JODER ARABIAN RANCH UPDATE
Some recent developments on Joder Ranch have been happening so fast they make your head spin… others, not so much. The Joder situation is the Perfect Storm of Open Space issues and opportunities.
In an unexpected and unheralded move, at the November 12 Open Space Board of Trustees meeting, staff proposed a new, shortcut trail across Joder Ranch to connect Highway 36 with Left Hand Canyon Drive. Although it is eventually to be a multi-use trail, it would preclude most equestrians and hikers in the short term because it’s a short trail to nowhere and there was to be no parking in the plan. Mountain bikers might be able to enjoy the connection, but nobody else would benefit much. In exchange for this little bone, staff offered a deal: the rest of the North Trail Study Area process, which would normally include a full-blown environmental review as well as passive recreation proposals such as this trail, would be pushed back until at least 2018…. with actual trail construction to start sometime thereafter. And the rest of Joder Ranch would be closed indefinitely.
We were asked if we wanted the deal, and we said “No thanks.”
We have been in All-Joder-All-The-Time mode ever since. We’ve made our own maps, written many recommendations, conducted field trips, spoken at meetings, submitted several timely letters to the paper (here, here, here, and here), schmoozed politicians, and worked with other user groups to see if we could reach some kind of consensus we could all live with.
It was actually no surprise, therefore, that some things went well at the December 10 OSBT meeting. Huge kudos to the equestrian community, which sent more than 350 emails (!) to the Open Space Board of Trustees and the Boulder City Council advocating that Joder Arabian Ranch should remain open to horses in a meaningful way because it is such an important part of our heritage and our future. More than 35 horse people spoke (!!) at the meeting, and many more were in attendance (you guys rock!!!).
Where We Are Now
Some of our hard work has paid off. The mountain bikers expressed sympathy for our plight and pledged to work with us in the future. The City of Boulder formally agreed to complete the entire North TSA process in 2015. We now have a new interim Open Space Director, who seems to be a woman of action and not just words (welcome, Tracy Winfree!). Staff committed to working out whatever logistics are needed for access to Highway 36 with CDOT in six months, and to constructing a trailhead parking lot “in a timely manner” shortly thereafter. The Board approved (4:1) the proposed “Yellow Trail” and also directed staff to evaluate the “Green Trail” loop addition BCHA had proposed, at their January meeting.
However, we didn’t get what we really need: approval from the OSBT to accelerate the “Green Trail” for pedestrians and equestrians, making a low-impact loop on the Joder Ranch.
Here’s what we (and BATCO) have recommended:
A reset for the HCA designation to improve flexibility in decision-making
The Board also voted 3-2 on a non-binding resolution to affirm that the Habitat Conservation Area (HCA) designation of Joder Ranch needs a “fresh look” during the NTSA process. At the time of purchase, this property was quietly and arbitrarily designated as an HCA, which is more restrictive than wilderness, with no public process. We need to support the Trustees in revisiting this designation (we recommend turning Joder blue on the attached map, not green), and we need to insist that all decisions like are made these during the TSA process with full public discussion.
When this trail opens (Spring 2015?), you will have the opportunity to become familiar with this property so when the North TSA process begins, you will be better informed about the issues and opportunities we will be discussing. Please go visit it as soon as it opens if you are not familiar with the ranch; and visit it even if you know it like the back of your hand, for old times’ sake and to show OSMP we care.
Next we will need to work with the mountain bikers, dog guardians, hikers and trail runners to come up with an overall trail system proposal for the entire North TSA. The Joder Ranch is key to an amazing regional trail system that will connect Boulder to Heil Valley Ranch, with loop potential linking in Boulder Valley Ranch. It may even be possible to ask OSMP and BCPOS to acquire a few additional properties nearby which will enable us to make that trail a reality.
Here’s a map showing how the North TSA relates to other areas:
So stay tuned, loyal equestrians! This process started off with a bang — but this is just the beginning, and we will need YOU to be involved.
