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