Boulder County was awarded a grant from History Colorado to complete an intensive-level cultural resource survey on the Billings Open Space property located west of Lyons.
Billings Open Space Cultural Resource Survey Project
On March 1, 2021, History Colorado awarded Boulder County a $22,150 grant to complete an intensive-level cultural resource survey on the 326-acre Billings Open Space property located along Longmont Dam Road (County Road 80) west of Lyons. Boulder County contributed a $2,000 cash match.
Cultural Resource Survey Fieldwork
The Billings Open Space cultural resource survey fieldwork will be conducted by a team of three archaeologists consisting of a professionally qualified and Office of the State Archaeologist-permitted crew chief and two crew members. The field crew will walk parallel transects with a maximum spacing of 50 feet to provide 100% ground coverage of the property. It is expected that the survey crew will require three field days to complete fieldwork activities in mid to late October 2021 and complete the post fieldwork reporting by early 2022.
During fieldwork all historic and prehistoric cultural resources that are 50 years old or older and that are visible on the surface or in subsurface exposures will be documented according to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Identification and Evaluation and History Colorado’s Cultural Resource Survey Manual.
- Anticipated fieldwork to begin – October 2021
- History Colorado and Centennial Archaeology project kick off meeting – May 20, 2021
- History Colorado executed grant contract and notice to proceed – April 26, 2021
- Centennial Archaeology awarded project – April 22, 2021
- Request for Proposals (RFPs) released to hire archaeology consultant – April 8, 2021
- History Colorado grant award notification – March 1, 2021
Billings Open Space Short History
Boulder County is the ancestral homeland to numerous indigenous people that include, but are not limited to, the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, Comanche, and Sioux. Some indigenous people were occasional visitors to the area, but others, like the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute were more prominent in the area.
Around 1880, the Billings brothers George, Ferdinand, Norton, and Jabe arrived by covered wagons from South Dakota to the Lyons area. The brothers, their wives, and children prospered in the area with their descendants remaining there today. Boulder County acquired the property in a series of acquisitions from Claire and Margaret Billings between 2000-2007. Claire and Margaret acquired the property in 1965 from Claire’s parents William and Eugenia Billings who owned portions of the property since the early 1940s. The property was used for livestock grazing.
What are cultural resources? Cultural resources are an aspect of a cultural system that is valued by or significantly representative of a culture that contains significant information about a culture. A cultural resource may be a tangible entity or a cultural practice. Tangible cultural resources are categorized as districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects. Archeological resources, cultural landscapes, and ethnographic resources can also be considered cultural resources.
Why conduct a cultural resource survey? As good stewards of its cultural resources, Boulder County considers potential adverse effects to cultural resources prior to ground disturbance activities. Forest thinning activities are expected to occur at Billings Open Space in 2022-2023. Crews will use mechanical tree harvesting equipment, trucks, and chippers to complete forest thinning. Boulder County and the contractor, Centennial Archaeology, will identify and document cultural resources through a cultural resource survey in advance of the forest thinning project in order to make informed management decisions to protect significant cultural resources from damage or destruction.
What is a Cultural Resource Survey? A cultural resource survey is a project that is a combination of fieldwork and post fieldwork reporting to identify and evaluate all cultural resources over 50 years in a specific project area like Billings Open Space.
The project is financed in part with federal funds from the National Historic Preservation Act, administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior for History Colorado. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of the Interior or History Colorado, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the Department of the Interior or History Colorado.
This program received federal funds from the National Park Service. Regulations of the U.S. Department of the Interior strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination in departmental federally-assisted programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, age or handicap. Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility operated by a recipient of federal assistance should write to: Director, Equal Opportunity Program, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20240.