Monday, June 26, 2017

Multiple Incidents In Rocky Mountain National Park

On Saturday, June 24th, was a busy day for Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue Team members. One of the incidents was resolved this morning, when an 18-year-old male was rescued via a highline operation across the Roaring River above the Alluvial Fan.

On Saturday afternoon, the 18-year-old from Kansas had been rock hopping on this section of the Roaring River when he became stuck on the west side of the river. Park rangers were notified at 2:30 p.m. The young man’s family members were on the east side of the river. Rangers assessed the situation with members of Estes Valley Fire Protection District – Dive and Swiftwater Rescue Team, and after considering the complexity and length of time the rescue would likely take, it was determined that it would be safest to conduct the rescue this morning. Rangers provided the man with warm clothes, a sleeping bag and food overnight. A ranger stayed overnight on the other side of the river from the young man.

At 5:30 a.m. this morning rescuers gathered and at 7 a.m. the highline operation began. The young man was rescued at approximately 10:20 a.m. Over 20 people were involved in the operation and Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue team greatly appreciates the assistance from Estes Valley Fire Protection District – Dive and Swiftwater Rescue Team.

Other incidents on Saturday included a 15-year-old female falling in the St. Vrain River in the Wild Basin area. She tumbled downstream approximately 50 yards over an eight foot waterfall and through significant rapids. Bystanders and family members were able to rescue the girl prior to rangers arriving. She received leg injuries and was carried out via a wheeled litter to the Wild Basin Trailhead where she was taken by ambulance to the Estes Park Medical Center. Those who helped rescue the girl are to be commended for doing so from the shore line of the river, rather than getting in the swift moving water themselves.

Park rangers also assisted an injured 24-year-old male boulderer in the Chaos Canyon area who injured his leg after a fall, a 27-year-old female hiker on the Gem Lake Trail with a knee injury and a 26-year-old male hiker who had a seizure after taking a small fall at Emerald Lake. At 2:30 p.m. park rangers were notified of the incident above Alluvial Fan.



Jeff
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Sunday, June 25, 2017

USDA Announces $20 Million for Jobs for Young People, Veterans

USDA and partners committed $20 million in 21st Century Conservation Service Corps partnership agreements to provide 4,000 work opportunities for youth, young adults and veterans up to 35 years old, a move that will help the U.S. Forest Service accomplish mission-critical infrastructure and landscape restoration projects on the ground. The U.S. Forest Service is one of seventeen USDA Agencies.

The funding represents investments by USDA of $13 million and $7 million from partner organizations. Contributions by the Forest Service and partners are expected to reach $40 million by the end of 2017 and provide 11,000 work opportunities. Some funds are already placed with 21st Century Conservation Service Corps partnership agreements; other funds will continue to be obligated throughout the summer.

“The 21st Century Conservation Corps is not merely a summer jobs program,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “This is about nurturing our public lands as well as our veterans, youth and young adults through a variety of opportunities to develop leadership potential and professional and personal connections through work across many diverse landscapes.”

The work accomplished by participants will include hundreds of miles of trail maintenance and improvements, watershed protection, removal of vegetation as part of wildfire prevention, improvements to recreation facilities, and other essential work on lands managed by the Forest Service.

Since the program started in 2014, the Forest Service generated nearly 30,000 opportunities for youth and veterans to work on projects that benefit public lands. Corps partners provide hands-on service and job training while working with the Forest Service and other land management agencies to build America’s rural and urban economies, strengthen America’s infrastructure, and modernize the way government works.

Involving veterans in these opportunities helps them learn new skills while continuing to serve their nation and local communities. In FY 2016, 910 veterans were engaged on Forest Service volunteerism and service projects, of which 170 participated in 21st Century Conservation Corps projects. In FY 2017, the agency expects to hire 186 veterans.

About 20 percent of the 4,000 opportunities funded by this year’s commitment will be for Youth Conservation Corps jobs, a summer employment program on public lands that employ high school-aged youth. About 25 percent of the dedicated resources will support high-priority trail maintenance and improvements.

Projects will be on public lands in rural communities from coast to coast and will include diverse work experiences.

Annually, the Forest Service engages about 100,000 volunteers and 21st Century Conservation Service Corps participants. As part of an emphasis on strengthening and deepening connections with the public through outdoor experiences, the agency is committed to expanding its capacity for greater volunteerism and community service. The goal is to increase engagement to 115,000 volunteers by 2020 mostly through individual and partner organizations committed to the conservation of the public lands legacy.

To participate in the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps contact a member organization.

For additional information about funded projects, jobs, volunteering and other opportunities for young people, visit the Forest Service online Working with Us page.



