Tending Clear Creek

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Golden asked residents how it should manage Clear Creek at a Feb. 12 meeting, and more than 130 people showed up to give their answers.

“I think it shows that people here in Golden value our creek and want to protect it and keep it a natural, beautiful resource.” Ward 1 Councilwoman Marcia Claxton said at the meeting.

The open house was held at the city’s community center and was inspired by issues the city had with visitors to the creek in 2012. Last summer’s record high temperatures, combined with lower-than-usual creek water levels combined to make the gently-flowing creek a major regional destination for recreation seekers. Problems regarding parking, drinking in public, and dogs off-leash became common.

“I think there was a lot of venting going on (at the open house) about what the corridor felt like last summer,” the city’s Environmental Services Director Anne Beierle said.

Among those with complaints was Teresa Rohde lives two blocks from the creek.

“There were just too many people, too many dogs,” Rohde said.

Rohde was one of the 25 who used computer tablets at the meeting to fill out the city’s online survey about the creek. Among her suggestions: Stricter enforcement of city laws along the creek, and a potential dog ban on weekends.

Other ideas were shared around the room, including details about the city’s plans to institute a new creek side rules citation, and surveys about different parking options.

At the meeting Beierle stood next to a wall that showed an aerial survey of the creek bank’s current condition, as well as plans for what an environmental study recommends the city should do to preserve the bank for the future. The study recommendations call for aggressive “hardening” of sections of the creek best suited for providing water access and recreation. Other sections, where established vegetation might be protected, were recommended to be fenced off.

Beierle said she was anticipating a lot of community push-back on the hardening and fencing of the riverbank.

“I was pleasantly surprised with how many people got it, and were OK with it as long as anything we try to do is really to protect what vegetation is currently there,” Beierle said. “No one said, ‘Oh no, just let the creek go.’”

Beierle said some of the proposed fencing, and even a little of the hardening work could be completed in time for this summer’s crowds.

More information and the online survey are available at www.cityofgolden.net. The city has scheduled a public workshop to gather more public input from 6:30-8:30 p.m. March 18, at the Community Center, 1470 10th St.

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