Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holiday Programs At Rocky Mountain National Park

The holiday season is a great time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition to beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing and a variety of winter recreational activities to do on your own, fun activities with park rangers are also offered. Rocky Mountain National Park has a calendar full of fun family activities for the holidays.

On the east side of the park:

Winter Wonderland! – December 19 - January 1 at 10:30 a.m. daily
You are invited to read with a ranger and create your own winter art. Hear stories about the wonders of the winter season and create something beautiful in our family art center. Meet at Fall River Visitor Center (located on Highway 34) for this 45 minute program (visitor center closed December 25).

Wild in Winter – December 26 - January 1 drop in from 10 to 11 a.m. daily.
Meet Rocky’s wildlife! Come to this 30-minute program at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center (located on Highway 36) for a hands-on experience. Discover how the park’s wildlife adapts to the winter season.

Snowshoe Ecology Walks – December 28, 29 and January 4, 7 at 12:30 p.m.
Join a ranger for a beginner- level snowshoe tour exploring the natural world of a subalpine forest. Participants will need to bring their own snowshoes which can be rented at local sporting goods stores. Reservations are required and can be made beginning 7 days in advance; call (970) 586-1223. Participants must be 8 years old and above.

On the west side of the park:

Ski the Wilderness – December 31 at 9:30 a.m.
Join a ranger for this 1.5 hour cross-country ski tour of the Kawuneeche Valley. Reservations are required, and can be made beginning December 24, call (970) 627-3471. Participants must bring own skis and poles and be 8 years old and above.

Snowshoe in the Kawuneeche – December 31 at 1:00 p.m.
Join a ranger for a beginner-level snowshoe tour. Bring your own snowshoes and poles. Reservations are required, and can be made beginning December 24; call (970) 627-3471. Participants must be 8 years old and above.

Intermediate Snowshoe Walk: January 1 at 1:00 p.m.
Join a ranger for a more rigorous tour with elevation gains up to 500 feet. This tour requires the ability to maintain a good pace over uneven terrain at high altitude. Bring your own snowshoes and poles. Reservations are required, and can be made beginning December 26; call (970) 627-3471. Participants must be 8 years old and above.

On both the east and west side of the park:

“Spirit of the Mountains” Film
See the stunning park film at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center (located on Highway 36 west of Estes Park) and the Kawuneeche Visitor Center (located on Highway 34 north of Grand Lake).

Programs continue through the winter. For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206, Monday through Saturday. All park visitor centers will be closed on December 25.

If you do plan to visit Rocky Mountain this winter, please note that our hiking website also offers a wide variety of accommodation listings and other things to do to help with all your trip planning.


January Winter Fest at Mesa Verde - Moonlight Snowshoe and Ski

Mesa Verde invites you to join us Friday, January 6, 2017 for a special moonlight event! The Morefield Campground winter trails will be open from 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. This event is free and open to all ages.

Bring your skis or snowshoes and enjoy the trails by moonlight! Please be sure to dress for the cold, bring appropriate outdoor gear, and a headlamp or flashlight. Snowshoes will be available to checkout. Follow the glow sticks to find complementary hot beverages and the campfire. Rangers will also have telescope viewing (conditions permitting), and storytelling.

Morefield Campground is located four miles past the park entrance, on the right hand side. Parking will be at the Morefield Store. This event is subject to cancellation due to bad weather. Updates will be provided as needed on the park's Facebook page at


Sunday, December 18, 2016

U.S. Senate Unanimously Passes the National Park Service Centennial Act

Championed by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the U.S. Senate passed the National Park Service Centennial Act, which will expand the Centennial Challenge, a public-private funding partnership, establish and fund a national parks endowment, and provide additional opportunities for young people and volunteers to serve in and learn from our parks. The act passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week.

In a prepared statement on their website, Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association, said that “Our national parks safeguard our most significant places but face funding levels that are not adequate. Our park superintendents face tough decisions for distributing resources to maintain trails or repair historic buildings and are forced to cut youth education programs. Passage of this bill will help by advancing smart, effective initiatives that fund maintenance needs in our parks and enrich visitors’ experiences.”

The National Park Service Centennial Act (H.R. 4680) will help address some of the $12 billion in needed repairs to park infrastructure, such as unmaintained trails and deteriorating buildings and structures that help tell America’s story but are in danger of falling apart. These delayed repairs hamper visitor access and enjoyment just when parks are experiencing record-breaking attendance as they celebrate their centennial year. The legislation would also help fund educational programs to better connect younger Americans to parks.

Funding for these national park needs would come in part from formally establishing and providing dedicated funding for the Centennial Challenge, a proven and successful public-private partnership that leverages federal funds with private dollars for visitor-oriented projects in our national parks. Another important funding component is the establishment of an endowment to provide a path toward the long-term fiscal health of our national parks.

There is a successful track record for leveraging private dollars when Congress commits to a federal match. Over the last two years, a federal investment of $25 million from appropriated dollars cultivated twice that amount in private donations. This money was used for such projects as improving visitor walkways in Yellowstone and making critical repairs to the Old State House in Boston.

Other policy provisions provide clear authority to the National Park Service for better interpretation and education programs, offer additional opportunities for young people and veterans by expanding the Public Land Corps, and allow for extra funding support for volunteer programs.

Pierno also said that “One initiative is the Centennial Challenge Fund, a proven public-private partnership that uses federal funding to leverage private dollars for our national parks. Also, the bill establishes an endowment to build long-term funding support for our parks as they start their next 100 years. As the Park Service concludes its centennial year, there has never been a better time for Congress to help restore America’s national treasures. We hope the new administration and the next Congress continue this progress of better funding our national parks and directly addressing its $12 billion infrastructure repair backlog.”


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Take a First Day Hike at a Colorado State Park on New Year's Day

This January 1st, Colorado Parks and Wildlife invites Coloradans to welcome 2017 by heading outside to a Colorado State Park. First Day Hikes are guided activities that offer a chance to start the new year right by getting people out for some exercise in nature. For the new year, 27 state parks are participating by hosting an organized hike on New Years Day.

“Getting outside is the best way to bring in a new year and Colorado state parks showcase all the best things about the outdoors,” said Crystal Dreiling, park manager at Trinidad Lake State Park, one of the participating parks. “We are thrilled to have the largest number of state parks hosting First Day Hikes in 2017 since we first started the program in 2012.”

Many parks are also offering refreshments and free giveaways for this event, such as mugs and pens, thanks to a grant provided by the Colorado Parks Foundation.

