Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pavement Preservation Project Continues In Rocky Mountain National Park: Highly Visited Areas Will Be Closed Including Alpine Visitor Center and Old Fall River Road

A major pavement preservation project continues in Rocky Mountain National Park. The work is taking place in a variety of highly visited locations in the park and includes some closures and delays. Weather permitting, work will occur in the following locations on the dates listed. No pavement work will take place on weekends.

Expect up to 20 minute delays on Trail Ridge Road from the Fall River Entrance to Rainbow Curve - Monday, July 24 through Friday, July 28, July 31, August 1 and August 7.

Longs Peak Trailhead parking lot will be closed to vehicles and half of Lumpy Ridge Trailhead parking lot will be closed to vehicles on Monday, July 31.

Alpine Visitor Center, Trail Ridge Store Parking Area and Old Fall River Road will be closed while the parking area is being resurfaced and then striped on August 1, 2 and 3 and August 17

Endovalley Road will be closed past the west Alluvial Fan parking area on Thursday, August 3.

Hollowell Park parking area and road will be closed on Wednesday, August 2 and there will be no shuttle bus service at that stop.

Half of Lumpy Ridge Trailhead parking lot will be closed to vehicles on Wednesday, August 2.

The road leading to Sprague Lake picnic area and the Glacier Basin Campground road will consist of one lane of traffic on Wednesday, August 2.

The Moraine Park Discovery Center and parking area will be closed on Thursday, August 3.

Half of the Park and Ride parking area will be closed on Friday, August 4.

The road leading to Moraine Park Campground will consist of one lane of traffic on Friday, August 4.

The Fall River Entrance will have significant impacts on Monday, August 7, as all three lanes will be impacted from pavement work. Expect up to 20 minute delays through that area.

Half of the Park and Ride parking area will be closed on Tuesday, August 8.

Sprague Lake parking area will be closed on Wednesday, August 9. Glacier Creek Stables will be accessible. The shuttle stop will be operational but there will be no parking available.

This important project is critical for the long term protection of park roads and parking areas.



Jeff
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Public Input Requested On Potential Improvements To The Fall River Entrance

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is considering options for improving the Fall River Entrance Station, one of two major entrance stations on the east side of the park. The entrance station is located on US Highway 34, just inside the park boundary. The current station was constructed in the 1960s as part of National Park Service (NPS) Mission 66 enhancements and contributes to the Fall River Entrance Station Historic District.

Originally designed for summer only operations over 50 years ago, the once adequate facilities at the Fall River Entrance Station have exceeded their useful design life and no longer meet the safety or operational needs of the park. Due to increasing visitation and traffic congestion at the entrance and its impact on visitors and neighboring businesses, staff and visitor safety issues, as well as other operational concerns, the park is considering potential options for improving this entrance. These potential options include improving the entrance in the same location or nearby, or moving it to another location further west on US Highway 34. It is anticipated that the entrance improvements will update systems and facilities, resulting in better operations, and more convenient access for visitors.

The park will be preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) and invites public input in advance of the EA preparation. The public scoping process has begun and comments are invited through August 14, 2017. The EA will analyze a range of alternatives to meet project objectives, and will evaluate potential effects on visitor experience and park resources and values. The EA also will identify mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of potential effects on natural and cultural resources, visitor experience, and park operations.

The park is hosting a public meeting about the proposed project on Thursday, August 3, at the Dannels Fire Station Meeting Room, 901 N. St. Vrain Avenue, Estes Park. This will be an opportunity to express ideas, concerns, and recommendations about the potential improvements 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 encourages 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 EA, while also assisting with analyzing the different alternatives.

Comments must be received in writing by close of business on August 14, 2017. Comments can be submitted at the public open house described above or online by visiting: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/romo. Look for “Fall River Entrance Improvements.”

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 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 call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.



Jeff
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hike highlighting early Estes Park landowner Dunraven and his book about Yellowstone National Park on tap Saturday

Cheyenne Mountain State Park’s popular “A Literary Walk in the Woods” program continues on Saturday, July 22, with a hike spotlighting the Earl of Dunraven in the Yellowstone National Park in 1874.

The 4th Earl Dunraven fell in love with the American West during hunting expeditions in Wyoming, Nebraska and western Kansas. He is familiar in Colorado for being an early property owner in Estes Park.

Dunraven developed a spiritual passion for the Yellowstone Country dating to March 1872 when explorers and geologists persuaded President Grant to create the Yellowstone National Park, the first in the world.

Dunraven was a forward-looking man who found in the American wilderness a school for resolving the conflicts of modern life. What he learned at the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone, and the summit of Mount Washburn, he took with him on his return to his home in western Ireland. His book, The Great Divide: Travels in the Upper Yellowstone in the Summer of 1874, recounts in flowing literary style the journey of a man seeking answers.

Dunraven’s book will be presented by Tamara Teale, a lifelong resident of the West and an independent scholar with degrees in literature and culture studies from the University of Essex, Colchester, England, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She specializes in British and French travel accounts of the American West.

The program begins in the Visitor Center classroom with a biography of the author. Participants then will take an easy one-mile nature walk on Zook Loop Trail to the Rock Garden for more about Dunraven’s book.

When: 9:30-11:30 a.m., July 22

Where: Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Cost: Program is free, but a $7 park day pass required

Reservations: Encouraged by not required. Call 719-576-2016



Jeff
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Human DNA found on bear euthanized in Ward attack

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has confirmed that human DNA has been found on the claws of the bear euthanized after the attack of a 19-year old male Sunday morning in Ward. A full necropsy of the 4+ year old, 280 lb. male bear was performed at the agency’s Wildlife Health Lab in Fort Collins. Evidence collected was sent to a Wyoming forensics lab which confirmed the findings.

“We believe this is the bear that attacked the young man," said Mark Leslie, northeast regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “We know we have a lot of bears and a lot of people living and recreating in the Front Range foothills and mountains. This means bears will come into contact with more human-provided food sources and there is more potential for conflict. We encourage all residents and visitors to do their part to discourage bear habituation.”

The 19-year old male was attacked around 4 a.m. Sunday the ninth at Glacier View Ranch in Ward. The bear bit his skull, grabbed his head and dragged him 10-12 feet from where he was sleeping with other camp staff members. He fought off the bear and was treated at Boulder Community Health later that morning and released.

"We are glad the young victim is on the mend," added Leslie.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife encourages ALL residents and visitors to take down bird feeders until after Thanksgiving, bear proof their trash, and discourage bears from getting comfortable near homes and campsites by blowing air horns, banging pots and pans and making every effort to make bears feel unwelcome and unwanted. Discouraging bears from coming close to humans will help the bears have a natural, healthy fear of people and keep them wild. It will also keep humans from getting injured, or having their vehicles or homes broken into by hungry bears.

There is a wealth of information on how to recreate and live safely with bears in Colorado on our website. Please visit: cpw.state.co.us/bears and work with your neighbors in bear country to remove attractants, manage trash, and discourage bears from getting too comfortable near humans.



Jeff
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Friday, July 7, 2017

Swift Water Rescue In St. Vrain River At Rocky Mountain National Park

On Wednesday morning, a 40-year-old woman from Tennessee fell into the St. Vrain River approximately one mile from the Wild Basin trailhead. She slipped on wet rocks and was swept 150 yards downstream before she was able to pull herself up on a rock and log. Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue members were on scene at 10:30. Members of Estes Valley Fire Protection District – Dive and Swiftwater Rescue Team played a critical role in this rescue operation.

