Welcome Friends

**JeffCo Open Space Master Plan Update Summer/Fall 2013 – See Details Under “JeffCo Open Space Master Plan”**

Future of FriendsofCrownHill.org

Managers of this website intend to keep this website available for all the people who have shown their concern and love for this unique Park.  As construction moves forward on the restrooms and other  items, and as new issues may arise,  new proposals floated, management plans revised etc., we hope that this resource will enable our passionate network of concerned citizens to maintain communications and foster effective public input.

While the pace of activities will likely slow down, please feel free to comment on what you see, don’t see, and want to see at the Park.  You are also encouraged to participate on the efforts to ensure that the JCOS Parks Master Plan to be developed this year reflects the values and opinions that have been expressed over the past several months.  Please check that tab regularly.

When the Regional Management Plan that includes Crown Hill is undertaken, that too will be posted along with opportunities for input on that effort.

Please let us know your thoughts on how best this website can serve the community of Crown Hill supporters.

Thank you all for your efforts in preserving what we love most about Crown Hill Open Space Park!


Crown Hill Final Plan for Current Project Announced 5/13/13

No more structures to be added at this time

This is great news – Thank you to all of the volunteers who worked to preserve Crown Hill and thank you to JeffCo Open Space for listening to the public!!


– The fitness stations will be removed and will not be replaced.
– A shade structure will not be added at this time, but a “small area north of the restrooms will be graded to create a flat surface to set up portable tents. This area could accommodate a shade trellis in the future.”
– Trees might be planted near the restroom, or at least any that are taken out during construction of the new restroom will be replaced one-for-one.

Details from the Crown Hill website:

(Click here to go directly to the Crown Hill website)

“Based on an abundance of information gathered through an extensive public involvement process, Jefferson County Open Space (JCOS) has determined a final course of action for the current capital project at Crown Hill Park. This decision comes after thousands of citizens provided their input and ideas in a survey, community meetings and on site visits with JCOS staff. There was a broad range of thinking among community members with respect to the capital projects we were considering. In some cases, such as nature play areas, public desires were clear. In others, such as a shade structure and replacement of fitness equipment there was a lack of consensus among citizens. JCOS has taken all of this information into account and made a decision that honors goals for the Park as well as the common interest of citizens to keep the area as natural as possible. This current course of action does not preclude the addition of a shade trellis or fitness areas in the future based on community interest and need.

Crown Hill Park Final Plan (click here for map)

JCOS will Implement all ‘Givens’ discussed during the public involvement process.  These include replacing the restroom, park information center (kiosk), adding three accessible and staff parking spaces and removal of all fitness stations.  Please see map on reverse for locations.

Fitness Equipment – The existing equipment, that has reached its useful life and has deteriorated to sub standard levels, will be removed and will not be replaced. The concrete pads at the eight fitness station locations indicated on the map on the reverse will be removed, regraded and reseeded with natural grasses.  This is in keeping with a strong citizen sentiment to keep the Park natural and our goal to preserve the views of the lake, Park and mountains.  This work will be completed by June 30, 2013.

Tree Plantings – A larger water tap, from a 1” to 1.5”, will be purchased to support the new restroom needs and allow trees to be planted and irrigated in the one-acre area around the restrooms.  Trees that need to be removed for construction or because they are invasive species such as Russian Olives will be replaced on a one-to-one basis in this area.

Shade Structure – A shade structure will not be added at this time.  In order to accommodate nature education programs that were found to be more desirable than nature play, a small area north of the restrooms will be graded to create a flat surface to set up portable tents. This area could accommodate a shade trellis in the future. The necessary irrigation lines to water future tree plantings in this area will also be added to this area.  This is within the one-acre area that JCOS could irrigate if the larger water tap is purchased.

With the removal of fitness equipment and concrete pads anticipated by the end of June, all other work on the givens and plantings will start in late August and be completed by late fall.”


Plans for Mock Nature Play Canned by JCOS

True Nature Play at Crown Hill to be Preserved

Everyone who took the JCOS survey, and everyone who reads the Denver Post, should know by now that the county has decided not to build play areas at Crown Hill Park.  In talking to people over the last three months, our sense is that the super-majority of park users do not support the large shade structure or consolidated fitness stations either.  That is the position of approximately 2000 people who have signed the Petition to date. 


Thank you for your interest in the future of Crown Hill Park.  