The hikes ​​are free but park visitors must possess a valid parks pass to participate. The daily pass for entry to most parks costs $7 per vehicle; annual passes are available for $70.

All First Day Hikes, which will be led by park rangers or volunteers, will vary in ability levels and length. Pets are welcome at many parks but visitors should first check the individual park’s website. Bring snacks and water, dress in layers and be prepared for winter hiking in snow or on icy trails. If there is snow, consider bringing snowshoes. For more detailed information and a list of parks participating in First Day Hikes, visit the CPW website.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Rocky Mountain National Park Announces 2017 Winter Pile Burning Operations

Fire managers from Rocky Mountain National Park plan to take advantage of any upcoming wet or winter weather conditions to burn piles of slash generated from several fuels reduction projects and hazard tree removals. Slash from these projects has been cut and piled by park fire crews and contractors during the last two years and are now dry enough to burn.

When fighting the Fern Lake Fire in 2012, firefighters were able to take advantage of previous and existing prescribed fire and hazardous fuels treatment areas that provided a buffer between the fire and Estes Park. Prior hazard fuels projects were instrumental in stopping the fire from jumping Bear Lake Road.

Pile burning operations will only begin when conditions allow. They may begin as early as January and continue through April as conditions permit. The piles are located in a variety of locations on the east side of the park including west of Deer Mountain, around Eagle Cliff Mountain, along upper Fall River Road, near the Mill Creek Ranger Station off of Bear Lake Road, and west of Beaver Meadows Entrance.

The fuels reduction projects are designed to reduce significant accumulations of forest fuels that can generate extreme or problematic fire behavior adjacent to urban interface. By reducing the potential fire behavior the wildland fire risk to firefighters and the public is significantly reduced. However, these projects are not designed as a stand-alone defense against wildfires nor are they guaranteed to hold a wildfire in the worst of conditions. Please do your part and complete wildfire mitigation on your property. To learn more about wildfire mitigation around your home visit

Safety factors, weather conditions, air quality and other environmental regulations are continually monitored as a part of any fire management operation. Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information see


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Purchase An Annual Park Pass Before It Increases - Great Holiday Gift That Gives In Many Ways

Looking for a unique gift idea for the holidays? A Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass is a great gift for that person who enjoys visiting the park or would like to visit more often.

A Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass is a gift that gives in many ways. Your recipient will be able to enjoy all the beauty and adventure the park has to offer during all seasons and Rocky Mountain National Park benefits greatly from the purchase as well. From enjoying breathtaking scenery to hiking, viewing wildlife and wildflowers to snowshoeing, the park has something to offer everyone, depending on their interests and what season they visit.

In the past 20 years, over $68 million from fees has supported a wide range of projects at Rocky that improve 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.

The annual park pass will increase from $50 to $60 on January 1, 2017. It can be purchased at any Rocky Mountain National Park entrance station, or online up until December 30 at:


Monday, December 5, 2016

Rocky Mountain To Host Job Information Session

Rocky Mountain National Park will be hosting a Job Information Session on Tuesday, December 13, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. Come learn about the job application process for Rocky Mountain National Park and how to apply online for specific jobs at the park. Information will also be available regarding park volunteer opportunities as well as fellowship positions with Rocky Mountain Conservancy.

Beginning December 13, through December 19, the park is accepting online applications for work in campgrounds and entrance stations for this summer. In the upcoming months, online applications will be accepted for custodial worker, park guides, and general maintenance workers. All job announcements for Rocky Mountain National Park are posted on


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Canyon Lakes Winter 2016-2017 Pile Burning Plans

Firefighters from the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland plans to take advantage of changing weather conditions to burn slash piles left from multiple fuels reductions and hazardous tree removal projects.

These piles are only ignited under certain conditions, including favorable smoke dispersal and adequate snow cover. The areas are monitored after burning is completed. Firefighters will spend the upcoming months burning piles in two primary locations. When and where burning occurs depends on the conditions listed above. Public and firefighter safety is always the number one priority in burning operations.

Last year, more than 13,000 slash piles were burned on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District with over 200 of these being larger machine piles. After such a successful burning season last year, there are an estimated 5,000 combined hand and machine piles reading to burn on the district. Typically crews are allowed to burn as many as 250 to 1,000 smaller hand piles a day at each location if conditions are met, which includes a minimum of three inches of snow cover. Typically, one to 40 larger machine piles could be burned at each location a day with a minimum of six inches of snow cover.

Area on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District with hand piles ready for burning are:

* Magic Sky (located southeast of Red Feather Lakes between County Roads 74E and 98C)

Areas with machine piles ready for burning are:

* Magic Sky (located southeast of Red Feather Lakes between County Roads 74E and 98C)
* Crown Point (located south of Rustic on Forest Road 139 near Salt Cabin Park)


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Brand New CMC Book: Colorado 14er Disasters

The Colorado Mountain Club has recently published a new book detailing some of the climbing disasters that have taken place along some of the 14K foot peaks in Colorado. The following is a summary review from the Amazon page (I must confess that I haven't read this yet, but it's at the top of my Christmas wish list!):

"The drive to summit all of the 14,000-foot peaks in the state of Colorado rages on like a growing wildfire. Summiting a Colorado 14er is an incredibly popular activity, but the ominous potential of a mountaineering accident casts its dark shadow on what is otherwise a positive experience for hikers and mountaineers. This book explores the disturbingly easy ways that hikers become stranded, severely injured, or killed on the 14ers. When those accidents happen, the victim is far from help and in an environment where rescue is difficult at best. Colorado 14er Disasters, 2nd Edition is an unflinching exploration of these hair-raising events and rescue attempts, and describes mountaineering accidents as no book has ever done previously. This in turn gives any mountaineer helpful information for avoiding such disasters."

The new book is available at


Monday, November 21, 2016

Colorado State Parks are Free on Black Friday for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s #FreshAirFriday

Entry to all 42 Colorado state parks is free on Nov. 25 for a new Colorado Parks and Wildlife tradition called #FreshAirFriday. Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers this opportunity to those who have signed the pledge to head outside on the day after Thanksgiving. More than 50 retailers in Colorado and nationwide are closing their doors on Black Friday and multiple states are urging people to go outside instead of joining the rush inside to shop this year.

“It is a long-time Colorado tradition to get outside,” said CPW Director Bob Broscheid. “This Black Friday we invite you to start a new family tradition of enjoying the Colorado state parks together for free if you aren’t shopping.”