Crews on scene got the woman a life jacket and helmet. Crew members hiked to her location on the south side of the St. Vrain River and helped move her to shore. She received medical care on scene. Crews then assisted her across the river, back to the north side, at a suitable location where there were downed logs. She began hiking out and then was carried via a wheeled litter to the Wild Basin Trailhead. She was taken by ambulance to the Estes Park Medical Center at 4 p.m.

Mountain streams can be dangerous. Visitors are reminded to remain back from the banks of streams and rivers. Rocks at streamside and in the stream are often slippery and water beneath them may be deep and will be extremely cold. Provide proper supervision for children at all times, who by nature, tend to be attracted to water. Powerful currents can quickly pull a person underwater.



Jeff
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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests Enacts Fire Restrictions on the Boulder and Clear Creek Ranger Districts

Stage I Fire Restriction went into effect this morning for all portions of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests that lie in Boulder, Gilpin, Jefferson, Park and Clear Creek counties due to a forecast of dry, warm conditions. The fire restrictions apply to all of the Boulder Ranger District and the Clear Creek Ranger District.

The Stage 1 Fire Restrictions limit where and what type of fires visitors can have, along with other restrictions. They are in place until October 1, 2017, or rescinded, whichever is first. See the Boulder Ranger District order and map and the Clear Creek District order and map for details.

Within the fire restriction area, forest visitors cannot:

· Build or maintain a fire or use charcoal, coal, or wood stoves, except within a developed recreation site (e.g., campgrounds where fees are charged).

· Smoke, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter cleared of all flammable materials.

· Operate a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester properly installed and in effective working order, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher kept with the operator, and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.

· Weld or operate acetylene or other torch with open flame except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter and in possession of a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher.

· Use explosives, including fireworks.

· Discharge a firearm EXCEPT a person possessing a valid Colorado hunting license lawfully involved in hunting and harvesting game.

Violation of any of these provisions of Stage 1 Fire Restrictions could result in a maximum fine of $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for more than six months, or both. If responsible for causing a wildfire, one could be held accountable for suppression costs of that fire.

Forest Service staff will continue to monitor the situation and consider a variety of options to address conditions, including additional restrictions if weather remains dry and lessening or rescinding restriction if a rainy weather pattern starts.



Jeff
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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Special Evening Programs: Climbing Longs Peak

Join Rocky Mountain National Park’s Climbing Rangers to learn more about climbing Colorado’s Favorite 14er, Longs Peak. This program will be held on Friday, July 7, and presented again on Friday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. Their presentation will discuss various climbing and hiking routes and lessons learned, with a focus on how to prepare for and manage risks for a successful ascent of the classic Keyhole Route.

Rocky Mountain National Park’s Climbing Rangers are experienced climbers and members of the park’s Search and Rescue team. They patrol technical climbing and hiking routes on Longs Peak and elsewhere throughout the park. With decades of cumulative climbing, mountaineering, guiding, and search and rescue experience between them, they are excited to share their experience and help the public learn about the high mountain environment of Rocky Mountain National Park.

This program is free and open to the public. For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.



Jeff
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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Old Fall River Road Will Temporarily Close In August For Pavement Preservation Project

Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opened on June 30th for the season. Old Fall River Road normally opens by the Fourth of July holiday weekend. This summer, during periods of high vehicle congestion, park staff may restrict vehicle access when needed on Old Fall River Road. Weather permitting, Old Fall River Road, Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store Parking Area will be closed August 1, 2 and 3 and again on August 17, while the Alpine Visitor Center parking area is being resurfaced and then striped.

Old Fall River Road will close for the season to vehicles on Monday, October 2, for annual maintenance, and reopen to bicycles and pedestrians from October 7 through November 30. On December 1, the road will revert to trail status.

Old Fall River Road was built between 1913 and 1920. It is an unpaved road which travels from Endovalley Picnic Area to above treeline at Fall River Pass, following the steep slope of Mount Chapin’s south face. Due to the winding, narrow nature of the road, the scenic 9.4-mile route leading to Trail Ridge Road is one-way only. Vehicles over 25 feet and vehicles pulling trailers are prohibited on the road.



Jeff
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Multiple Incidents In Rocky Mountain National Park

On Saturday, June 24th, was a busy day for Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue Team members. One of the incidents was resolved this morning, when an 18-year-old male was rescued via a highline operation across the Roaring River above the Alluvial Fan.

On Saturday afternoon, the 18-year-old from Kansas had been rock hopping on this section of the Roaring River when he became stuck on the west side of the river. Park rangers were notified at 2:30 p.m. The young man’s family members were on the east side of the river. Rangers assessed the situation with members of Estes Valley Fire Protection District – Dive and Swiftwater Rescue Team, and after considering the complexity and length of time the rescue would likely take, it was determined that it would be safest to conduct the rescue this morning. Rangers provided the man with warm clothes, a sleeping bag and food overnight. A ranger stayed overnight on the other side of the river from the young man.

At 5:30 a.m. this morning rescuers gathered and at 7 a.m. the highline operation began. The young man was rescued at approximately 10:20 a.m. Over 20 people were involved in the operation and Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue team greatly appreciates the assistance from Estes Valley Fire Protection District – Dive and Swiftwater Rescue Team.

Other incidents on Saturday included a 15-year-old female falling in the St. Vrain River in the Wild Basin area. She tumbled downstream approximately 50 yards over an eight foot waterfall and through significant rapids. Bystanders and family members were able to rescue the girl prior to rangers arriving. She received leg injuries and was carried out via a wheeled litter to the Wild Basin Trailhead where she was taken by ambulance to the Estes Park Medical Center. Those who helped rescue the girl are to be commended for doing so from the shore line of the river, rather than getting in the swift moving water themselves.

Park rangers also assisted an injured 24-year-old male boulderer in the Chaos Canyon area who injured his leg after a fall, a 27-year-old female hiker on the Gem Lake Trail with a knee injury and a 26-year-old male hiker who had a seizure after taking a small fall at Emerald Lake. At 2:30 p.m. park rangers were notified of the incident above Alluvial Fan.



Jeff
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Sunday, June 25, 2017

USDA Announces $20 Million for Jobs for Young People, Veterans

USDA and partners committed $20 million in 21st Century Conservation Service Corps partnership agreements to provide 4,000 work opportunities for youth, young adults and veterans up to 35 years old, a move that will help the U.S. Forest Service accomplish mission-critical infrastructure and landscape restoration projects on the ground. The U.S. Forest Service is one of seventeen USDA Agencies.

The funding represents investments by USDA of $13 million and $7 million from partner organizations. Contributions by the Forest Service and partners are expected to reach $40 million by the end of 2017 and provide 11,000 work opportunities. Some funds are already placed with 21st Century Conservation Service Corps partnership agreements; other funds will continue to be obligated throughout the summer.

“The 21st Century Conservation Corps is not merely a summer jobs program,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “This is about nurturing our public lands as well as our veterans, youth and young adults through a variety of opportunities to develop leadership potential and professional and personal connections through work across many diverse landscapes.”