Volunteers developed this site to inform the public about construction that Jefferson County Open Space has planned for this Spring.  These Plans were developed with next to no communication with the loyal users of the Park.   Users have a right to know what is being proposed as “improvements” so they can  see how such proposals would significantly alter the character of  Open Space’s  most popular park . These plans include


 1. Construction of three children’s play areas just east and northeast of the southeast parking lot.

– A 75’ x 100’ area of artificial boulders to “Climb On” Approx cost $75K+/-
– A 35’ diameter, multi-story lookout tower or “Perch” Approx cost $80K+/-
–  A 50’ x 50’diameter feature for “Digging and Tunneling” Approx cost $35K+/-



 shelterSMALL2.Demolition of existing shelter in front of southeast parking lot and construction of new 50’ diameter “pergola/seasonal shade area to the northwest of the parking lot.

Approx. cost is $60+/-




3.  Demolition of existing fitness stations and construction of 35’ x 90’ area of consolidated stations also northwest of the p
exerciseSMALLarking lot.

Fitness Stations Approx cost $5K – $60K+/-




Over 2000 concerned citizens have signed a petition opposing these projects,and numerous others have written government officials to object to them.   It is clear that people young and old, parents and couples without children, and even children themselves disagree with this development because it violates the covenant made by citizens and entities 40 years ago and kept ever since to protect this unique and beautiful open space park in the middle of a densely populated suburban area.  Over 400,000 visitors a year appreciate Crown Hill Park as it is. Proposed changes to the Park would trigger the transformation of our quiet, contemplative wildlife sanctuary into another urban recreational area – against the will of the vast majority of Park users.  




_DSC2978 - Version 2Contact us if you have questions concerning the survey, to find out how you can help protect Crown Hill Park from unwelcomed development, and to be notified of future events, public meetings, or other calls to action.







  • roberta says:

    The following is being posted on behalf of Chris Pearce:
    This is a letter outlining my general attitude toward the legacy of development in Crown Hill park. It touches on some specifics of the current proposed development plans, but also outlines my overall attitude toward the park and how I’m most likely to respond to any proposed development in the future.

    My family is a new addition to the Crown Hill neighborhood, we moved here in late 2011. We are outdoorsy people with a child and we moved to the neighborhood in large part because it was a community that has protected the relatively natural, undeveloped Crown Hill Park land. This helps us feel that we can live sustainably in connection with the environment even in an urban community.

    Our attitude is that it is UN-necessary to treat our park areas with a mentality of development in order to enjoy them.

    We like our parks natural, meaning that we like our trails made of dirt rather than concrete, our shade from trees rather than built structures, our climbing on rocks rather than plastic climbing walls, etc. As part of a development concept for Crown Hill Park we are interested in ways to build-in community use areas that do NOT overly manicure and control the natural habitats that currently exist there. Our feeling is that a community use area of any kind will actually preclude people’s connection to, and sense of preservation of the natural landscape.

    I believe kids feel more disconnected from the dirt the more they play on concrete and rubber. During a nature talk that precedes an outdoor activity for kids it’s suitable for them to sit on the ground or simply on logs and rocks. Even better, outdoor education could take place right on the trail in connection with what’s being presented.

    We would be in support of development that creates areas for public use if they were designed with a landscape architecture mindset of full integration into the natural environment. Plastic, steel, concrete or other industrial materials put into the space simply doesn’t support the future of the legacy of preservation. It paves the way (literally), for a mindset of continued development.

    Subtle features could be created with rocks for playing on, shade from trees, or access to the water without concrete paths. The beach-like water access on the north side of the lake is a great feature that simply allows people to get closer to the water without creating a clearly developed “play area” separate from the environment of the park in general. Another access point like that on the south side of the lake would be great to allow the south side residents to access lake recreation without going around the lake.

    Working with space like this may preclude team sports, big picnics, and casual-bring-all-the-kids’ events, but it would encourage an understanding of the natural environment as people moved along the paths and approached the water.

    Another suggestion for direction of development funds is that there are currently many public paths to the water in many places in the park with steps made from stone. Many of these access points are in disrepair. They are muddy and dangerous beyond safe public use. What if these development resources were used to simply conserve and repair these access points with the existing materials or similar materials? I know from personal experience and observation that many people and families use these areas in their current condition. It is a great draw to the park. That is not an impulse and experience that will be substituted with benches and concrete, or shade and playgrounds.

    People will use the space, regardless of whether there are playgrounds. Keeping it natural will push an engagement with the space as it is, and support an understanding that the environment is not something that needs to be leveled and rebuilt in order to play. Much of this kind of natural experience already exists in Crown Hill Park, and there are some manicured park areas very close to Crown Hill that people who want the “clean and safe” playground experience can have easily.

    There is great value in a protected natural space within an urban landscape. So much so that other communities are delegating amazing costs to transforming and restoring concrete parking lots into open creek parks by removing buried culverts and replacing native trees and grasses in order to have access to nature in their neighborhoods.

