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    Smart Growth

    Land Preservation

    Boulder residents enjoy over 43,000 acres of city open space land in and around the city. Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks program is the product of a long history of actions taken by the city government and the people in response to their concern for the preservation of buffer areas and the mountain backdrop. In 1967, Boulder voters made history by approving a sales tax specifically to buy, manage and maintain open space; the first time residents in any U.S. city had voted to tax themselves specifically for open space. Expert: Julie Johnson, City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department, 303-441-3440 Open Space and Mountain Parks History

    Boulder County's Parks and Open Space program was initiated in the mid-1960s by citizens interested in preserving land from rapid development. At that time, there were fewer than 130,000 people living in Boulder County. Now, there are nearly 300,000. In 1975, the county acquired its first major open-space acquisition. Today, the county owns or oversees almost 89,000 acres of open space. Our mission is to promote and provide for the preservation of open space, environmental and cultural resources and non-urban recreational opportunities in a way that reflects sound resource management and community values. Currently, over 65% of the land in Boulder County is protected from development through conservation easements or land ownership managed by the county, federal, state, and local agencies. Expert: Vivienne Jannatpour, Boulder County Parks & Open Space, 303-678-6277

    City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks has 130 miles of trails used by walkers, hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders, dog walkers and other passive recreational uses, such as nature study and photography. Expert: Julie Johnson, City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department, 303-441-3440 Trail Information/Maps

    Boulder County offers more than 90 miles of trails. In addition to providing and maintaining both soft-surface and paved multi-use trails, Boulder County has a strong on-street bikeway and shoulder-improvement program. The Boulder County Regional Trails program is a multi-year effort to plan, design and constructs a series of eight soft-surface multi-use trails that connect communities within Boulder County. The Transportation Department focuses its trail planning and development on regional trails that are multi-use and serve as both transportation and recreational corridors. Expert: Tim Swope, Alternative Transportation Coordinator, 720-564-2658

    Smart Transit

    GO Boulder (Great Options in Transportation for Boulder) strives to develop innovative transportation programs, ongoing education, and outreach to the community and a sustainable transportation system that supports it. Today, there are seven buses in the Community Transit Network -JUMP, HOP, SKIP, LEAP, BOUND, DASH, BOLT, and STAMPEDE. Local ridership has increased over 200 percent between 1990 and 2007. We encourage employees to use alternative transportation by offering bus passes, carpooling options and bikes for daily check out. Expert: Andrea Robbins, City of Boulder/GO Boulder, 303-441-4139

    Boulder County is an active supporter of multiple transit services and helps facilitate transit planning, marketing and awareness programs throughout the county. The County encourages its own employees to use alternative transportation during the workday to get around to various meetings and facilities and for commuting to work. Boulder County provides employees with discounted bus passes, pre-tax assistance with vanpool programs and prioritized parking for carpools. The County also provides bicycles for employees to check out and use during the day for short trips that would otherwise require a vehicle. Boulder County works closely with local towns and cities to ensure the best possible future for alternative transportation in and around the county. Expert: Tim Swope, Alternative Transportation Coordinator, 720-564-2658

    The city fleet currently has 193 alternative fuel vehicles and equipment. The city continues to actively pursue the acquisition of alternatively fueled vehicles and the use of alternative fuels in support of the City Council’s environmental sustainability goal. Following a successful pilot project that evaluated the use of B20 (20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel fuel), the city installed a 6,000-gallon tank for city vehicles at the City Yards. Expert: Drew Bascue, City of Boulder’s Office of Environmental Affairs, 303-441-1847 City’s use of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles

    Hybrids can park in the front row at Boulder’s newest shopping district. At Twenty Ninth Street there are parking spots specifically for “Alternative Fueled Vehicles.” Right on!

    Boulder County has implemented a number of changes to achieve fuel efficiency and pollution reduction. For example, the County’s diesel trucks run on bio-diesel and are equipped with systems that limit air pollution. Boulder County began purchasing hybrid vehicles in 2001 and has since converted a total of 17 vehicles in its fleet to hybrid power. Boulder County will purchase three electric hybrids in 2008 and will convert them to plug-in so that they can charge their batteries using electricity harnessed through the County's solar power system installed at the downtown courthouse. These vehicles will utilize a 10-kilowatt solar array and electricity stored in the electric grid to charge their batteries. Expert: Ted Plank, Fleet Services Division, 303-682- 6702

    The city of Boulder offers over 350 miles of dedicated bike lanes, routes, shoulders and paths which are easily navigated with the support of a cutting-edge website ( that helps riders find the best route around Boulder (similar to MapQuest for cars!). It also tells riders how many miles they’ll ride along the route, how many calories they'll burn getting there, and it can calculate the economic benefits of bicycling, like how much riders save in gas money by not driving. Expert: Andrea Robbins, City of Boulder/GO Boulder, 303-441-4139