The work accomplished by participants will include hundreds of miles of trail maintenance and improvements, watershed protection, removal of vegetation as part of wildfire prevention, improvements to recreation facilities, and other essential work on lands managed by the Forest Service.

Since the program started in 2014, the Forest Service generated nearly 30,000 opportunities for youth and veterans to work on projects that benefit public lands. Corps partners provide hands-on service and job training while working with the Forest Service and other land management agencies to build America’s rural and urban economies, strengthen America’s infrastructure, and modernize the way government works.

Involving veterans in these opportunities helps them learn new skills while continuing to serve their nation and local communities. In FY 2016, 910 veterans were engaged on Forest Service volunteerism and service projects, of which 170 participated in 21st Century Conservation Corps projects. In FY 2017, the agency expects to hire 186 veterans.

About 20 percent of the 4,000 opportunities funded by this year’s commitment will be for Youth Conservation Corps jobs, a summer employment program on public lands that employ high school-aged youth. About 25 percent of the dedicated resources will support high-priority trail maintenance and improvements.

Projects will be on public lands in rural communities from coast to coast and will include diverse work experiences.

Annually, the Forest Service engages about 100,000 volunteers and 21st Century Conservation Service Corps participants. As part of an emphasis on strengthening and deepening connections with the public through outdoor experiences, the agency is committed to expanding its capacity for greater volunteerism and community service. The goal is to increase engagement to 115,000 volunteers by 2020 mostly through individual and partner organizations committed to the conservation of the public lands legacy.

To participate in the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps contact a member organization.

For additional information about funded projects, jobs, volunteering and other opportunities for young people, visit the Forest Service online Working with Us page.



Jeff
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Leak On Grand Ditch Closes Colorado River Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

Late Saturday night, June 17, the Water Supply and Storage Company, who operates the Grand Ditch, notified Rocky Mountain National Park staff of a leak at an old culvert at the intersection of Lady Creek with the Grand Ditch. The resulting leak caused some of the ditch bank surrounding the old culvert to erode. Water Supply and Storage Company informed park staff that they made temporary repairs to reduce the leak and opened head gates to reduce water flow in the Grand Ditch, sending additional water to the Kawuneeche Valley.

Early Sunday morning, park staff began gathering additional information regarding resource conditions and potential impacts on trails and bridges in the upper Kawuneeche Valley. The Colorado River Trail is flooded 0.6 miles from the trailhead just beyond the Red Mountain Junction. A cautionary sign was posted at the trailhead. Additional assessments are ongoing.

It was also reported to park staff on June 18, that there was increased turbidity downstream near Shadow Mountain Reservoir. At this time, park staff do not have estimates of where or how much volume of sediment moved due to this event.

Currently the Grand Ditch road is closed to pedestrians from the junction of Little Yellowstone to the Ditch Camp. There are no other closures in place. Long Draw Road outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, which leads to this area, is closed this time of year and is scheduled to open for the season in early July.

Park staff are continuing to monitor conditions on the Grand Ditch, gathering additional information and data on resource and trail conditions and assessing sediment deposition in the upper Kawuneeche Valley.



Jeff
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hazardous Fuels Reduction Work Continues In Rocky Mountain

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 completed the final phase of fuels reduction on over 250 acres this past winter, burning around 1,600 piles. Firewood permits were also available by lottery to collect previously cut wood generated from hazard tree removals and wildland fuels reduction. The annual fuels reduction effort will continue this summer and fall with plans to work on 350 acres on the north and east slopes of Deer Mountain next to the park boundary and an additional 125 acres on the Glacier Creek to Mill Creek fuels reduction project. Crews will also reduce fuels within 200 feet of US 34 from the Fall River Entrance to Deer Ridge Junction, US 36 from Deer Ridge Junction past the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and maintain past treatments on Bear Lake Road between the Glacier Basin Campground and Sprague Lake.

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.



Jeff
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Monday, June 19, 2017

CPW Warns Public That Moose Will Defend Their Young Aggressively

Since early June, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have investigated two separate moose conflicts resulting in injuries to three people, and agency officials are cautioning everyone to be extra vigilant this time of year.

Because elk, deer and other wild animals are currently rearing their newborn offspring, it increases the possibility of a serious wildlife encounter. Though most wildlife will protect their young, one of the most significant concerns for human safety is the aggressive response of a large, powerful mother moose in defense of her calves.

According to wildlife officials, a major catalyst in serious moose conflicts is the presence of dogs, as was the case in both recent incidents. When people, dogs and a defensive moose interact there is a significant risk of serious injuries to humans and pets. In addition, because CPW officers will act to protect the public in any wildlife conflict, it could lead to the death of a moose.

"People need to know when any wild animal injures a person, regardless of whether it is the human's fault or not, the animal will have to be put down if we can identify it," said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. "It is by far the worst part of any officer's job, but they must and will act to protect the public. It is why we strongly encourage everyone being responsible around wildlife and giving them plenty of space, especially when they have newborn offspring."

On June 10 near Fraser, a woman allowed her dog to run loose near willows - typical moose habitat - when a moose suddenly charged her and her dog. The woman dropped to the ground, receiving a painful leg injury when the animal stepped on her before it quickly ran off. The woman told wildlife officers she was fully aware of the potential for a clash between a dog and moose; however, because she did not expect to see a moose on private property, she allowed her dog to run off-leash.

Doctors treated the woman at a nearby emergency room and released her the same evening. She expressed remorse that the encounter could have led to the death of the moose. After searching the area, wildlife officers were unable to locate the animal.

"When in moose habitat, expect to see a moose, whether in the backcountry or within developed areas," said District Wildlife Manager Jeromy Huntington of Granby. "Try to stay in open areas where wildlife can been detected from a distance, especially when walking with a dog. Whether the moose has young or not, the presence of a dog is more than enough to incite an aggressive charge."

Huntington adds the woman was lucky the moose was not more determined to stomp on her or she could have been severely injured if the moose had stepped on her torso or head.

In Jamestown, a woman gardening in her backyard on June 2 reported that a moose with two calves unexpectedly appeared and began stomping on her. Her dog had been roaming freely in the yard at the time. Another resident of the home came to help and she was injured in the conflict as well. Both sought medical attention but neither woman suffered serious injuries.

"The woman and dog were in their own backyard, minding their own business and not doing anything wrong when this occurred," said Boulder County Area Wildlife Manager Larry Rogstad. "But even if you are not in the wilderness, sometimes the wildlife comes to you. We recommend everyone in Colorado be aware of the potential of encountering wildlife anywhere and anytime. Get the facts like those on the CPW website and be prepared to respond appropriately."

Rogstad says the cow and calves in the incident were not located.

According to wildlife officials, moose react to all dogs as they would to a wolf - one of their primary predators - by attempting to crush it with their hooves. Because of this instinctive, aggressive response, CPW officials recommend keeping dogs on a leash and under control when recreating in the backcountry, or consider leaving the dog at home.

"In most cases the dog flees back to the owner bringing an angry moose with it, as was the case in the recent incident in Fraser," said Area Wildlife Manager Lyle Sidener of Hot Sulphur Springs. "The dog continues on to safety but the owner is unable to escape."

Since 2013, CPW is aware of at least 15 moose conflicts resulting in minor to serious human injuries, including the latest two incidents. In all but two occurrences, dogs elicited the initial response from the moose.

