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City and County of Denver Donates Bison to Tribal Nations
Denver Mountain Park Bison will help establish, support and sustain
Native American conservation herds across the country
DENVER Apr. 2, 2021 – Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) presented thirteen American Bison to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, located in Oklahoma and one bison to the Tall Bull Memorial Council in Colorado. This gift is the first of its kind from the City of Denver to return wild bison to their native homes and help reintroduce bison and support conservation efforts on tribal lands.
In consultation with DPR’s tribal partners, the Denver American Indian Commission, the Tall Bull Memorial Council and the InterTribal Buffalo Council, the donation of surplus Denver Mountain Park bison to American Indian Tribes or American Indian Non-Profit organizations will continue through the year 2030.
“Denver shares a common vison with our tribal partners to return and restore wild bison back to historical habitats and ancestral lands,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Bison restoration efforts teach us how to be better stewards of the land, improve prairie landscapes and ecosystems, ensure genetic diversity of the species, and ensure a legacy of cultural understanding.”
“This donation is the result and culmination of a very long, storied history and relationship with the State of Colorado,” said Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Governor Reggie Wassana. “The Tribes plan to use the donated bison as a cultural, conservation and educational resource, with the goal of locating the bison on our own tribal natural plains habitat.”
“We appreciate this gift and hope to grow our relationship with the great state of Colorado, ”stated Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Lt. Governor Gilbert Miles.
DPR recently hosted its 36th annual Bison Auction at Genesee Park, auctioning off young bison from Genesee Park and Daniels Park. This auction historically kept the herd at a healthy population size and promoted genetic diversity within the managed bison population. DPR will no longer conduct the auction but will work with our tribal partners to select tribes across the country that will accept the bison to build and enhance conservation herds on tribal lands.
“Denver City Council adopted a Land Acknowledgement in 2020 which asked us to demonstrate a commitment to dismantle ongoing legacies of oppression and inequity,” said City Councilwoman Jamie Torres. “I’m deeply proud of our City’s effort to work with Tribes and the InterTribal Buffalo Council to ensure cultural and spiritual preservation.”
DPR maintains two conservation bison herds in the Denver Mountain Parks system at Genesee Park and Daniels Park. The herds are descendants from the last wild bison in North America and were originally established at Denver’s City Park by the Denver Zoo and the City of Denver. The herd was moved to Genesee Park in 1914 and expanded to Daniels Park in 1938.
Denver Mountain Parks began caring for the first managed bison herd in Colorado to conserve the species and prevent extinction. Herds that numbered more than 30 million when the first European explorers set foot on the American continent were nearly wiped out by the 1880s. At the turn of the 20th century, fewer than 1,000 bison remained in existence. Today it is estimated that there are roughly 31,000 free-range wild bison in North America.
Tips and Tricks for Pruning Your Trees
By Urban Forestry Operations Assistant Paul Cancik
With spring upon us, many residents are eagerly planning their gardens and starting to spruce up their yards. Pruning helps trees live longer, which allows them to grow taller and contribute to Denver’s urban canopy. With this in mind, Denver’s Office of the City Forester is offering helpful tips for pruning. It’s important to keep in mind that if you cannot safely prune your tree from the ground, it’s best to hire a licensed tree care professional since they use specialized equipment and have the necessary field knowledge. When you prune a tree, you are planning for the future, and with patience, you will ultimately have results that benefit generations to come.
Why should you prune your trees?
- Pruning helps ensure that your tree develops a strong form/structure and prevents breakage in the future.
- Thinning your tree makes the crown (top) healthier by allowing more air and sunlight to pass through it.
- Pruning, much like watering, helps give your tree longevity; future generations will be able to enjoy it.
- Removing deadwood from your tree helps prevent insect infestation.
- If pruning is neglected, a tree can become susceptible to breakage, making the tree potentially dangerous.
What should you prune from your trees?
- Follow the “3 D’s” of pruning: only remove Dead, Damaged and Diseased wood, especially if the tree is not established. You can also prune branches that impact the structural integrity of the tree.
- Be deliberate about what you prune from a tree.
- It’s important to prune around stop signs and to ensure sidewalks are clear to prevent accidents on or near your property. Stop signs should be clearly visible and sidewalks free of obstructions. The clearance requirements in Denver are 8’ above sidewalks and 13.5’ above streets and alleys.
When should you prune your trees?
- While you may prune your tree year-round, ideally the best time to prune is late in the dormant season or early spring, before leaves form. This is typically a good time to remove excess or undesired branches because the tree is not putting forth energy to create foliage.
- Certain trees, including American elm (Dutch elm disease) and fruit trees in the rose family (fire blight) should only be pruned while dormant to reduce the spread of disease.
- Only prune a young tree two years after it has been planted and just focus on dead, broken, crossing and interfering branches.
