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Webcam shows parking availability at Mount Falcon

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New maps also will highlight Open Space parking areas

By Beth Potter

Hikers and bikers headed to Mount Falcon Park now can check online to see how many cars are in the parking lot.

A webcam installed by Jeffco Open Space workers shows panorama shots of the often-full parking lot, updated every two seconds. The webcam is in “beta” testing at: http://jeffco.us/parks/mount-falcon-park-webcam.

Since parking is among the biggest issues at Jeffco Open Space parks, workers came up with the webcam idea, said David Davenport, outdoor recreation management coordinator. Webcams are used to show traffic flows on Interstate 70, too, by the Colorado Department of Transportation, he said.

Workers also plan to put together five new regional maps for some open-space areas that show more parking areas and trail connections, Tom Hoby, Open Space director, said at a Trail Talks meeting on April 16 at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center. For example, a map of the area around the often-full Matthews/Winters Park parking lot shows other nearby lots that often have spaces available, he said.

“That’s why these webcams are important, and these maps. There are a lot of parking areas around Matthews/Winters Park that you can use,” Hoby said.

In all, Jeffco Open Space has 28 parks with 227 miles of trail. The department has plans to add 25 more miles of trail  in existing parks by 2019, Davenport said.

Planned new trails in the next five years include:

• North Fork Trail at Reynolds Park in Aspen Park:10 miles of new trail.

• South Table Mountain Trail in Golden: 4 miles of new trail.

• A Clear Creek Canyon segment in the Mayhem Gulch area of existing trail: 2 to 4 miles.

• Trail segments that link the existing White Ranch, Coal Creek Canyon and Golden Gate areas.

• Canyon State Park trails: 8 to 10 miles.

The Open Space Department’s new master plan was approved by the county commissioners in March. Voters established the open-space system in 1972. It’s funded with a 0.5-cent sales tax in Jefferson County.