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Open Space

Ken-Caryl Ranch Open Space Cut-Your-Own-Christmas Tree Cutting Permit

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By signing below, I HAVE READ AND AGREE to the terms and conditions of Ken-Caryl Ranch's Open Space Use and Tree Cutting Guidlines.

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Price: $10.00
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Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Pilot Program

Permit signup pushed to Nov. 23

Examples of Douglas Fir trees residing in Ken-Caryl’s open space.

Cutting a Christmas tree in a national forest is a tradition for many families in our community. By cutting your own tree, you take an active part in managing your national forests! Now you can do it in Ken-Caryl Ranch Open Space.

Permit applications were originally scheduled for Nov. 18 but have been pushed to Nov. 23. On Nov. 23 at 9 a.m., you will be able to click on the button below and register for a permit.

The Ken-Caryl Ranch Master Association Open Space Department, Open Space Committee, and Board of Directors in accordance with the Ken-Caryl Ranch Forest Stewardship Plan, has approved a Cut-Your-Own-Christmas Tree Pilot Project, for residents only, as a nice addition to the annual Christmas Tree harvest/sale at Ken-Caryl Ranch.

The pilot project will provide the community with an option to register for a permit, limited to 75 permits, one per family, to hike in the open space and cut a Christmas tree. The cost of the permit is $10, for up to three trees, and all proceeds will go to offsetting Open Space Department expenses.

The goal of the program is to take areas that are not as accessible to bulk forest operations and allow volunteers to cut their own trees in a designated area where regeneration of Douglas Fir trees (see pictured) is reaching such a height that it begins to act as a ladder fuel for wildfire, generally, over 6 feet tall, and affects forest health due to the density of the amount of trees. Other trees may be found at the sites, including Aspen and Ponderosa Pines, as these trees are not part of the pilot project for removal by residents. The link below will identify Douglas Fir trees in pictures, which are soft, small, needled trees.

Guidelines for the program include the following:

  • You must have a valid permit to cut and/or remove Douglas Fir trees in designated areas from Ken-Caryl Ranch Open Space. Boundaries of the Christmas tree cutting sites will be marked with flagging, “Timber Harvest Boundary” and several trees may have “Do Not Cut” flagging attached (see pictures below). You must stay within the designated cutting areas (see maps).
  • No topping of Douglas Fir trees – cut to size once the full tree has been felled.
  • Cut below lowest live limb – Leave stumps no higher than six inches.
  • Hand saw only, no gas or electric saws allowed.
  • Avoid damage to other trees.
  • No vehicles, bikes, or horses are allowed to transport trees in Ken-Caryl Ranch Open Space. This will be for hikers only.
  • Tree harvest dates: Nov. 23 – Dec. 15
Tags denoting designated tree cutting boundaries.

Harvest Sites:

Sites #1 & #3

Site #1. Click image to enlarge

Sites #1 and #3 are dominated by Douglas fir regeneration trees as described above. These trees form dense stands of immature trees and are typically less than 20’ tall. Trees growing in the interior of these stands lack fullness but trees growing along the edge of these thickets, where they receive more sunlight and nutrients, are fuller, have better shape, making them excellent Christmas trees. Site#1 is closest to the Valley trailheads, 1.4 miles from the Stove Prairie
trailhead along Golden Eagle Drive and is located just a few hundred feet off Bradford trail above its intersection with Domino Trail . A narrow access route has been cleared and is marked with orange flagging tape. This is the smallest of the Christmas tree cutting sites but probably the easiest to reach. Please pay
attention to trees marked “DO NOT CUT”, do not remove these trees.

Site #2

Site #2. Click image to enlarge.

