Boulder’s Flagstaff Mountain Star has been dim for months, but on Nov. 11 the star will once again shine bright in honor of veterans.
The Boulder Chamber on Veterans Day is hoping to host a livestream ceremony to commemorate the lighting, but plans for that have yet to be finalized, said Maye Cordero, the chamber’s senior marketing manager.
Lights on the Flagstaff Mountain Star shine on March 23, 2020. The Boulder Chamber decided to light the Star out of season to encourage residents coping with the impact of the coronavirus. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
The Star will shine for the remainder of the holiday season before being turned off some time in January.
Despite plans to relight it, Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks will keep the area around the star closed, and reinforced wood fencing will be installed in November to prevent people from accessing it.
There is no designated trail to the Star, though it’s a popular winter hike for Boulder residents and visitors.
Officials said they hope to protect the area from plant and erosion damage and wildlife habitat disturbances and to avoid large gatherings that might violate coronavirus health guidelines and illegal activities, such as drinking, smoking and vandalism, that previously have littered the area with broken glass and trash.
“We’ve seen increasing visitor use on undesignated trails,” Open Space and Mountain Parks spokesperson Phillip Yates said.
In addition to damaging the area, the terrain around the Star can be dangerous, Yates said.
“It’s located in this really steep terrain, and it can certainly be problematic for folks to hike up to it, particularly in winter conditions when they might slip and fall,” he said.
Anyone caught entering the enclosed area can face up to a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail, according to a news release.
For Boulder Chamber President John Tayer, it’s important to recognize that the Star sits on Open Space and Mountain Parks land.
“We look forward to partnering with the Open Space department to make sure that we protect the natural features while also providing our community with the beautiful symbol of the holiday season,” he said.
Lighting the Star is a Boulder holiday tradition that began in 1947.
“We recognize the value of the Star to the community,” Yates said.
Although lighting the Star typically signals the holiday season, Boulder opted to light it for a few months in March to offer hope at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Boulder Chamber is proud of its role as the steward of this historic community treasure and recognizes its power to help foster community resilience and hope for brighter days ahead during this holiday season and Boulder’s COVID-19 response,” Cordero said in a statement.
Moving forward, Boulder intends to update its “long-term management guidance” regarding how people can enjoy the Star on Flagstaff Mountain. Plans for public participation in this process will be announced in 2021.