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The Upper Washington Avenue Open Space is a small 4-acre city-owned parcel in North Golden, tucked between the Cannonball Creek Brewery and North Ford Street. Deeded to the city in 1993 as part of the Canyon Point development, it has been left fallow with only minimal care by the city, such as the spraying of noxious weeds .
While the edges of the parcel are very much disturbed and were revegetated with non-native grasses, the center of the parcel at the top of the hill contains many native plants. Over 100 species of plants have been documented in this open space. Two-thirds of them are native to Colorado. The native grasses comprise both short and tall grasses, and both cool season and warm season grasses, which together with the native forbs (perennial plants that are not woody) show that the top of the hill is a nearly intact remnant of mixed-grass prairie.
Photographs of Golden from the late 19th century show that the original vegetation of Golden was primarily prairie, with trees found only along Clear Creek and other water courses. Therefore, the Upper Washington Open Space is one of the very few places remaining where the native vegetation of Golden can be seen.
Content contributed by Tom Scheich
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