Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Brainard Lake Road Closures Thru July 2018

The Brainard Lake Road between the Peak-to-Peak Highway (SH 72) and the Brainard Gateway Trailhead parking area will be closed on certain days to all public uses during reconstruction from November 2017 through July 2018. Closure dates will be updated on www.brainardroad.com along with re-openings, whenever new information becomes available.



Jeff
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

National Parks Commemorate Veterans Day

The National Park Service will commemorate Veterans Day and the service of American military members past and present with special events and free admission in parks throughout the country on November 11 and 12. The National Park Service’s American Military website contains a list of events as well as other military-related outreach and information.

“More than 100 national parks have direct connections to American military history, including frontier forts and Cold War sites, battlefields and national cemeteries, memorials and patriotic shrines, “ said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds. “These special places pay tribute to our veterans and serve as reminders of their selfless service and sacrifice throughout the history of our nation.”

From the colonial Minutemen who stood in defense of their rights, homes, and families near the North Bridge to modern warriors gathered for a reenlistment ceremony at the Statue of Liberty, the history of the National Park Service is interwoven with that of the United States military. In fact, each plays a part in the origin story of the other. The U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Navy were established by the Founding Fathers in buildings preserved in Independence National Historical Park. And, in 1886, the 1st U.S. Cavalry was dispatched to Yellowstone to stop the vandalism, poaching, and trespassing that threatened the world’s first national park. The military continued to oversee several of the country’s earliest national parks until the National Park Service was established in 1916.

During World War II, Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Denali, Hot Springs, and Carlsbad Caverns national parks hosted rest and rehabilitation camps for service members. This tradition of providing veterans and active duty military members with opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and camaraderie in the great outdoors continues today and includes partnerships with many service-related organizations. From high-adrenaline outdoor activities to peaceful experiences in the wilderness, national parks provide a variety of opportunities to enhance physical, social, mental, and spiritual fitness. Many parks are popular destinations for active adventures like hiking, climbing, cycling, swimming, and scuba diving, while others are known for more tranquil activities such as camping, fishing, wildlife watching, and observing the night sky.

The National Park Service also salutes its employees and volunteers who have served in the military. Their skills provide a wealth of benefits to national parks and park visitors. To name just a few of the career fields they fill in the National Park Service, veterans are accountants, archeologists, heavy equipment operators, historians, human resources specialists, law enforcement officers, mechanics, park managers, pilots, and wildlife biologists. The 5,813 employees who are veterans comprise 28 percent of the workforce. Park Ranger James Pierce, a combat-wounded veteran who now works at the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said, “I am very proud to be part of the National Park Service where I can continue to serve and give back to my country, just in a different uniform. Working at national memorials that are dedicated to those who have fought and died for our freedom means everything to me."

In addition to special programs in parks across the country, all national parks will provide free admission to everyone on November 11 and 12. When in a park, active duty members of the military and their dependents can pick up a free annual pass to all national parks. Veterans with a permanent disability are eligible for a free lifetime pass. The passes provide free entrance to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other federal recreational areas. The passes can be acquired at any national park that usually charges an admission fee.



Jeff
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Night Sky Program at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Activities Planned at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in November:

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is open year round. During November, the Monument is open every day of the week from 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM. Here are some of the activities taking place this month:

Fee Free Weekend, Saturday/Sunday November 11-12, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM. In honor of Veterans Day, entrance fees at all 417 national park areas will be waived for the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, November 11 – 12. Florissant Fossil Beds offers a beautiful landscape and historical features where you can reflect on the public lands, history, and stories that make up our national heritage.

Friday, November 17, Night Sky Program, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM. Join park staff and members of the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society to gaze at the dark skies above Florissant Fossil Beds in search of planets, galaxies, nebulas, and more. Meet at the Visitor Center.

There are no additional fees for any park programs beyond the daily entrance fee. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument offers 15 miles of beautiful, yet lesser known, hiking trails to explore, a free Junior Ranger Program, two short self-guided trails, a park video and museum exhibits, and bookstore. For additional information, please call (719) 748-3253 or visit the park website: www.nps.gov/fl



Jeff
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Free Admission on Veterans Day Weekend in Colorado National Monument

To honor veterans who have served our country, Colorado National Monument will offer free entrance to all visitors on November 11 and 12, 2017 in honor of Veterans Day.

