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)