Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rocky Mountain National Park Re-dedication Ceremony

In case you missed it, here are some highlights from the Rocky Mountain National Park Re-dedication Ceremony which took place on September 4th. This short video was produced by Nick Mollé Productions and EPTV Channel 8:


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Injured Hiker Carried Out From Lumpy Ridge Area of Rocky Mountain National Park

At 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, September 19th, park rangers were notified by climbers who witnessed a man take a tumbling fall from the summit of Batman Rock to the base. The 24 year old male from Vancouver, British Columbia was hiking and scouting several climbing routes. He was standing near the edge when he slipped. He was not roped in.

Park rangers reached the man an hour later. The man did not have life threatening injuries but was not ambulatory. Park rangers spent the night with the man and operations to evacuate him began on Sunday morning. The technical rescue took place over steep and rocky terrain.

Fifty people were involved with the litter carry out. Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members were assisted by Rocky Mountain Rescue and Larimer County Search and Rescue. The team reached the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead at 2:30 p.m. and the man was transferred to an ambulance with Estes Park Medical Center.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Public Invited to Participate in National Public Lands Day Volunteer Project at Brainard Lake Recreation Area

The U.S Forest Service’s Boulder Ranger District together with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers (WRV) invite the public to give back to a place they love on National Public Lands Day, Saturday, Sept. 26th.

National Public Lands Day is a coast-to-coast, one-day event that brings together more than 175,000 Americans across all 50 states to collect trash, plant trees, pull weeds and maintain trails.

To celebrate the day, the Boulder Ranger District and WRV will be hosting a one-day volunteer event to complete building a critical section of trail between the Brainard Lake parking area and the Mitchell Lake Trailhead in Brainard Lake Recreation Area. The new family-friendly path takes visitors through alpine forests and wet meadows, across an 80-foot boardwalk, and past abundant views of picturesque 13,000 foot snow-capped peaks surrounding the lake filled basin.

Volunteers ages 14 and up are welcome to participate. The work day will last from approximately 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Volunteers and sponsors will be provided a picnic lunch, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1:30 p.m.

Registration is required. For details, contact Jamie Grasso, Trail Projects Coordinator at Wildlands Restoration Volunteers at 303-543-1411 x2# or


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Rocky Mountain Conservancy Announces $3.6 Million Land Protection Campaign for RMNP

The Rocky Mountain Conservancy (Rocky Mountain National Park’s nonprofit partner) announced last month that it is spearheading a fundraising effort to acquire the largest remaining privately-held property within Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). The organization will raise $3.6 million to fund the purchase of this commercially-zoned parcel known as Cascade Cottages. The Trust for Public Land is also a partner in this effort to acquire the property for the park.

The current owners, honoring the wishes of their grandfather, offered to sell the property to Rocky Mountain National Park before placing it on the open market. The National Park Service has identified this acquisition as the park’s highest priority and the signature project of Rocky Mountain National Park’s centennial in 2015.

”Opportunities to make a significant difference to a park that’s been around a long time don’t come along every day. On the occasion of the park’s 100th anniversary we have a wonderful opportunity to acquire the largest remaining privately-held commercial property within the park boundary,” said Vaughn Baker, Park Superintendent.

The Rocky Mountain Conservancy is undertaking the acquisition of Cascade Cottages in partnership with the Trust for Public Land (TPL). TPL has a long, successful history of placing lands of high ecological or historic value into the public domain. TPL has negotiated a fair market price for the property with the landowners and has secured the purchase through an Option Agreement. TPL is prepared to buy and hold the property until the fundraising campaign is complete and the property can be conveyed to the National Park Service.

The purchase and acquisition cost is $3.6 million. Of this, the Conservancy has identified more than $500,000 from within its own resources to launch the campaign and leverage initial gifts. As of today, the organization has raised almost $1.5 million. It is expected that the campaign will have a two- to three-year horizon with the transfer to the park taking place in 2017.

Also assisting with this effort, the Larimer County Open Lands Program offered a challenge grant of $50,000 to the Estes Valley Land Trust (EVLT) and the Town of Estes Park to provide a collective donation of $100,000 to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy for the purchase of the property. EVLT and Estes Park both have readily agreed to match this amount.

About the Cascade Cottages Property:

Cascade Cottages is the last significant privately-held commercial operation within Rocky Mountain National Park. Situated within one mile of the Fall River entrance to the park, the property’s 40 acres is divided by Fall River Road, with roughly half the land on the north side of the road and half on the south. The north side is undeveloped and provides valuable habitat to a variety of wildlife, including the iconic bighorn sheep. The south side is developed with more than a dozen rustic cabins and multiple gravel lanes spread along a series of cascades in the Fall River. The cabins are currently rented during the summer, catering primarily to short-term vacationers.