Jeff
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Leak On Grand Ditch Closes Colorado River Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

Late Saturday night, June 17, the Water Supply and Storage Company, who operates the Grand Ditch, notified Rocky Mountain National Park staff of a leak at an old culvert at the intersection of Lady Creek with the Grand Ditch. The resulting leak caused some of the ditch bank surrounding the old culvert to erode. Water Supply and Storage Company informed park staff that they made temporary repairs to reduce the leak and opened head gates to reduce water flow in the Grand Ditch, sending additional water to the Kawuneeche Valley.

Early Sunday morning, park staff began gathering additional information regarding resource conditions and potential impacts on trails and bridges in the upper Kawuneeche Valley. The Colorado River Trail is flooded 0.6 miles from the trailhead just beyond the Red Mountain Junction. A cautionary sign was posted at the trailhead. Additional assessments are ongoing.

It was also reported to park staff on June 18, that there was increased turbidity downstream near Shadow Mountain Reservoir. At this time, park staff do not have estimates of where or how much volume of sediment moved due to this event.

Currently the Grand Ditch road is closed to pedestrians from the junction of Little Yellowstone to the Ditch Camp. There are no other closures in place. Long Draw Road outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, which leads to this area, is closed this time of year and is scheduled to open for the season in early July.

Park staff are continuing to monitor conditions on the Grand Ditch, gathering additional information and data on resource and trail conditions and assessing sediment deposition in the upper Kawuneeche Valley.



Jeff
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hazardous Fuels Reduction Work Continues In Rocky Mountain

The reduction of hazardous fuels is a significant preventative management tool used in preparation for managing wildfire near structures and communities. As seen with the Fern Lake Fire, previous reduction of hazardous fuels aided firefighters in stopping the fire within the park when it made its more than 3 mile run on the morning of December 1, 2012. Ultimately, these projects are done to protect life and property and enhance the safety of firefighters and their ability to manage fire within the park.

Fire Management staff at Rocky Mountain National Park completed the final phase of fuels reduction on over 250 acres this past winter, burning around 1,600 piles. Firewood permits were also available by lottery to collect previously cut wood generated from hazard tree removals and wildland fuels reduction. The annual fuels reduction effort will continue this summer and fall with plans to work on 350 acres on the north and east slopes of Deer Mountain next to the park boundary and an additional 125 acres on the Glacier Creek to Mill Creek fuels reduction project. Crews will also reduce fuels within 200 feet of US 34 from the Fall River Entrance to Deer Ridge Junction, US 36 from Deer Ridge Junction past the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and maintain past treatments on Bear Lake Road between the Glacier Basin Campground and Sprague Lake.

Work will include removing dead trees, the lower limbs of remaining trees, ladder fuels, dead and down logs, and the removal of selected trees to increase canopy spacing. Resulting woody materials will be piled on site and burned in the following winters or may be used next year or in upcoming years for firewood permits depending on location.

These projects are not designed as a stand-alone defense against wildfires, nor are they guaranteed to hold wildfire in the worst conditions.



Jeff
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Monday, June 19, 2017

CPW Warns Public That Moose Will Defend Their Young Aggressively

Since early June, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have investigated two separate moose conflicts resulting in injuries to three people, and agency officials are cautioning everyone to be extra vigilant this time of year.

Because elk, deer and other wild animals are currently rearing their newborn offspring, it increases the possibility of a serious wildlife encounter. Though most wildlife will protect their young, one of the most significant concerns for human safety is the aggressive response of a large, powerful mother moose in defense of her calves.

According to wildlife officials, a major catalyst in serious moose conflicts is the presence of dogs, as was the case in both recent incidents. When people, dogs and a defensive moose interact there is a significant risk of serious injuries to humans and pets. In addition, because CPW officers will act to protect the public in any wildlife conflict, it could lead to the death of a moose.

"People need to know when any wild animal injures a person, regardless of whether it is the human's fault or not, the animal will have to be put down if we can identify it," said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. "It is by far the worst part of any officer's job, but they must and will act to protect the public. It is why we strongly encourage everyone being responsible around wildlife and giving them plenty of space, especially when they have newborn offspring."

On June 10 near Fraser, a woman allowed her dog to run loose near willows - typical moose habitat - when a moose suddenly charged her and her dog. The woman dropped to the ground, receiving a painful leg injury when the animal stepped on her before it quickly ran off. The woman told wildlife officers she was fully aware of the potential for a clash between a dog and moose; however, because she did not expect to see a moose on private property, she allowed her dog to run off-leash.

Doctors treated the woman at a nearby emergency room and released her the same evening. She expressed remorse that the encounter could have led to the death of the moose. After searching the area, wildlife officers were unable to locate the animal.

"When in moose habitat, expect to see a moose, whether in the backcountry or within developed areas," said District Wildlife Manager Jeromy Huntington of Granby. "Try to stay in open areas where wildlife can been detected from a distance, especially when walking with a dog. Whether the moose has young or not, the presence of a dog is more than enough to incite an aggressive charge."

Huntington adds the woman was lucky the moose was not more determined to stomp on her or she could have been severely injured if the moose had stepped on her torso or head.

