Saturday, May 31, 2014

CMC Video: The 10 Essentials

Planning a backcountry trip into the mountains this summer? If you're new to hiking or backpacking, or maybe it's been awhile, you might want to watch this video first - as a first step towards building (or refreshing) your backcountry skills set. This is the second video in the Colorado Mountain Club's series focused on backcountry education. The series was made possible by the CMC Steve Gladbach Memorial Fund.

Steve Gladbach was a beloved Colorado mountaineer, a long time member of the Colorado Mountain Club, and belonged to the community. He loved climbing. In the summer of 2013 he lost his life while descending Thunder Pyramid Peak.

One of Steve's passions was mountaineering education and safety. Through the generosity of family and friends, the Steve Gladbach Memorial Fund was created to promote Colorado mountaineering education.

If you're in need of any new gear, maps or guide books, please check out our online store.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Flood Advisory for North Central Colorado thru May 31, 2014

A National Weather Service (NWS) flood advisory is in effect through Saturday for rivers and streams in Grand County and across the U.S. Forest Service’s Sulphur Ranger District.

Warmer weather, anticipated rainfall and accelerated snowmelt will continue to cause water levels to rise through Saturday, May 31. Of particular concern, according to the NWS, are the Fraser, Williams Fork and Colorado rivers as well as the Muddy, Troublesome and St. Louis creeks.

Do not attempt to travel across flooded roads. Be advised that water is moving swiftly and river banks are possibly unstable.

Due to flooding and road damage, lower Cabin Creek Road (FSR 112) is being reclosed this morning. Short portions of Stillwater Road (FSR 123) remain open on both ends, but washouts have occurred just above the gate on the west end and the barricade on the east end. The majority of roads on the Sulphur Ranger District remain under a seasonal closure through at least June 15. Snowpack persists on many higher elevation roads and may delay the opening.

Several county roads also are closed due to flooding, notably County Road 841 at County Road 84. The 48-inch culverts we unable to accommodate debris flow in that area, causing the road to wash out. The debris has since been removed. County Road 84 is also experiencing damage.

Road conditions are updated at


Teenage Hiker Rescued From Ledge On Longs Peak

Samuel Frappier, a 19-year-old visitor from Quebec, was ascending Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park with a friend on Tuesday when they became separated. As Frappier attempted to descend he got himself stranded in an extremely precarious location known as the Broadway Ledge, at an elevation of roughly 13,000 feet, which forced him to call for help.

Although Frappier was reported to be fit, he had no technical climbing equipment and no experience as a mountaineer. Wearing only tennis shoes and cotton clothing, he was also unprepared for a night on the mountain in snow and ice and near freezing temperatures.

A rescue operation was immediately launched. The park’s SAR team was joined in the effort by Rocky Mountain Rescue and a Teton Interagency helicopter. Nearly 30 people were committed to the operation.

On Wednesday evening Frappier was helped off the ledge by rescuers, flown to a landing zone in Upper Beaver Meadows, and then taken to Estes Park Medical Center. The teen was subsequently checked-out and released by the hospital. Frappier will not be billed for the rescue, which cost several thousand dollars.

Reaching the summit of Longs Peak is not a hike. The 1.3-mile Keyhole Route is considered to be a climb - a classic mountaineering route that should not be underestimated. However, hikers can reach the Keyhole on a long day hike.


Volunteering needed for flood-damaged trails near Estes Park

As part of the flood recovery process, the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers (PWV) are continuing to help the Forest Service by coordinating volunteer trail work. The next scheduled trail restoration workday open to the public is June 14-15 for the Lion Gulch Trail near Estes Park.

The outpouring of support for recovery work has been greatly appreciated; however, this work has to be carefully coordinated. There are many crews helping the Forest repair and recover from the September 2013 floods and this work must be organized, prioritized, and meet the various requirements of the U.S. Forest Service. All work done on National Forest System lands must be approved by the forest before occurring.

PWV is the key contact for the Canyon Lakes Ranger District for public work days. PWV works closely with the Forest Service and are trained by the forest in trail restoration.

