Clear Creek Management Plan

Clear Creek Activity

Often referred to as the heart of Golden, Clear Creek is frequented by fishermen, kayakers, tubers, sunbathers, runners, bikers and more. 2012’s perfect storm, or lack thereof, created a low water season. Coupled with warm temperatures, the creek experienced unprecedented use. Concerns were expressed regarding overcrowding, noise, parking, environmental degradation, trash and other impacts. In urban environments, it is particularly challenging to balance resource protection and visitor use.

City of Golden staff reacted immediately to public concerns by conducting an ecosystem assessment, developing a communications campaign about acceptable use in the corridor, and working with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program to conduct a yearlong public process to develop a written management plan for use of the Clear Creek Corridor. The intent of the Clear Creek Management Plan is to establish a framework for managing the wide variety of recreational uses while balancing the need to restore and preserve the creek and its banks.

The Clear Creek Management Plan serves as a guiding document for management of Clear Creek by providing a framework for monitoring creek use and incorporating new management strategies when they are needed to protect the Clear Creek experience. The plan was adopted by Golden City Council on June 12, 2014 and will serve as an Appendix to the Clear Creek Master Plan, along with the Clear Creek Ecosystem Assessment which was also developed to address impacts of use. Each of these three plans provides a complete package to ensure Clear Creek remains a fun, safe place to play while protecting natural resource values.

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule asks creek users to be kind to the creek and its neighbors.

Signage is prominently displayed along the creek at key access areas reminding users of Golden’s City Regulations including zero tolerance for alcohol, smoking and dogs off leash. Signage will also provide information via a QR Code to parking locations, trail maps and discounts to local merchants to encourage everyone to enjoy all downtown Golden has to offer.

Need assistance? Clear Creek Park Rangers patrol the creek during the summer to keep it safe, clean, fun and respectful.

For more information on enjoying Clear Creek, including maps with designated creek access points and best places to park, please visit our Clear Creek Visitor Information page.

Clear Creek Management Plan

Staff contracted with Ecological Consultants Inc. to prepare a detailed evaluation of the creek bed and bank area to determine the location, nature and extent of environmental damage caused by 2012 seasonal activity. This report identified potential protection, restoration and reconstruction options for several sensitive areas. Download the Clear Creek Ecological Health Assessment pdf download for a detailed look at the area’s state following the 2012 high-use season.

Clear Creek Tubers

In addition to new regulations for creek corridor use, staff is working with the National Park Service to develop a Clear Creek Management Plan through a public engagement process. The goal of the plan is to establish a framework for managing the wide variety of recreational uses while balancing the need to restore and preserve the creek and its banks. The public process for the Clear Creek Management Plan has included an Open House and two workshops. View the results of these meetings below.

While many measures have already been taken to safeguard the long-term health of the Clear Creek Corridor, the Clear Creek Management Plan is till evolving, encompassing the results of the Ecological Consultants Inc. evaluation of the creek condition, and finding ways to achieve the visions set forth in the Golden Vision 2030 Plan pdf download (consistent with the Clear Creek Master Plan pdf download). Our goal is to build an understanding among creek corridor users about safety, creek culture, and preservation of natural resources.

Get Involved

The timeline for the Clear Creek Management Plan public engagement process began with an Open House in February 2013, followed by two public Workshops.

Staff anticipates public engagement through early 2014, including but not limited to: surveys and interviews with users, workshops, a public awareness campaign, monitoring and evaluation of 2013 Management Strategies, online surveys, and lastly, a Clear Creek Management Plan document.

Download results of the online survey which ran from January through the end of April.

Public Meetings

As a part of the Clear Creek Management Plan public process, staff invited residents, local businesses, and other stakeholders to have a conversation and help develop the final plan.

Clear Creek Management Plan Meeting Calendar
Clear Creek Management Plan Open House

Feb 12, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Golden Community Center

Staff and the National Parks Service hosted an Open House on February 12th at the Golden Community Center. The Open House was the initial step in the public engagement process and offered the community an opportunity to contemplate future strategies to keep the Clear Creek Corridor a fun, thriving and safe environment. Participants perused several “work stations,” each providing education and feedback opportunities. The stations included the overall timeline and process for creation of the Clear Creek Management Plan, the results of the Ecological Consultants Inc. evaluation, 2013 management strategies, water safety and education, and a survey with the option to subscribe to be involved and receive updates.

The meeting was well attended and generated a good deal of useful feedback. The feedback was collected into two documents, which are available for download below as pdfs. The first document outlines the different issues being dealt with and possible strategies for each, and includes tallies of how people voted for each strategy. The second document is a compilation of all comments gathered from the meeting.

Clear Creek Management Plan Workshop #1

March 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 
Golden Community Center

The first workshop of the Clear Creek Management Plan was a great success with over 70 people in attendance. The workshop provided an opportunity for residents and visitors to align their desired creek use with that of others in attendance, as well as understand the multitude of uses within the Clear Creek Corridor.

Clear Creek Management Plan Workshop #2

April 2, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 
Golden Community Center

The follow-up to a very successful Open House and Workshop #1, the Clear Creek Management Plan Workshop #2 attracted a large crowd of Golden residents and visitors who took the time to work through potential solutions for creek management while balancing the multitude of ways people enjoy Clear Creek. Stay tuned to this web page for updates on upcoming Clear Creek Management Plan meetings. The next step in the management plan process will be review of the management strategies incorporated this summer followed by the development of a long term Clear Creek Management Plan.

Summer Season Review Public Meeting

Oct 1, 7 p.m.
Golden Council Chambers

A Summer Season Review Public Meeting was held on Tues, Oct. 1 to discuss the data collected over the summer, including a User Survey pdf download, parking counts, citations written, etc. The meeting was also an opportunity to address lingering concerns.

COG Mesa

 Golden has 402 acres of open space
and maintains 253 acres of parks right within the city itself.

Additional Resources

City of Golden, Colorado
COG Mesa