Fresh Tracks Preserve Complex
We established our charter refuge, Fresh Tracks Nature Preserve, in 1998. Its original size was 1,280 acres, and we expanded it in 2021 by acquiring the former Two Marys and Marianne Rees Nature Preserves. SPLT now owns all of these beautiful shortgrass prairie expanses, which encompass 2,560 acres (four square miles). Colorado Open Lands holds a highly protective conservation easement on the Fresh Tracks Nature Preserve Complex.
The Fresh Tracks Complex has bounced back to life over the past two decades, given its protection from any impactful activities.
Visitors are amazed at the beautiful stands of feathergrass and needle-and-thread. They sway in the wind and bring to life the concept of a “sea of grass.” Fresh Tracks, which is featured in Wildlands Philanthropy, is alive with wild creatures and native plants. We regularly see pronghorn, coyotes, badgers, raptors, and other wildlife. The properties contain prairie dog colonies and areas of lush swales and diverse prairie wildflowers. In addition to prairie dogs, we regularly see coyotes, pronghorn, hawks, golden eagles, cottontail rabbits, native snakes, and diverse lizards there. Songbirds are frequent visitors, including lark buntings and horned larks.
Special plants include native echinacea (purple coneflower) and Colorado green gentian. Fresh Tracks has thousands of green gentian plants and may contain one of the largest populations in existence. We think the area wildlife appreciates some of the changes we’ve made, including offering native fauna full refuge and making our fences wildlife-friendly.