Volunteers of all skill levels can participate, but must be at least 18 years old. Work includes moving rocks and downed trees, reestablishing the trail and helping with drainage issues. Some work has already been done on portions of this trail to help make the area safer for volunteers. Volunteers spent a wet Memorial Day weekend working on the trail, but there is still much more to do.

Damage done to the first few miles of this trail was bad, but nothing compared to the middle part of the trail, where the trail is all but gone. Some analysis will be needed before this portion of the trail can be fully repaired. The Lion Gulch Trail will remain closed even after this volunteer trail work, until its length is safe for the public.

Those wanting to volunteer can sign up online. Details will be provided when volunteers sign up. Volunteers need to wear long sleeved shirts and pants (no shorts) and work boots. Be sure to bring water and snacks. Hard hats, gloves and tools will be provided.

More volunteer trail work days could be planned in the future. For additional work about flood recovery efforts or future events on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland, please click here.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Volunteers Needed at the Historic Deadman Lookout Tower

The U.S. Forest Service is looking for people who enjoy great views and are not afraid of heights to volunteer as visitor information hosts and amateur fire spotters at the only fire tower remaining on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District in the Roosevelt National Forest.

During the extreme fire conditions of 2012, Deadman Lookout was used by professional firefighters, along with lookout volunteers, as an active fire lookout for the first time in decades. In 2013 a record number of volunteers worked at the tower and allowed hours to be extended for visitors.

The historic Deadman Lookout, last officially staffed in the 1970s, is located 15 miles west of Red Feather Lakes at an elevation of 10,700 feet. The lookout is typically snowed in until July. It is then that dedicated volunteers keep the lookout open for scores of stair-climbing visitors through Labor Day.

Climbing into the top of the 1961 lookout is like stepping back in time. Original furniture and equipment are still usable and in place. Volunteers share fire lookout history with visitors, along with providing information on area recreation such as camping, fishing and scenic driving. Volunteers also work as amateur fire spotters for the district.

Hosts volunteer a minimum of two days per season. The lookout is open regularly Friday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hosts need to be in good health, enjoy working with people, and have transportation to and from the lookout.

Evening classroom training on June 18th is required. New volunteers will also spend a training day with a mentor-volunteer at the lookout.

If interested or for additional information, please contact Kristy Wumkes at 970-295-6721 or


Monday, May 26, 2014

Paradise Found: The Skyline Trail

"... the most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings."

That was John Muir’s reaction upon seeing the Paradise valley for the very first time in 1889. I dare say you might have the same reaction yourself. The best way to explore the Paradise valley below the southern slopes of Mt. Rainier is to hike the Skyline Trail loop. Below is a short video highlighting some of the amazing scenery you'll see on this hike. For more information on this outstanding hike, please click here to visit our new Discover the West website.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Trail Ridge Road Opens For The Season - Night Closures In Place

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opened at 10:15 a.m. today, Friday, May 23rd. Due to heavy melting on the road during the day and freezing temperatures at night, visitors should plan for night closures occurring at 8:00 p.m. at least through Monday night, May 26th. The need for night closures will be reevaluated on Tuesday, May 27th. Road crews and rangers will reassess conditions each morning and reopen the road when and if conditions allow. Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store are expected to open soon.

Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 24. The earliest the road has opened was on May 7, 2002; the latest June 26, 1943. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, climbs to 12,183 feet and connects the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road officially closed for the season last year on October 22.

National Park Service plow operators normally begin clearing the snow in the middle of April. Crews from the west side of the park and crews from the east side of the park move along the road and eventually meet at the Alpine Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is the highest in the National Park Service, sitting at 11,796 feet above sea level. Spring storms often impact plowing activities. This year, plow operators encountered average snow drifts from 18 to 22 feet. The significant storm on the east side of the divide on Mother's Day provided additional challenges for park snowplow operators.

Park staff expect a busy Memorial Day Weekend. The three reservation campgrounds in the park are full through Sunday and the first come, first served campgrounds are expected to fill. From lower elevations the mountain peaks look majestic with blankets of snow. The park's backcountry still looks and feels like winter above 9,000 feet.