    On-street bikeways and road shoulders are an integral part of Boulder County’s transportation system. As a policy, the Boulder County Transportation Department adds shoulders for bike use to all roads receiving a pavement overlay if that road has historically experienced significant bike use in the past. The improvement and addition of on-street bikeways is made possible in part by taxes specifically approved by county voters to improve alternative modes of transportation. Funds generated by the tax support a long list of projects throughout the county. Expert: Tim Swope, Alternative Transportation Coordinator, 720-564-2658

    Green Initiatives

    In 1996, the city of Boulder was the first municipality in the country to mandate a residential green code. The purpose of the city’s Green Points Building program is to help homeowners find the products and designs for building "green”; encourage Boulder homeowners to include cost-effective and sustainable remodeling and building methods that conserve fossil fuels, water and other natural resources; promote the recycling of construction materials and reduce solid waste; and promote better indoor air quality. Expert: Jonathan Koehn, City of Boulder’s Office of Env. Affairs, 303-441-1915

    In 2008, the Boulder County Commissioners approved the “Boulder County BuildSmart” residential green building program. Boulder County BuildSmart, through education, regulation, and incentives, will promote and encourage high performing sustainable development and redevelopment in the unincorporated areas of Boulder County. Development meeting the BuildSmart standards will create cost-effective, energy efficient structures that reduce both the production of greenhouse gases from residential buildings and the amount of material sent to landfills and conserve and protect water and other natural resources. Expert: Boulder County Land Use Department, 303- 441-3930

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s decade-old Boulder facility, built with local stone and filled with natural light, offers spectacular views, windows that open, and a bicycle room for its many cycling staff members. Planned with low energy use in mind, interior lights turn off automatically after hours, and the specially designed ventilation system saves on heating and air-conditioning demands. The landscaping was designed with native plants that require little water, and fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides are environmentally friendly. Expert: Anatta, 303-497-6288 

    Read a NY Times article about a Boulder energy efficient home

    Recycling/Zero Waste

    Beginning in 1976, Boulder was one of the first communities in the country to have curbside recycling when a group of Eco-Cycle volunteers began collecting recyclable materials from residents in old, yellow school buses. In 1989, the city instituted the Trash Tax and took over the program, making it city-wide and expanded the types of recyclable materials collected. The trash tax funding helped expand the program into commercial recycling and hard-to-recycle material collection services. Eco-Cycle’s “Zero Waste” programs have expanded internationally, where they use Boulder as a model for other communities to follow. Expert: Shireen Miller, City of Boulder Environmental Affairs Division, 303-441-4204

    Boulder County is committed to achieving “zero waste – or darn near” by 2025, with an initial goal of achieving 50% waste diversion for Boulder County government operations and the county as a whole by 2010. These goals were officially adopted in 2005 when the Boulder County Commissioners passed a resolution “Adopting Zero Waste as a Guiding Principle and Supporting the Creation of a Zero Waste Plan.” Boulder County incorporates policies and practices that promote resource conservation, composting and waste reduction. All of the county’s offices are equipped with mixed paper and co-mingled container (glass, plastic, aluminum) recycling bins. Many offices also have composting bins for food waste and other biodegradable materials. Expert: Boulder County Resource Conservation Division, 720-564-2220

    We know the saying by heart, “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” The Resource Yard accepts donations of reusable building materials and then resells them to the public at great prices. The Resource Yard does a lot to keep our landfills free of perfectly good materials. It’s the definition of recycling.

    Want to see how a Zero Waste Boulder business is profitably succeeding? Take a tour of Boulder’s only Zero Waste hotel with Dan King, the general manager of the Outlook Hotel. He is a state-wide leader in “greening” hotels. Expert: Kim Farin Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau 303-938-2066 Boulder County Recycling Center


    Hike or bike and explore Boulder’s 43,000 acres of preserved land. Learn about Boulder’s wide open spaces, our mountains, and the gorgeous hiking trails. Lots of photographic opportunities. This short guided walk is easy and the trail is well maintained. Expert: Julie Johnson, City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department, 303-441-3440 Open Space and Mountain Parks History

    Want to see how a Zero Waste Boulder business is profitably succeeding? Take a tour of Boulder’s only Zero Waste hotel with Dan King, the general manager of the Outlook Hotel. He is a state-wide leader in “greening” hotels. Expert: Kim Farin Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau 303-938-2066

    This isn’t exactly a tour but check it out. This website,, is similar to MapQuest, but this one is dedicated to bicycles. Not only will it tell you how to get from Point A to Point B, it also tells you how many calories you'll burn getting there, and it calculates how much you save in gas money by not driving. Pretty cool! Expert: Andrea Robbins, City of Boulder/GO Boulder, 303-441-4139

    There are three self-guided phone tours. From any phone, anywhere in the county, you can learn about sustainable building by listening about The Environmental Center of the Rockies, the Boulder County Recycling Center or our local hospital (the first LEED-certified hospital in the country). Dial 703-342- 0606 – each takes about 30 minutes. It helps if you’re actually in town, but you don’t have to be! Expert: Kim Farin Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau 303-938-2066