Encouraging citizens to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States and expressing the sense of Congress that a National Day of the Horse should be established.
Whereas the horse is a living link to the history of the United States;
Whereas, without horses, the economy, history, and character of the United States would be profoundly different;
Whereas horses continue to permeate the society of the United States, as witnessed on movie screens, on open land, and in our own backyards;
Whereas horses are a vital part of the collective experience of the United States and deserve protection and compassion;
Whereas, because of increasing pressure from modern society, wild and domestic horses rely on humans for adequate food, water, and shelter; and
Whereas the Congressional Horse Caucus estimates that the horse industry contributes well over $100,000,000,000 each year to the economy of the United States: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress–
(1) encourages all citizens to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States;
(2) expresses its sense that a National Day of the Horse should be established in recognition of the importance of horses to the Nation’s security, economy, recreation, and heritage; and
(3) urges the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States and interested organizations to observe National Day of the Horse with appropriate programs and activities.
On the fifth anniversary of the first official National Day of the Horse, horse enthusiasts are encouraged to celebrate the horse’s contribution to the United States.
According to the American Horse Council:
There are 9.2 million horses in the United States.
4.6 million Americans are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees and volunteers.
2 million people own horses.
The horse industry has a direct economic effect on the U.S.of $39 billion annually.
The industry has a $102 billion impact on the U.S.economy when the multiplier effect of spending by industry suppliers and employees is taken into account.
The industry directly provides 460,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.
2010 National Day of the Horse
Help preserve equestrian access to Joder Arabian Ranch!
If you don’t, it may remain Closed Space indefinitely. Please come to the next meeting of the
Open Space Board of Trustees
Weds. Dec 10, 2014 6pm
Boulder City Council Chambers, Broadway & Canyon 2nd floor
and speak on why it’s important to you that Open Space should reopen this property with trails and a trailhead parking lot immediately.
Background Info: The City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks (OSMP) and Boulder County Parks & Open Space purchased land from Bob & Eloise Joder in 1991 specifically for trails connecting West Beech to Joder to Buckingham to Heil Valley Ranch, with a trailhead parking area for horse trailers.….. but 23 years later, nothing has been built.
OSMP purchased a Conservation Easement from Bob & Eloise in 1996 allowing horse uses on the ranch. OSMP purchased the rest of the property in fee from Bob and his sons in May 2013. OSMP immediately closed the property to the public and demolished most of the buildings. They now deny the presence of all those trails.
In November 2014 OSMP proposed a deal with the mountain bikers: a single trail from Highway 36 to Left Hand Canyon Drive, in exchange for their support closing the property indefinitely.
We reject that deal because the property should be open to the public now. The single trail would be useless to equestrians because it’s only about a mile long, there is no access from any other trail or trailhead, and there is no place to park.
BCHA Recommendation: We support a proposed multi-use trail on the north side of the property, as well as a single pedestrian-equestrian trail along the southern perimeter, making a large loop. We insist that the deal include a place to park horse trailers (see map below).
This property is important to the heritage of Boulder (history, ranching, agriculture) and to the horse community. Joder Arabian Ranch at one time had 90 horses, a breeding operation, lessons, educational clinics, horse shows, a rope course, and more. There were more than 19 outbuildings, indoor and outdoor arenas, cross-country jumping course, four houses, and more.
There are more than 8 miles of trails on the ranch that were built and maintained by the Joder family, boarders, and the horse community. The property is also important for enabling significant regional trail connections.
How to Provide Your Input
1) Come to the Open Space Board of Trustees meeting, Weds. Dec 10, 6pm, Boulder City Council Chambers (Municipal Building), Broadway & Canyon, 2nd floor. (Street parking or at the library just across the creek.)
3) Spread the word to everyone you know, and get them to write and/or come to the meeting and speak!
We tried, but the weather conspired against us. Too cold, too snowy. Sorry! Stay warm!