Because weather conditions may change rapidly, park visitors should be prepared to adjust travel plans accordingly and are encouraged to call the park's Trail Ridge Road recorded phone line at (970) 586-1222. Park staff will update the recorded line during and after regular office hours, when the road status changes.

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park visit or call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206. For more information on hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, please click here.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wet and Snowy Conditions on the Sulphur Ranger District

Eight campgrounds on the Sulphur Ranger District in Granby, Colo. will be open by Friday, May 23rd, for Memorial Day weekend. Spring comes late to the Colorado mountains, so be prepared for cool weather and snowy or muddy conditions on roads and trails.

The Arapaho National Recreation Area is an ideal place to recreate at this time of year with seven developed picnic areas, six campgrounds (all of which are open), great fishing, boat ramps and trailheads. Lower than average water levels at this time of year on Lake Granby have created expansive beaches where the family can play. Monarch Lake loop is a very popular early season trail, and there's a visitor’s cabin where you can learn more about the history of that area. Portions of that trail, as well as many others on the district, are still snowy and muddy, so if you plan to hike the entire loop, be sure to wear appropriate footwear.

In the Winter Park area, St. Louis Creek and Sitzmark campgrounds will open this weekend. Denver Creek Campground on Colo. Highway 125 will also be open. Water may not be available in all campgrounds, so be sure to call ahead or check the Sulphur Ranger District recreation webpage.

Late spring snows and rain have left the District’s road system with snow on most roads, and several roads have sustained major damage beyond gates and barricades due to spring flooding. According to the district’s Motor Vehicle Use Map, which can be obtained for free at the district office in Granby or online, the majority of National Forest roads become available for use around June 15th, if conditions allow. Seasonal closures are still in place to protect the road surfaces.

Dispersed camping opportunities will be very limited. Dispersed campers may find dry spots on lower Beaver Creek Road (FSR 133), Big Meadows Road (FSR 253), lower Meadow Creek Road (FSR 129) below the 128 intersection, and “Tent City” before the gate on Little Muddy Road (FSR 134). Dispersed camping will also be available at Bull Mountain Campground on Stillwater Pass Road (FSR 123), but the trails around the campground are not ready for use. The road just beyond Bull Mountain has been barricaded since it sustained major damage in the spring floods, is unstable and is not safe for public use.

Due to the wet and snowy conditions, off-highway vehicles are currently restricted from riding on motorized trails and roads until the season closure is lifted June 15th. And, while mountain bikes may not be prohibited from various trails, please allow muddy trails to dry completely before attempting to ride them to protect the trails system for a higher quality experience later in the season.

Visitors can stop by the Sulphur Ranger District office at 9 Ten Mile Drive in Granby to pick up maps, information about wildlife, souvenirs and books. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays. For more information, call 970-887-4100 or visit our website at\arp.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Snowpack Limits Routt National Forest Access this Memorial Day Weekend

Late spring snowpack will limit road access and delay the opening of most developed campgrounds on the Routt National Forest this Memorial Day weekend. While there will still be some opportunities to explore and camp, Forest visitors are reminded to call their local ranger district office to know what is open and accessible.

The following are area-specific conditions:

Hahns Peak-Bears Ears Ranger District – The Hinman Campground will be open for the upcoming holiday weekend for $12 per night with restroom and trash service available. Water, however, is not yet available and campers are reminded to bring plenty for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Fish Creek Falls Day Use Area is also open for $5 per day with restroom and trash service. There are very few dispersed camping opportunities available because of impassable roads. For the most current information, please call the District Office at (970) 870-2299.

(As a side note, if you ever get the opportunity, be sure to hike the Gilpin Lake / Gold Creek Lake Loop just north of Steamboat Springs. It's one of my favorite hikes in Colorado.)

Parks Ranger District – The Aspen Campground near the town of Gould will be the only recreation facility open this holiday weekend. While fees will not be charged, campers should be aware that water, trash and restroom services are not yet available; therefore they should plan to bring plenty of water and pack out their trash. Access is limited to most dispersed areas, so please contact the District Office at (970) 723-2700 for the most up to date information.