Great Outdoors Colorado is covering all costs for access to the state parks on Friday.

“On behalf of the GOCO board, I’m pleased to announce GOCO will fund CPW’s #FreshAirFriday for a second year. We happily join our partners at CPW, and many other forward-thinking organizations, in this movement to change how we all spend our time on Black Friday,” said Jason Brinkley, chairman of the GOCO board of trustees. “We hope droves of Colorado kids and their families take advantage of this opportunity to make visiting our incredible state parks part of their holiday traditions. We’ll see you out there!”

CPW offers family-friendly activities, fun-filled adventures and opportunities to learn and try new things at state parks. ​​Check out the Park Finder ​​map or the events calendar on the CPW website. Plus, ideas for ice fishing, skiing and snowshoeing, sledding and skating, snowmobiling, hiking, lodging and wildlife viewing can all be found on CPW’s winter activities ​page. Please note that activity fees may apply.

Learn more about #FreshAirFriday and watch the video here.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Trail Ridge Road Closed To Through Travel For The Season

Today, Friday, November 18, 2016, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park officially closed for the season to through travel. The most popular destinations for this time of year including Bear Lake Road, Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park and the section of Trail Ridge Road along the Kawuneeche Valley are all open. These are all great areas for hiking and wildlife watching.

Trail Ridge Road, one of the most impressive alpine highways in the United States, is the highest continuous paved road in America and reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet. The road connects the park’s communities of Estes Park on the east and Grand Lake on the west. Trail Ridge Road is not designed to be an all season road with 11 miles above 11,500 feet and few guard rails and no shoulder. There are winter conditions of drifting snow, high winds and below freezing temperatures above 10,000 feet. The road is currently closed at Colorado River Trailhead on the west side and Many Parks Curve on the east side.

According to superintendent Darla Sidles, “The mild weather this fall has given us a rare opportunity to enjoy Trail Ridge Road this late in the season. During this most recent storm we have received an accumulation of snow accompanied by high winds and freezing temperatures. Driving conditions are extremely hazardous at higher elevations. With the extended forecast of winds and below freezing temperatures, snow clearing operations become futile above 10,000 feet. During the winter season, weather permitting, we will keep Trail Ridge Road open to Many Parks Curve on the east side of the park and to the Colorado River Trailhead on the west side of the park.”

The latest Trail Ridge Road has closed was on December 2, 1933. The average winter closure dates for Trail Ridge Road have been October 23. Although often times the road closes earlier and does not reopen, the previous ten year’s official closure dates are: October 29, 2015, November 4, 2014, October 22, 2013, October 17, 2012, October 27, 2011, October 29, 2010, October 21, 2009, November 6, 2008, October 22, 2007, October 23, 2006. The central portion of Trail Ridge Road normally opens the last week in May, weather permitting. This year Trail Ridge Road opened on May 28.

Old Fall River Road closed for the season on October 3. Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road will remain open to bicycles and leashed pets until December 1, re-opening on April 1, except during road maintenance operations and emergency closures as posted. Cyclists and pet owners may utilize the road at their own risk. On December 1, both of these roads will revert to "winter trail status" which means that bicycles and leashed pets are not permitted beyond the closed gates.

For current road conditions and other park information, please visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Funding the Future of Colorado’s State Parks​​​​

With more people visiting and moving to the state each year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has seen a significant increase in visitation to all 42 state parks, a trend expected to continue into the future. To provide the public with information about the challenges and discuss options for addressing them, CPW will hold a public meeting at The Lake House at Cherry Creek State Park, Monday, Nov. 28, 6 to 8 p.m.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife relies on park entrance fees, camping fees, lottery and GOCO to support 42 state parks. Over 12 million people visit the parks each year, contributing $1 billion to Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy.

"Because our parks are an important part of the state's economy and we anticipate a significant increase in visitation coming in the years to come, we need to begin a discussion now," said Northeast Deputy Regional Manager Windi Padia. "We have an excellent product to offer and we welcome more visitation, but with more people enjoying our parks comes additional strain to this resource. We invite the public to provide input and help us find effective solutions."

Among the needs CPW says will become necessary to meet public demands include: road improvements, infrastructure, additional facilities and possibly more staffing.

"When you consider the demands of a modern camper, including heating, cooling and electronics, it places a significant demand on our aging infrastructure systems," adds Padia. "We've seen utility bills go up 70 percent in the last 10 years at some parks. We all need to be ready for a busy future at our state parks."

Who: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

What: Public discussion about the challenges of increasing park visitation

When: Monday, Nov. 28, 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: The Lake House at Cherry Creek State Park, 4800 S. Dayton St., Englewood


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

National Park Service Announces 10 Fee Free Days for 2017

Combine great scenery and history with great savings and visit a national park for free on one of 10 fee free days in 2017. The ten entrance fee-free days for 2017 will be:

• January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
• February 20: Presidents Day
• April 15-16 & April 22-23: National Park Week Weekends
• August 25: National Park Service Birthday
• September 30: National Public Lands Day
• November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend

“National parks are known for their priceless beauty,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “They are a bargain anytime but on these ten days in 2017, they really will be priceless. We want everyone to visit their national parks and the fee free days provide extra incentive to experience these amazing places.”

During the fee free days, all National Park Service sites will waive their entrance fees for all visitors. Usually, 124 of the 413 national parks charge entrance fees that range from $3 to $30. The other 289 sites do not have entrance fees. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for things such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

To continue the national park adventure beyond these fee free days, the annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks,. There are also free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current military members, fourth grade students, and disabled citizens.

The National Park System includes more than 84 million acres and is comprised of 413 sites including national parks, national historical parks, national monuments, national recreation areas, national battlefields, and national seashores. There is at least one national park in every state.

Last year, 307 million people visited a national park. They spent $16.9 billion which supported 295,000 jobs and had a $32 billion impact on the U.S. economy.

In addition to national parks, the National Park Service works with tribes, local governments, and partners across the country to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Programs such as the National Register of Historic Places, National Heritage Areas, National Wild and Scenic Rivers, and the Rivers, Trails, Conservation Assistance Program revitalize communities, celebrate local heritage, and provide places for people to get outside, be active, and have fun.

The fee free days gives hikers the chance to visit several of the crown jewels in our national park system, including Rocky Mountain, Glacier, or Grand Teton National Park. Of course the Great Smoky Mountains, the most visited national park, never charges a fee.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Colorado National Monument To Increase Fees

Colorado National Monument has received approval to implement proposed entrance fee increases beginning January 1, 2017. In order to lessen the impact of the fee increases, the park has chosen to phase some of the changes in over two years.

