Bluff Lake Nature Center

A nonprofit organization

Help us provide access to nature in the heart of the city! Your donation will support Bluff Lake's educational programs like field trips and summer camps, protect Bluff Lake's diverse native habitats, and keep Bluff Lake free and open 365 days a year!



"Wow, what an amazing experience. My camper loved his time, every day he had a new story of a new adventure."

"Our 5 yo became 'the expert' on Bluff Lake Nature Center and later showed us secret spots like where some bones were, and where certain insects lived. He clearly loved it!?"

"My child had a great time. He is still talking about lots of things he learned there weeks later."


"We had a great time! My students from last year still remember the filtering cattails." -Altura Elementary School

"Our kids enjoyed this field trip so much that it's all they've talked about since we got back last week. Thank you so much." -Kemp Elementary School

"This was a great way for students to finish our unit on 'Water as a Resource.' I plan to come again next year." -Cole Arts and Science Academy

"Great job-all instructors were great with the kids and did a wonderful job communicating the lesson. Fantastic-very impressive!" -Wheeling Elementary School

"We love this educational adventure!!"
Carson Elementary School


Bluff Lake educates individuals to be engaged, resilient, and curious; conserves a natural area in the city; furthers equity in outdoor access; and nurtures the health and well-being of communities and ecosystems.

Background Statement

Bluff Lake is a 123-acre site with diverse habitat (wetland, woodland, stream, and prairie) and wildlife (more than 215 species of animals and birds). The site was part of the Stapleton airport property and was cordoned off from adjacent neighborhoods for at least 60 years, serving as a buffer zone. When Stapleton airport closed in 1994, the area was opened to the public and Bluff Lake Nature Center (BLNC) was founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency in order to maintain the refuge and provide education for the surrounding community.

On behalf of the City and County of Denver, BLNC began managing the site and providing educational programming at the site nearly 20 years ago. During the first years, much attention was given to enhancing the wildlife habitat, restoring the banks of Sand Creek (where it flows through the site), building an interpretive trail system, and constructing open-air shelters. In tandem with the conservation work, our education program was developed and began providing science programs for elementary students in the metro-Denver community.

In 2008, Denver transferred ownership of the full 123-acre site to BLNC, making Bluff Lake the largest private park in the City and County of Denver. Ownership of the site allows BLNC the freedom to increase public programming, expand the trails for our visitors to enjoy, and continue improving conditions for wildlife. BLNC's ownership also and perhaps most importantly, ensures that the site will be preserved as open space and that BLNC can pursue its mission for decades to come. That mission gives us a dual role of providing education at and being good stewards of Bluff Lake. With that, the goals that inform our programming are to:

- teach natural sciences to schoolchildren, especially those from low-income schools

- conserve the wildlife refuge for community use, for this and future generations

- cultivate community members as valuable partners and active stewards

In 2020, Bluff Lake saw a 46.7% increase in daily visitors. This really tells the story of how Bluff Lake's location in the midst of urban development, surrounded by neighborhoods, was an essential refuge for the community.

Organization Data


Organization name

Bluff Lake Nature Center

other names

BLNC, Friends of Bluff Lake

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)




Organization Size

Medium Organization


11255 E. MLK Jr Blvd
Denver, CO 80238


4760 Oakland St, 200
Denver, CO 80239

Service areas

Denver County, CO, US



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