"There is a way to watch wildlife responsibly and we encourage everyone to take the time to enjoy this wonderful, natural resource," said Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero. "But it is critical for people to learn the rules, and follow them. The main points to remember are don't feed, don't approach, don't harass and keep dogs on leashes and under control. If the animal responds in any way to your presence, you are too close."

CPW stresses the importance of education to prevent conflicts. For information about what to do if you encounter a wild animal, visit the CPW website.



Jeff
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pavement Preservation Project In Numerous Locations Throughout The Summer In Rocky Mountain National Park Alpine Visitor Center Parking Lot And Old Fall River Road Will Be Closed In Early August

On Monday, June 12, a major pavement preservation project will begin in Rocky Mountain National Park. The work will initially take place on a 12-mile section of US 34/Trail Ridge Road between the Fall River Entrance and Rainbow Curve. During this phase of the project, which should take approximately two weeks, crack sealing and patch work will occur. Park visitors should expect rolling delays of up to 20 minutes.

All three lanes at the Fall River Entrance will be patched on June 13. From approximately 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the two south lanes will be closed to traffic. Once patch work has been completed, the two south lanes will re-open and patch work will commence on the north lane. The Fall River Entrance will remain open during the work.

Other areas of the park that will be impacted by this ongoing pavement preservation project include the Endovalley Road, Moraine Park Campground Road, Glacier Basin Campground Road, Sprague Lake Road and Parking Area, Hollowell Park Road and Parking Area, Moraine Park Discovery Center Parking Area, Park & Ride Parking Area, Longs Peak Trailhead Parking Area, Lumpy Ridge Parking Area and the Alpine Visitor Center Parking Area. Some parking areas will have full closures and others will have partial closures in order to complete the work. The work in parking areas will mainly occur in August and September. Weather permitting, Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store Parking Area and Old Fall River Road will be closed August 1, 2 and 3 and again on August 17, while the parking area is being resurfaced and then striped. When specific work dates are scheduled for other areas this information will be disseminated.

This important project is critical for the long term protection of park roads and parking areas. Work will not take place during the weekends.



Jeff
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Monday, June 12, 2017

Save Time At Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Stations Purchase Park Pass Ahead Of Visit

Rocky Mountain National Park visitors can now purchase a one day entrance pass or weekly entrance pass online. Visit go.nps.gov/rockyfees and follow the prompts. Your email confirmation will serve as your pass. Print out your email receipt, or show park staff at the entrance station your email confirmation on your mobile device. Take a screen shot of your email if you are concerned about your cellular coverage.

Purchasing an entrance pass online supports Rocky Mountain National Park and saves transaction time once you reach the entrance station kiosk. Plan on riding the Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center? Purchase your pass online. Plan on visiting areas where fees are required but not collected such as Lily Lake, Longs Peak, Lumpy Ridge or the East Inlet Trailhead? Purchase your pass online.

Eighty percent of park entrance fees stay right here in Rocky Mountain National Park and are used on projects that directly benefit visitors. Entrance fees have supported a wide range of projects that improve the park and 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.



Jeff
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Friday, June 9, 2017

Plan Ahead For A More Enjoyable Visit To Rocky Mountain National Park

In 2016, Rocky Mountain National Park was the fourth most visited national park with over 4.5 million visitors. This visitation represents a 32 percent increase since 2014, and a 40 percent increase since 2012. Over the last 100 years, the reasons people visit are the same; to experience nature, to seek solitude, to enjoy scenic grandeur, to watch wildlife, and to partake in outstanding recreational activities.

Popularity and high visitation during the summer and fall, particularly during 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. can mean full parking lots, congested roads, busy trails, and long lines and wait times at entrance stations. Park managers will continue to address what effect this level of visitation will have on visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experiences and operational capacity. Last year during the summer and early fall, park staff restricted vehicle access in three specific areas, the Bear Lake Road corridor, the Wild Basin area, and Alpine Visitor Center when parking areas filled and heavy congestion warranted. This occurred most weekends from late June through September of 2016. We are continuing to implement these short term efforts in 2017.

Plan ahead for a more enjoyable visit to Rocky!

• Hike early or hike late.

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

• Carpool

• Take advantage of the park shuttle

• Trailhead parking lots fill early in the day:

Glacier Gorge Trailhead by 6:00 a.m.

Bear Lake Trailhead by 8:30 a.m.

Park and Ride by 10:30 a.m.

Wild Basin Corridor by 9:30 a.m.

• If you want to hike in the Bear Lake Road corridor and plan to arrive after 11, your best option, and on some days your only option, will be to take the Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center

• The Alpine Visitor Center parking lot is often full between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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

• Camping is popular in the park. Reserve a campsite up to six months before your visit. The two first-come, first-served campgrounds fill up quickly. Timber Creek Campground, located on the west side of the park, fills up last.

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

• Purchase a daily or weekly entrance pass online at go.nps.gov/rockyfees

Your email confirmation will serve as your pass and should save transaction time once you reach the park entrance station kiosk.

The remaining fee free days for 2017, are August 25, September 30, and November 11-12.



Jeff
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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"Helping Birds Along The Way" At Rocky Mountain National Park International Migratory Bird Day Two Special Events June 10

Helping Birds Along the Way is the theme for this year’s International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), the only international education program that celebrates the migration of nearly 350 bird species between their nesting habitats in North America and wintering grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. On Saturday, June 10, park staff will offer two great events.

In the morning, go on a bird walk in Rocky Mountain National Park! Join us for an opportunity to learn more about migratory birds while exploring the park with experienced bird watchers. The event will begin at 8 a.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. After a short introduction, visitors and bird walk leaders will caravan into the park to view birds in a variety of habitats. The activity is free of charge, but park entrance fees will apply. This guided walk will have naturalists and expert birders to help beginners identify birds; all ages and abilities are welcomed. Bring warm clothes, water, good walking shoes, binoculars and a snack. The event will end at noon, but visitors are encouraged to continue their birding adventures throughout the day.

The second event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center with a special ranger program on “Magical, Mysterious and Mighty Owls.” Learn about the owl species in Rocky and what makes them such powerful predators.

From coastal estuaries and marshes to forests and grasslands, stopover sites support millions of migratory shorebirds, waterfowl, and songbirds. When birds migrate between nesting and wintering sites, they don’t just stop anywhere; they rely on a handful of resource-rich and strategically located sites where they may double their body weight as they acquire the energy-rich fat stores needed to fly thousands of kilometers across continents and oceans. These places are known as stopover sites. Some stopover sites are well known, such as along the coasts of Louisiana, New Jersey, and the Upper Bay of Panama, where birds stop after traveling along the shoreline. Others are inland, such as Rocky Mountain National Park, Venezuela's grasslands, wetlands in the central United States, and even urban parks and backyards.

Whether you learn about a stopover site in Rocky Mountain National Park or one near your home, visit one far away, or create a safe place for birds in your backyard, your support can mean a safe journey for a migratory bird. Join the celebration!



Jeff
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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Trail Ridge Road Opens For The Season

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is open for the season. Due to melting snow on the road visitors should be prepared for icy conditions. Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store are anticipated to open later this week. At this time, night time closures will not be implemented. Because weather conditions may change rapidly, park visitors should be prepared to adjust travel plans accordingly and are encouraged to call the park’s Trail Ridge Road recorded phone line at (970) 586-1222. Park staff will update the recorded line during and after regular office hours, when the road status changes.

Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 28. The earliest the road has opened was on May 7, 2002; the latest June 26, 1943. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, climbs to 12,183 feet and connects the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road officially closed for the season last year on November 18.

National Park Service plow operators normally begin clearing the snow in the middle of April. Crews from the west side of the park and crews from the east side of the park move along the road and eventually meet at the Alpine Visitor Center. The visitor center is the highest in the National Park Service, sitting at 11,796 feet above sea level. Spring storms often impact plowing activities. On May 18 and May 19 of this year, a major snowstorm occurred on the east side of the park, dropping more than 3 feet of snow in lower elevations of the park. Plow operators faced 8 to 14 feet of snow at higher elevations, hampering efforts to open Trail Ridge Road by Memorial Day weekend.



Jeff
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Monday, May 29, 2017

Mesa Verde Celebrates Wildflower Week June 4 to 10

Mesa Verde National Park invites you to join park staff and volunteers in celebrating the beauty of the park’s native wildflowers during Wildflower Week, June 4 through 10, 2017. On Monday, June 5 and Wednesday, June 7, park staff and volunteers will be available to talk to visitors at the Visitor and Research Center; on Wetherill Mesa (between the kiosk and Step House trailhead); and the Geologic Overlook trail from 10 am to 2 pm. On Friday, June 9, staff will be at the Visitor and Research Center from 10 am to 2 pm to help visitors locate good viewing areas for wildflowers in the park.

Not only are wildflower beautiful, they also help to maintain healthy ecosystems; improve air and water quality; and support pollinators, birds and wildlife. The park expects a diversity of showy wildflowers to bloom the first part of June including silver lupine, mule’s ear, Utah sweet vetch, sego lily, Indian paintbrush, fleabane daisy, scarlet gilia, evening primrose, beardtongue, and yucca. Good areas for wildflower viewing are the Geologic Overlook trail and along the roadside from Chapin Mesa to Wetherill Mesa. Wildflower viewers are reminded to use roadside pullouts, not enter into the backcountry of the park, and not to disturb or pick any plants or flowers. For more information about the plants and plant communities at Mesa Verde, please visit: www.nps.gov/meve/learn/nature/plant_guides.htm



Jeff
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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Trail Ridge Road Opening Delayed - Will Not Open Over The Memorial Day Holiday

Due to last week’s major snowstorm and continuing winter conditions at high elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge Road’s opening will be delayed and will not open over the Memorial Day Holiday.

According to Park Superintendent, Darla Sidles, “Last week’s snowstorm has hampered our efforts. Last Wednesday, we were on track to open the road and were digging out facilities. This week, our plow operators are facing 8 to 14 feet of snow on Trail Ridge Road. The extended forecast above 10,000 feet for snow, winds and overnight temperatures in the upper 20s will prevent us from opening the road this holiday.”

Park snowplow operators will continue to plow the road; the road will open as soon as it is safe to do so. Due to the extended forecast for winter conditions at higher elevations, it is too soon to predict when that might be.

Every year, Rocky Mountain National Park snowplow operators begin plowing Trail Ridge Road in mid-April. Crews from the west side of the park and crews from the east side of the park move along the road and eventually meet near the Alpine Visitor Center. Plow operators normally encounter drifts from 18 to 22 feet and are accustomed to plowing the same section of road over and over. Trail Ridge Road was completed in 1932. The earliest the road has opened was on May 7, 2002; the latest June 26, 1943. In 2011, the road opened on June 6.

Park staff expect a busy Memorial Day Weekend throughout Rocky Mountain National Park. The three reservation campgrounds in the park are full for the weekend. Timber Creek Campground on the west side of the park is first-come, first-served. Vehicle restrictions may be in place on the Bear Lake Road corridor if full parking lots and congestion warrants. Visitors planning to recreate in the park’s backcountry, depending on their destination, should be prepared for a variety of conditions including snow, ice, slush and mud. Today, the Bear Lake Trailhead has 30 inches of snow.

For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park please contact the park Information Office at (970) 586-1206, the Trail Ridge Road status recorded phone line at (970) 586-1222 or check the park’s website at www.nps.gov/romo.



Jeff
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Roads Reopening On The East Side Of Rocky Mountain National Park - Some Roads Remain Closed

Park snowplow operators have been working through the day to plow roads and numerous parking lots. Park rangers have also accounted for all wilderness camping permit holders who were camping overnight in the park’s backcountry.

Numerous roads are reopening on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Trail Ridge Road has reopened to Many Parks Curve. Access to the park from the Fall River Entrance and the Beaver Meadows Entrance has reopened. Bear Lake Road has reopened to Sprague Lake. The upper portion of Bear Lake Road above Sprague Lake, as well as the Bear Lake parking lot, are expected to reopen sometime tomorrow.

Roads still closed include the Endovalley Road from the US 34 junction, Moraine Park Road from the Bear Lake Road junction to the Fern Lake Trailhead, Wild Basin Road at the Sandbeach Trailhead, and Upper Beaver Meadows Road. Numerous parking lots have not been plowed and are inaccessible.

Trail Ridge Road on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park is open to the Colorado River Trailhead.

More snow is forecast for this evening in Rocky Mountain National Park; park visitors should prepare for winter driving conditions.

More than 3 feet of snow has fallen in the past 24 hours resulting in VERY DANGEROUS AVALANCHE CONDITIONS in Rocky Mountain National Park. Currently travel in avalanche terrain is NOT recommended. Visitors planning to hike, snowshoe or ski in the mountains this weekend should carry avalanche safety gear and have associated avalanche safety training and experience.

Park visitors should use additional caution when driving on roads as wildlife are now using cleared roads as easier travel routes. As always, please stay back and give wildlife the space they need, especially during this more stressful time as they travel through heavy, wet snow.

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.



Jeff
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Don’t Rush to Rescue Young Wildlife

Spring has come to Colorado bringing blooms and rain showers, and of course the young wildlife of the year. As birds and mammals give birth, Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to remind citizens that newborn wildlife may be found in backyards , along trails, or in open spaces. The best course of action is to leave them alone.

Each year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife receives scores of calls from concerned humans about wildlife that has been "abandoned" by adult animals. Many are tempted to "help" a young animal by picking it up or trying to feed it, however it is critical that people understand there is no substitute for their natural parents.

Wildlife experts agree that it is quite normal for adult animals to leave their young in a safe place while they go forage for food. And often baby birds are learning to fly, near their nests when they are deemed "abandoned." While well-meaning people sometimes gather up this baby wildlife and bring them to wildlife rehabilitation facilities, it is often the wrong thing to do.

"Baby mammals are scentless in order to prevent predators from finding them," said Janet George, senior terrestrial biologist for CPW. "When humans touch these animals, they are imparting them with a scent their adults will not recognize or even fear. This can result in true abandonment of healthy offspring."

Because birds do not have a highly developed sense of smell, baby birds are a different story. They can be picked up and moved out of harm's way or placed back in the nest if they are songbirds. However, do not try this with raptors! Great-horned owls and other raptors are territorial and have been known to fly at humans seen as a threat to their young.

