Monday, July 27, 2015

Resurfacing Project On Trail Ridge Road In Rocky Mountain National Park

On Wednesday, July 29, weather permitting, a resurfacing project will begin on Trail Ridge Road from Lava Cliffs to the Colorado River Trailhead, an approximate 14-mile section. During the project, traffic will be reduced to one lane, and 15 minute delays should be expected. These delays will take place through August 21 with intermittent delays up to September 1. Work is not planned to take place during weekends.

The parking lot at Lava Cliffs along Trail Ridge Road will be closed during this project for the storage of materials. Half of the Timber Lake Trailhead parking lot on the west side will also be closed for the staging of materials. Timber Creek Campground will be temporarily closed August 17 through August 20 for resurfacing. If conditions allow, the campground may reopen sooner. Numerous pull-offs and parking areas along Trail Ridge Road on the west side of the park will also be resurfaced.

Fog sealing will take place at the end of August, weather permitting. This important project will seal the surface of this section and is critical for the long term protection of the road. All trailheads along this section of road will be open. This is a Central Federal Lands Highway Division Project.

For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


Tularemia Detected In Lily Lake Area In Rocky Mountain National Park

A dead muskrat was recently found at the Lily Lake area in Rocky Mountain National Park and tested positive for tularemia. This year, tularemia has been widely reported in Colorado and neighboring states.

Tularemia is a naturally occurring bacterial disease transmitted by infected insects and ticks to rabbits, hares, muskrats, beavers and other small rodents. Tularemia can also spread to humans and can cause serious clinical symptoms. People can help prevent infection by using insect repellent, washing hands, and giving wildlife their space. Never consume water that has not been treated or boiled.

In humans, tularemia can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fever and chills, joint pain, muscle aches and headaches, dry cough and chest pain and an open sore and swelling at the site of a tick bite or swollen lymph nodes. If someone becomes ill with any of these symptoms within two weeks of being in an affected area, they should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about possible exposure to tularemia. Tularemia can be treated successfully with antibiotics. For more information about tularemia visit

Although tularemia is a native disease that occurs naturally, human impacts on the environment can affect wildlife habitats and promote the transmission and spread of diseases such as tularemia. By appreciating wildlife from a distance, we can help protect ourselves from tularemia.

For information about Rocky Mountain National Park please call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Missing Hikers Rescued in Rocky Mountain National Park

A search for missing hikers concluded successfully yesterday morning at 7:40 a.m. when park searchers located the two missing women off trail above Hague Creek and below Mummy Pass, roughly five miles inside the park boundary in the northwest portion of Rocky Mountain National Park.

On Tuesday, July 21, a group of five family and friends hiked to Mirror Lake. When they were hiking back Christine Everett, 51, of Lawrence, Kansas and Danielle Hohly, 26, of Mission, Kansas became separated from the group. They were last seen at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21, just below Mirror Lake, which is approximately 6 miles from the Corral Creek Trailhead.

When they did not reach the trailhead, one of the members of the party went back up the trail and searched for them until dark. At roughly 8:15 p.m. they called for assistance. This is in a remote area with no cell service and limited radio communication. The call went to Larimer County Search and Rescue, who responded to the area later that night. Larimer County Search and Rescue searched the general area and determined that the point last seen was inside Rocky Mountain National Park. Larimer County Search and Rescue personnel contacted park rangers on Wednesday morning, July 22.

On Wednesday, July 22, Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members began search operations and planning with personnel from Larimer County Search and Rescue.

When the women were found yesterday morning, they were cold and hungry but in good condition. The two women were flown by a Type 3 helicopter to the east side of the park where they were reunited with family members.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Two Rescues in Rocky Mountain National Park

On the night of July 19th, at 7:30 p.m. park rangers were notified via cell phone that a 13-year-old female from Estes Park had suffered a leg injury roughly a half mile northwest of The Pool in rugged Forest Canyon in Rocky Mountain National Park. Her father had climbed to higher ground and was fortunate to get cell phone coverage.

Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members reached her and her father between 1:30 to 2:00 a.m. on Monday morning. It was difficult to find the patient in steep, rugged, off trail terrain. The general area had also been impacted by the Fern Lake Fire, which posed additional challenges for rescuers to traverse through this area after dark.

A technical raise was used to bring the patient roughly 150 to 200 feet up and over a rock cliff to a flat bench area where a landing zone had been constructed. The patient was flown from the area to the Upper Beaver Meadows helispot at 4:30 p.m. yesterday, and then taken by ambulance to the Estes Park Medical Center.

Park search and rescue team members were assisted by the Northern Colorado Interagency Helitack Crew. This helicopter crew assisted with reconnaissance and extraction of the patient from the area. Over 30 park personnel were involved in this incident as well as one member of the Alpine Rescue Group.

Because the patient is a juvenile her name and her father's name will not be released.

