Wulf, Richard Carl

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .



Dick Wulf

1942 -


Grew up in Gothenburg, Nebraska.  Graduated from University of Northern Colorado.  Married to Christine.

Combining a degree in education and a passion for sports, he began teaching swimming and running multiple swimming pools in the metro area before moving to Evergreen in 1968, commuting to the Broomfield area for the next several years.  He followed, with interest, newspaper accounts of plans to construct Evergreen's first recreation center in the early 1970s.

The Evergreen Metropolitan Recreation and Park District had just officially been formed in July of 1968 after a contentious campaign that involved a lawsuit to block formation of a district.  Many of the businessmen in town did not want their taxes to increase.  The vote was a close one – 468 in favor and 427 against.

The main thrust of the early rec district was to provide a swimming pool for kids, and Dick was selected from numerous candidates to be the first paid director.

Dick began a 35-year career as director of what would become the 78-square-mile district in 1972.  After his retirement in 2007, he has continued with EPRD as a consultant, including Interim Executive Director for about 5 months.

The district had negotiated a 99-year lease with the Jefferson County R-1 School District for land just south of Evergreen High School on which to construct a building.  The first building, which was completed in 1972, housed a swimming pool, two locker rooms, a multi-purpose room, and administrative space.

"People with special interests and who wanted to help out," determined what the programs would be be initially, said Dick, citing people like Chuck and Mimi Lamson.  Chuck had played pro football.

"A ski program was big early on," Dick recalls, telling of partnerships with the school district to provide three buses to the ski areas. Basketball, football, wrestling, baseball, softball, volleyball, and gym nights were also popular.

Some of the highlights of the rec district under Dick's leadership:

  • In 1978 the rec district entered into an agreement with the school district to use athletic fields and playgrounds for community recreation programs.
  • In 1980 the district took over boating and ice skating activities at Evergreen Lake.
  • Kittredge Park acquired in 1980, a 99-year lease consummated in 1986, and was later improved with playground equipment.
  • Sailboats and paddleboats acquired in 1981 for summer activities on Evergreen Lake.
  • Fireworks displays were held over Evergreen Lake starting in 1981 in cooperation with the fire department, continuing for about a decade.
  • Soccer fields were added at Marshdale; fitness track and volleyball courts built at Evergreen Rec Center; playground and picnic area added at Indian Hills Community Center; athletic fields at Evergreen Jr. High School (1993); two picnic shelters at Alderfer Three Sisters (1995); two ball fields at Buchanan Park (1995); handicap playground at Marshdale Elementary School; tennis courts at Marshdale; soccer field at Wilmot; parking lot on the north side of the lake; a track added to Evergreen High School; remodeled the boathouse at Evergreen Lake; acquisition of a large tent for musical activities;
  • The Lake House was constructed and opened in March of 1993.
  • In cooperation with Evergreen Metropolitan District and in conjunction with Jeffco Open Space, a trail around the lake was developed in the 1980s, including steps on either side of the dam and three bridges east of the dam.
  • Additions to the Evergreen Recreation Center on Olive Drive included a gymnastics gym, dry lockers, offices, a multipurpose room.
  • The Evergreen Recreation and Park Foundation was formed to accept donations to benefit the district.
  • In 1991 the name was changed from the Evergreen Metropolitan Recreation and Park District to the Evergreen Park and Recreation District.
  • In addition to partnerships with other governmental agencies, the rec district partnered with community groups such as the National Repertory Orchestra, Evergreen Music Festival, Center for the Arts Evergreen, the Mountain Area Land Trust, Drive Smart, Evergreen Rodeo, North Evergreen Activity Trail (NEAT), and Art for the Mountain Community to make significant contributions to the quality of life in Evergreen.
  • Land acquisition:
    • In 1994 purchased 16.36 acres as part of the effort to Save Noble Meadow.  The land was used for additional ball fields and for the Buchanan Recreation Center in Evergreen.
    • Purchased 1.8 acres known as the Manley property, adjacent to Buchanan Rec Center (1998)
    • Purchased 11 acres from the Lutheran Medical Foundation, the anchor for a much larger Buchanan Park that would link with Denver's Bergen Park (1981) eventually bring together 65 acres
    • Purchased 1.11 acres known as the Amen property adjacent to Buchanan Park
    • Purchased 1.6 acres known as the Ogle property in 2002 (to be part of the larger Buchanan Park)
    • Purchased Marshdale Park - 14.1 acres. (2004)
    • Purchased 2.13 acres considered the Brekhus property as part of the larger Buchanan Park (2005)
    • Purchased 11 acres to be known as Stagecoach Park (2005)
    • Purchased 6.2 acres known as the Fahnenstiel property (Buchanan Park)
    • Accepted the donation of 4.47 acres known as Graham Park at Bergen Valley West (2006)
  • EPRD was a major partner with Drive Smart in creating the annual Skate the Lake event to provide an alcohol-free family alternative on New Year's Eve.
  • In 2003, opened the newly constructed Buchanan Rec Center.
Dick served on the boards of directors of several organizations in Evergreen, namely, the Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Evergreen, Jefferson County American Red Cross, Evergreen Recreation and Park Foundation, Evergreen Music Festival, Skate the Lake, and Earth Day.  This interaction enabled him to provide the perspective of the rec district to other organizations in a meaningful way.  EPRD became the respected hub of the community wheel around which most activities revolved, dependent in some manner, whether it be the use of the tent, rental at the Lakehouse, skating on the lake, use of a meeting room, rental of the district's buses, or use of its fields.

While his son was in high school and involved with baseball, Dick coached, served as scorekeeper, and helped with field maintenance, also serving on the board for Evergreen High School Baseball.

Dick's legacy is one of encouraging his boards over the years to "listen to the people." At the time of his retirement, the district had never experienced a failed vote for a bond issue; much of the bond money was for acquiring property for parks. As in the early days, he was open to the ideas of citizens who stepped forward to champion a cause in the best interests of the community and always found ways to offer the resources of the rec district to organizations and segments of the community that did not necessarily utilize the recreation centers, something that helped when voters turned out at the polls.

In 2008 the Evergreen Recreation Center was renamed the Wulf Recreation Center in Dick's honor.

Even after nearly 40 years with the district, Dick refers to his career as "the best job in the world. The people and the community were great."

Source:  Dick Wulf, records from EPRD, Linda Kirkpatrick