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Heron Pond

Heron PondHeron Pond is located in western Westminster, just off the southeast corner of the Heritage Golf Course at Westmoor. It is situated in the Walnut Creek Open Space on the northwest corner of 108th Avenue and Westmoor Drive. The gravel Walnut Creek Trail passes along the north side of the pond. However, pedestrian access to the shoreline is prohibited since the site holds an active heron rookery, or nesting place, located in a large cottonwood that rises from an island along the north shore. A good place to view the pond and rookery is from the bridge along Westmoor Drive, just north of 108th Avenue.

Heron Pond is shallow, 1.6-acres in size, and bordered by marsh grasses along with manicured fairways associated with the golf course (see photo above). The view to the west offers a verdant panorama of the course, beyond which are the Rocky Mountain foothills. Water for the pond originates from Great Western Reservoir two miles to the west. It flows from the reservoir into Walnut Creek, which passes through the golf course and open space, and then enters the pond at its northwestern end. Along the pond’s eastern shore, excess water drains into a rock-lined channel that passes underneath Westmoor Drive and then enters a smaller unnamed pond on the east side of the road (see photo below). This unnamed pond, about half an acre in size, is surrounded by a thick growth of marsh and vegetation. From there, the water drains back into Walnut Creek, which continues its eastward journey.

Heron Pond - unnamed pondAll of the land to the north, south and west of what was later to become Heron Pond was originally part of a one-mile-square railroad section granted by the federal government to the Union Pacific Railroad. Through legislation passed in 1862, Congress distributed land grants to railroads to induce them to construct lines that would open the frontier to development. Over the following century, many of these railroad sections were sold to recoup costs of construction or to raise revenue.

Between the 1860s and 1960s, the land surrounding Heron Pond was used as agricultural crop fields and pasture. The area remained agricultural into the 1970s, and then started to experience development, particularly to the south of 108th Avenue. In 1995, the City of Westminster began to work with the Jefferson County Open Space Advisory Committee to build Heritage Golf Course on the open land just northwest of the pond. The property that would come to include the golf course and open space was acquired by the city in 1997, and the public course opened in September 1999. Heron Pond and the unnamed pond to the east were both constructed at that time.

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