The monument received 62 responses during the open comment period for the proposed fee increases; slightly more than half were in favor of the changes. While supportive, many respondents were disappointed that proposed increases doubled and in one case tripled the fees. This led local management to a phased approach to the increases.

“We were encouraged by the thoughtful and well considered responses to the proposals,” said Superintendent Ken Mabery. “It is important that we balance the need for additional funding to support park visitors while ensuring that our site remains affordable and accessible to everyone.”

Federal law requires that recreational fees charged on public lands be used for direct visitor benefits. In recent years, projects funded by recreational fees have included paving Rim Rock Drive through the tunnels on the west hill, accessibility of the Alcove Nature Trail, and a new vault toilet facility at Upper Liberty Cap Trailhead. Current projects include trail work on Old Gordon Trail and a resource survey of the White Rocks Area.

The park plans to use the additional revenue from increased fees for upgrading campground restrooms, rehabilitating Liberty Cap Trail and replacing the outdated Visitor Center film as well as a number of smaller projects.

Entrances fees are not charged to persons under 16 years of age or to holders of Access, Military and 4th Grade passes. Prices for the Interagency Annual ($80) and Senior ($10) Passes will not change and those passes will still be available for purchase at the park. Camping fees were not changed and remain $20 per night. Commercial fees are set at a national level and were not changed. It is expected that the National Park Service will continue to offer fee free days periodically during 2017.

The following outlines the approved fee schedule for Colorado National Monument:

Current Fees / 2017 Fees / 2019 Fees

Private Vehicle: $10.00 / $15.00 / $20.00

Annual Park Pass: $25.00 / $40.00 / $40.00


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NPS Commemorates Veterans Day with Free Admission on November 11th

In honor of Veterans Day, many national parks across the country are hosting special events, displays, and ceremonies to commemorate the service and sacrifice of the U.S. Armed Forces. The National Park Service will waive entrance fees on November 11th.

“It’s a special responsibility to be the stewards of the memorials, battlefields, and historic sites that tell the story of the honor, courage, and sacrifice of our veterans,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “All 413 of our parks nationwide offer the chance to reflect on what our veterans fought to protect, and may also provide opportunities for veterans and their families to find peace and healing.”

National parks and other public lands can be used to facilitate healing and reflection, physical and mental challenges, and rest and recuperation for veterans, active duty service members, and their families. Rivers of Recovery, one of the nonprofit organizations that uses national parks for this purpose, partnered with Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway to create the “Vets on the River” program, which offers multi-day trips on the park’s rivers to combat veterans suffering from physical or psychological injuries.

“Vets on the River is an amazing program that provides a great opportunity for veterans suffering from PTSD, an opportunity to gain another support group,” said Rob Boss, a participant who shared his experience in a video. “Just being with nature and being outdoors, being on the relaxing river, it allows us to open up with each other, which we so need.”

The National Park Service cares for many sites across the country related to the military experience, including more than 25 battlefields, 14 national cemeteries, and hundreds of memorials and monuments. Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, Manhattan Project National Historical Park, and other historic sites tell greater story of contributions, sacrifice, and consequences of conflict off the battlefield.

Active duty military members and their dependents can pick up a free military annual pass at any national park that usually charges a fee. A free lifetime pass is also available to disabled veterans. These passes provide free entrance to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other federal recreational areas. More information about the passes can be found at


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Public Input Requested On Alternatives For Exotic Plant Management In Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is considering alternatives for the management of invasive exotic plants in the park. Invasive exotic plants are capable of spreading rapidly, outcompeting native plants, and drastically altering ecosystem conditions and processes, even in pristine wilderness areas. The number of invasive exotic plant species in the park is growing, as are their distribution and acreage. This is occurring despite efforts of the park to control these occurrences.

The park is currently managing exotic invasive plant infestations in accordance with the 2003 Invasive Exotic Plant Management Plan and Environmental Assessment. While the 2003 plan provides a mechanism for addressing some exotic invasive plant infestations within the park, it does not allow managers the flexibility to deal with new species infestations, prevents the eradication of some treated species, and does not contain a structured framework to incorporate new science and information into the decision-making and management process.

The park proposes a framework to manage exotic plant species in the park to protect and restore native species, ecosystems, cultural resources, and the visitor experience.

The park is considering several options for managing invasive exotic plants:

Proposed Action – Adaptive Integrated Pest Management

The proposed action is the initial National Park Service proposal to address the purpose and need for taking action.

The park would develop a decision-making framework, which would incorporate the best available science, expert knowledge, site assessments, and monitoring, to determine the extent of exotic species infestations, determine if management is necessary, prioritize management, and determine the most effective management methods.

No Action

The no action alternative is to continue with current management of exotic plant species in the park.

Invasive exotic plants would continue to be managed using the provisions of the 2003 plan. No additional species would be managed, even if they are, or become, a threat to park resources.

Additional Options Considered

Modifying the 2003 plan was considered, but the park is not likely to move forward with this option because it would not allow the park to address exotic plant infestations as effectively as the proposed action.

An environmental assessment will be prepared to provide a decision-making framework that analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives, evaluates issues and impacts on park resources and values, and identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.

Park staff encourage public participation throughout the planning process. There will be two opportunities to comment formally on the project – one during initial project scoping and again following release of the environmental assessment. The park will host three public meetings regarding the proposed project, as follows:

Monday, November 7
Grand Lake Fire Protection District Building
201 W. Portal Road
Grand Lake, CO
5:30-7:00 PM

Monday, November 14
Estes Park Town Hall Board Room
170 MacGregor Avenue
Estes Park, CO
5:30-7:00 PM

Thursday, November 17
Boulder Public Library (Boulder Room)
1001 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO
5:30-7:00 PM

There will be a short presentation at 5:45 p.m., and park staff will be available to answer questions until 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to visit the locations listed above at any point during the scheduled time to review materials and provide written comments.

Comments received during the scoping period will be used to help define the issues and concerns to be addressed in the environmental assessment, while also assisting with analyzing the different alternatives.

Comments must be received in writing by close of business on December 1, 2016. Comments can be submitted at the public open house described above or online by visiting:; look for “Exotic Plant Management Plan EA.”

Comments may also be sent to the following mailing address:

Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, CO 80517

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.