If you find young wildlife, enjoy a quick glimpse, leave the animal where it is, and keep pets out of the area. Quietly observe the animal from a distance using binoculars and don't hover so close that the wild parents are afraid to return to the area.

"If twenty four hours go by and the parent does not return, or the young animal appears sick and weak, it is possible the newborn was abandoned or the parent is dead (hit by a car, for example)," said Jenny Campbell, customer service expert with CPW. "Call our office and we will work with our volunteer transport teams to get animals to a certified wildlife rehabilitation center to get aid for the wildlife if possible. Don't move the animal yourself!"

Donna Ralph of the non-profit Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center agrees. "Many of the animals we get should have never been picked up in the first place," said Ralph. "They would have had a better chance for survival if left in the care of the parent animal."

"The sooner the animal can be released back to where it came from the better," she explained. "Make sure you provide your contact information so we can let it go in the same place you found it."

Ralph said her center has already taken in many small mammals this year including several fox kits. "Baby foxes don't look like most people would expect them to look like. They are very small, very dark (almost black) and appear to be very kitten like. People who find them think they might be baby raccoons, skunks, or something else."

Ralph's advice: Don't try to feed them. Don't put anything into their mouths. Contact the CPW, a veterinarian, or licensed wildlife rehabilitator to give these babies the care they need.

"Whatever you do, don't try to keep the animal as a pet," she said. "It is illegal to keep wild animals in captivity unless you are a licensed wildlife rehabilitator."

In addition to potential harm for wildlife, humans need to recognize the potential harm to them, as well. There can be risks associated with the handling of wildlife animals, including disease transmission of rabies, distemper or other illnesses. Wildlife can also carry fleas that might subsequently spread disease to humans or pets.

Finally, it is imperative for Coloradans to understand that it is illegal to own most wildlife in Colorado. People can avoid a great deal of heartache if they don't "adopt" the cute baby raccoon or skunk. Sadly, human-raised and hand-fed animals are rarely returned to the wild due to their lack of survival skills or imprint on humans. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators are trained to use methods that will give a wild animal the best chance of surviving upon release.



Jeff
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Repairs to Aspen Brook and Twin Sisters Trails In Rocky Mountain National Park

The Director of the Intermountain Region, National Park Service (NPS), recently signed a decision document that will enable Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) to conduct reroutes and repairs to the Aspen Brook and Twin Sisters trails that were damaged in the September 2013 flood.

Following the September 2013 flood, park staff prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate alternatives and the potential impacts associated with reestablishing five trails that were badly damaged during the flood: Twin Sisters, Aspen Brook, Alluvial Fan, Ypsilon Lake, and Lawn Lake. The purpose of the EA was to identify potential travel routes while protecting natural and cultural resources and preserving wilderness character. A decision to reroute and repair the Lawn Lake, Ypsilon Lake, and Alluvial Fan trails was previously made and a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) was signed for those three trails in June of 2016. Park staff deferred the decision on the reroutes and repairs to the Aspen Brook and Twin Sisters trails until 2017. A description of the selected action for the Aspen Brook and Twin Sisters trails follows.

Aspen Brook Trail - The trail will be rerouted and repaired. Abandoned sections of the existing trail (about 3,360 feet) will be stabilized and revegetated. This work is expected to take a number of years to complete. During the trail construction, some areas may be temporarily closed to hikers. This trail will remain closed to equestrian use for the duration of the project. A new trail extension to provide a connection to Spur Highway 66 outside the park is a second element of this decision and has additional requirements.

Twin Sisters Trail - The informal foot trails that have developed across the landslide (see photo) and south of the landslide will be retained and maintained to the extent practical. The informal foot trails will be incorporated into the regular trail maintenance program, and repairs and erosion-control measures to mitigate impacts will be implemented. Existing trail segments or informal routes that are redundant or obsolete will be stabilized and revegetated. The steep trail grade, limited width, and limited clearing limits of the informal foot trail on the south side of the landslide does not accommodate equestrian use; therefore, only pedestrian use will be allowed on the Twin Sisters Trail.

Once these Twin Sisters Trail repairs and erosion control measures are completed, the park will monitor trail conditions over time to determine if repairs are adequate and sustainable. If repairs are not sustainable, the park may seek funding to construct a trail reroute.



Jeff
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Monday, May 8, 2017

Backpacker Rescued From East Inlet Trail Area

At 8:30 p.m. Friday night, May 5th, park rangers were contacted via cell phone about an incident on the East Inlet Trail on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. A 19-year-old man from Tennessee and two friends were backpacking in the area. They were roughly 3.5 miles from the trailhead, scrambling over steep terrain, boulders and downed trees when a large boulder fell on the man’s leg. The man’s friends were able to free him from under the rock.

Search and Rescue Team members reached the man at approximately 11:30 p.m. A number of agencies assisted Rocky Mountain National Park on this incident including Grand County EMS, Grand Lake Fire Protection District, Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County Search and Rescue. The man was located in steep terrain, cliffed out on one side and steep scree on the other. Due to the terrain and darkness, the team of fifteen members stayed put through the night and provided advanced medical care to the injured man.

Because of the nature of the man’s leg injury and the location, park rangers requested assistance from the Colorado High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Program to assist in evacuating the man via a hoist operation, using a winch operated cable. This occurred at 8:15 a.m. this morning. The man was flown to Harbison Meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park where he was transported by ground ambulance to Middle Park Medical Center. Rescue team members are hiking out to the trailhead.



Jeff
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Friday, April 28, 2017

Recent Search And Rescue Incident Reminder Of Wintry Conditions At Rocky Mountain National Park

At 10:30 p.m. on Monday night, April 24, a man called for assistance near Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park via a very poor cell phone connection. He and his brother had become lost due to snow packed trails and darkness. Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members reached the pair at 1:00 a.m. It was snowing, the men were cold and wet and were unprepared to spend the night. This incident could have ended differently, if the two out of state visitors had not been fortunate to have cell phone coverage and a charged battery.

This incident serves as an important reminder that although it may be spring in other parts of the country and at lower elevations in Colorado, above 9,000 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park there is still considerable snow on trails and cold temperatures. Lakes are beginning to thaw and visitors may encounter weakened snow bridges over streams and bridges. The upcoming forecast calls for snow and freezing temperatures.

Carry the essentials when recreating in the wilderness in Rocky Mountain National Park no matter what season. These essentials include layers of clothing including storm gear, hat, gloves, lots of water and high-energy food, sturdy footwear and extra socks, topographic map and compass/GPS, flashlight or headlamp, waterproof matches, pocket knife, whistle, sunglasses with UV protection and sunscreen. Tell a friend where you are going and when you expect to be back. Cell phone coverage in Rocky Mountain National Park is limited and often batteries die in cold temperatures.

The park also reminds visitors to research trail conditions and the current weather forecast before you go into the backcountry.



Jeff
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Moraine Park Campground Closing For Most Of May For Water System Repairs -- Aspenglen Campground To Open Early

Moraine Park Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park will be closed at noon on Tuesday, May 2, and will reopen by Thursday, May 25, for a major water line system improvement project. Aspenglen Campground, which normally opens in late May, will open early, beginning May 1, to provide camping opportunities on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park.

