Segment H

Segment H extends from Insmont to the confluence with the South Fork of the South Platte River at South Platte, CO and was heavily impacted by erosion and sedimentation from the 1996 Buffalo Creek fire.  The ORVs are:

Recreational:

The quality and diversity of dispersed recreation opportunities along this segment and the accessibility and proximity of the area to major metropolitan areas provide an outstanding year-round recreation resource.  Kayaking and dispersed recreation such as picnicking, fishing, hiking, riding, scenic driving, and other day uses are very popular in this area.

The upper portion of this segment, above Buffalo Creek, contains Class IV and V whitewater rapids and is considered to be one of the premier kayaking waters within the region due to the presence of the rapids and the artificial lengthening of the kayaking season.  Its unique value is attributed to its level of difficulty, as well as sustained seasonal flows. The importation of water through the Roberts Tunnel makes it possible for kayakers to run the North Fork after other rivers in the region have passed their peak flows.  Kayakers who use the area are accustomed to frequent changes in flow volumes that result from the operation of Denver Water’s delivery system.

The lower portion of the North Fork, between Buffalo Creek and the confluence, is important to all levels of kayakers and is one of the few areas in the region most suitable for teaching entry-level kayaking.

Summer home residents, some year-round residents, and the general public heavily use the portion between Buffalo Creek and the confluence.  The majority of the land in that stretch is owned by the city and county of Denver and is currently managed by Denver Water as a day-use area.

This segment also includes part of the Pine Valley Ranch, a Jefferson County open-space park that contains group picnic sites, an amphitheater, several trails, and striking rock outcrops.  The park is very popular regionally for picnicking and hiking.

Wildlife:

This segment contains Pawnee montane skipper butterfly populations and habitat and peregrine falcon habitat.  The significance of the skipper butterfly has been described under Segment D.  There is a peregrine nest site immediately adjacent to the corridor on Cathedral Spires.  The nest is outside the study corridor, but the 1-mile protective management buffer around the nesting site overlaps the river corridor.  The study corridor provides important foraging habitat for the falcon.  The nesting site and associated foraging habitat are considered to be of regional importance.  The site was the last site to be abandoned during the peregrine decline of the 1960s, thus the habitat in this segment is considered to be outstandingly remarkable.

Cultural/Historic Resources:

The Estabrook Historic District and the North Fork Historic District, including the Denver South Park and Pacific Railroad grade, are outstanding heritage resources in this segment.  The State Historical Preservation Office provided input on whether the two river corridors contained outstandingly remarkable cultural values.  That office examined all the known National Register of Historic Places (National Register) sites in the corridor and determined that within the North Fork corridor between the Berger property and the confluence that there are two outstandingly remarkable historic sites.  These two sites are listed on the National Register because of their association with the transportation, entertainment, and recreation elements of Colorado history.