Site#2 is different than the other sites because it is not dominated by Douglas fir regeneration. This site is scheduled to be thinned by a private contractor later in December. The objective of this forestry operation ( see Ken Caryl Ranch Open Space Forestry Stewardship Plan) is to re establish the aspen grove that is in decline here. Aggressive removal of aspen stems and other tree species, including Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine will stimulate new, healthier aspen growth.
The trees at this site are more mature than the other sites and while fewer in number there are some excellent Christmas trees that will be removed anyway as
part of the contract forestry operation (trees marked with blue paint will be removed by the contractor but can be taken as Christmas trees). Please pay
attention to trees marked “DO NOT CUT”, do not remove these trees. It is the furthest away from the Valley (2.4 miles from the Manor House trailhead), situated along the north section of Shaffer Trail, but most of the route is along the Manor House Trail which is a wide service road providing plenty of clearance for hauling your tree back out.

What a great way to support your Open Space Department and receive a beautiful tree for your holiday! Cutting your own tree not your cup of tea? Then be sure to join us at our Annual Christmas Tree Sale at Dakota Lodge on Dec. 3 from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.! This event is free, but registration is required on the Special Events page of our website, beginning Nov. 15 at 8 a.m.

Site #3

#1 Click image to enlarge.

Site#3 is 1.5 miles from the Massey Draw trailhead and is near the eastern
intersection of High Meadow and Golden Banner Trails. This is the largest of
the cutting sites. While the distance is relatively close to the Valley by way of
Massey Draw Trail, hikers should be aware that the “canyon section” of this
trail is often covered in ice in the late fall and winter and scrambling over
boulders is required. Another option for hauling a tree out from this site is to
use Cougar Trail but it’s a long hike at 4.2 miles to Valley Parkway.

Immature Douglas fir trees like these make excellent Christmas trees.

For more information on the Ken-Caryl Forest Stewardship plan, you can visit our website at https://ken-carylranch.org/download/forest-stewardship-plan/.

IMPORANT NOTE: This program is for residents only. While cutting and transporting your own Christmas tree from open space is a rewarding and great way to spend time with family, please be aware that it requires intense physical exertion including, walking long distances, hiking off trail, and standing on uneven ground and steep slopes. Be prepared for snowy and icy conditions and cold temperatures. Remember to dress in layers, take plenty of breaks and enjoy the solitude and beauty of the natural world.

Permit applications were originally scheduled for Nov. 18 but have been pushed to Nov. 23. On Nov. 23 at 9 a.m., you will be able to click on the button below and register for a permit. Questions may be director to the KCRMA Park Rangers at 303-979-1876, ext. 170.

Protected Areas

Ken-Caryl Ranch Open Space

2022 South Hogback Open Space Task Force Analysis

Metropolitan District Board created the South Hogback Open Space Task Force on March 22 of this year and engaged a group of residents in a process to determine the protection of the South Hogback Open Space. The task force’s efforts culminated in a presentation to the Metropolitan District Board during their Sept. 27 meeting. The South Hogback Open Space Task Force 2022 Analysis contains the group’s detailed recommendations for next steps, which includes the development of a land management plan and the development of a public education strategy. The report also contains historical information regarding the South Hogback Open Space, which will be further enhanced with next steps. To access this report, click on the button below.

If you have questions on the report or next steps, feel free to reach out to Metropolitan District Manager Traci Wieland at traciw@kcranch.org, or 303-979-1876, ext. 136.

Protected Areas

Ken-Caryl Ranch Open Space

Ken-Caryl Ranch Open Space was set aside to protect the delicate wildflowers, breathtaking views and dramatic splendor of this historic Colorado homestead. The community has been planned and developed with a keen foresight and respect for nature so that residents can enjoy a recreational lifestyle in a naturally scenic environment. We are committed to managing Open Space resources in a manner that ensures its preservation and enjoyment.

If you need to contact the Ken-Caryl Ranch Park Rangers, please call 303-979-1876 ext. 170.
Participate

Volunteer Info

PRIVATE OPEN SPACE VOLUNTEER PATROLLER PROGRAM

The 2022 Volunteer Patroller positions have been filled. The application process for new Volunteer Patrollers opens each year in February and applications are due in March.