As park rescue personnel were finishing the Forest Canyon rescue they were notified at 5:15 p.m. yesterday by cell phone of a 43-year-old woman, hometown unknown, with a leg injury near Emerald Lake. Search and rescue personnel reached her at 7:45 p.m. A team carried her out on a wheeled litter. They were expected to reach the Bear Lake Trailhead by 10:00 p.m. last night. She was expected to be taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center. Twenty park personnel are involved in this incident.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Park Visitor Seriously Injured In Deer Attack

During the early afternoon hours of June 30th, a Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park visitor was attacked by a doe mule deer in the South Rim Campground. Yesterday's NPS Morning Report stated that a woman was walking two small dogs on a leash when she was knocked to the ground by the deer. The deer then trampled the woman with its hooves, causing life threatening injuries.

Luckily, a campground host and other visitors heard the woman screaming and were able to chase off the attacking deer. Rangers quickly controlled her profuse bleeding and stabilized her; she was then taken by ambulance to a hospital and went into surgery.

Investigation revealed this deer was likely protecting its newborn fawn from visitors with dogs. Multiple minor incidents involving visitors with dogs preceded the attack on the woman and her dog in the campground.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers subsequently shot the deer after it charged two CPW officers who had a leashed dog with them. The woman is expected to make a full recovery.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Wild Way to Move

This is a pretty cool video from Parks Canada, which shows how wildlife crossing structures and highway fencing in Banff National Park have reduced large animal deaths by more than 80%.

As you travel through Banff, animals are traveling as well - over your roof and under your wheels. So which animals adopted these crossing structures first? Which animals prefers overpasses versus underpasses? This video captures five years of wildlife movement through the lens of a remote camera in Banff National Park, and provides some interesting insights on how these structures have saved the lives of both animals and humans:

You can learn more about this project here and here.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Old Fall River Road Opens For The Season

This morning at 11:00 a.m., Senator Cory Gardner, Congressman Jared Polis and Federal Highways Administration Division Director Ric Suarez joined park superintendent Vaughn Baker to open Old Fall River Road for the season.

In September of 2013, Rocky Mountain National Park received a record amount of rainfall. Damage in the park was wide spread on the east side of the Continental Divide. Damage was extensive on Old Fall River Road and the Alluvial Fan area. The road was closed to vehicles after the flood in 2013 and during the summer of 2014. The opening of Old Fall River Road is a significant milestone in the recovery of the flood of 2013.

The Federal Highways Administration funded this $4 million project through the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) program.

Old Fall River Road is a historic dirt road built between 1913 and 1920. Due to the winding, narrow nature of the road, the scenic 9.4-mile route is one-way. It follows the steep slope of Mount Chapin's south face. Normally the road is open from the fourth of July to early October.

For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1363 or visit


Plan Ahead When Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park This Summer

Rocky Mountain National Park is a popular destination. This year the park is celebrating its centennial. Over the last 100 years, the reasons people visit are the same; to experience nature, to seek solitude, to enjoy scenic grandeur, to watch wildlife, and to partake in outstanding recreational activities.

At the end of May, year to date visitation was up 20 percent over last year when the park received record visitation of 3.4 million. The trend of increased visitation has continued in June as well. June figures should be released by next week. Rocky was the fifth most visited national park in 2014. The park's highest visitation is during the summer and on fall weekends.

Plan ahead for a more enjoyable visit to Rocky! In the summer, the busiest times in the park are between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. here are a few other tips:

* Hike early or hike late

* Check the weather forecast before you arrive at the park to better plan your day and destinations. If you plan to hike later in the day, it is critical that you know the weather forecast for the elevation of your destination.

* Carpool

* Take advantage of the park shuttle

* Trailhead parking lots fill early in the day:

* Glacier Gorge Trailhead by 7:00 a.m.

* Bear Lake Trailhead by 8:30 a.m.

* Park & Ride by 10:30 a.m.

* Wild Basin Corridor by 10:30 a.m.

* If you want to hike in the Bear Lake corridor and plan to arrive after 11, your best option is to take the Hiker Shuttle from Estes Park

* The Alpine Visitor Center parking lot is busy between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* More than eighty percent of park visitors arrive through the east entrances of the park

* Camping is popular in the park. Reserve a campsite up to six months before your visit. The two first come, first served campgrounds fill up as well. Timber Creek Campground fills up last.

* In September, visitation is 50 percent higher on weekends than weekdays

* Two new webcams are now operating on the Beaver Meadows Entrance and Fall River Entrance. The webcams face east, depicting the flow of vehicles entering the park.

Park staff are working with the Town of Estes Park and Colorado Department of Transportation to operate two new variable message signs on US 34 and US 36 encouraging visitors to select an east side park entrance based on their destination. If visitors have purchased an annual pass to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Beaver Meadows entrance has a fast pass lane. The Grand Lake entrance also has a fast pass lane.

The remaining fee free days for the season are Tuesday, August 25, and Saturday, September 26. These days are determined by the Department of the Interior. These are typically very busy days.

For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1363 or visit the park website. For more information on accommodations, hiking and other thing to do in Rocky Mountain National Park, please click here.