The water line project is part of a larger phased project to improve and rehabilitate park potable water supply and distribution systems that were installed more than fifty years ago. The first segment of buried pipe to be replaced during this phase is the section within the campground. The improvements will cover the water system from the Moraine Park Campground to the intersection of Bear Lake and Moraine Park Roads, where last year's water line project ended. This overall project will include replacing thousands of feet of pipe, rehabilitating valves, improving its condition to greatly enhance its service life, insure greater reliability, reduce water loss, enhance fire protection and reduce operational maintenance costs.

Park visitors may experience minor traffic delays from May through October on the Moraine Park Road between the intersection with Bear Lake Road and Moraine Park Campground entrance area, as well as the intersection with Fern Lake Road. Work will take place Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Traffic delays should be less than fifteen minutes.



Jeff
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Volunteers Needed for Forest Visitor Center in Fort Collins

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking volunteers who are interested in natural resources and recreation to provide information to visitors at the Canyon Lakes Ranger District Office in Fort Collins.

Volunteers will answer phones and talk with people who visit the office interested in camping, hiking, hunting, four-wheel driving, ATVing, rafting and more. Volunteers will learn from seasoned employees and other volunteers who are dedicated to “caring for the land and serving people” throughout the Roosevelt National Forest.

The office needs volunteers to serve four to eight hours a week. If you would like more information or you would like to sign up, please contact Mary Bollinger at mcbollinger@fs.fed.us or call 970-295-6702.

Volunteers provide a great service to the Canyon Lakes Ranger District and these positions help enhance the overall visitor experience, while also helping instill appreciation for our wonderful public lands.



Jeff
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

First Day of Summer in Grand Teton National Park

I realize that we're still a few weeks away from the first day of summer. I'm just reusing the title that Finley Holiday Films used for their outstanding short film highlighting Grand Teton National Park. This excellent short video shows what this beautiful park looks like in June as the snow melts, and the wildflowers and wildlife begin to emerge from a long winter:



With more than 240 miles of trails meandering throughout the park, hiking is the absolute best way to see Grand Teton National Park. Fortunately the park offers a wide variety of outstanding day hikes. If you do plan to visit Grand Teton this year, please note that our hiking website also offers a variety of accommodation listings and other things to do to help with all your vacation planning.



Jeff
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Colorado National Monument Annouces Repairs to Rim Rock Drive

Colorado National Monument is partnering with the Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration to repair a section of Rim Rock Drive south of the Grand View Overlook. The project was awarded to GCS, LLC, a local Grand Junction company. The work includes repairs and stabilization to a bedrock culvert and the rock face below the roadway. Work will start at some point after April 3 and is expected to take about a month.

To create a safe and effective working environment for the employees, one lane of Rim Rock Drive will be closed Monday through Friday from 7am – 6pm during construction. Travelers can expect up to a 15 minute delay as flaggers move traffic through the area.

Grand View Overlook will be used to stage construction equipment and therefore closed to the public.

Spring 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 www.nps.gov/colm or call 970-858-3617, ext. 360. If you're looking for a great hike while in the area, check out the Monument Canyon Trail.



Jeff
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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Registration now open for Magnolia Trails Project implementation meeting

The first implementation meeting for the U.S. Forest Service’s Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Project will take place from 1-4 p.m. Friday, April 21. The public is welcome to attend. This interactive meeting will focus on:

* Beginning the teambuilding process;
* Setting goals and priorities for the first year of implementation; and,
* Developing smaller working groups.

The December 2016 Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Project Decision authorized a 44-mile, non-motorized trail system across about 6,000 acres branching out from the Peak to Peak Highway in areas known as East Magnolia and West Magnolia. The decision includes a variety of components, including building new trails, decommissioning user-created trails, rerouting trails, creating better regional trail connectivity, and improving trailheads and signage.

The decision also includes a collaborative approach to implementation. Input from user groups, landowners and other agencies will play a role in trail layout, design and construction, as well as monitoring and education. At the first meeting, attendees will have a chance to meet each other, discuss their interests and priorities, and sign up for the working groups to continue engaging in this collaborative effort.

“This meeting is an opportunity for people who want to roll up their sleeves and participate in this project to connect with each other and with us,” said Boulder Ranger District recreation program manager Matt Henry. “After years of planning, we’ve finally gotten to the fun part. There are a lot of great ideas and energy in the community, and we are looking forward to working with a wide variety of people who want to connect with the landscape through interests in trail design, monitoring wildlife, educating the public, or just putting a shovel in the dirt.”

The District is requesting that attendees register by March 31 so that it can book an appropriately sized room for the meeting. Registrants will be sent informational material and a questionnaire to be completed prior to the meeting.

Meeting attendees are asked to educate themselves about the project prior to the meeting by reading the Record of Decision on the project webpage www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/MagnoliaTrails. Regular project updates, photos and volunteer opportunities also will be posted to this webpage for those who are interested in staying informed on the project but don’t want to attend regular meetings.

In order to register, please email matthewhenry@fs.fed.us. Please include your full name and put Magnolia Trails RSVP in the subject line.



Jeff
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rocky Mountain Region invites public to help identify priority trail maintenance work

The Rocky Mountain Region is inviting the public to help identify trails that will be part of a U.S. Forest Service effort with partners and volunteers to increase the pace of trail maintenance.

Nationwide, the Forest Service will select nine to 15 priority areas among its nine regions where a backlog in trail maintenance contributes to reduced access, potential harm to natural resources or trail users and/or has the potential for increased future deferred maintenance costs.

The Rocky Mountain Region manages more than 19,500 miles of trails enjoyed by millions of users each year. In the Rocky Mountain Region, nearly 13,000 volunteers and partner groups contributed roughly 385,000 hours in maintenance and repair National Forest System trails last year.

“Connecting and working with forest visitors, volunteers and partners is an integral part of forest and grassland stewardship,” said Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Brian Ferebee. “Public feedback will determine where volunteers, partners and other innovative programs could be used to accomplish focused trail work, increase trail access, and provide a safer and enjoyable trails experience.”

The Rocky Mountain Region has until April 15 to submit at least three regional proposals to National Headquarters. Those proposals will be weighed against proposal submitted by other Forest Service regions.

The trail maintenance effort is outlined in the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act of 2016 and aims to increase trail maintenance by volunteers and partners by 100% by the end of 2021.

The selected sites will be part of the initial focus that will include a mosaic of areas with known trail maintenance needs that include areas near urban and remote areas, such as wilderness, are of varying sizes and trail lengths, are motorized and non-motorized, and those that incorporate a varied combination of partner and volunteer approaches and solutions.

The Forest Service manages more than 158,000 miles of trail – the largest trail system in the nation – providing motorized and non-motorized trail access across 154 national forests and grasslands. These Forest Service trails are well-loved and highly used with more than 84 million trail visits annually, helping to support mostly rural economies.

The Forest Service receives widespread support from tens of thousands of volunteers and partners each year who, in 2015, contributed nearly 1.4 million hours – a value of about $31.6 million – in maintenance and repair of nearly 30,000 miles of trails.

However, limited funding compounded by the rising cost of wildfire operations, has resulted in less than 25 percent of Forest Service trails meeting all of the agency’s standards for safety, quality recreation and economic and environmental sustainability. The remaining trails meet standard to varying degrees.

