Open Space Park Management

National Trails Day volunteers landscape a trail in Bear Creek Lake Park.


The Lakewood Park Rangers are responsible for the protection and safe use of the Lakewood Regional Parks.

View the Natural Areas Plan(PDF, 4MB)

Park Ranger Services

  • Enforcement of park rules and regulations.
  • Environmental education and park information.
  • Patrolling of the parks using trucks, foot, mountain bikes, boats and ATV’s.
  • Emergency response, including first aid and search and rescue.
  • Oversight of the Volunteer Mountain Bike Patrol, Volunteer Horse Patrol and Campground Hosts.

Who to Contact

Emergency Situations: Call 911
Non-Emergency Situations: 
Bear Creek Lake Park Visitor's Center 303-697-6159
Lakewood Police 303-980-7300

Aquatic Nuisance Species

Bear Creek Bear Creek Lake Park has joined the statewide effort to protect waters from Aquatic Nuisance Species, particularly zebra and quagga mussels. These species can have a dramatic effect on the ecology of a fishery and on water control structures.

Boat inspections are required for all trailered boats, motorized boats, sailboats and fishing boats prior to launching on Bear Creek Reservoir or Big Soda Lake. Boats that typically will not need inspection include non-motorized belly boats, rafts, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and windsurfers.

Boat Inspection Details

  • The inspection station is located at the Whitetail parking lot on the way to Bear Creek Reservoir.
  • Boats must be cleaned, drained and dried prior to arriving at the inspection station.
  • Inspections should typically take a few minutes unless the inspector feels that a more thorough check in needed.
  • Boats with suspected ANS will not be allowed to launch and will be decontaminated.
  • Lakewood recognizes and participates in the state green-tagging system. This will help to speed up the process; however a brief inspection will be required. Green tags are available to boaters exiting the park that have cleaned and drained their boats. No other colored tags will be accepted
  • The boat inspection requirements are strictly enforced.

Controlled Burns

The City of Lakewood works closely with the West Metro Fire Department to implement a controlled burn plan at Bear Creek Lake Park and William Frederick Hayden Park on Green Mountain. These burns provide valuable training to wildland firefighters and benefit the city’s open space.

Prescribed Burns

Prescribed burns are typically planned during the fall season at Bear Creek Lake Park. Burns are weather and air quality dependent. Dates will be posted on the Bear Creek Lake Park main webpage,, prior to the burn dates.

Public notices about upcoming burns will be posted on the city website, Facebook and on signs at trailheads and along roadways. Visitors should expect limited trail closures or detours and periodic road closures during prescribed burns. 

Benefits of Fire

Fire is a beneficial, natural component of our ecosystem and does the following:

  • Promotes the growth of native vegetation
  • Restores nutrients to the soil
  • Removes accumulated dead vegetation
  • Helps reduce noxious weeds
  • Improves wildlife habitat
  • Restores the short grass prairie burn cycle

Historically, short-grass prairies burned every one to six years prior to the arrival of settlers. Lightning, and occasionally Native Americans, would start these fires, which would naturally burn themselves out after burning large areas of land. Plants and animal species adapted to this process and thrived. Once settlers arrived and began controlling fire, the prairies started to lose their health and invading weeds took a foothold overrunning the native plants.

Natural Resources


The Natural Resources crew is small but has a large job. They manage the following in Lakewood's Regional Parks:

  • Management of wildlife, including prairie dogs, beaver and coyote monitoring
  • Wildlife habitat protection and restoration
  • Control of noxious weeds and introduction of native plants
  • Riparian and wetland restoration
  • Controlled burns
  • Construction and maintenance of soft surface trails
  • Natural resources mapping of weeds, wildlife and trails


Volunteer in Natural Resources

The natural resources staff oversees several volunteer programs, including: 

  • Bear Creek Lake Park Trail Crew
  • William Frederick Hayden Park Adopt-A-Trail
  • Eagle Scouts projects
  • Habitat Restoration Volunteer Group
  • Volunteer trail, restoration and weed removal days

 Please see the volunteer and support page for more information.

Pest and Weed Management 

Noxious weeds are a well-established threat to Lakewood’s environment and cannot be controlled by one method alone.

A toolbox of management techniques, known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), has been developed to control the aggressive invaders. IPM consists of several control elements, including chemical, physical, biological and cultural. Each of these control methods works best under specific circumstances.


Applying herbicides to all weed-infested areas where other methods would fail due to the immense size of these areas.


 Pulling, mowing or any other physical weed removal.


Using organisms, primarily insects, to help remove weeds.


Control using environmental factors, such as controlled burns and competition from native plants through revegetation. 

Wildlife Management

Wildlife management focuses on three aspects of wildlife; habitat, threatened and endangered species and conflict. All wildlife needs a place to live and Lakewood needs to provide good habitat for each species of wildlife that live here. Special emphasis should be placed on protecting threatened and endangered species. 

Lakewood is an urban interface where wildlife and human habitats come together. This can result in conflict situations. Lakewood’s wildlife management will focus on reducing conflicts and helping humans and wildlife live together. 

To view the city's wildlife management plans for beavers, coyotes and prairie dogs, please see pages 19-32 of the Lakewood Natural Areas Plan(PDF, 4MB).

Wildfire Safety

Some residents of Lakewood live in wildland areas or close to open spaces. These areas could be affected by wildfire. Visit for preparedness information and local resources.


Lakewood staff have partnered with West Metro Fire to evaluate wildland fire risk and fuels along open space boundaries that abut to private property, and to develop reasonable strategies to mitigate fire risk while preserving open space values. The city's Wildfire Mitigation Plan provides a guideline for this assessment and initial work activities. Download the Fire Mitigation Plan(PDF, 6MB).

If you need this document in another format or have questions about the Fire Mitigation Plan, call Bear Creek Lake Park at 303-697-6159.


View current fire restrictions