A Colorado wildlife refuge will open this summer at the site of a former controversial nuclear plant.

For nearly 40 years, the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant near Denver produced components for nuclear weapons. Through the years, the site was plagued with plutonium leaks and contamination, resulting in a number of protests and demonstrations in the 70s and 80s.

Shortly after the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania in 1979, a crowd of 15,000 protesters gathered near Rocky Flats including singers Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt.

The plant was shut down in the late 1980s and clean up began in the 90s. In 2001, the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act was passed, ultimately transferring the land to the control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Surface. The Rocky Flats refuge was established in 2007.

The  5,000- acre Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge 16 miles northwest of Denver will be open to visitors this summer. Featuring a 20-mile trail system, guests will enjoy hiking, cycling, and horseback riding.

Potential wildlife encounters for photographers include black bear, coyote, owls, elk, prairie dogs, porcupine, a number of birds and a variety of plants and shrubs. If you are really lucky you may see the federally threatened Preble's meadow jumping mouse.

The question is, would you feel comfortable being on this land that has incurred so much contamination through the years?

More From 99.9 KEKB - Grand Junction's Favorite Country