Button Rock Preserve is located 7 miles west of the town of Lyons in the lower montane foothills of the St. Vrain Creek watershed. A section of the North St. Vrain Creek runs through the eastern third of the Preserve and elevations range from 6,000 feet to almost 7,500 feet. The City of Longmont purchased the Preserve primarily to protect and maintain the main municipal drinking water source for Longmont and Lyons. The area also functions as a nature preserve to protect the fragile watershed and allow limited passive recreational opportunities.
Today, the Preserve is more than 3,000 acres and public recreation activities include passive recreational activities such as fishing, fly-fishing, rock climbing, hiking, wildlife observation, and dog walking.
Visitation and Use of the Preserve
As visitation continues to increase, the need to balance resource protection with passive recreation has become critical. Visitation policies were developed starting in the 1960s and 1970s and were substantially updated in the 1990s. We are evaluating current regulations to determine if they still align with the Preserve’s present-day management needs. Through the Caring for Button Rock Preserve project, a management plan will be developed and adopted as a foundation for long-term sustainable, adaptive management of Preserve resources based on best available information.
Visitation Through the Years
In 2021, the Preserve received more than four times the number of annual visitors than it did in 2000.
1988: 3,200 people
2000: 13,000 people
2012: 31,000 people
2020: 71,000 people
2021: 58,000 people
Button Rock Management Plan
The Button Rock Management Plan will provide specific management direction in the areas of:
==natural and cultural resource protection
==water quality protection
==existing infrastructure and improvements
==rules and regulations
They have conducted four surveys over recent years, to get input from the public. One of the things that came out of it is that people do not want dogs banned from the trails.
Code Updated to Read:
Staff Recommended Update: The purpose of this section is to protect, preserve, conserve, restore, and sustain Button Rock Preserve’s municipal drinking water storage and supply, native ecosystems, wildlife habitat, and cultural resources in perpetuity; to support Preserve management and enhance the ecological function of Button Rock Preserve’s natural systems as well as the greater St. Vrain Creek Watershed in which it presides; and to prescribe areas suitable for passive use in addition to areas closed for resource protection, facility protection, or public safety.
The Reason for Changing: Defining the purpose of Longmont’s Button Rock Preserve provides context and justification to the regulations set forth below.
The North St. Vrain is controlled from Buttonrock, so its flow is dependent on the release schedule. You can find the Buttonrock release flow here: Colorado Dept. of Natural Resources.