If you have questions about the project or would like more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Free Entrance at Colorado National Monument

To honor veterans who have served our country, Colorado National Monument will offer free entrance to all visitors on November 11, 2016.

“Colorado National Monument is a place where our military members and their families can find enjoyment, inspiration and when needed, solace” said Superintendent Ken Mabery. “We provide free entrance on Veterans Day to encourage all Americans to remember those who have served and to enjoy this beautiful area their service protects.”

The National Park Service (NPS) is waiving entrance fees at all sites on Veterans Day. To learn more about the many NPS sites commemorating America's military conflicts and honoring those who served, please visit

Fall hours are now in effect at Colorado National Monument. The visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

For additional information please visit or call 970-858-3617, ext. 360. For detailed information on hiking the Monument Canyon Trail, please click here.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Recruiting Cameron Pass Nordic Rangers for 2016/2017 Season

The Canyon Lakes Ranger District is seeking volunteers to ski or snowshoe this winter in the busy Cameron Pass area, where 32 miles of trail can see over 300 visitors a day on a winter weekend. Last year 93 amazing volunteers contributed 3,000 hours to this fun winter volunteer opportunity.

This popular winter recreation area includes trails that border Highway 14 between Chambers Lake and Cameron Pass in the Roosevelt National Forest. The area receives enough snow to ski before many other areas and snow often remains after other areas have lost their snow cover. For this reason, the number of winter recreationists at Cameron Pass continues to grow annually.

Volunteers ski or snowshoe “with a purpose,” helping the Forest Service educate winter visitors and provide winter use statistics. To volunteer, participants take part in a minimum of four days patrolling and attend Forest Service-provided training. The kick-off meeting is Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at 2150 Centre Ave., Building E, in Fort Collins. The required classroom training is Dec. 1, 6-9 p.m. and the required field training is Dec. 3 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Volunteers can sign up for the two required trainings at the kick off. For more information or to RSVP, call Kristy Wumkes at 970-295-6721 or email

Along with a general introduction to the program, the kick-off also introduces potential new members to many of our partner-organizations, such as Jax Outdoor Gear and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and to some of the returning Nordic rangers.

The Cameron Pass Nordic Ranger program began in 1992. Volunteers provide safety, trail, and low-impact backcountry use information to winter enthusiasts; help maintain trails and trailheads; and gather visitor use information to aid in Forest Service planning. Some of the Nordic rangers work as a winter trail crew to help keep the trails cleared of downed trees and limbs, install signs, and shovel paths to the restrooms.

Many of the trails are in the Rawah and Neota Wilderness areas, where routes can be challenging. Backcountry skiing also includes risks inherent with winter conditions, including extreme cold. These are some key reasons why our volunteers are so valuable, especially to those with little winter sports experience.


Thursday, October 20, 2016 Adds Several New Hikes

A few weeks ago Kathy and I had the opportunity to do a little hiking during our visit to Colorado. In addition to some spectacular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, we also did a few hikes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, which is located directly south of the national park. As a result of this trip we have added eight new hikes to our website. Here's a quick rundown of the new hikes:

Baker Pass-Parika Lake Loop - this hike travels into the heart of the Never Summer Mountains, located just west of Rocky Mountain National Park. Although the hike begins along Trail Ridge Road in RMNP, this area sees relatively few visitors. This is a big mistake for those who seek awesome scenery, as the trail visits some absolutely beautiful spots, including Baker Pass and Parika Lake.

Sandbeach Lake - is a fairly large subalpine lake, with a broad sand beach area, perfect for those looking to go home with a Rocky Mountain tan. At the lake hikers will have an absolutely spectacular view of 13,911-foot Mt. Meeker - the 2nd highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Ouzel Lake - is a great option if you don't have the energy to go all the way to Bluebird Lake in the Wild Basin area of RMNP. In addition to a very scenic lake framed by high peaks, the hike offers several other attractions, including four waterfalls.

Pawnee Pass - just south of Rocky Mountain National Park is the spectacular Indian Peaks Wilderness. Although there are many trails that lead into the wilderness, Pawnee Pass is arguably one of the best hikes. Along the way to the 12,541-foot pass, which offers spectacular alpine and tundra scenery, hikers will have the chance to visit Long Lake and Lake Isabelle.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Browns Canyon National Monument hosts listening sessions

The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife invite you to share your views about Browns Canyon National Monument at several upcoming listening sessions. The two-hour listening sessions are designed to increase understanding of how people interact with the monument, what is meaningful about it and the role it plays in the way people live, work and play.

“The input you provide will help us garner a better understanding of the monument as part of the larger landscape in this area, as well as the communities it serves,” said Melissa Garcia, Browns Canyon National Monument Manager. “Hearing from the public will also assist in developing a lasting framework for understanding land use and making resource management decisions at the monument.”

Members of the public are encouraged to show up at the beginning of the meetings at the following dates and times, at the following locations:

• Oct. 27 Denver, REI, 1416 Platte St., 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
• Oct. 27 Colorado Springs, Colorado Parks and Wildlife office, 4255 Sinton Rd., 4 p.m.
• Oct. 29 Salida, SteamPlant Event Center, 220 W Sackett Ave., 10 a.m.
• Oct. 29 Canon City, Abbey Event Center, 2951 US-50, 2:30 p.m.
• Nov. 15 Buena Vista, Buena Vista School District Boardroom, 113 North Ct., 6 p.m.

You can learn more about the Browns Canyon National Monument planning efforts here:

For centuries, the granite cliffs, colorful rock outcroppings and stunning mountain vistas of Browns Canyon National Monument have attracted visitors from around the world. The area’s unusual geology and roughly 3,000-foot range in elevation support a diversity of life. The Bureau of land Management and the U.S. Forest Service jointly manage the monument. Colorado Parks and Wildlife, through the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, manages river-based recreation on the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Rescue Operation On Longs Peak In Rocky Mountain National Park

Three men from the Glen Haven and Estes Park areas, Alan Smith (42), Elijah Holmes and Austin Holmes, both in their early 20s (not related), spent an unexpected night on Kieners Route on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park the other night. Family members notified park rangers on Monday night, but at that time they were not asking for assistance.

Yesterday morning, park rangers were in contact via text with the three men. At that time, they indicated they did not want assistance. However, because the men were unprepared to have spent the night out, rangers initiated a search and rescue mission. Rangers departed the Longs Peak Trailhead at 9:25 a.m., summited Longs Peak, and reached the men at 2:50 p.m.