In Jamestown, a woman gardening in her backyard on June 2 reported that a moose with two calves unexpectedly appeared and began stomping on her. Her dog had been roaming freely in the yard at the time. Another resident of the home came to help and she was injured in the conflict as well. Both sought medical attention but neither woman suffered serious injuries.

"The woman and dog were in their own backyard, minding their own business and not doing anything wrong when this occurred," said Boulder County Area Wildlife Manager Larry Rogstad. "But even if you are not in the wilderness, sometimes the wildlife comes to you. We recommend everyone in Colorado be aware of the potential of encountering wildlife anywhere and anytime. Get the facts like those on the CPW website and be prepared to respond appropriately."

Rogstad says the cow and calves in the incident were not located.

According to wildlife officials, moose react to all dogs as they would to a wolf - one of their primary predators - by attempting to crush it with their hooves. Because of this instinctive, aggressive response, CPW officials recommend keeping dogs on a leash and under control when recreating in the backcountry, or consider leaving the dog at home.

"In most cases the dog flees back to the owner bringing an angry moose with it, as was the case in the recent incident in Fraser," said Area Wildlife Manager Lyle Sidener of Hot Sulphur Springs. "The dog continues on to safety but the owner is unable to escape."

Since 2013, CPW is aware of at least 15 moose conflicts resulting in minor to serious human injuries, including the latest two incidents. In all but two occurrences, dogs elicited the initial response from the moose.

"There is a way to watch wildlife responsibly and we encourage everyone to take the time to enjoy this wonderful, natural resource," said Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero. "But it is critical for people to learn the rules, and follow them. The main points to remember are don't feed, don't approach, don't harass and keep dogs on leashes and under control. If the animal responds in any way to your presence, you are too close."

CPW stresses the importance of education to prevent conflicts. For information about what to do if you encounter a wild animal, visit the CPW website.



Jeff
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pavement Preservation Project In Numerous Locations Throughout The Summer In Rocky Mountain National Park Alpine Visitor Center Parking Lot And Old Fall River Road Will Be Closed In Early August

On Monday, June 12, a major pavement preservation project will begin in Rocky Mountain National Park. The work will initially take place on a 12-mile section of US 34/Trail Ridge Road between the Fall River Entrance and Rainbow Curve. During this phase of the project, which should take approximately two weeks, crack sealing and patch work will occur. Park visitors should expect rolling delays of up to 20 minutes.

All three lanes at the Fall River Entrance will be patched on June 13. From approximately 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the two south lanes will be closed to traffic. Once patch work has been completed, the two south lanes will re-open and patch work will commence on the north lane. The Fall River Entrance will remain open during the work.

Other areas of the park that will be impacted by this ongoing pavement preservation project include the Endovalley Road, Moraine Park Campground Road, Glacier Basin Campground Road, Sprague Lake Road and Parking Area, Hollowell Park Road and Parking Area, Moraine Park Discovery Center Parking Area, Park & Ride Parking Area, Longs Peak Trailhead Parking Area, Lumpy Ridge Parking Area and the Alpine Visitor Center Parking Area. Some parking areas will have full closures and others will have partial closures in order to complete the work. The work in parking areas will mainly occur in August and September. Weather permitting, Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store Parking Area and Old Fall River Road will be closed August 1, 2 and 3 and again on August 17, while the parking area is being resurfaced and then striped. When specific work dates are scheduled for other areas this information will be disseminated.

This important project is critical for the long term protection of park roads and parking areas. Work will not take place during the weekends.



Jeff
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Monday, June 12, 2017

Save Time At Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Stations Purchase Park Pass Ahead Of Visit

Rocky Mountain National Park visitors can now purchase a one day entrance pass or weekly entrance pass online. Visit go.nps.gov/rockyfees and follow the prompts. Your email confirmation will serve as your pass. Print out your email receipt, or show park staff at the entrance station your email confirmation on your mobile device. Take a screen shot of your email if you are concerned about your cellular coverage.

Purchasing an entrance pass online supports Rocky Mountain National Park and saves transaction time once you reach the entrance station kiosk. Plan on riding the Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center? Purchase your pass online. Plan on visiting areas where fees are required but not collected such as Lily Lake, Longs Peak, Lumpy Ridge or the East Inlet Trailhead? Purchase your pass online.

Eighty percent of park entrance fees stay right here in Rocky Mountain National Park and are used on projects that directly benefit visitors. Entrance fees have supported a wide range of projects that improve the park and visitor experiences, including renovating all campground restroom facilities, rehabilitating and maintaining approximately 100 of the park’s 350 miles of trails, replacing trailhead signs, replacing picnic tables throughout the park, mitigating hazard trees in or near park facilities such as campgrounds, parking lots, road corridors and visitor centers, and operating the park’s visitor shuttle bus system.



Jeff
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