Yampa Ranger District – All developed campgrounds are currently snowed in and there is very limited access across the District for free dispersed camping opportunities. However, approximately 11 designated dispersed camping sites are open in the Bear River Corridor southwest of the town of Yampa. These first-come, first-served sites cost $5 per night and have standard picnic table and fire ring amenities. Two restroom facilities are located near group sites and campers are required to pack out their trash. For the latest information, please contact the District Office at (970) 638-4516.

(As another side note, the Devils Causeway is an exciting hike - for those that dare to cross it!)

Campground reservations are not required for any of the campgrounds open this holiday weekend on the Routt National Forest. As additional campgrounds open later in the season, reservations may be made for some reservable sites through ReserveUSA by phone at 877-444-6777 or online at Where available, reservations are recommended for holiday weekends such as Memorial Day.


Beautiful Film Highlights The Wolf Mountains In Eastern Europe

This Friday, May 23rd, join Juraj Svajda at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park as he introduces the movie The Wolf Mountains, a beautiful film highlighting one of the last wildernesses in the Eastern Carpathians. This film is a unique portrayal of a part of European nature that has rarely been seen.

Juraj Svajda currently works as an assistant professor at Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, focused on teaching subjects related to nature conservation, including research. Previously, he served for several years as the Chief Ranger at Tatra National Park in Slovakia. In 2007, Rocky Mountain National Park officially signed a sister park agreement with Tatra National Parks in Slovakia and Poland. In 2013, Juraj competed for and was selected to receive a research fellowship with the Slovak-American Foundation. Due to the Foundation's financial support he has spent a one year fellowship at Rocky Mountain National Park. The park is currently hosting him as a research scholar.

The film will be shown at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center at 7:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

I found this film clip on YouTube. I'm not sure if this is a trailer from Svajda's film, but either way, it does an excellent job of showing the surprisingly diverse wildlife of the Wolf Mountains:


Monday, May 19, 2014

Top Ten Items to have on a Day Hike

Below is my list of the top ten things you should keep in your backpack on any day hike. Obviously you will need to make changes to your overall list based on weather conditions, season, terrain and length of trip, but generally speaking, these are the items I consider to be the most important to have on any day hike.

1) Orientation - Take a map and/or guide book with you. National Geographic's Trails Illustrated Maps are excellent. Use the map to keep track of your progress so that you know where you’re at all times. It’s also a good idea to carry a compass, and know how to use it as well.

2) Hydration - Take plenty of water with you, especially in the summer. You can sweat anywhere from 1/2 to 1 quart of fluid for every hour you walk in the heat. This fluid/electrolyte loss can exceed 3 quarts per hour if you hike uphill in direct sunlight and during the hottest time of the day. If you plan on drinking water from the backcountry, know that it must be treated for Giardia lamblia. Giardia is a parasite that can cause an intestinal infection with a variety of symptoms. To avoid this infection, boil water for at least one minute or use a filter capable of removing particles as small as 1 micron. Liquids such as water or sports drinks are best for you. Drinking soda or alcohol while hiking will dehydrate you. Make sure to pack extra liquids with you in case your hike takes longer than expected.

3) Fuel - The best snacks for the trail are ones that will provide you with high energy, such as fruit, granola, peanut butter, bagels, power bars, fruit bars, G.O.R.P. (trail mix), beef jerky, or even candy. Again, take extra food with you in case your hike takes longer than expected for whatever reason. Throw a couple of energy bars in your pack. They’re light weight, and will pack a nice punch if needed.

4) First Aid - Learn first aid and carry a first aid kit in your pack. Know what to do in case of an emergency. First aid training will teach you how to react and deal with specific types of injuries.

5) Shelter from the storm – No, I’m not talking about toting a tent around with you. I’m referring to keeping rain gear in your pack in case the skies open-up while you’re out on the trail. Weather can be very unpredictable in the mountains. Nothing is worse than getting soaked miles from the trailhead, which can lead to hypothermia. Even during the summer a wet hiker can succumb to hypothermia at higher elevations.

