Cucumber Gulch Designated a Wildlife Preserve (Open Monday, July 8th)
Cucumber Gulch is designated a wildlife preserve by the Breckenridge Town Council and the Breckenridge Open Space Advisory Commission (BOSAC). “It’s really important for visitors to understand how vulnerable this area is,” said former BOSAC chairperson Matt Stais. “By labeling the area a ‘preserve’ and managing it accordingly, we hope to send the message that we take the protection of this area very seriously.”
Cucumber Gulch has been one of the main areas of focus for the Town of Breckenridge since the inception of the Open Space program. The area, which contains 77 acres of wetlands, is one of the Town’s most treasured yet threatened resources. It provides vital habitat for the state-endangered boreal toad, moose, elk, deer, mountain lion, beaver, and over forty-seven species of birds. It’s hard to believe that such a wildlife sanctuary exists within a mile of Breckenridge’s Main Street!
Due to its location between town and the base of the Breckenridge Ski Resort Peak 8 area, Cucumber Gulch and its wildlife inhabitants are surrounded by, and vulnerable to, human disturbance. The area also encompasses many of the trails that make up the Breckenridge Nordic Center, as well as seasonal hiking and biking trails. At the same time, the Gulch is almost completely surrounded by existing or pending development.
One of the greatest threats posed to the wildlife in Cucumber Gulch Preserve is an off-leash dog. By swimming in the ponds, disturbing the beavers, and pursuing vulnerable wildlife and ground-nesting birds, dogs have exacted a heavy toll on the area’s wildlife. As a result, dogs are not permitted in the Cucumber Gulch Preserve. Please feel free to take your dogs on every other Town trail, but leave your dog at home when you visit Cucumber Gulch Preserve.
Other management efforts to protect the Preserve include: adopting the Cucumber Gulch Preserve Management Plan; establishing the Cucumber Gulch Overlay Protection District; enacting seasonal wildlife closures; improving interpretive signage; installing fences to protect vulnerable fen wetlands; working cooperatively with the Breckenridge Nordic Center to ensure wintertime wetland protection efforts; and conducting ongoing research to assess changes in the wetlands and the wildlife.
Please take the time to enjoy Cucumber Gulch Preserve while respecting the area’s vulnerability. If you have any thoughts or questions regarding the area and its management please email WebsiteOpenSpace@townofbreckenridge.com . Thank you for your help in protecting Cucumber Gulch Preserve!