Tips for pruning:
- Make sure that every pruning cut you make is clean and smooth. The best tool to use for pruning is a pair of sharp bypass hand pruners for one-inch branches because they make smaller cuts that the tree can recover from faster.
- Colorado has a very short growing season compared to other regions. A shorter growing season means the tree has a shorter period of time to create and store energy, which ultimately affects how quickly a tree can recover from pruning. A young established tree can tolerate removal of 1/3 of its foliage in a growing season. A mature tree should never have more than 25% of its live foliage removed in one growing season.
- If you are pruning something off your tree that you can’t reach from the ground, it’s advised that you hire a tree care professional since they use specialized equipment such as an aerial lift truck/bucket truck and they have the needed field knowledge and expertise. In the City of Denver, tree contractors are required to be licensed and insured. A list of Denver’s licensed tree contractors can be found by visiting https://www.denvergov.org/forestry.
- If you suspect an insect problem, contact a tree care professional to develop the most effective and environmentally conscious solution.
- Covering a wound or using wound dressings is not recommended and may be detrimental to tree health.
Lenore B. Quick – A Classic Pocket Park
Denver’s 260 public parks come in all shapes and sizes. The regional parks: Sloan’s Lake, Washington, City, and Cheesman, are destinations for the entire community and well known for their grand size, expansive lawns, and plethora of amenities for both young and old park goers.
On the other end of the size spectrum are our city’s numerous pocket parks, many falling under an acre in size. The small scale open spaces tucked into neighborhoods provide local residents a safe and inviting place to relax, play, and socialize. For many, pocket parks are the closest green spaces within walking distance of their residences.
Pocket parks provide a host of community benefits, including:
- Making local communities safer and more sociable
- Providing a place for mental and physical relaxation
- Transforming odd shaped parcels or unused real estate into usable green space
- Creating a “yard” for residents of multi-unit buildings
Pocket parks, like Greenacre Park in midtown Manhattan and Place Dauphine in Paris, are proof that these petite green spaces can be found around the globe. Here in the Mile High City we have a classic pocket park in the form of Lenore B. Quick Park.
Named in honor of an early childhood educator who advocated on behalf of our youngest learners, the park sits on less than half an acre at 26th & Ogden, just a quick stroll from the intersection of streets that create Five Points.
The land for the park was acquired by the city in 1948. In 2017, Denver Park and Recreation, with input from the community, replaced a dilapidated basketball court with a reimagined design featuring a range of amenities for all ages, including a playground, benches, a basketball hoop, grass, trees, native landscaping and, in a nod to Ms. Quick, large blocks spelling out “play.”
Lenore B. Quick Park, like many of our pocket parks, show small spaces can have a big impact. These parks play an important role in our community by providing a place to play, a peaceful environment for a picnic or a gathering spot for socializing with friends and family. And, it is only fitting that a park named for one pioneer in early childhood education sits across the street from the building named for a living legend —Anna Jo Garcia Haynes. Haynes was the founder of Mile High Early Learning, Denver’s oldest and largest provider of subsidized, quality early childhood care and education, which continues to positively impact the lives of kids today.
How to turn your garden into a Certified Wildlife Habitat
In 2018, the City and County of Denver announced its intention to certify as a Community Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. The National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitat™ program partners with cities, towns, counties, neighborhoods, and communities of all kinds to help them become healthier, greener, and more wildlife-friendly. Community Wildlife Habitats are landscaped with wildlife in mind, and help promote the use of native trees and plants, work to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and chemicals, and integrate wildlife-friendly practices into sustainability plans and park master plans.
Through this program communities like Denver can enhance and restore islands and corridors of wildlife habitat in urban and suburban areas nationwide, while at the same time connecting to existing work around climate resiliency, community resiliency, urban forestry, water conservation, beautification, and more.
Communities earn community-wide certification by certifying individual properties (homes, parks, schools, businesses, and others) in their community as Certified Wildlife Habitats and by doing education and outreach in their community. Education and outreach points are earned by engaging community members in habitat restoration projects, providing resources like native plant lists, and communicating through websites and social media. Download the Community Wildlife Habitat program certification requirements. or learn more about the program here.
Creating a wildlife habitat garden at your residence means creating a space with the intent to foster wildlife. Wildlife habitats will often attract birds, butterflies, bees, and other neighborhood wildlife. These tiny greenspaces are an essential part of our ecosystem, and help eliminate air pollution, cool our environment, and encourage growth. Here is what you need to create a Wildlife Habitat:
Food: Native plants provide food to a variety of wildlife. Feeders can supplement natural food sources.
Water: All animals need water to survive, and some need it for bathing or breeding as well.
Cover: Animals need places to take shelter from bad weather and places to hide from predators or hunt for prey.
