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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I was talking to my neighbor who had discussed this with a lawyer friend of his and voila...we have an open letter to all Boulder City Council Members with a new take.

Feel free to copy and send individually and all contact information is provided below.

Also, this is not a reflection on the work done on these parks, which we fully appreciate and support...this is aimed only at the referenced policy.

Finally, I have included some links on the issue at large for your reading pleasure.

Happy Trails!

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Saturday, April 19th, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

On June 27th, 2011 the Boulder City Council implemented a “Parking Fees Area Program” for select city properties that continues to this day. This program charges non-Boulder County residents (with out of county license plates) a fee of $5.00 daily or $25.00 for an annual pass to park in select trailhead parking lots. In addition, there has been local press that discusses expanding this program in the future to other trailheads.

As can be evidenced on local social media sites, this action has and continues to generate ill will and inherent inequality between Boulder county/city residents and neighboring county/city residents who have not implemented such fees on their city or open space park systems. Therefore, for example, a resident of neighboring Jefferson county (and it's cities) is subject to Boulder City parking fees to use their areas whereas a Boulder county/city resident can use all Jefferson county/city and open space areas without incurring such fees.

More important, however, than the ill will and inequality generated from this action is the concern that the practice may very well be unlawful. Several independent sources are currently investigating the City of Boulder's public records to see if state or federal funds have ever, are currently, or will ever in the future be used on City of Boulder parks and other properties. If they are, then it would be unlawful for the City of Boulder to charge the aforementioned fees to Colorado state and/or citizens of the United States who have paid in part for the maintenance and other costs of City of Boulder properties through their state or federal tax dollars. This would, of course, include any state or federal (including FEMA) assistance dollars that might have been, or are planned to be used on the properties for 2013 flood recovery efforts. Therefore, if this proves to be the case, then the Boulder City Council and City of Boulder will need to either change this policy to charge all users equally or choose to charge no one on the basis of county residence status to park in the aforementioned City of Boulder lots.

As this investigation into the City of Boulder public records continues, we urge the Boulder City Council to reconsider this fee program.

Sincerely,

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Current Boulder Council Members:
Macon Cowles: [email protected]
Susan Jones: [email protected]
Lisa Morzel: [email protected]
Tim Plass: [email protected]
Andrew Shoemaker: [email protected]
Sam Weaver: [email protected]
Mary Young: [email protected]


The Daily Camera – Elizabeth Mattern-Clark, Outdoor Recreation Editor: [email protected]

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References:
https://bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/open-space-parking-permits-and-fees
https://bouldercolorado.gov/city-council/mayor-and-city-council
Directory - Programs & Offices
Contact Us - Boulder Daily Camera
Pilot open space parking fee program to debut at Boulder's southern trailheads - Boulder Daily Camera
Boulder to keep fees at open space trailheads - Boulder Daily Camera
Boulder reconsiders charging non-locals for Open Space parking
 

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It is my understanding that the fee was put into place by City of Boulder, not Boulder County. However, the fee would apply to any non-Boulder County residents parking at City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks trailheads, not Boulder County Parks and Open Space properties. i.e. Marshall Mesa/Doudy Draw etc. is OSMP and non-county residents would have to pay. Walker, Heil, Betasso, etc. are County POS and have no fee. So when you say 'Boulder County Open Space', you really mean/should be saying 'City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks'. Just something you might want to clear up before sending this to the officials.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong or misunderstood.

And thanks for the effort. Not trying to knock it by any means.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, this is good information and I see what you are saying here and I do find the trail systems for the fee are separated from others...such as Heil, Hall etc. But, it's REALLY confusing because you find overlap and references to ALL of these trail on the Boulder county webpages and the BCOS pages. So it's not immediately obvious which are controlled by the city and which by the county. Or, maybe there is some overlap in maintenance duties, funds, etc.?

At any rate then it's the City Council that is responsible for passing the fee on the following sites: Gregory Canyon, Panorama Point, Crown Rock, Realization Point, Flagstaff Summit, Lost Gulch Overlook, Dowdy Draw, Flatirons Vista, Greenbelt Plateau, Marshall Mesa, South Boulder Creek, South Mesa Trailhead.

So, I just revised the letter and removed references to BCOS. Take a look and let me know but it should be good to go now.

Thanks again for the heads up...confusing but not that unlike what we have in Jeffco with Green Mtn being City of Lakewood etc. and everyone assumes it's JCOS when it's not...I myself thought it was for years and even worked for JCOS for awhile.
 

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The City of Boulder has charged non-county residents fees at Flagstaff and Gregory Canyon since 1994, so tis concept isn't really new at all. It may be worth researching to see if it's already been legally challenged yet.