    This is the right way to fight the “nature deficit”. We already have what we want in Crown Hill Park. Can we sustain this land and its current use? Can we increase its use and its value in nature education simultaneously, instead of one over the other? Greater use DOES NOT mean separating from the natural habitat, and sustaining the natural character of the park DOES NOT mean reducing public use.

    Further development in that park will dilute the spirit of preservation that the park has been protected with for generations. I’m interested in continuing that attitude and putting the same energy into keeping it natural. This is why I oppose new construction over repairing and rejuvenating the kind of natural park experience that already exists.

    Chris Pearce

  • Jane Cole says:

    While I am sorry that you are disappointed, Crown Hill is a dedicated Open Space Park, not an urban park. Citizens voted in the early 1970s to protect/conserve lands for future generations. The survey that was just completed and open to all, confirmed that the residents still consider preservation for now and future generations to be a highest priority. I, personally, made it a point to speak to families and children, all of whom (except for one grandmother) wanted it to remain the way that it is. Removing natural areas for unnatural areas might only teach our children to value the “newest bling” rather than cultivate a true conservation ethic. I believe our children are and will continue to be grateful for our continuing to preserve Crown Hill for them.

  • Daniel says:

    As someone who recognizes the decline of our children’s connections with nature, our family really liked the idea of a low-key nature play area, but the vocal older “not in my backyard” crowd overpowered our voice. Sure getting our kids directly in natural settings is always best, but in a heavily used and developed urban park, like Crown Hill, the Nature Play area represented a way to bridge the gap between a developed playground and a more natural setting. I wish the survery that was done was a random survey of all citizens in Jeffco County vs. a “whoever could scream the loudest” survey, but hey you all got what you wanted, but I fear at the expense of our kids.
    Did you ever stop to think about who the future voters and supporters of Open Space are? It isn’t the older crowd, it’s our youth and the more they are disconnected from the nature, the more in jeopardy our parks and open spaces are.

    • Cara Snyder says:

      I think we can all agree that connecting children with nature is an important goal. However, until Jefferson County Open Space does a comprehensive public outreach effort similar to what Larimer County did in 2011-2012 for their “Plug Into Nature” pilot program (see http://www.larimer.org/plugintonature/), none of us can say with any accuracy what the citizens of Jefferson County really want and need in order to connect children and families to nature. The parents of Larimer County listed “mountains, trails, forests, and water resources as the land characteristics with the highest value for making connections to nature.” Crown Hill offers several of these. Hard to imagine that the parents of Jefferson County would want something different (artificial nature, anyone?).

      Even without looking at Larimer County’s example, important information was presented to the Open Space Advisory Committee on April 4, 2013. One speaker noted that parental involvement is critical in connecting children with nature. So simply dropping your kids off at a fake nature play area likely won’t develop a nature connection. Another presenter was a ranger at Lookout Mountain Nature Center who has been leading “nature play” activities there for 5 years, using real nature (what a concept!). It sounds like she might be doing what is needed to develop connection to nature – involving parents and exploring real nature. Even the experts agree that building pseudo-nature play areas in a natural area doesn’t make a lot of sense. An article in the Denver Post on Feb. 9 quoted Lois Brink, executive director of the University of Colorado Denver’s Learning Landscapes Program, which has built many “naturalistic outdoor play spaces” at urban schools in Denver: “To try to create a playground — to target one specific demographic, kids — in a place that traditionally has been natural, doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.” Where’s the evidence that fake nature “bridges the gap” between a developed playground and a more natural setting? The suggestion seems silly. Kids love nature if given the chance.

      It appears to me that JeffCo tried to push pseudo-nature play areas into Crown Hill without all of the facts: do park users really want it, does it fit the character of the park, does this concept even work. Which makes me wonder what JeffCo’s agenda really is!! It has not appeared to me that they want to be conscientious stewards of our open spaces, and that instead, they want to push personal agendas using taxpayer dollars.

      I want to see kids at the park – enjoying real nature. And I have talked to many parents who say their kids like to play at the park as it is. Crown Hill has lots of real nature and I believe even has some ranger-guided programs – why don’t they spend more money on that effort instead of trying to build more structures?

  • Joanne Solem says:

    I travel to Crown Hill to be away from the noisy pavilions of the park near my home. Crown Hill is a wonderful peaceful place to enjoy nature. We have so few of them within reach in the city. I used to love to walk in the green belt near Prospect Park but now I am run over by the fast moving cyclists and it is no longer a safe or peaceful place to stroll with my small dog. Crown Hill and the serenity it offers needs to be preserved for those of us who wish to enjoy the quiet of nature, free of the loud music and large parties the pavilion would bring. If the city leaders have money to spend on the park I would suggest more frequent patrols of the parking lots to keep our vehicles safe while we wander and enjoy the quiet of our beloved natural space. .