The entire Cascade Cottages parcel is surrounded by land that is currently under the protection of RMNP and in a highly visible and well-traveled part of the park. Each year, the hundreds of thousands of visitors that enter or leave the park by way of the Fall River Entrance pass through the property. This stretch of Highway 34 is part of a designated All American Road (there are only two such roads in Colorado and only 20 All American Roads in the U.S.). Additionally, the popular Aspenglen Campground is nearby, just to the east of the parcel. Horseshoe Park, a favorite elk and bighorn sheep viewing area, is immediately around the next bend to the west. Fall River, which marks the property’s southernmost border after meandering its way through Horseshoe Park, offers trout fishing opportunities for anglers.

The Conservancy, with the support of its project partners, the community and its donors and members, is working hard to raise the $3.6 million needed to place this unique parcel within the public domain.

For information, to make a gift, or to become a member, please contact the Conservancy at 970-586-0108, or


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Carry Out Of Ill Park Visitor At The Loch In Rocky Mountain National Park

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on Monday, September 14, park staff were notified that a 20 year old male from Georgia was having a medical emergency at The Loch in Rocky Mountain National Park. He was unable to walk. Fortunately, a park ranger was in the area and reached the man in less than 20 minutes.

Other park rangers reached The Loch, located 3 miles from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, at approximately 3:30 p.m. and provided additional emergency care. The man was carried out on a wheeled litter. Twenty-five park search and rescue team members were in the field, including seventeen Alpine Hotshot crew members.

The team reached the Glacier Gorge Trailhead after 7:00 p.m. The patient left in a personal vehicle with a family member.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Hazardous Fuels Reduction Work Continues

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 are nearing completion of the 150 acre Eagle Cliff fuels reduction project and will start work on four more fuels reduction projects later this year. The upcoming projects include 40 acres in the Sprague Lake area, 40 acres around Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge parking, 210 acres in between Mills Creek and Glacier Creek, and up to 900 acres around the base of Deer Mountain.

Work will include removing dead trees, the lower limbs of remaining trees, ladder fuels, dead and down logs, and the removal of select trees adjacent to infrastructure. Resulting woody materials will be piled on site and burned in the following winters or may be used 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. Please do your part and complete wildfire mitigation on your property. For more information on Firewise standards visit


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Free Entrance to all National Parks on September 26th

All 397 national parks will offer free entrance on Saturday, September 27th for National Public Lands Day. The 21st annual event is offered to encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. You can visit for a list of parks and information to help plan your park adventure.

“National Public Lands Day reminds all of us of the vast and diverse nature of America’s open spaces, from small neighborhood parks to large national parks, and the importance of each one,” said former National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We are fortunate that more than 600 million acres of public land, including national parks, provide all of us with cherished places where we can go to unwind, recreate, or learn.”

Many people will lend a hand to help the land and spend part of National Public Lands Day volunteering on work projects. More than 175,000 people are expected to plant trees, clean watersheds, remove invasive plants, replace signs, and otherwise beautify 2,000 public sites throughout the country. Visit for more information.

Other Federal agencies offering free admittance on September 26th include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and the U.S. Forest Service.

If you do plan to visit Rocky Mountain on National Public Lands Day, or anytime this fall, be sure to visit the accommodation page on our hiking website to help with all your vacation planning.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Key Milestones in Hiking

Over the last several decades the sport of hiking has become increasingly more popular. According to the latest Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, 11.4% of all adults in the United States participated in hiking in 2013. But the burning question to a modern-day trekker such as myself, is when did people take to the trail for pleasure? Ever since our predecessors began walking on two feet humans have used bipedal mobility to hunt, explore, migrate to another territory, or trade goods with another community. At some point we as humans figured out that there doesn’t have to be a utilitarian reason for walking. We discovered that joy can be found by simply traipsing through the woods, seeing wildlife in their natural habitat, admiring the beauty of a wildflower, marveling at the roar of a waterfall, or soaking-in the awe-inspiring views from a mountain top. Is this a recent phenomenon, or was this something that humans always had a natural urging for? Here are a few of the key milestones in the history of hiking that’s led to its popularity today:

~3300 BCE: In 1991 two German tourists found the mummified remains of “Otzi, the Iceman” at roughly 10,530 feet in the Ötztal Alps along the Austrian–Italian border. Although scientists aren’t sure what this 5000-year-old man was doing at that high elevation, there are some that believe that Otzi may have been one of the first hikers or mountaineers.

125: The 2nd century Roman Emperor, Hadrian, hiked to the summit of Mt. Etna on Sicily to see the sunrise.

1778: Thomas West, an English priest, published A Guide to the Lakes, a detailed account of the scenery and landscape of the Lake District in northwestern England. The guide helped to popularize the idea of walking for pleasure and “to encourage the taste of visiting the lakes by furnishing the traveler with a Guide”.

1786: The beginning of modern mountaineering is marked by the first ascent of 15,771-foot Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in the Alps.

1799: Williams College (of Massachusetts) President Ebenezer Fitch and two others climb Mt. Greylock.

1819: Abel Crawford, and his son Ethan, blaze an 8.5-mile trail to the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. This path is the oldest continually used hiking trail in the United States.

1830: A crew of 100 students and professors from Williams College blaze the Hopper Trail to the summit of Mt. Greylock. Later that same year students would build a wooden tower atop the same mountain. The tower was maintained into the 1850s, and was used for sightseeing and scientific observations.

