In the city of Longmont, residents have plenty of places to get outside and enjoy nature, including 41 parks containing a total of 2,242 acres.
“Longmont puts a lot of pride into the park system,” says Kathy Kron, Longmont Parks and Natural Resources senior project manager. “When it comes to having a variety of parks, we have neighborhood, nature and greenway parks.
“It’s a neat aspect because you can get lost in nature without having to leave town.”
And as long as you’re lost in nature, here are a few of the things you can do before you find your way back home:
Bird watching: It’s common to see osprey, bald eagles and a wide variety of hawks and other raptors. Many species of smaller birds such as chickadees, finches, blue jays, doves and woodpeckers are also common. Near evening or early morning be on the lookout for wild turkeys. And while harder to find, rare species such as the burrowing owl, which can be found near prairie dog colonies, do appear from time to time. When water is present, expect to see cormorants, American white pelicans, great blue herons, a wide variety of ducks and Canada geese.
Wildlife encounters: While most animals in Longmont are of the small and furry variety — rabbits, prairie dogs, weasels and the like — larger animals such as beaver, coyotes and deer are sometimes encountered. And if you venture west to Longmont’s Button Rock Preserve (west of Lyons), you’ll get the chance to see mountain lion and bear.
Art viewing: Some of Longmont’s parks have wonderful nature-inspired art. So why not take in a little culture on your next hike with art including these pieces:
“The Spirit of Longmont” This installation — created by Rafe Ropek in 2009 — can be spotted on southwest Diagonal Highway. The 48 leaves alternate from yellow to green to represent Longmont’s agricultural roots, while the sphere in the middle calls to the future.
“Dawson Silverwood” Located at Lake McIntosh, Steve Jensen’s aluminum sculpture, created in 2003, contains inscriptions by students about their hopes for the future.
“A Lady and a damsel” Built in 2019 by Amanda Willshire, this towering structure is made from recycled bike parts, an old Volkswagen hood, and golf clubs; 210 Ken Pratt Blvd., on the St. Vrain River Trail.
There’s plenty more where those came from, including all along the St. Vrain Greenway. But we know half the fun is when you discover such art on your own, so we’ll keep the list short.
So, now that you know what to do, let’s take a look at some of the great places to do them right in your back yard.Continue reading “The Longmont Nature Guide”