Bluff Lake Nature Center’s mission is “to foster environmental education and stewardship at Bluff Lake, a unique urban wildlife refuge.”
Vision Statement: Bluff Lake Nature Center is a model urban wildlife refuge and restored native prairie, wetlands, woodlands and riparian area that enriches people’s lives through experiential education, environmental stewardship, community engagement and ecosystem preservation and restoration.
Bluff Lake Nature Center occupies 123 acres adjacent to Sand Creek on the eastern edge of the Stapleton development. It offers a variety of native habitats including a seasonal lake, wetlands, short-grass prairie, a riparian zone and wetland woodland. Thanks to its 60 year history as an airport buffer, Bluff Lake has become an urban wildlife refuge for waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, songbirds, deer, fox, beaver, reptiles, amphibians and other types of wildlife that visit or live at the site.
Bluff Lake Nature Center is much more than a place for plants and animals. It is an oasis in the city where people can come to view wildlife, appreciate the peaceful sights and enjoy the sounds of nature. It is also an outdoor classroom for thousands of students each year. It is our goal to encourage children’s and adults’ interest in natural science and stewardship through curiosity, observation, activity and a sense of wonder.
This unique oasis in the city literally brings curricula to life as kids who seldom experience nature see, hear, smell and touch their lessons.
From the top of the bluff, school groups and other visitors have a superb view of Denver and the Front Range. Once they walk down from the bluff and walk into the basin, they enter a small but authentic slice of nature literally hidden from the surrounding urban world. Because that part of the property is managed as a wildlife refuge, no motor vehicles, bicycles, dogs or horses are allowed.
Bluff Lake was originally constructed as an irrigation reservoir in the late 1800s. In the mid-1990’s, after Stapleton International Airport closed, a consent decree led to the protection on the land and creation of Bluff Lake Nature Center.
The site is currently owned and managed by the Bluff Lake Nature Center, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Bluff Lake Nature Center grew up around the belief that the area is a valuable urban resource, specifically for its wildlife and educational benefits. Bluff Lake Nature Center receives its funding from private foundations, private individuals, corporations and government grants. Site preservation and the education program depend on our many volunteers through our award winning Volunteer Program.