DENVER (CBS4) – Six school districts have banned field trips to the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, and Denver Public Schools is following suit.
Members of the Rocky Flats Right to Know organization gave a presentation to the DPS School Board on Monday evening, requesting that they ban trips to the refuge which is under development near the former nuclear weapons plant site. Speakers provided information to show there is a threat of residual radioactive and chemical contamination, making it an unsafe place for students and educators.
Yet some families who live near Rocky Flats disagree.
“If I thought there was that much risk I wouldn’t have brought my kids here,” Kevin Boulas, a homeowner and father of two, said.
Boulas moved his family from Denver to west Arvada two years ago. Before they moved into their house that backs up to Rocky Flats, Boulas said he spent months researching the concerns about the area.
“I wouldn’t have moved here in 1985, but I enjoy living here now,” he told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
Boulas said he trusts state reports that show health risks from Rocky Flats are low.
“If you look at the cleanup,” he said, “it was done with the best technology available. It was done with maximum oversight.”
Yet some research suggests radioactive contaminants and other dangers still lurk below the soil. That’s why school districts including Adams, Jefferson County, Boulder Valley and Westminster have banned field trips to Rocky Flats.
“If they feel that strongly about it I’m not going to sit here and say ‘You have to come to the wildlife area here,’” Boulas said. “But I’m also going to say I don’t feel uncomfortable.”
When the wildlife refuge opens to visitors this summer, Boulas said he will definitely take his family. It’s one of many reasons he’s happy to call the new neighborhood his home.
“People got to do what’s best for them,” he said.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.