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The Bluff Lake Nature Center occupies 123 acres adjacent to Sand Creek on the eastern edge of the old Stapleton Airport property. It offers a variety of native habitats including a seasonal lake, wetlands, short-grass prairie, a riparian zone and forest. 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, 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 also an outdoor classroom for thousands of kindergarten through fourth grade students each year. It is an oasis in the city where people can come to view wildlife, appreciate the peaceful sights and sounds of nature, and enjoy the company of family and friends. Weekend and evening programs give people a chance to learn more about this unique and special place.

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 primarily for wildlife, no motor vehicles, bicycles, dogs or horses please.

Bluff Lake is owned by the Denver Department of Aviation and managed by a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization also the Bluff Lake Nature Center. The organization's mission is to "foster lifelong learning and environmental stewardship at a unique urban wildlife refuge."

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. The non-profit organization 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 about half of its funding from the Department of Aviation and the other half from government and private sources. Volunteer support plays a major role in managing the site and providing excellent educational programs.







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Bluff Lake Nature Center

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