Low-impact recreation. View All
Open to the public year-round. View All
North Star Nature Preserve is a 175 acre tract of open space located in Pitkin County about 1.5 miles east of Aspen, on the Roaring Fork River.
Pitkin County is managing the preserve for low-impact recreation, as a much-needed wildlife corridor, and as an environmental education site in an area being "swallowed up" by the rapidly growing town of Aspen.
North Star supports a high level of biological diversity, including at least six species of birds that nest on the ground. Of particular conservation interest at North Star is a great blue heron colony. It is estimated that there are only 63 great blue heron colonies in the entire state of Colorado, and the North Star colony is thought to be one of just a few occurring over 8,000 feet in elevation and is the only one occurring in blue spruce trees (most occur in cottonwoods). In other words, the North Star great blue heron colony is quite unique and ecologically significant.
Along with the riparian habitat of the North Fork River, North Star is home to valuable wetlands. Presently, 10 distinct vegetational communities occur at North Star: mixed conifer forest, aspen forest, cottonwood riparian, willow riparian, oak-serviceberry shrubland, dry meadow, mesic hayfields, wet meadow, emergent sedge wetland and open water.
By protecting this property, The Nature Conservancy and Pitkin County were able to preserve the natural values of the land – as an elk-calving area, a natural aquifier, a living classroom and as a place for quiet recreation.
Hiking, birding, walking and other nature-based activities.
The North Star Nature Preserve is open to the public year-round. Certain parts of the preserve are accessible only through guided tours. There are several access points along State Highway 82. The open space regulations are posted on signs along the ranch boundary.