Friday, July 28, 2017

Bear activity in backcountry increasing, campers urged to use care with food storage

Because of a recent significant increase in reports of bear activity in and around dispersed and backcountry camp sites in the Boulder Ranger District, forest officials are urging backpackers and others venturing off road to use bear wise camping techniques, including the use of portable bear resistant canisters for food and toiletries.

Bev Baker, Wildlife Biologist for the Boulder Ranger District said, “Bear encounters have been reported recently in dispersed camping areas across the District, and now more so in the backcountry. If a bear approaches your campsite, try to scare it away by making loud noises, such as banging pans together, or keep a whistle or air horn handy. Known bear attractants include food, drinks, trash, toiletries and pet food - please store them properly to help keep you safe and bears alive.” By keeping a bear-wise site, campers will reduce the risk of drawing bears into their campsites and becoming habituated on human food sources. A habituated bear is a problem bear.

All visitors are asked to report bear activity within the Boulder Ranger District as soon as possible by calling the bear activity reporting number at Colorado Parks and Wildlife: (970) 472-4462. For emergencies requiring immediate response please call 911. For information about recreating in bear country, please visit


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What is it about moose? Find out during the Eighth Annual Grand Mesa Moose Day celebration

Colorado's abundant and varied wildlife is one of the best things about living in the state, but no animal gets the public's attention more than moose. To celebrate the state's largest, most charismatic species, CPW will host the Eighth Annual Grand Mesa Moose Day, July 29 at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center atop the Grand Mesa.

With the Grand Mesa moose population estimated at over 400 and statewide numbers exceeding 3,000, CPW says now's the time to learn about the giant ungulates, including where they live, what they like to eat, how they are managed and most importantly, how to watch them safely.

"Colorado has healthy and growing moose populations, including our local population on the Grand Mesa," said CPW's Northwest Region Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero. "They really are fascinating animals and many people have a tremendous interest in seeing them and learning more about them. One of the most important things you can do if you love moose, and all wildlife, is learn all you can about them. Moose are extraordinary animals. The more you know, the more interesting and enjoyable the species becomes."

State wildlife managers first brought moose to Colorado's North Park area in 1978, followed by several additional transplant projects over the next 30 years. The Grand Mesa relocation effort began in 2005, concluding two-years later after wildlife managers transplanted a total of 91 moose from Utah and existing herds in Colorado. The phenomenal growth in their population makes the transplant project one of the most successful wildlife management efforts in the state, and the country.

"We've held this event for eight years now, and interest is still very high," said Romero. "Kids especially have a great time with the various activities, including a scavenger hunt, guided hikes and a variety of arts and crafts, all to celebrate moose."

Romero adds other activities for kids and adults include presentations about moose biology and how biologists transplant, collar and track moose. In addition, kids can hike with a wildlife officer and try their hand at wildlife tracking using radio telemetry. There will also be a fly casting lesson taught by CPW staff and personnel from Cabela’s.

This year, the U.S. Forest Service is offering a new way to learn with the unveiling of their 'Agents of Discovery' application on July 29. Similar to the popular Pokemon Go, the new app is an interactive, location-based reality game, giving kids an electronic alternative to learn about wildlife habitat on the Grand Mesa.

Forest Service personnel will be on hand to explain the app, teach everyone how to use it and take users on a guided hike around Cobbett Lake. There are 15 challenger questions on this trail and will be 15 along Island Lake Trail. After successfully navigating all of the various stops, players can redeem a Smokey Bear bandana at the visitor center.

Grand Mesa Moose Day partners include Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, The Moose 92.3, Cabela's and the Grand Mesa Scenic & Historic Byway.

Take Highway 65 from Interstate 70 by Plateau Creek or drive up Highway 50 from nearby Delta and follow it up to the U.S. Forest Visitor's Center.

Anyone heading to the event is reminded to be attentive as it is increasingly likely to catch a glimpse of a moose.

•What: Grand Mesa Moose Day
•When: Saturday, July 29, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
•Where: U.S. Forest Visitor's Center - 20090 Baron Lake Drive, Hwy 65 - Top of the Grand Mesa


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.


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: Look for “Fall River Entrance Improvements.”

Comments may also be sent to the following mailing address:

Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, CO 80517

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

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


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


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: and work with your neighbors in bear country to remove attractants, manage trash, and discourage bears from getting too comfortable near humans.


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.


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.


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


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.