6) Fire – I’m not suggesting you carry something to cook beef stroganoff on your lunch break. But it is extremely important to have some ability to start a fire in case of an emergency bivouac. I always carry a fire source: waterproof matches or some other emergency firestarter. You'll also want to carry some type of tinder, such as fire sticks, or even cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly and stored in aluminum foil, a zip lock bag or even an old film canister.

7) Extra Socks – Extra socks are a must as well. If you accidently slip into some water, or you’re forced to cross a swollen creek, you’ll want to change your socks right away. Besides having cold feet, you’re almost guaranteed to take home a few blisters.

8) Gloves – Although the forecast might call for a mild day, weather can change quickly in the mountains. Overcast skies, high winds, or light rain, can chill your hands in a hurry, especially in the mountains.

9) Emergency Blanket – An emergency blanket is an excellent item to throw in the bottom of your pack. They’re inexpensive, light weight and take about as much room as a pack of baseball cards. Using a reflective material, they’re designed to reflect your body heat back to you in an emergency situation. You can also use the blanket to ceate an emergency lean-to shelter as well.

10) Knife – preferably a multi-use knife such as a Swiss Army Knife can come in handy in a variety of situations.

There are a few other items you should probably consider having in your pack, but didn’t quite make my top 10 list, including, medications, a whistle, flashlight, bear spray, toilet paper, moleskin, sunscreen, ski hat, cell phone, duct tape. For a complete checklist, please click here.


Friday, May 16, 2014

National Trails Day 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014, marks the American Hiking Society’s 22nd annual celebration of National Trails Day, which is America’s largest trail and outdoor celebration - a day devoted to appreciating America’s trails and the hard-working individuals who build and maintain them. In honor of this day, thousands of public events will be hosted nationwide and hundreds of thousands of trail enthusiasts will be outside as they hike, pedal, and paddle through some of America’s most beautiful areas. National Trails Day activities will occur in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan authorized the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors. The final report recommended that all Americans be able to go out their front doors, and within fifteen minutes, be on trails that wind through their cities or towns and bring them back without retracing steps. The recommendation, dubbed Trails for All Americans, became the impetus behind several public and private parties joining the American Hiking Society in launching the first National Trails Day in 1993.

Below are a few events in the Rocky Mountain region that might be of interest to hikers:

* City of Fort Collin’s National Trails Day

* Friend’s of Mt Evans and Lost Creek Wilderness All Hands Day

* National Trails Day Cottonwood Trail Construction

* National Trails Day at William Frederick Hayden Park, City of Lakewood

For a full list of events in your area, please click here.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Volunteer Opportunity on Flood-damaged Lion Gulch Trail near Estes Park

As part of the flood recovery process, the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers (PWV) are helping the Forest Service by coordinating volunteer trail work on the Lion Gulch Trail May 24 and 25.

Volunteers of all skill levels can participate, but must be at least 18 years old. Work will include moving rocks and downed trees, reestablishing trail and helping with drainage issues. Some work has already been done on portions of this trail to help make the area safer for volunteers.

Damage done to the first few miles of this trail was bad, but nothing compared to the middle part of the trail, where the trail is all but gone. Some analysis will be needed before this portion of the trail can be repaired. The Lion Gulch Trail will remain closed even after this volunteer trail work, until its length is safe for the public.

Due to limited parking at the trailhead, volunteers can carpool from the Forest Service parking lot in Fort Collins or at a parking lot at the corner of Wilson and Eisenhower in Loveland. Details will be provided when volunteers sign up. Those wanting to volunteer can sign up here.

Volunteers need to wear long sleeved shirts and pants (no shorts) and work boots. Be sure to bring water and snacks. Hard hats, gloves and tools will be provided, along with lunch.

More volunteer trail work days could be planned in the future. For additional work about flood recovery efforts or future events on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland, check the USFS website.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Video: Celebrate 100 Years of Rocky Mountain National Park

On September 3, 2014, Rocky Mountain National Park will kick off its year-long 100th Anniversary celebration. Honor the past, inspire the future, and celebrate the present wilderness, wildlife and wonder with this new video from the park!