The three men were uninjured, but were cold, dehydrated, tired and unable to ascend to the top of Kieners Route. Rangers provided food, fluids and helped warm the men. Park rangers performed a technical rescue to get the three men off the Kieners Route and then another one to get them down the lower section of the North Face on Longs Peak, reaching the Boulder Field at 7:15 p.m. As of yesterday afternoon rangers were walking with the men down the Longs Peak Trail. They were expected to reach the trailhead before midnight.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fatality On The Narrows Section On Longs Peak

A 61 year old man from Greeley, Colorado died yesterday, Saturday, October 1, on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. He fell approximately 100 to 150 feet, apparently slipping on ice, along The Narrows section on the Keyhole Route. Park rangers were notified of the incident around 10 a.m. via cell phone by visitors who were in the area when the fall occurred.

Park rangers were flown to the summit of Longs Peak via helicopter and reached the man's body at approximately 4 p.m. His body was recovered by a long line helicopter operation at 5:40 p.m. and transferred to the Boulder County Coroner's Office. His name will be released after next of kin have been notified.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Hazardous Fuels Reduction Work Continues In Rocky Mountain National Park This Winter

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 have completed 75 acres of cutting and stacking on the Mill Creek to Glacier Creek Fuels Reduction Project this summer. These piles are scheduled to be burned this winter as conditions allow. Work will continue on this project through the fall and into next summer with an additional 123 acres remaining to be completed on this project. Last fall, 229 acres of cutting and stacking was completed on the Deer Mountain Fuels Reduction Project near Deer Junction. These piles are also scheduled to be burned this winter as conditions allow.

An additional 368 acres along the park boundary north and east of Deer Mountain are scheduled to be cut and stacked starting this fall and completed next summer. Other upcoming manual fuels reduction projects include; 40 acres in the Sprague Lake area, and 40 acres around Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge parking.

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. Please do your part and complete wildfire mitigation on your property. For more information on Firewise standards visit


Monday, September 26, 2016 Adds Several New Hikes

Earlier this summer Kathy and I had the opportunity to do a little hiking during our visit to Wyoming. In addition to some hiking in Grand Teton National Park, we also did a few hikes atop Teton Pass. Prior to our visit to the Grand Tetons we also did some hiking in the Bighorn Mountains. As a result of this trip we have added seven new hikes to our newest hiking website, Here's a quick rundown of the new hikes from the Teton Pass area:

Mount Glory - is the southern-most peak in the Teton Range, and rises just north of Teton Pass. Without a doubt, it is the toughest one mile I've ever hiked. It's only one mile to the summit, but it's also a whopping 1655 feet of climbing (and suffering) to reach the top. Fortunately you'll be well rewarded with stunning panoramic views at the summit.

Coal Creek Meadows - out of the three trails we hiked near Teton Pass this was by far my favorite. The upper portions of Coal Creek Meadows are very beautiful. Moreover, we continued on for another half-mile beyond the typical stopping point, and made the short climb up to Coal-Mesquite Divide where we enjoyed outstanding views of the southern Teton Range, as well as Grand Teton itself in the far-off distance.

Black Canyon Overlook - this hike also begins from the top of Teton Pass, but travels south from the highway. This trail offers a plethora of wildflowers, as well as great views of Jackson Hole, Black Canyon and the Snake River Range.

All three hikes offer a degree of solitude when the summer crowds invade all of the popular trails in Grand Teton National Park.

As mentioned above, we also had a chance to do a little hiking in the Bighorn Mountains. We were able to add four hikes from this region, including Sherd Lake, Rainy Lake, Otter Lake and the Cloud Peak Wilderness Overlook. All four destinations pass through the Cloud Peak Wilderness in the Bighorn National Forest.

Designated by Congress in 1984, the Cloud Peak Wilderness protects more than 189,000 acres, including the highest peaks in the Bighorn National Forest: 13,167-foot Cloud Peak and 13,005-foot Black Tooth Mountain. The Bighorn National Forest is one of the oldest federally-protected forest lands in the United States. It provides habitat for elk, moose, mule deer, pronghorn, black bear and mountain lion, has over 1500 miles of trails, and protects more than 1.1 million acres.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

CDOT: US 34 Outdoor Recreation During Construction Operations

Reconstruction of the U.S. 34 Big Thompson Canyon will require major rock blasting operations this fall and winter. CDOT realizes that this area is very popular for multiple recreational activities, as well as providing a travel corridor to Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding US Forest Service lands, but please remember that although this first phase of work does not include river work, for the next few years this area will be an active construction zone. Because of this, we are asking outdoor enthusiasts to take extra safety precautions. Please be advised that starting in mid-October 2016, the lower canyon stretch of US 34 will be closed to through public travel (mile points 76 - 80). Below we have outlined some safety reminders to help you navigate through construction while still enjoying your normal recreational activities in the canyon.

Prior to rock blasts, a loud horn will sound and it is strongly advised to stay out of this section of the canyon (mile points 76 - 80 - east of Drake).

Round Mountain Nature Trail, located near Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park west of Loveland, has already closed for the remainder of the year to allow for demolition and road construction work by CDOT occurring near the trail. The other trail that leads to the summit of Round Mountain, accessible from the same trailhead, will be closed beginning Oct. 17.

Because of significant road closures in the lower canyon, hikers wishing to access trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, or the surrounding forest lands, should plan on traveling to the Estes Park area via US 36 or Colorado Highway 7 from the Town of Lyons.

Because of road closures, heavy construction and blasting,the lower Big Thompson Canyon from Waltonia downstream should be avoided. Crews will sweep the river for recreationists prior to blasting, however, it is the responsibility of the user to stay out of the work areas.

Deer and Elk Hunters
Due to heavy blasting in the lower canyon, please refrain from hunting in portions of the Big Thompson US Highway 34 between Larimer County Road 29 (Carter Lake Road) and Larimer County Road 43 (the North Fork Road) in Game Management Unit 20. Road closures in this area will preclude public access including the Round Mountain Trailhead, making it difficult to travel in this area.

If you are hunting in this area, please make sure to sign up for project updates ( so that you know when the rock blasts will occur and listen for the loud horn. Hunters are strongly advised to avoid the area.

Travel restrictions and blasting near the stream sections of the Big Thompson Canyon at and below Drake, Colorado will make fishing in the lower canyon difficult and, and potentially unproductive due to all of the surrounding construction activity, therefore fishing between Larimer County Road 29 and the Waltonia bridge is being discouraged. Work within the river is not included in the first phase of work and fish will not be disturbed, however heavy traffic and blasting within the canyon does not create the serene mountain fishing experience that other areas may offer.

