The Latest: Ex-nuke site opens to public as wildlife refuge

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer drives into the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, the first da

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer drives into the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, the first da

Stephen Parlato wears a gas mask next to his sign warning about the dangers of plutonium at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver on Sat

Stephen Parlato wears a gas mask next to his sign warning about the dangers of plutonium at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver on Sat

FILE - This Aug. 11, 2017, file photo shows a "No Trespassing" sign hanging on a fence surrounding part of the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plan

FILE - This Aug. 11, 2017, file photo shows a "No Trespassing" sign hanging on a fence surrounding part of the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plan

Jerry Jacka departs a trailhead on his mountain bike at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, the first day

Jerry Jacka departs a trailhead on his mountain bike at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, the first day

Jon Simon takes a break after about a 2-hour mountain bike ride at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, th

Jon Simon takes a break after about a 2-hour mountain bike ride at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, th

A sign marks a trail on the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, the first day the refuge was open to the

A sign marks a trail on the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, the first day the refuge was open to the

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2017 file photo, visitors approach a former ranch house and barn during a guided hike on the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Ref

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2017 file photo, visitors approach a former ranch house and barn during a guided hike on the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Ref

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2005, file photo, deer cross a road striped of its asphalt at the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons plant near Golden, Colo.

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2005, file photo, deer cross a road striped of its asphalt at the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons plant near Golden, Colo.

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2017 file photo Aaron Weiner of Boulder, Colo., wears a protective suit as he carries a placard during a rally near the State

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2017 file photo Aaron Weiner of Boulder, Colo., wears a protective suit as he carries a placard during a rally near the State

DENVER (AP) — The Latest on the opening of a wildlife refuge at the site of a former nuclear weapons plant (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Cyclists and hikers are exploring a newly opened wildlife refuge at the site of a former nuclear weapons plant in Colorado.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened the gates of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Saturday with no fanfare.

The refuge is on the perimeter of a government factory that made plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs.

A protester in a gas mask brought a sign to the refuge warning about the dangers of plutonium. Other visitors said they were confident the site was safe.

The refuge is on a wind-swept plateau 16 miles (26 kilometers) northwest of downtown Denver.

It's a rare oasis of tallgrass prairie, with bears, elk, falcons, songbirds and hundreds of other species.

The refuge offers sweeping panoramas of the Rocky Mountain foothills and Denver's skyscrapers.

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12 a.m.

A unique wildlife refuge on the site of a former nuclear weapons plant in Colorado is opening its gates to the public.

Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge is scheduled to open Saturday after a confusing day when officials first said they would not open the refuge and then said they would.

The U.S. government made plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs at the site outside Denver. After a $7 billion cleanup, part of the land was turned over to the Interior Department for a refuge.

The opening has been in the works for months. But the plans were upended Friday when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he would keep the refuge closed until he could get more information about safety.

An hour later, the department said a review was complete and the refuge would open.