To provide ideas and suggestions on potential priority areas and approaches for incorporating increased trail maintenance assistance from partners and volunteers, please visit http://tinyurl.com/mjhw3c6, or contact your local Forest Service office, or Regional Trail Program Manager Scott Haas by April 7, 2017.



Jeff
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Missing Man’s Body Discovered In Longs Peak Area

Early yesterday morning, a search began for a 39-year-old man from Thornton, Colorado in the Longs Peak area. His body was discovered by Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members at noon, half way up The Loft.

The man was last seen at the top of The Loft at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 18th. He was winter mountaineering with two acquaintances when he reportedly decided to descend to return to the Longs Peak Trailhead. The three men had left the Longs Peak Trailhead Saturday at 2:30 a.m. with the intent to summit Longs Peak.

When the other two men arrived back at the Longs Peak Trailhead later in the day, the third man’s vehicle was still in the parking area. They contacted park rangers at 6:15 p.m. to report the third member of their party was overdue.

As is standard for all fatalities that occur in Rocky Mountain National Park, an investigation is ongoing. The man’s body was recovered by a long line helicopter operation at 6:30 p.m. and transferred to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. His name will be released when next of kin are notified.

Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue team members will reach the Longs Peak Trailhead later tonight.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Portions of Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests join local counties in fire restrictions

Due to a forecast of continuing dry and warm conditions, and in support of fire restrictions currently enacted in Clear Creek, Gilpin, Jefferson and Boulder counties, the Boulder and Clear Creek ranger districts of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests are enacting Stage 1 fire restrictions effective today. The Stage 1 fire restrictions limit where and what type of fires visitors can have and are in place until rescinded.

Within the fire restriction area, forest visitors cannot:

* Build or maintain a fire or use charcoal, coal, or wood stoves, except within a developed recreation site (e.g., campgrounds where fees are charged).

* Smoke, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter cleared of all flammable materials.

* Operate a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester properly installed and in effective working order, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher kept with the operator, and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.

* Weld or operate acetylene or other torch with open flame except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter and in possession of a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher.

* Use explosives, including fireworks.

* Discharge a firearm EXCEPT a person possessing a valid Colorado hunting license lawfully involved in hunting and harvesting game.

Violation of Stage 1 fire restrictions could result in a maximum fine of $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for more than six months, or both. If responsible for causing a wildfire, one could be held accountable for suppression costs of that fire.

To view the fire restriction orders and maps, go to www.fs.usda.gov/arp. They will be listed in the “Alerts and Notices” box on the right.

Fire Managers will continue to monitor conditions on the Forests and Grassland and the need for further fire restrictions.

Please note that many counties are also under fire restrictions; information is available at www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Friday, March 17, 2017

Avalanche Beacon Training Park At Rocky Mountain National Park

A new avalanche beacon training park is located at Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park. This avalanche beacon park opened in January, and is designed for backcountry enthusiasts to practice simulated avalanche searches using their own beacons/transceivers and probes. The wireless beacon training park has eight transmitters/targets and can be setup for single or multiple scenarios.

The beacon park is intended to be available for use through the winter months. It is a self-serve system, with directions for different scenarios located at the main control station. Users are back country enthusiasts who are familiar with avalanche rescue gear and techniques and the use of an avalanche beacon and probe.

In order to use the training park, visitors will need to bring their own avalanche beacon and probe. A shovel is recommended for winter backcountry travel but is not needed in the training park.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Record Visitation to America’s National Parks in 2016

The U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recently hailed 331 million recreation visits to America’s national parks in 2016 – a third consecutive all-time attendance record for the National Park Service. Zinke made the announcement during a stop at Glacier National Park where he met with Park Superintendent Jeff Mow to discuss the park’s maintenance backlog and received a traditional spiritual blessing from members of the Blackfeet Nation. In 2016, Glacier broke attendance records attracting nearly three million visitors.

“Our National Parks are our national treasures, and it’s important to recognize that they are more than just beautiful landscapes,” said Zinke. “Growing up near Glacier National Park, I understand the value these places bring to local economies and in preserving our heritage. As we enter into a second century of service and visitation numbers continue to increase, we will focus on maintenance backlogs and ensuring these special places are preserved for future generations.”

Half of all national park visitation was recorded in 26 parks, but visitation grew more than 10 percent in parks that see more modest annual visitation. Mike Reynolds, Acting Director of the National Park Service pointed out, “That shows the breadth of support for parks and, I think, that the Find Your Park campaign launched with the National Park Foundation reached new audiences.” The National Park Services’ centennial and Find Your Park initiative combined with other popular events, such as the Centennial BioBlitz and other national park anniversaries, good travel weather and programs such as “Every Kid in a Park” helped drive record visitation.

National Park System 2016 visitation highlights include:

• 330,971,689 recreation visits in 2016 – up 7.7 percent or 23.7 million visits over 2015.
• 1.4 billion hours spent by visitors in parks – up 7 percent or 93 million hours over 2015.
• 15,430,454Overnight stays in parks – up 2.5% over 2015.
• 2,543,221 National Park campground RV overnights – up 12.5 percent over 2015.
• 2,154,698 Backcountry overnights – up 6.7 percent over 2015.
• 3,858,162 National park campground tent overnights – up 4.8 percent over 2015.
• 10 million recreation visits at four parks – Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
• More than 5 million recreation visits at 12 parks (3% of reporting parks)
• 80 parks had more than 1 million recreation visits (21% of reporting parks)
• 382 of the 417 parks in the National Park system count visitors and 77 of those parks set a new record for annual recreation visits. This is about 20% of reporting parks.
• 4 parks were added to the statistics system and reported visitation for the first time. They added about 300,000 visits to the total: Belmont Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington, D.C., Keweenaw National Historical Park in Calumet Township, Mich., Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson, N.J.

While at Glacier, Zinke was joined by members of the Blackfeet Nation including Chairman Harry Barnes, Secretary Tyson Running Wolf, Timothy Davis, Carl Kipp, Nelse St. Goddard, and Robert DesRosier, who performed a traditional spiritual blessing.

“I’ve had the honor of working with the Blackfeet Nation for a number of years as a State Senator, Congressman, and now as Secretary of the Interior,” said Zinke. “The ceremony was very moving. I appreciate the blessing and know it will provide me with guidance and strength as I face the challenges ahead.”

Here are some additional highlights:


The Top 10 Visitation in National Parks

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 11,312,786
Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. – 5,969,811
Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 5,028,868
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colo. – 4,517,585
Zion National Park, Utah – 4,295,127
Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. – 4,257,177
Olympic National Park, , Wash. – 3,390,221
Acadia National Park, Maine – 3,303,393
Grand Teton National Park, Wyo. – 3,270,076
Glacier National Park, Mont. – 2,946,681


Top 10 Visitation - All Units in the National Park System:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, Calif. – 15,638,777
Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, N.C. – 15,175,578
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tenn. – 11,312,786
George Washington Memorial Parkway, McLean, Va. – 10,323,339
Gateway National Recreation Area, Staten Island, N.Y. – 8,651,770
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. – 7,915,934
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Boulder City, Nev. – 7,175,891
Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. – 5,969,811
Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo, Miss. – 5,891,315
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C. – 5,299,713

For an in depth look at 2016 visitation figures please visit the NPS Social Science website.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
HikingintheSmokys.com