FWIW, it's probably more beneficial to spend energy focusing on getting Boulder to open more trails (e.g. ones actually worth riding) to mountain bikes than worry about the fee program which isn't likely to be expanded anytime soon. Open Space and Mountain parks recommended stopping the fee program in South Boulder after the pilot program ended. The fees were very difficult to enforce and it did nothing to alleviate congestion at the trailheads. Unfortunately the city council wouldn't let them simply eliminate the program, but expansion of the fee program has not been mentioned lately at all. The off-leash green tag dog program is the big open space issue for now.
 

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Also, I am just curious as to what case law or existing legislation prevents charging different rates for non-residents. When I used to live in Maryland, the State Parks charged higher rates for out of state vehicles, and I know for a fact that park system there had received federal money.
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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Boulder City should be sued over their open space policies, not just for the parking fees but for their refusal to institute policy that is fair to mountain bikers. They have blatantly ignored and marginalized an entire user group who lives, works and pays taxes in the city of Boulder.

It would be nice if we had an advocacy group to represent our interests... ;)
 

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Almost Human
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Boulder City should be sued over their open space policies, not just for the parking fees but for their refusal to institute policy that is fair to mountain bikers. They have blatantly ignored and marginalized an entire user group who lives, works and pays taxes in the city of Boulder.

It would be nice if we had an advocacy group to represent our interests... ;)


You need to attack the tax policy not the politicians.

If you want trails and parks for riding then the tax code must be changed to either redefine mountain biking as a passive use activity or allow mountain mountain biking as a permitted activity on all trails.

Another option would be to register bikes similar to the State moto registration so that registration funds are available to build and maintain bike trails. Of course the hikers will try and steal it from you but such it is...

Start a petition to eliminate the OS tax. Cut their funding to zero. Obviously if they have enough money to hire rangers to write tickets all day then they are overfunded.
 

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I hate our city government, but I don't see much coming of the letter. As has been noted, the program is quite old, they just recently expanded it, so I'm sure the program has been looked at before. And as a lawyer myself, if you're going to tell me that something I am doing might be illegal, you better tell me why (ie, provide me a legal argument or at least citations), not just say "if you're accepting state/federal funds you can't do that".
 

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Agent of tang
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It would be nice if we had an advocacy group to represent our interests... ;)
I'm all for criticizing our advocacy group where warranted, but they busted their ass on the West TSA. And while I think they may have conceded too much at times (by trying to work within the system rather than fight it), the bottom line is that the city govt -- both the bureaucracy and the elected govt -- is hostile to mountain bikes. Being more strident would not have changed a damn thing.
 

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ride
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This all begs the question that City of Boulder officials actually cares about the argument. They've been hearing this kind of negativity since the late 90s RE City Open Space Fees. They don't care. Vote with your tax dollars as well as letters.
 

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Bad Case of the Mondays
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I'm a BoCo resident, and while I agree with you its a bad precedent to set there are easy ways around it. The parking lot on the NE corner of 93 / Marshall Road is one example.
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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I'm all for criticizing our advocacy group where warranted, but they busted their ass on the West TSA. And while I think they may have conceded too much at times (by trying to work within the system rather than fight it), the bottom line is that the city govt -- both the bureaucracy and the elected govt -- is hostile to mountain bikes. Being more strident would not have changed a damn thing.
You know what actually matters, right? RESULTS.

Sometimes "Well I tried" just doesn't cut it, it's not going to work on your boss at work, it doesn't work in life in general.
 

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If your elected officials in Boulder are hostile to mtbikers, get off your butts and work to vote them out. In Steamboat we made cycling a campaign issue, and didn't elect those that were not on our team, now we have the city leadership on our side and cyclists know they have a voice at the top when the lower level officials don't play ball with cyclists. I can't belive that in Boulder,CO, cyclists can't effect local government to change the attitude of officials and open more trails for cyclists.
 

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I can't belive that in Boulder,CO, cyclists can't effect local government to change the attitude of officials and open more trails for cyclists.
I can. People in boulder don't ride bikes. They put them on their car, drive, then ride bikes.
 

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I can. People in boulder don't ride bikes. They put them on their car, drive, then ride bikes.

/\ One of the primary things that would be nice to change is trails accessible from Boulder. There was a proposed trail that would have linked the Chautauqua area to Eldo. Then we have years of no link trail from Eldo to Walker, no trails from the divide to Boulder, no trails for you! Now get out of Boulder dirty mt. biker! :)
 

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There are roads to all the trails, right? Ride to the trails, no need to pay parking fees. Or take the bus to Ned. and ride back to Boulder.
 

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Sure, there are options for riding from Boulder, but more people would do it if there was actual trail.

I do ride on the road to trails sometimes, but tbh, I really don't like sharing the road with cars and trucks, it makes me uncomfortable. I know some people do it for fun, but people do all sorts of crazy things. :skep:
 
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