It is well understood that the open space laws passed by Boulder in the ’70s had the unintended consequence of making housing so scarce and expensive that many people simply can’t afford to live there any more. High Country News reports on another possibly unintended consequence of those laws — how to manage the 3.5 million people who use Boulder’s open space each year.

Boulder’s Open Space Board of Trustees now finds itself refereeing battles among mountain bikers, hikers and people who want more open space devoted to habitat preservation. While no one is completely satisfied with the compromises the Board has had to strike, most Boulderites would probably agree that squabbling over how to use open space (and paying those higher real estate prices) is preferable to having housing developments on that land.