Rocky Mountain Greenway

Extension of Rocky Mountain Greenway North and into Boulder County


There are three current and ongoing soil sampling efforts in and around the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge: sampling related to the Jefferson Parkway along the Indiana Street right of way, sampling within the Refuge where new trail construction will take place and sampling related to the FLAP grant and the access facilities planned to connect the Rocky Mountain Greenway trail to the Refuge. While these are separate projects, it is the intention of the FLAP group to compile the results of the three efforts, which will comprise a dataset of around 300 surface and sub-surface samples. Once finalized, all data and analysis will be presented to the public through this as well as other communications channels.

With respect to the FLAP grant sampling effort, a final report is expected from the contractor by the end of the year. In the interest of expedient disclosure, summary statistics of the preliminary results are published here (link 1).

In brief, the maximum value result of the five contaminants of concern (COCs) is: 14 pCi/g. of Pu 239/240, mean and median values of this and all other COCs are much lower.

For reference:

  • Average Background (Ambient) Concentration in Colorado = 0.066 pCi/g. Pu 239/240
  • Cleanup Standard (per Rocky Flats Stewardship Council, 1996) = 50 pCi/g. Pu 239/240

The forthcoming final report will include summary of: results of the sampling effort within the refuge (link 2), results of the sampling effort along the Indiana ROW (link forthcoming), results of ‘at-depth’ sampling to characterize sub-surface soils (link forthcoming), results of independent third-party sampling (link forthcoming) and a discussion of potential health risks (link forthcoming).

The FLAP partners are aware of the elevated sample obtained by the Jefferson Parkway effort. Their press release is available here (link 3) and the preliminary response from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is available here (link 4). The FLAP partners are monitoring this issue as more data is analyzed and state and federal regulatory authorities continue to weigh in.

Public health and safety is of utmost importance to Jefferson County Open Space as well as all members of the FLAP partnership. If it is determined that there is an excess of risk to the public, the project will be reevaluated.


Project Background

 In 2016 Jefferson County Open Space joined with five neighboring open space partners (City of Boulder, Boulder County, City and County of Broomfield, City of Westminster and City of Arvada – collectively referred to as the Partner Group) to submit a grant to extend the Rocky Mountain Greenway regional trails project. This extension links the Greenway from where Phase One currently terminates in Broomfield’s Great Western Open Space, through Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, and into Boulder County. The grant specifically sought funding for trail crossings of Indiana Street and Colorado Highway 128.

The Rocky Mountain Greenway is one of three Colorado the Beautiful statewide priority trail projects that intersect Jefferson County and has also been designated by former President Barack Obama as an official project of America’s Great Outdoors. The vision of the project is to ultimately connect the three Front Range National Wildlife Refuges (Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Two Ponds and Rocky Flats) with Rocky Mountain National Park through an interconnected, multi-use, regional trail system.

Phase One, linking the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuges, is already mostly complete. Phase Two (of which this project is part) linking Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge and Lyons is in the planning and study phases, and Phase Three - between Lyons and Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park - is still in the conceptual phase.

Governor Hickenlooper Inaugurates the Refuge to Refuge Segment of the Rocky Mountain Greenway

Rocky Mountain Greenway -Governor Hickenlooper

Project Status

The elected boards and commissions of the Partner Group have requested that additional soil sampling be conducted to address public concerns regarding possible residual contaminants at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

The Partner Group agreed to perform an independent confirmatory analysis (which will include site-specific soil sampling for radionuclides in the areas of disturbance) to corroborate findings by state and federal agencies that conditions at the trail crossing locations at the perimeter of the Refuge boundary are consistent with public health standards for recreational activity. Construction of the crossings into the refuge will occur only if the confirmatory testing results are consistent with the standards which show the site is safe for public use.

After a competitive bid process, Jefferson County has retained Engineering Analytics to perform the requested diligence which will include public engagement and outreach.

News, public meetings, documents and opportunities for comment will be announced on this page so please bookmark to stay informed.

It is important to note that this effort is related to, but separate from, the opening of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. The results of this effort will not affect the planned opening of the Refuge to the public. This is an independent effort solely related to the linkage of the Rocky Mountain Greenway to planned trails at the Refuge.

View Conceptual Project Map 

Overview Map

Rocky Mountain Greenway Overview Map

Project Timeline (Subject to Change) 

  • Early July, 2019 – Field work completed by Engineering Analytics staff will be conducted in conformance to the SAP. Actual field work is estimated to be completed within two days.
  • September, 2019 – Laboratory analysis of the soil samples for multiple radionuclides will be completed by ALS and has an estimated turn-around time of 6-8 weeks for preliminary results.
  • October, 2019 – The draft report from Engineering Analytics is estimated be provided within approx. four weeks of Engineering Analytics receiving laboratory data from ALS. 
  • October – December, 2019 – Jefferson County Open Space and Engineering Analytics staff will present the report to the six FLAP partners and will make report and data publicly available on this page. 
  • January – March, 2020 – If the findings of the report are acceptable to the FLAP partner group, an IGA will be created to proceed with the FLAP grant from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and extend the Rocky Mountain Greenway through the Refuge and into Boulder County.