Places to Raise Young: Wildlife need resources to reproduce, and to protect and nourish their young.
Sustainable Practices: Maintain your yard or garden in natural ways to ensure soil, air, and water stay healthy and clean.
10,000 Steps Through Denver Parks
With spring officially upon us, we’re lacing up our running shoes, oiling our bike chains, ridding our roller blades of dust and cobwebs and getting ready for the myriad warm weather activities that Denver parks let us enjoy. So, to help you get into the warm weather spirit, we thought we’d share with you a few creative ways you can get your 10,000 steps (or rolls) in at Denver parks. (For the sake of this post, we translated 10,000 steps to 5 miles.)
The Southwest Denver Walking Loop—Combined Steps: 9,300
Harvey Park (0.4 miles / 800 steps):
Harvey Park is a bit of a hidden gem, located in Southwest Denver and intersected by West Evans Ave. and South Tennyson Way, this neighborhood park features two lakes, a playground, sports facilities & a community center. It’s also a great place to get your steps in with a scenic 800-step loop.
Garfield Lake Park (0.9 miles / 1,800 steps)
Not far from Harvey Park is Garfield Lake Park (if you’re looking to add even more steps you could walk), another neighborhood favorite that features a fishing pond, playground, swimming pool and a short walking loop that will help you add about 1,800 steps to your daily total.
Huston Lake Park (1.6 miles / 3,200 steps)
Huston Lake Park, in the Athmar Park neighborhood at the intersection of South Clay St. and West Ohio Ave., is a 33-acre park complete with a view of the front range, a lake, an outdoor fitness center and a paved trail that will add 3,200 steps to your day.
Ruby Hill (1.75 miles / 3,500 steps)
Located at 1200 W. Florida Avenue (at the corner of Florida and Platte River Dr.), Ruby Hill Park is probably best known for being the second highest point in Denver—and it has the views to back that claim up. With plenty of open space and amenities, you can easily spend the day at this park. But, if you’re hoping to get your 10,000 steps in (or rolls) you can walk all of Ruby Hill’s trails for a combined total of 3,500 steps.
The West Denver Walking Loop—Combined Steps: 9,200
Sloan’s Lake (2.6 miles / 5,200 steps)
Located in Northwest Denver at the intersection of Sheridan Blvd. and West 17th Ave., Sloan’s Lake is the largest lake in Denver, and the surrounding park, at 177 acres, is the second largest park in the city. Boasting breathtaking views of both the Denver skyline and the front range, park amenities for all ages, and a walking loop that will net you roughly 5,200 steps, Sloan’s Lake makes for the perfect backdrop to any spring day.
Berkeley Park (1.0 miles / 2,000 steps)
Berkeley Park, located right on the edge of Denver on the corner of Sheridan Blvd. and West 46th Ave., is hard to miss if you’re in that area. With an expansive lake, open space, and a dog park, it has most of the amenities you could want. To top it off, it also features a mile long walking path that will add 2,000 steps to your daily total.
Rocky Mountain Lake Park (1.0 miles / 2,000 steps)
Rocky Mountain Lake Park, located in Northwest Denver on west 46th avenue, and Lowell Blvd. offers a scenic one mile trail and ample green space in the heart of the city. A trip to Rocky Mountain Lake Park will add another 2,000 steps to your day.
Central Denver Walking Loop—Combined Steps: 10,200
Cheesman Park Outer Loop (1.4 miles / 2,800 steps)
Just east of Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park is a neighborhood favorite. With plenty of open space for picnicking, frisbeeing, or any of your favorite park activities, it provides a quick escape from the bustle of the surrounding city. Just one loop on Cheesman Park’s outer trail will add 2,800 steps to your day.
City Park Mile High Loop (3.1 miles / 6,200 steps)
At 330 acres, City Park is Denver’s largest municipal park. Ferril and Duck Lakes provide water recreation, including paddle boat rentals from the boathouse. The park is also home to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science—so you’ll never be short of activities. As Denver’s largest park, it’s no surprise that the Mile High Loop at City park will add a whopping 6,200 steps to your day.
Washington Park Smith Lake Loop (.6 miles / 1,200 steps)
Washington Park, located at South Franklin St. and East Virginia Ave, is one of Denver’s most recognized parks. At 165 acres, Washington Park offers a range of trails, gardens, playgrounds and basketball courts. For a quick stroll, head to the Smith Lake Loop on the North side of the park, which will add 1,200 steps to your day.
Also in this edition…
Introducing the Denver Park Trust Shop
The Denver Park Trust Shop is now officially open. We worked with the Denver Public Library to bring you these exclusive shirts featuring the original maps of some of Denver’s most iconic parks. All purchases go toward improving and growing the Denver park system.