If you plan to visit Rocky Mountain National Park during the centennial celebration, or anytime this year, please note that our hiking website for the park offers a wide variety of accommodation listings in both Estes Park and Grand Lake. Also, don't forget to check out our other Things To Do page to also help with your trip planning.


Monday, May 12, 2014

The Hike to Blue Lakes in the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness

Below is a pretty good video that highlights the hike to Blue Lakes in the southwestern portion of Colorado. The trail is located between the towns of Ouray and Telluride, and travels into the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains. Truth be told, Blue Lakes is one of my all-time favorite hikes. The scenery is as breathtaking as any of the best hikes in the best national parks around the country. For more detailed information on this hike, please click here.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Share the Experience Photo Contest is Back!

The 2014 Share the Experience Photo Contest is now accepting entries through December 31, 2014. If you’re an amateur photographer, this is your chance to submit your inspiring images of America’s federal lands, national parks, forests, waterways and historical sites. The 2014 contest features many prizes and a brand new submission category – Night Skies.

Share the Experience showcases amazing photography that highlights the endless recreation opportunities and breathtaking scenery offered by our federal lands. In 2013 about 18,000 images were submitted. You can a complete list of 2013 winners and honorable mentions by clicking here.

Will you be the next winner? The 2014 Grand Prize package includes $10,000, and the winning image will be featured on the 2016 America the Beautiful - The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. For a full listing of prizes and rules, or to submit a photo, please click here.

2014 submission categories include:

• Adventure and Outdoor Recreation

• Historical and Cultural

• Let's Move Outside!

• Night Skies

• Scenic, Seasons and Landscapes

• Wildlife

Participating Federal Agencies include: National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service.

You can also visit to view amazing photos and weekly winners, vote for favorites, and submit your entries.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Colorado’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Released

The final 2014 Colorado Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), the blueprint for sustaining Colorado's outdoors heritage for current and future generations, has been released.

Outdoor recreation defines the quality of life in Colorado and is a significant factor in the state's economy. Studies conducted as part of the 2014 SCORP estimate that outdoor recreation in Colorado contributes more than $34.5 billion in annual economic activity, creates 313,000 jobs and generates $4.9 million in local, state and federal taxes annually. There are nearly 30 million acres of publicly owned land in Colorado, with a majority of these lands open to outdoor recreation pursuits. Surveys conducted as part of the SCORP indicate that 90% of Coloradans participated in some form of outdoor recreation in Colorado over the past year. With a 66% participation rate, walking was found to be the most popular activity, while hiking / backpacking, with a participation rate of roughly 52%, ranked as the second most popular activity.

To proactively manage critical outdoor recreation resources for future generations, Colorado Parks and Wildlife worked with a 44-member steering committee to develop the 2014-2018 Colorado Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. This committee included representation from local, state and federal agencies, non-profit groups, outdoor industry associations, the health care industry and similar interests.

Building on the nationally-acclaimed 2008 SCORP, the 2014 SCORP aims to guide outdoor recreation providers, decision-makers, and stakeholders in recreation management and policy decisions over the next five years.

The 2014 SCORP identifies five statewide outdoor recreation priority areas where attention and energy should be focused:

* Outdoor Recreation Education
* Funding and Financial Sustainability
* Healthy Lifestyles and Communities
* Integration of Outdoor Recreation Interests
* Stewardship.

Recommended actions are identified for each priority area to provide guidance for outdoor recreation stakeholders. The Colorado SCORP will also help determine priorities for allocating the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants administered by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife trails program. Since 1965, over 60,000 acres in Colorado have been secured for outdoor recreation and conservation purposes through an estimated $60.5 million in LWCF grants. The SCORP is the five-year planning document that each state is required to develop to remain eligible for LWCF appropriations.

The full 2014 SCORP can be found online at If there are particular questions related to the SCORP, contact CPW by e-mail at or phone at 303-869-1350.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

U.S. Forest Service Flood Recovery Open Houses

The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests is hosting three open houses in May to discuss information about ongoing flood recovery efforts on National Forest System lands.

