Our work in Colorado spans a few very critical ideas to the Nature Needs Half vision: identifying regions with at least half of their lands and waters protected for nature, connecting with areas that have a strong commitment and community built around valuing nature and encouraging connectivity between protected areas.

Boulder, CO, USA, has a rich history of municipal support for the protection of nature. Currently, the City of Boulder owns and manages over 45,000 acres of Open Space and 94,000 acres of Open Space is owned and managed by the County of Boulder. By these numbers, the County of Boulder is 68% public land, much of which is managed primarily for natural values.

Annually, the City of Boulder Open Space has nearly 5 million visitor days! There is a clear love of the outdoors in Boulder and a long legacy of protecting nature that supports this enthusiasm.

WILD is connected to Boulder not only because our headquarter office is located here, but also because it is a leading example of the Nature Needs Half vision. But, in order to Boulder’s natural areas to stay intact for the enjoyment of active Boulder-ites as well as for the critters (large and small), unique ecosystems and valuable resources such as clean water, clean air and much more, we need to be careful not to love it to death.

WILD is actively working with the founders of Boulder’s Open Space to re-awaken the Nature movement and celebrate the legacy of protected land that is entrusted to Boulder citizens. This work is particularly exciting for us because it bridges Nature Needs Half, our vision to protect at least half of the planet, land and water, in an interconnected way, and important local issues.

WILD is also a catalyst for an innovative idea called the “Interstate for Wildlife.”  Developed from seeing the successful models of over- and under- passes for wildlife in the US and abroad, we’re working with partners to expand this idea so that wildlife can move freely across landscapes.  While this idea is currently focused in Colorado, our goal is for it to grow much larger.

A few facts about Boulder’s Open Space:

In 1898 a citizen purchased the land that is now Chautauqua Park.  This personal commitment to conservation has given Boulder an amazing park, enjoyed for its stunning views, nature trails, historic significance and cultural events.

In 1964 citizens of Boulder rallied to purchase the land on the Enchanted Mesa, outbidding a commercial developer. This land is now part of the Open Space and Mountain Parks System.

In 1967 Boulder became the first municipality to self-tax to protect open space. Several subsequent taxes have been approved by the citizens of Boulder, supporting a world-wide model for the municipal protection of nature.

In 1986, the Charter for Open Space in Boulder was created, providing that Boulder’s Open space shall be used for the “Preservation of land for passive recreational use, such as hiking, photography or nature study, and if specifically designated, bicycling, horseback riding or fishing”.

Today, we enjoy over 45,000 acres of Open Space owned and managed by the City and 94,000 owned and managed by the County. Annually, there are nearly 5 million visits to Boulder City Open Space!