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In the 1800s, a series of ditches was constructed to manage water and irrigate farmland in the Saint Vrain Valley. The historic Oligarchy Ditch dates back to this period, although today this channel conveys water from McIntosh Lake to Union Reservoir in Longmont. A concrete trail, known as the Oligarchy Ditch Greenway, or simply, Oligarchy Greenway, runs along the ditch for nearly 5 miles. In fact, there are two as yet unconnected segments of greenway open for public use: one starts at McIntosh Lake and heads east, terminating at Main Street (US Route 287). This trail connects residents of the nearby neighborhoods to businesses as well as recreational facilities like Carr Park, the dog park, Garden Acres Park and the lake itself.
The second segment runs from Mountain View Avenue southeast to 3rd Avenue, connecting to Clark Centennial Park, Rothrock Dell Park and Rocky Mountain Elementary School along the way. Plans are underway to construct additional lengths of trail between Main Street and 17th Avenue.
The parks along the greenway are a good bet for parking. For the southern segment that starts on Mountain View Road, you can park at Clark Centennial Park, located at 1100 Lashley St, Longmont. For the northern segment you can park at Flanders Park on North Shore Drive on the McIntosh lakeside. Alternatively, you can park at Garden Acres Park (1900 18th Ave, Longmont). Park closer to Spencer Street (west side of the park) since the trail enters the park at Spencer.
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