The September 2013 floods changed the landscape of the forest dramatically. Representatives from the Flood Recovery Team will provide opportunities to learn about affected recreational opportunities, Forest Service access and natural resource recovery.

Meetings will be held at the following locations and dates:

Canyon Lakes Ranger District:

May 13, 5-7 p.m. in Loveland at Group Publishing, 1515 Cascade Avenue Loveland, Colo. 80536 (on Highway 34, immediately west of La Quinta Hotel). This meeting will be directed towards communities, such as those who live close to flood-affected National Forest System lands, rural emergency responders, and those who conduct business on National Forest System lands.

May 20, 5-7 p.m. in Fort Collins at the USFS Canyon Lakes Ranger District Office, 2150 Centre Ave Fort Collins, Colo. 80526. This meeting will focus primarily on post-flood recreation and volunteerism on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District.

Boulder Ranger District:

May 19, 5-7 p.m. in Boulder at the USFS Boulder Ranger District Office, 2140 Yarmouth Avenue Boulder, Colo. 80301. This will be an open house format, but there will be a brief presentation at 6 p.m.

For more information on the meetings in Loveland or Fort Collins, contact Jane Gordon at or 970-295-6843. For more information on the meeting in Boulder, contact Ben Johnson at or 303-541-2544.

Additional flood information can be found online at


Saturday, May 3, 2014

National Interagency Fire Center Releases Fire Outlook

The National Interagency Fire Center has released its current significant wildland fire potential forecast for the months of May through August.

During the key travel months of July and August, Rocky Mountain National Park is within the zone of normal wildfire potential, which bodes as good news for travelers to the park this upcoming season. A summary of the fire potential for this time period is as follows:

Above Normal - Most of California, northern Nevada, and central Oregon will continue to have above normal potential, which will also expand into eastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho, and the Great Lakes region.

Normal – Southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico and Alaska will return to normal fire potential.

Below Normal – Below normal potential is forecast for the northern Rockies.

Here's a map for the same time period:

You can find additional information and maps on a ten-page PDF file published by the National Interagency Fire Center by clicking here.

For the most up-to-date weather conditions and forecasts for the Rocky Mountain National Park region, please click here.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Free Shuttle Service in Estes Park to Begin June 21

On Saturday, June 21st, the Town of Estes Park’s Free Shuttles will launch its ninth season, offering visitors and residents convenient, environmentally responsible transportation. Shuttles transport riders to 63 stops throughout Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Operating daily from June 21 through September 7, shuttles make it convenient for residents and visitors to leave their vehicles at a lodging facility, park-n-ride lot, or at home, and travel around town during the busy summer season.

The 2014 shuttle system offers four new stops and an additional ADA accessible shuttle. The shuttles continue to feature real-time tracking. Passengers will be able to determine actual arrival times by visiting the Town’s website at and entering a five digit “stop code” for their location.

The Estes Park Free Shuttle system consists of five routes, all of which bring riders to the core downtown area. The Silver Route services the Park-n-Ride at the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park. The Blue Route services Big Thompson Avenue (U.S. 34 east of downtown) and three stops along Dry Gulch Road. The Red Route services Fall River Road (U.S. 34 west of downtown), the Brown Route services campgrounds and other establishments in outlying areas to the south and west of town and the Gold Route serves the Elkhorn Avenue downtown with the Town trolley, the Elkhorn Express.

Also in 2014, the Rocky Mountain National Park Hiker Shuttle will depart from the Estes Park Visitor Center traveling to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and into the National Park stopping at the Park-n-Ride. Operating days for the RMNP Hiker Shuttle: June 21 through September 7 (daily), and weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from September 13 through October 12, The Hiker Shuttle will operate beginning at the Estes Park Visitor Center from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and every 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. For more information on the Hiker Shuttle, please contact Rocky Mountain National Park at 970-586-1206.

A map of the shuttle routes and the full schedule is available at For more information about Estes Park's shuttle routes, please contact Estes Park Visitor Services at 970-577-9900.

If planning a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park this year, please note that our website offers a wide variety of accommodation listings for both Estes Park and Grand Lake.