks to your generous donations, we raised our goal of $19,335!

In September of 2013, the Anne U. White Trail trail located in north Boulder was completely destroyed by flood waters.

Below is a summary of the estimated costs to restore this treasured resource to its former splendor. The Boulder County Parks & Open Space department is in the process of identifying a provider to grow the woody and wetland plants; it is predicted that the growth of these plants will take a year or more before they will be ready for transplant.

Project Costs

  • Wetland Transplants: $5,945
  • Seed: $1,500
  • Plants: $11,890

  • Total: $19,335

The White Family

Anne U. White was one of the early proponents to preserve open space in Boulder County and one of the initial members of the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee.

Gilbert Fowler White, Anne's husband, was a prominent American geographer, sometimes termed the "father of floodplain management" and the "leading environmental geographer of the 20th century." Learn more about Gilbert on Wikipedia or by watching a 16-minute biography.

Mary White is one of Anne and Gilbert's three children. In 2010, Mary worked with a committee of local engineers, government officials, and artists to honor Gilbert's work with a beautiful flood marker that sits beside Boulder Creek, just east of Broadway. The marker has indicators for the 50, 100 and 500 year flood levels. Learn more about the Boulder Creek Flood Level Marker Project.

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Left Hand Outdoor Challenge

Left Hand Outdoor Challenge

The Left Hand Outdoor Challenge is a program that teaches Boulder County teens how to be outdoor leaders, to take action as stewards of Boulder County's open spaces, and to explore careers in natural resource management.

Teens complete monthly challenges designed to teach participants the skills to complete a final challenge highlighting their leadership and resource management knowledge.

In 2015 the program had 35 participants ranging from 14 – 18 years old and 9 adult volunteer program leaders. Participants learned about other natural resource agencies and developed a broader sense of outdoor careers. Participants were invited to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and were the first non-staff group to monitor re-introduced Black-Footed Ferrets.

We help provide the operating budget needed for this amazing program to run effectively and impact Boulder County area teenagers.

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Field Trip Transportation


Parks and Open Space offers free education programs to students in the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley school districts. But sometimes the transportation costs for buses to the sites can be prohibitive.

We work closely with Parks and Open Space to provide funding for schools that need assistance covering bus costs. Each year, we make it possible for hundreds of students to attend places like the Walker Ranch homestead, the Agricultural Heritage Center, Walden Ponds, and Heil Valley Ranch. This allows students to experience the hands-on learning and nature immersion at these sites.

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The Foundation relies on the generosity of individuals, other foundations and corporations to reach its goals.

About Us

A Legacy For The Future

The Parks & Open Space Foundation was formed at the end of 2004 as a supporting organization for the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Department.

The Board of Directors are appointed by the County Commissioners and include

  • At least ⅓ members from the Parks & Open Space Department
  • ⅓ members from the Parks & Open Space Advisory Board or the Historic Preservation Advisory Board
  • ⅓ members from the general public

The Foundation is open to general membership and is envisioned to be one of those enduring vehicles that provides for personal connections to open space.

The Foundation is incorporated in the State of Colorado and is designated as a 509(a)(3) nonprofit charity from the US Treasury, which means your donations are tax deductible.

Our Vision

The physical reminders of our heritage thrive through partnerships that preserve and enhance natural and historic resources.

Our Mission

The Parks & Open Space Foundation strengthens the connections between the public and the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Department by raising private funds, supporting innovative projects, fostering partnerships and increasing community involvement.

Guiding Values

To help promote the quality of life for today and tomorrow:

  • We believe prehistory, pioneering, mining and agricultural heritage is vital to our lives and to future generations.
  • We value geologic features, ecosystem diversity, wildlife habitat, scenic prairie and mountain vista, and natural landscapes.
  • We value places for reflection, solitude, learning, inspiration and discovery.
  • We believe in opportunities for people to connect with the land through passive recreational and other sustainable public uses.
  • We believe in maintaining community integrity by creating (and maintaining) urban buffers.
  • We believe in inspiring current and future stewards of our lands and resources.
  • We accomplish our mission with honesty, openness and a respect for diverse opinions.

Contact Us

D'Ann Lambert Treasurer
email Email
phone 303-678-6276

P.O. Box 227
Hygiene, CO 80533

"Our strength lies in our imagination, and paying attention to what sustains life... Open lands open minds."

Terry Tempest Williams