The upper Big Thompson River from Waltonia upstream to the Olympus Dam is largely intact and the fishing is equal to pre-flood conditions. We strongly suggest that anglers wanting to fish the Big Thompson do so in the upper section. Because of road closures in the lower canyon, access to the upper river is best from Estes Park downstream.

Because of the different construction areas and canyon closures, access to off-roading areas is not advised via the lower Big Thompson Canyon during construction. Multiple blasts a day are possible, and vehicles within the work area are at risk for rock damage. Access to the Storm Mountain area is available by Larimer County Road 43 from Estes Park.

Please be advised construction activities will be ongoing in the canyon over the next several years, with intense blasting operations happening October through May. It is strongly advised that recreational users avoid this area (mile points 76 - 80) and listen for the loud horn that will sound prior to blasts.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Lend a Hand on National Public Lands Day

On September 24th is your chance to be a part of the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Throughout the country about 200,000 people will participate in 2,500 National Public Lands Day events. As part of the celebration, national parks will waive entrance fees and host projects and programs that promote environmental stewardship.

"Whether a neighborhood park or a national park, public lands belong to all of us," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "They might vary in shape and size but they all exist for all of us. Join us on National Public Lands Day and help ensure that these special places can continue to be used for recreation and inspiration."

All 413 National Park Service sites will have free entrance on National Public Lands Day. Those who volunteer for a service project will receive a voucher that permits them into a national park for free on a different day.

Dozens of National Park Service sites will host events. Take part in spring cleaning in Yosemite National Park, repair a horse trail in Catoctin Mountain Park, preserve earthworks at Richmond National Battlefield Park, or restore the tall grass prairie at Pipestone National Monument.

Click here for some of the National Park Service sites hosting National Public Lands Day events later this month.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Public Input Requested On Alternatives For Management Of The Crater Trail In Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is considering options for management of the Crater Trail, which originates near Milner Pass and extends to above tree line east of the Continental Divide. Park staff will be preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) and invites public input in advance of preparation of the EA. The Crater Trail in its current configuration is resulting in harm to park resources and is not sustainable from a trail construction and maintenance perspective. The public scoping process has begun and comments are invited through October 3, 2016. The EA will analyze a range of alternatives to meet project objectives, evaluate issues and impacts on park resources and values, and identify mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.

The Crater Trail is a one-mile-long trail on the east side of Specimen Mountain. It differs from other trails in the park in that it is an informal route that was not designed and constructed, but developed over time. As a result, the trail is steep and severely eroded in sections, impacting the alpine tundra and cultural resources. The trail is in designated wilderness and is part of the Specimen Mountain Research Natural Area. The trail is typically closed annually from May to August 15 during the bighorn lambing season. For the past two years, the Crater Trail has been closed year-round pending the outcome of the EA process.

Preliminary options that have been identified for management of the trail and surrounding area include reconstructing the trail within the current alignment, rerouting the trail to a less steep gradient, or permanently closing the trail. Also under consideration is allowing continued use of the current trail and implementing minor improvements within the limits of the existing trail maintenance program (the no action alternative). If the trail or segments of the trail were abandoned due to reroutes or closure, abandoned trail segments would be restored to natural conditions through active replanting or natural revegetation.

The park is hosting a meeting about the proposed project on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Lake Fire Protection District Station located at 201 W. Portal Road in Grand Lake. This will be an opportunity to express ideas, concerns, and recommendations about alternative actions and have questions answered. There will be a short presentation at 6:15 p.m., and park staff will be available to answer questions until 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to visit at any point during the scheduled time to review materials and provide written comments.

Park staff encourage public participation throughout the planning process. There will be two opportunities to comment formally on the project – one starting now during initial project scoping and again following release of the EA. Comments received during the scoping period will be used to help define the issues and concerns to be addressed in the Environmental Assessment, while also assisting with analyzing the different alternatives.

Comments must be received in writing by close of business on October 3, 2016. Comments can be submitted at the public open house described above or online by visiting: Look for "Crater Trail."

Comments may also be sent to the following mailing address: Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO 80517

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, the park cannot guarantee they will be able to do so.


Monday, August 29, 2016

U.S. Forest Service Releases Draft Decision on Improved Trail System Near Nederland

The U.S. Forest Service has released its final environmental assessment and a draft decision for the Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Project.

More than 300 people participated in the comment process, submitting upwards of 1,300 comments about the project.

The draft decision would approve a 44-mile, non-motorized trail system across about 6,000 acres in Boulder and Gilpin counties in an area along the Peak to Peak Highway known as East Magnolia and West Magnolia. Currently there are only 16 miles of existing National Forest system trails in the area and about 46 miles of non-system or “user-created” trails.

“At the start of this project, we inventoried the trails in the area and discovered that there were all these user-created routes out there in addition to our system trails. Basically, on a map it looks like a spaghetti-bowl of unsustainable trails,” said Recreation Manager Matt Henry with the Boulder Ranger District.

“The goal is to turn that spaghetti bowl into a sustainable, non-motorized trail system that provides a better user experience that’s more in tune with what users are seeking,” Henry said. “We are hoping to do that by improving trail location, alignment and connectivity in a way that also minimizes the impacts to wildlife habitat.”

The project includes building new trail, adding some user-created trails to the system and obliterating all other user-created routes. A total of 29 miles of user-created routes will be obliterated following this decision. Any additional user-created routes found during project implementation will be obliterated as well.

New signage to help keep visitors on the system trails; improved trailheads, including bathrooms and expanded parking at West Magnolia and Front Range trailheads; and facilities for horse trailers at West Magnolia Trailhead are also components of the draft decision.

The draft decision eliminates snowmobiles in the project area and restricts bikes and horses to designated trails. It also provides an opportunity for a special use permittee to groom non-motorized trails in winter for Nordic skiing and fat tire biking – a sport that has seen a remarkable increase in popularity since this project was initially proposed in 2012.

One key component of this draft decision is that it includes an adaptive management approach, which allows the U.S. Forest Service to make adjustments in the implementation of this project as needed.

“Our goal is to enhance the recreation experience for non-motorized users, which includes those on horseback, bicycle and foot,” Henry said. “As we go through the process of implementation, which could take 5 to 10 years, we might discover that there are better ideas for where to locate a trail or how to manage traffic flow. The adaptive management component of this decision will allow us to make those adjustments.”

