Timeline related to land today known as Hughes Public Open Lands
Over thousands of years, more than 48 tribes, bands and nations have had ties to the lands of present-day Colorado and their descendants still live here today. The evolving timeline below is in no way complete or exhaustive. It was put together quickly to help answer questions from the community and press about the recent (200-year) history of the land today known as Hughes Public Open Lands. These lands have different names in different Indigenous languages.
So please know, the history of these lands in no way begins in 1820 with colonial settler activities. For now we're simply starting with "Overland Trail" because it is today's place name for the road that defines the eastern side of the Hughes parcel, and you'll drive/ride/walk on that road to get there.
With the discovery of gold in Colorado, however, the treaty [of Fort Laramie of 1851] was blatantly disregarded as white settlers began to illegally occupy Cheyenne and Arapaho land. This invasion depleted resources such as bison on the Great Plains. When the government failed to deliver the annuities, which the nations had begun to rely on with diminished resources, tensions increased."
Rick Williams, a historian who studied Indigenous affairs and a Lakota/Cheyenne elder, said it’s widely understood that the [1861 Fort Wise] treaty was invalid because proper translators weren’t there and those who signed it were not qualified.
CSU has already profited greatly from this land it received unlawfully on the land grant authority in 1957 for $0. As a modern-day “swap” of land-grant lands, this 165 acres would represent just 0.19% of the 89,001 acres CSU originally received through the Morrill Act."
- 2014 - CSU President Tony Frank makes "Recommendation on CSU Stadium, September 25, 2014." Reports $60 million (55%) fundraising shortfall ($50 million raised of $110 million goal) for new on-campus stadium that would vacate Hughes land
- 2017 - CSU opens new on-campus Canvas Stadium.
- 2017 - CSU Board of Governors votes unanimously to demolish Hughes Stadium
- 2018 - CSU demolishes Hughes Stadium. Vacated land seeded with native grasses as part of the restoration process
- 2018 - October 16 - Fort Collins City Council approves annexation of Hughes Stadium land, Ordinance No. 124, 2018
- 2019 - City of Fort Collins publishes 2019 Foothills Natural Areas Management Plan Update
- 2019 - City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department publishes ArcGIS Storymap of the Foothills Management Plan - Update 2019, describing conservation value, community value, and plan for Foothills land adjacent to Hughes land, including Maxwell Natural Area (immediately west of Hughes) and Pine Ridge Natural Area (immediately south of Hughes)
- 2019 - January 31 - Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System (formerly the State Board of Agriculture), "acting by and through Colorado State University," with Chancellor (and former CSU president) Tony Frank as its agent, enters Purchase and Sale Agreement for Hughes land. Buyer, Florida-based megadeveloper Lennar Corporation (NYSE: LEN.A, LEN.B), plans high-density mixed-use residential and commercial subdivision. Contract makes no mention of workforce, student, or "affordable" housing.
- October 2020: City of Fort Collins offers to buy all but 10 acres of the Hughes land for approximately $7 million
- October 12 - The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System and Lennar Colorado sign tenth amendment to Purchase and Sale Agreement extending outside closing date on sale to June 11, 2021
- November 2 - Citizen group Planning Action to Transform Hughes Sustainably (PATHS) submits over 8,300 signatures gathered in support of municipal election ballot measure ordinance to direct the City to rezone Hughes as a Public Open Lands district and negotiate with the CSU System to purchase the land
- November 19 - CSU representatives present Lennar's original development proposal for Hughes land to Fort Collins City Staff in Conceptual Review
- February 2 - Colorado District Court Judge upholds Hughes ballot measure ordinance directives and most wording
- April 6 - Citizen-initiated Hughes ballot measure ordinance passes in Fort Collins municipal election with 68.61% voter approval (election results: 28,492 in favor, 13,034 against, total: 41,526); initiates rezoning of 164.56 acres parcel from Transitional (T) district to Public Open Lands (P-O-L) district and directs the City to negotiate to purchase the land at fair market value
- April 7 - Associated Students of Colorado State University (ASCSU; student council) unanimously passes Resolution #5007 "Demanding a Democratic Process for the Future of Hughes Natural Area"
- May 6 - U.S. Department of Interior announces America the Beautiful initiative for a "10-year, locally led and voluntary nationwide effort to restore and conserve America’s lands, waters, and wildlife"; Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful plan delivered to National Climate Task Force
- May 18 - Fort Collins City Council unanimously votes to adopt the rezoning of the Hughes land from Transition District (T) to Public Open Lands District (P-O-L) (per ballot measure directive) on second reading. Ordinance NO. 096, 2021
- June 28 - Public Walk & Talks begin at Hughes
- July 4 - Local Native and Indigenous community and allies gather at Hughes for alternative "4th of July"
- July 20 - Fort Collins City Council updates City's Structure Plan map to Public Open Lands district zoning of Hughes land. City Council agenda item 14, Exhibit A
- July 24 - Intertribal Alliance for Right Relations hosts traditional ceremony, gathering, and talks at Hughes Public Open Lands
- August 4 - Intertribal Alliance for Right Relations hand-delivers formal letter calling for Hughes Land Back to CSU System Board of Governors in Denver
- August 6 - Intertribal Alliance for Right Relations delegation provides public comments regarding Hughes Land Back initiative at CSU System Board of Governors meeting in Denver
- August 17 - Governor Polis rescinds Evans decrees
- August 18 - Rocky Mountain PBS publishes video and article about the Hughes Land Back initiative following CSU System Board of Governors meeting in Denver
- August 20 - CSU System, City of Fort Collins, and Cottonwood Land and Farms sign Memorandum of Understanding regarding Hughes land and Strauss Lakes land. Would entail purchase of Hughes land by City for $12.5 million, dependent on City's annexation of and approval of development at Strauss Lakes property owned by Cottonwood Land and Farms of Boulder, Colorado.
- August 26 - Rocky Mountain Collegian publishes The Hughes Issue: What Does the Future Hold
- September 15-16 - City of Fort Collins workers remove sweat lodge at Hughes without Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)
- September 18 - In lieu of planned ceremony, Intertribal Alliance hosts press conference at Hughes to discuss significance and historical context of sweat lodge removal without ceremony or consent
- September 22 - Fort Collins Coloradoan features unsanctioned removal of Hughes sweat lodge on front page
- September 28-29 - CSU System Board of Governors holds meeting at CSU Campus in Fort Collins; Intertribal Alliance representatives and supporters speak during Public Comments