1854: The beginning of the systematic sport of modern mountaineering as we essentially know it today is marked by the ascent of the Wetterhorn in the Swiss Alps by Sir Alfred Wills. His book, Wanderings Among the High Alps, published two years later, helped make mountaineering fashionable in Britain, and ushered in the systematic exploration of the Alps by British mountaineers These events also marked the beginning of the so-called “golden age of alpinism”.

1857: The world's first mountaineering club, the Alpine Club, was founded in London.

1863: Professor Albert Hopkins of Williams College founds the Alpine Club of Williamstown, the first hiking club in America. The stated purpose of the organization was “to explore the interesting places in the vicinity, to become acquainted, to some extent at least, with the natural history of the localities, and also to improve the pedestrian powers of the members”

1867: John Muir begins a 1000-mile walk from Indiana to Florida, which he recounts in his book, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. The trek launched a lifetime career of hiking and wilderness advocacy. His conservation efforts, books and articles would help to establish several national parks during and after his lifetime.

1872: Yellowstone becomes the world’s first national park after legislation is signed by President U.S. Grant.

1876: The Appalachian Mountain Club, America’s oldest recreational organization, was founded to explore and protect the trails and mountains in the northeastern United States.

1876: Newtown, England entrepreneur Pryce Pryce-Jones designs the "Euklisia Rug", considered by many to be the forerunner of the modern sleeping bag. The rug included a wool blanket with a pocket at the top for a sewn-in, inflatable, rubber pillow. Once inside, the camper (or soldier) folded the blanket over and fastened it together, thus keeping themselves “snug in a rug”.

1879: One of the first hiking clubs in England, the 'Sunday Tramps', was founded by Leslie White. These early “rambling” (English for walking) clubs sprang up in the northern areas of England as part of a campaign for the legal "right to roam", a response to the fact that much of the land in England was privately owned.

1922: Lloyd F. Nelson submits his application to the U.S. Patent Office for his "Trapper Nelson's Indian Pack Board", which is acknowledged to be the first external-frame backpack. The "Trapper Nelson" featured a wooden "pack board" as its frame. On the frame was a canvas sack that contained the hiker's gear, which rested on the hiker's body by two canvas shoulder-straps. Prior to his invention hikers used a rucksack, which was essentially a loose sack with shoulder straps.

1930: The Green Mountain Club completes construction of the Long Trail, making it the first long-distance hiking trail in the United States.

1937: America's first “grand” trail, the Appalachian Trail, was completed in August of 1937. A forester by the name of Benton MacKaye conceived the idea in 1921.

1948: Earl Shaffer becomes the first person to thru-hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

1967: Climber Greg Lowe invents the internal frame backpack. The “Expedition Pack” also featured the first adjustable back system, first side compressors, first sternum strap and the first load stabilizers.

1969: Bob Gore accidentally stretches a solid polytetrafluoroethylene tape by almost 800%, which forms a microporous structure that was roughly 70% air. The discovery was introduced to the public under the trademark of "Gore-Tex", which became the first breathable, waterproof, and windproof fabric.

1992: Ray Jardine introduces the concept of ultralight backpacking with the release of his book, The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook. During his first PCT thru-hike Jardine’s pack weighed just 25 pounds. By his third it was less than 9 pounds. “Ray’s Way” of thinking has led to several innovations that have benefitted both backpackers and hikers.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

National Parks Featured In IMAX Movie & TV Series

Dozens of national parks will be featured in an upcoming IMAX 3D film that is scheduled to be released in early 2016.

On February 12, 2016, a new giant screen film, “National Parks Adventure”, will be released around the world, and will feature narration by Robert Redford.

Produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films along with Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, the film follows mountaineer Conrad Anker, his stepson Max Lowe, and family friend Rachel Pohl as they explore the beauty and natural wonders of parks like Rocky Mountain, Devils Tower, Katmai, Canyonlands, Everglades, Congaree, Redwood, Yellowstone, and more. Many national parks helped make this filming possible.

Produced as a tribute to the National Park Service’s Centennial, the film also journeys back to the early days of the parks, recreating John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt’s famous three-day camping trip in Yosemite.

The film is the centerpiece of Brand USA’s Great Outdoors campaign, which promotes America’s lands and waters to international visitors.

While shooting “National Parks Adventure”, MacGillivray Freeman also produced an eight-part TV series in collaboration with the Travel Channel called, “America. The Beautiful.” The series is also narrated by Robert Redford and features parks, national forests, state parks, and a variety of public lands and waters. The series began airing on the Travel Channel last month. The series will likely air again in February 2016 with the release of the IMAX film.

MacGillivray Freeman has been making large screen films for fifty years, with 38 films to date, including award winners such as “Everest,” “The Living Sea,” and “To Fly.” Their films frequently focus on the natural world, inspiring audiences to both explore and protect natural resources, and each film is accompanied by uniquely designed educational outreach programs that broaden the film-going experience for students.

Below is a short overview of the movie: