Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge Hosts First "Sharing Session" Tonight

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

More than sixty years ago, when the Atomic Energy Commission decided to place one of thirteen nuclear-weapons plants on a windy plain sixteen miles northwest of Denver, few people lived nearby. Rocky Flats was just that — a largely flat, rocky area by the foothills, with few houses nearby. Just the place to build plutonium pits for nuclear triggers — if you didn't consider that Denver was just downwind. "Good news today," pronounced a Rocky Mountain News headline in announcing the federal plum in 1951.

From 1953 to 1989, the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant did most of its work in secrecy — until June 1989, when the FBI raided the plant, searching for evidence of alleged environmental crimes. The plant stopped production and ultimately was named a Superfund site.

Almost $7 billion and ten years ago, the property was proclaimed clean — clean enough to become a national wildlife refuge. Over 6,000 acres were transferred to U.S. Fish and Wildlife (just over 1,000 acres at the center remain the property of the Department of Energy and forever off limits), but the refuge has never been opened. Now, though, after funding was finally approved, the feds are looking at opening the refuge to the public next year. And so they want to talk with neighbors — many of whom have just moved into the area bordering the plant over the past few years, since the Candelas development was approved — about what they want to see on the vast spread of open space.

"Share your ideas and help us shape the future of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge," urges the flier for this first sharing session, set for 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Parkview Swim and Fitness Club, at 19865 West 94th Avenue in Arvada. Find more information on the meeting, and Rocky Flats in general, here.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.