The program started in 2012 with three volunteers. It has since grown to 28 volunteers in 2021 with over 600 hours volunteered on the trails!

The Volunteer Patrollers serve as an extension of the Ken-Caryl Ranch Master Association’s Park Ranger Staff. Volunteer Patrollers provide visitor education on Open Space and Parks Rules, trail use guidelines, and basic first aid knowledge/care. Volunteer Patrollers strive to achieve and maintain a positive relationship with different user groups and present a professional image. Patrollers are expected to complete and submit an electronic patrol log on a timely basis and to report hours to the Ken-Caryl Trail Club. Patrollers are also expected to assist the KCRMA Rangers at educational events and on special patrols.

To be accepted into the program, you must be a Ken-Caryl Ranch Master Association member in good standing and complete the online application at the button below. A short phone interview and a two to three-hour training in the month of April will complete the process. The date and time of the training will be determined based on the number of applications received.

Basic requirements are to perform at least 12 patrols per year either hiking or biking mainly from May through October, but one can also patrol outside of these months, too. Must be 25 years of age or older, be a resident in good standing in the community, supply their own cell phone, attend trainings, and be willing to make routine contacts checking residency and providing basic rules education. All patrollers that patrol on a mountain bike must have/own a mountain bike, a helmet and posses basic mountain biking skills.

Patrollers will receive all related training and will be supplied with an open space patrol vest, volunteer ID, first aid kit, and a packet with brochures, patrol log, and quick reference sheet. Training will include an introduction to ranger services, conflict management, emergency response, outdoor safety and resource protection. A mentored patrol with an experienced Volunteer Patroller is encouraged with all new volunteers and all patrollers, regardless of experience, are encouraged to participate in yearly trainings.

Following training completion, all patrollers must be capable of working independently with little or no supervision. Volunteers must possess the physical ability to work outdoors in various weather conditions in a variety of areas in Ken-Caryl’s open space. Patrollers are expected to make routine contacts to verify Ken-Caryl residency and to provide basic rules and education to trail/open space users.

If you have any questions, please contact Matt Oven at matto@kcranch.org or 720-512-35214. A background check will be completed on all applicants.
KEN-CARYL RANCH TRAIL CLUB

The Ken-Caryl Ranch Trail Club is a group of volunteers operating under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Master Association and a Joint Use Agreement with Willow Springs Open Space. Members of the Trail Club contribute 10+ hours of volunteer service annually and in exchange receive permission and an ID bracelet for hiking in private Open Space owned by Willow Springs. The Trail Club promotes stewardship, volunteerism and partnership with Willow Springs on Open Space issues. Trail Club volunteer projects, provided by the Ken-Caryl Ranch Rangers, primarily focus on improving and maintaining Ken-Caryl Ranch trails. Please see additional information about the Trail Club.

Trail Club Leadership
  • President – John Hamilton – johnh@me.com
  • Vice President – Lisa Schuth
  • Corresponding Secretary – Anna Gardner – annaloveg@gmail.com
  • Membership Coordinator – Mike Garner – mike@garner.xyz
  • Social/Special Projects Chair – Gary Salter
  • Treasurer – Rusty Spinney
  • OSC Liaison – Tracy Soukup – soukup@comcast.net
  • New Member Recruitment – Curtis Crites
WEEKLY TRAILS REPORT

Each week of the summer the Volunteer Trail Coordinators provide an update on trail projects in Ken-Caryl Ranch. Please click on the button below to see the weekly update.

Ken-Caryl Ranch Open Space Cut-Your-Own-Christmas Tree Cutting Permit

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
Address*
By signing below, I agree to the terms of purchase.
By signing below, I HAVE READ AND AGREE to the terms and conditions of Ken-Caryl Ranch's Open Space Use and Tree Cutting Guidlines.

Checkout

Price: $10.00
Do you agree to storage of your data?*
By submitting this form, you hereby agree that we may collect, store and process your data that you provided.