Bluff Lake Nature Center occupies 123 acres adjacent to Sand Creek
on the eastern edge of the Stapleton development. It offers a variety
of native habitats including a seasonal lake, wetlands, short-grass prairie,
a riparian zone and wetland woodland. Thanks to its 60 year history as an airport
buffer, Bluff Lake has become an urban wildlife refuge for waterfowl, shorebirds,
raptors, songbirds, deer, fox, beaver, reptiles, amphibians and other types of wildlife
that visit or live at the site.
Bluff Lake Nature Center is much more than a place for plants and animals.
It is an oasis in the city where people can come
to view wildlife, appreciate the peaceful sights and enjoy the sounds of nature. It is also an outdoor classroom for thousands of kindergarten through fifth
grade students each year. It is our goal to encourage childrens' and adults' interest in natural science and stewardship through curiosity, observation, activity and a sense of wonder.
This unique oasis in the city literally brings curricula to life as kids who seldom experience nature see, hear, smell and touch their lessons.
Bluff Lake is a featured stop along the Sand Creek Regional Greenway and
an important part of the new Stapleton development's open space system.
Once school groups and other visitors leave the bluff and walk down into
the basin, they enter a small but authentic slice of nature literally hidden
from the surrounding urban world. Because that part of the property is managed
as a wildlife refuge, no motor vehicles, bicycles, dogs or horses are allowed.
Bluff Lake was originally constructed as an irrigation reservoir in the
late 1800s. In the mid-1990s, it was recognized and protected by a consent
decree that settled a lawsuit related to pollution at Stapleton Airport. It is managed by a non-profit organization that grew up around the belief that Bluff Lake was
an urban resource that could become even more valuable if managed specifically
for its wildlife and educational benefits. Bluff Lake Nature Center receives
its funding from private foundations, privateindividuals, corporations and government grants. We provide site management and maintenance through a contract with the Denver Department of Aviation. Site preservation and restoration is provided by our many volunteers through our award winning Volunteer Program.
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