  • Evelyn S says:

    Come to the Meeting on

    April 30, from 6-8 PM
    Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, 4005 Kipling Street
    Do You want a 2000 Sq Foot Shade Structure Built at Crown Hill? Just say “No”!

  • Dennis of Lakewood says:

    Open your eyes and look west, just across Kipling, there is a nice park for kids, with swings, slides, ball field, soccer field, areas to run and play. I remember in 1980, the path on the dike around the lake was dirt, and there wasn’t much foot traffic. We rode bikes there and were happy when it got graded smooth. There was a working farm there, with cattle and other animals with crops being grown west of the lake. There were even several huge cottonwood trees growing in the field just west of the lake. Then one day in the mid 80’s they raised the dike and paved the path around the lake! Times were even better! Bike riding was more enjoyable, more people walked, and the area was accessible to those with disabilities. Enuf is enuf, adults pay for this with taxes and lottery money. There are plenty of parks around town for kids. Perhaps this $990,000 could be better spent by buying land that might be bought by developers, or land-raping mining interests instead of erecting an observation tower to overlook neighborhoods as far as the eye can see.

    • roberta says:

      Thanks for the email Dennis. Did you hear that JCOS has decided not to build the play areas? Are you also opposed to the proposed pergola/shade structure and consolidated fitness stations? If so, please write to JCOS and let them know.

      thanks for getting in touch

  • cheryl says:

    Iv lived across from crown hill since i was a little girl. The park is perfect just the way it is, there is so many parks that kids can go play at with in a mile of crown hill, and its the only place around here that has not change much since i was little. its a good place to go and sit in nature with out so far out of the city

  • Jan Wilson says:

    I live one mile from Crown Hill. It is really awesome, and it is fun to hike here. The improvements are appreciated. Would love to see some wildflowers planted. Will water be added to the lake to make it deeper? Are there fish in this lake? Great for those who like to hike, or for walks and possibly people to go with. If you like walking with other people, if you are shy, friendly, outgoing or just love being outdoors this is the place! This open space area has a wonderful surface open to the sky and mountains, providing recreation, ecology and aesthetic value.

  • june wiebe says:

    Because of the green belt being unsafe because of predators, we seek solitude at crown hill. this pristine park provides so much rest and relaxation for many who need this time to unwind, Just seeing car and tractor tracks on the grass lands there is very disturbing, Many wildlife need this habitat now badly because they are being scared off in many other areas that they feed and rest by the “art projects” with fake fox stand ups. This is outrageous as these wild life have a right to grass and to feel safe. why are we destroying all our habitat in wheat ridge? It will be a very sad place to live when we loose all our hawks, eagles and blue herrings form over use and extream pollution and loss of habitat.

  • Helen Bushnell says:

    If the target audience is families, why are we not meeting at one of the elementary schools? Have the consultants talked to the PTA’s of any of the local schools?

    i looked at one of their past projects and it looks like they ignored families with small children, so I am suspicious.

    • Daniel says:

      The nature play area was designed to help kids connect better to nature, but the louder, gray crowd let it be known that they don’t want of those damn kids in “their” park which all of the 600,000+ residents in Jefferson County and everyone who pays sales tax in Jeffco supports.

  • Ken Mann says:

    Just stopped by CH parking lot on W. 26th Ave. JeffCo Open Space has a booth there from 10am to 2pm … they say, each weekend through the survey time, plus maybe also duing the week (to be determined). Please stop by and ask question and see their display. I spoke to Thea Rock and JB Ellison. I asked why there was no information about their plans on the Park Infomation Board. Told them I had never seen anything (write-up with pictures etc.) explaining just what they were proposing IN THE PARK. Thea first suggested going to a JeffCo website but then, Thea said she would put that information on the Park Information Board today. Also asked, what was the target audience for their ‘play stations’, I suggested maybe 3yo to 7 or 8 yo … Thea said the target audience was family groups. Told her that the parents were not going to play on those play stations, she agreed and suggested the target audience might be the 3yo to 13 or 14yo. Interesting.

    Please stop by when you get a chance and talk to the people at this booth. Thanks.

  • Ken Mann says:

    I just got this last night from a CH supporter:

    Rep Sue Schaffer (she lives just west of CH) and Sen. Cheri Jahn are holding a Q/A session this lSaturday at the Active Adult Center on 35th. Might be a good place to ask her about CH.


  • Blair Miller says:

    I just created a FaceBook page called Friends of Crown Hill and encourage folks to “like” it and post their comments .

  • Fred Clarke says:

    Thanks for this resource. There are several local parks with playgrounds and tennis courts. We go to Crown Hill because it is an open space. This natural retreat should not be defiled with any additional manmade structures. Jeffco Open Space needs to hear from thousands of park users who want it to remain as natural as possible.

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