If you have never heard of this town, in the Northern Front Range of The Rocky Mountains, the question becomes “Where have you been hiding”? Ft Collins is a historic mid-nineteenth century settlement, commissioned in 1864, becoming a military outpost to protect the people migrating West during the Indian Wars (Mid-1860’s) as well as protecting the Overland mail route. With the development of Camp Collins, settlers began arriving immediately and the agricultural community, the cash crop being Sugar Beets, boomed. By 1870, the Colorado Agricultural College was founded, eventually becoming Colorado State University in 1957.
Ft Collins has been a true Outdoor Community from its very beginning. The Rocky Mountains are only 30 minutes from the downtown area. The majority of Outdoor Activities have been fueled by the Rocky Mountain National Forest due to its proximity and accessibility to the Great Outdoors. The Cache La Poudre
River headwaters begin in the peaks of the Front Range, flowing thru the National Forest in a SE direction on the north end of Ft. Collins. It flows by Greeley and merges with the South Platte River. The Poudre River is 126 miles in length and provides whitewater currents in the mountains and meandering flows as it passes thru Ft. Collins. From whitewater rafting and kayaking to Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), and everything in between, co-exist with fly-fishing opportunities to “catch and release” the plentiful Rainbow and Brown Trout.
Additionally, the famed tributary of The Poudre, Spring Creek, flows from Horsetooth Mountain along the southern side of CSU and returning to the Poudre again East of town. The two waterways create a wonderful trail system, maintained by the City of Fort Collins, for biking, trekking and running, etc. with several city parks being integrated along both streams.
The profile of Ft. Collins is truely an Outdoor Friendly Community. Taking the bike community, as a bell-weather outdoor activity, all variables pertaining to this activity, show why it is one of the premier biking zones in America:
(1). The topography is relatively flat both north/south- east/west.
(2). The climate produces on average 300 days of Sunshine.
(3). Median age is 28 yrs. reflective of a College Community.
(4). Millennials are the largest segment of Ft. Collins pop.
(5). Outdoor Activities are one of the highest priorities.
(6) Money Mag ranked Ft Collins “The Best Place to Live”.
Just a side-note about Ft. Collins’ popularity is the thriving Beer Business Community featuring 17 Craft Breweries. The two most prosperous of these breweries are New Belgium Brewing Co and Odel Brewing Co with both having national distribution. At the other side of breweries is one of the largest in the USA. Budweiser Brewing Co. moved to Ft. Collins in the mid 70’s building a massive brewing facility adjacent to I-25. Ft. Collins is the largest producer of craft beer in America with 70% ownership. The irony of this factoid is that Ft. Collins was a “dry community” till 1969. How does this side-note stand consistent with this engaging Outdoor Community?
Ft. Collins hosts one of the largest Brewers’ Festival in the country showcasing over 100 craft beers from over 50 micro-breweries in the State of Colorado. The Festival, named “The Bike and Brewery Tour” is well attended by bikers in the Ft. Collins area. New Belgium Brewery is know for its true love and support of the biking community throughout Ft. Collins. They have named one of their signature beers “Fat Tire Ale”. The festival takes place in Old Town which has been the hub of this community from the very beginning. The Colorado Brewers’ Festival takes place during the last weekend in June for the past 25 years. The beer and bike tour includes a cruiser bike, helmet and lock and a local guide leading the groups to the local breweries in town.
One issue topping the list of focus and concern for the Outdoor Industry is “Sustainability”. FortZED is the World’s largest Zero Energy District. FortZED has developed a set of Active projects and initiatives, created by Public-Private partnerships, utilizing Smart Grid and Renewable Energy technologies to achieve “local” power generation and energy demand management. Federal, State and Local funding are making this project a reality.
From whatever viewpoint one takes, Ft. Collins is in the forefront of the multitude of issues and interests all Outdoorists consider to be of primary concern facing our planet. We are all participants trekking through the 21st Century and have the responsibility in saving our planet for the future generations to come. Ft. Collins is at the forefront of this journey and we are all on this ride together. Enjoy the Outdoors and partake in its survival. “Points for Participation” brings us all together and on the same page…