The project will be implemented in phases by working with partners on both fundraising and implementation, starting on the West Magnolia side of the Peak to Peak Highway as outlined in the decision. Work on the Magnolia trails project where it overlaps with the proposed Forsythe II forest health project will be postponed until analysis is complete and the decision on that project is finalized.

The draft decision also facilitates access from the trail system to the community of Nederland through connecting trails that don’t currently exist, allowing trail users to easily visit a restaurant downtown.

Other regional trail connections outlined in the draft decision include connecting the Magnolia Trail System to the Toll Conservation Easement Trail to Jenny Creek Trail, which would allow non-motorized connection all the way to the Continental Divide on trails; and providing connectivity to Boulder County Open Space’s Reynolds Ranch as that trail system develops over time.

Those who previously provided written comments on the project now have until midnight on Oct. 11 to review the documents and submit written objections. The complete draft decision, final environmental analysis and information about the objection process are available online at


Friday, August 26, 2016

Vehicle Break Ins At Rocky Mountain National Park

On Sunday, August 21st, between 11 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. two vehicles were broken into at the east Alluvial Fan parking lot in Rocky Mountain National Park. Vehicle windows were broken and purses containing credit cards were stolen. Several of these credit cards were used in local area businesses immediately after the break in.

An image of a man purchasing a variety of camping equipment with these stolen credit cards was captured on video surveillance. Park rangers are working in conjunction with the Estes Park Police Department and Larimer County Sheriff's Office, since the fraudulent credit card activity took place outside the park.

Park rangers are seeking assistance from the public in identifying this person of interest. If you have information concerning this incident or this person of interest, please call the following recorded tip line at Rocky Mountain National Park at (970) 586-1290. If you wish, you can remain anonymous. Or call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.

When parking at trailheads in Rocky Mountain National Park please be alert for any suspicious activity and do not leave valuables in vehicles.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Colorado Parks Partners with DMNS to offer IMAX Tickets in Backpack Program

Beginning this week, families enjoying the Check Out Colorado State Parks Library Backpack program will find an extra perk in their packs. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has partnered with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to offer two complimentary museum/movie vouchers to use at the museum and/or IMAX movie National Parks Adventure 3D.

82 library locations in the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District counties (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson) are receiving 24 museum/movie vouchers for distribution over the next 5 weeks. Any family that checks out the state park pass and backpack may use the vouchers at the museum and/or IMAX National Parks Adventure 3D, ending Sept. 22, or any of the other IMAX films.

“We thought adding to the CPW and State Library partnership would be a great way to celebrate the national parks centennial movie at the IMAX,” said Allison Lippiatt, Denver Museum of Nature & Science Marketing Specialist. “It also gives people an opportunity to continue to learn about the natural world around them by visiting the Museum after they’ve visited one of Colorado’s beautiful state parks.”

The Check Out Colorado State Parks Program is an initiative offering residents the ability to check out a hang-tag park pass and adventure backpack from their local library for entrance into any of Colorado’s 42 state parks. There are over 570 library locations in the program.

Based on user feedback to CPW, both the usage and patron experience of the Check Out Colorado State Parks program has been very positive this summer.

For more information go to:


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Katahdin Woods & Waters - Our Newest National Monument

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today applauded the designation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, the first national monument to preserve the landscape and honor the history and culture of Maine’s North Woods. The Antiquities Act, which was used to make this designation, permanently protects 87,500 acres of lands donated to the National Park Service earlier this week by the Elliottsville Plantation, Inc., (EPI). This land donation includes the East Branch of the Penobscot River and its tributaries, one of the most pristine watersheds in the Northeast.

This weekend, Secretary Jewell will visit the national monument lands in Penobscot County, Maine, to celebrate the designation with state and local officials and members of the public. National Park Service staff will be on site to assist with the first steps to open the park.

EPI is the nonprofit foundation established by Roxanne Quimby and run by her son Lucas St. Clair. Their gift of land is accompanied by an endowment of $20 million to supplement federal funds for initial park operational needs and infrastructure development at the new monument, and a pledge of another $20 million in future philanthropic support.

The new national monument – which will be managed by the National Park Service and is now the 413th park unit in the National Park System – is located directly east of the 209,644-acre Baxter State Park, the location of Maine’s highest peak, Mt. Katahdin (5,267 feet), the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The boundaries of the new national monument also include 4,426 acres of private land owned by the Baskahegan Company, which requested inclusion should the company in the future decide to convey its lands to the United States or a conservation buyer, on a willing seller basis, for incorporation into the monument.

The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument designation is the result of a years-long effort by Quimby and her son. Quimby purchased the lands with a portion of the wealth she created as a co-founder of Burt’s Bees in 1984, and developed the idea of gifting the lands to the American people as part of the National Park System. St. Clair, raised in Maine and dedicated to preserving the landscape and access for recreational activities, and a small EPI staff, have been operating the lands as a recreation area for several years.

The new national monument includes the stunning East Branch of the Penobscot River and a portion of Maine’s North Woods that is rich in biodiversity and known for its outstanding opportunities to hike, canoe, hunt, fish, snowmobile, snowshoe and cross-country ski. These and other traditional activities will continue to be available in the new national monument.

The new monument is also a storied landscape. Since the end of the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago, the waterways, wildlife, flora and fauna, night skies, and other resources have attracted people to the area. For example, the Penobscot Indian Nation considers the Penobscot River watershed a cultural and spiritual centerpiece and since the early 19th century, logging has been a way of life. Artists, authors, scientists, conservationists and others – including Teddy Roosevelt, Henry David Thoreau and John James Audubon – have also drawn knowledge and inspiration from the area’s resources.

National Park Service staff will hold a series of public listening sessions throughout the Katahdin region starting the week of September 12 to begin work on the management plan that will be developed during the first three years. Details of the listening sessions, including dates and locations, will be shared with local newspapers and posted to the monument’s website ( NPS’s planning will be done with full public involvement, with special emphasis on understanding the ideas and concerns of the local communities.

The approximately $100 million total gift to the American people from the EPI, was facilitated by the National Park Foundation as part of its Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks.

“This extraordinary gift sets the stage for a strong and vibrant second century for America’s national parks,” said Will Shafroth, President of the National Park Foundation. “Through their vision and generosity, Ms. Quimby and her family are carrying on the philanthropic tradition from which the national parks were born 100 years ago, and which helped create Grand Teton, Acadia and Virgin Islands National Parks.”