Making sense of the fence
Once weathered, buck and rail fencing blends nicely with its natural surroundings.
Article and photos by Barbara Neff
After more than two decades of planning, community input and phased improvement projects, it is the latest renovation to Daniels Park – the fencing – that seems to have residents talking the most.
While some are relieved to have additional safety measures in place along the newly-installed soft surface trail, others are focusing on the visual impact that the three miles of buck and rail fencing along Daniels Park Road is having.
Wendy Manitta Holmes, director of public affairs for Douglas County, offered important insight about the fencing, which was installed by Douglas County in August as part of the Daniels Park Road redesign project. Holmes explained that, although Daniels Park has belonged to Denver’s Mountain Parks since 1937, an 18-year-old inter-governmental agreement leaves Douglas County responsible for the road and its maintenance and, in this phase, preservation of the resource as a whole.
Holmes agreed that the three miles of buck and rail fencing might seem to some to have been excessive, but given that only one third of the fencing was to be permanent and the fact that Daniels Park was becoming more and more tattered and torn due to foot and vehicular traffic (including four-wheeler driving and other unauthorized uses), this seemed like the most effective choice.
“Several other alternatives for the fencing were considered – from bright orange or black plastic construction fencing – to split-rail fence, but all other alternatives were not sturdy enough to provide the necessary safety precautions, while also ensuring that permanent fencing would stay permanent and temporary fencing would stay in place until it was time for it to be removed,” said Holmes. “The buck and rail fencing is solid, yet able to be removed and relocated once the temporary fencing does its job. The one mile of remaining fence matches what is already at the base of the park and it will fade and blend into the natural surroundings over time.”
As of press time, some portions of the temporary fencing had already been removed. According to Holmes, the permanent one-mile portion of the fencing, combined with the strategic placement of very large boulders, functions as a safety barrier, separating the motorists traveling on the road from the pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists on new trail, which runs parallel with the road.
Holmes emphasized that Douglas County government is sensitive to the opinions of citizens about the fencing and encouraged those interested in learning more about the fencing to visit arcg.is/0fn8S9 for a map of Daniels Park Road and an illustration of fencing along the road and trail, with indications of what is permanent and what is temporary. To remain informed of future Daniels Park improvements, visit https://www.douglas.co.us/ and sign up to receive email updates.
“The intent at the end of the day is to have a more beautiful and safe, rural mountain-like park experience,” said Holmes. The buck and rail fencing is just one part of a work in progress, designed to protect and improve beautiful Daniels Park, which is enjoyed by many thousands of visitors each year.