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

The National Park Service (NPS) is waiving entrance fees at all sites on November 11 and 12. To learn more about the many NPS sites commemorating America's military conflicts and honoring those who served, visit www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/military-remember.htm

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

For additional information please visit www.nps.gov/colm or call 970-858-3617, ext. 360.



Jeff
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Monday, November 6, 2017

Canyon Lakes Recruiting Cameron Pass Nordic Rangers for 2017/2018 Season

The Canyon Lakes Ranger District is looking for volunteers to ski or snowshoe this winter in the busy Cameron Pass area, where 32 miles of trail can see over 300 skiers a day on a weekend.

Volunteers ski or snowshoe “with a purpose,” helping the Forest Service educate winter visitors and provide winter use statistics. To volunteer, participants take part in a minimum of four days patrolling and attend Forest Service-provided training. The kick-off meeting is Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at 2150 Centre Ave., Building E, in Fort Collins. The required classroom training is Nov. 29, 6-9 p.m. and the required field training is Dec. 2 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, call Kristy Wumkes at 970-295-6721 or email kwumkes@fs.fed.us.

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

The Cameron Pass Nordic Ranger program began in 1992. Volunteers assist the Forest Service by skiing or snowshoeing area trails to provide safety, trail, and low-impact backcountry use information to winter enthusiasts; help maintain area ski trails and trailheads for safety; and gather visitor use information to aid in Forest Service planning. Some of the Nordic rangers work as a winter trail crew to help keep the trails cleared of downed trees and limbs, install signs, and shovel paths to the restrooms. Last year, 90 enthusiastic winter recreationists volunteered!

This popular area includes trails that border Highway 14 between Chambers Lake and Cameron Pass. The area receives enough snow to ski before many others and snow often remains after other areas have lost their snow cover. For this reason, the number of winter recreationists at Cameron Pass continues to grow. Many of the trails are in the Rawah and Neota Wilderness areas, where routes can be challenging. Backcountry skiing also includes risks inherent with winter conditions in the mountains, including extreme cold. These are some of the key reasons volunteers in the area are so valuable to its many users, especially those with little winter sports experience.



Jeff
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Friday, November 3, 2017

Climber Injured This Past Sunday On Martha’s Couloir Route On Mount Lady Washington

On Sunday, October 29, at approximately 11 a.m. Megan Kies, 31, from Lafayette, Colorado, was climbing the Martha's Couloir route on Mount Lady Washington in Rocky Mountain National Park, when she was struck by a rock that was dislodged above her. Climbers in the area notified park staff via cell phone of the incident. She received multiple life threatening injuries.

Kies’ climbing partner and two additional climbers in the area provided aid to Kies. She was roped in when the incident happened and they were able to lower her. An additional bystander provided updated information on her condition and location to park staff.

Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue Team members arrived on scene at 2 p.m. and provided Advanced Life Support care and placed Kies in a litter. With the assistance of bystanders, rescuers lowered her approximately 240 feet to the base of the climb. From there, they lowered her an additional 100 feet to a location on the scree slope above Chasm Lake.

Due to her location and severity of injuries, park rangers requested assistance from a Colorado National Guard helicopter to extricate her via a hoist operation, using a winch operated cable. This occurred at 5:20 p.m. A pre-staged Flight for Life air ambulance was landed in Chasm Meadow and received the patient from the National Guard helicopter. She was then flown from Chasm Meadow to St. Anthony's in Denver in critical condition. Rocky Mountain Rescue also assisted Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue Team with this incident.

Martha's Couloir is a popular mixed rock, snow and ice climb in the Chasm Cirque.



Jeff
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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Rim Rock Marathon Runs Through Colorado National Monument

Possibly one of the most scenic marathons in the country, winding through geologic canyons and formations for which this area was preserved, the Rim Rock Marathon will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2017 in Colorado National Monument. This activity is under the authority of a special use permit issued to Colorado Mesa University (CMU). Proceeds from the event benefit the CMU Track & Cross Country scholarship program.

The event will start at 8:00 a.m. east of the intersection of South Camp Road and Monument Road, 0.8 miles outside the monument’s east entrance. Runners will enter the monument through the Grand Junction entrance and exit at the Fruita (west) entrance. The finish will be in downtown Fruita.

Rim Rock Drive will be open during the hours of the marathon, 8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., with limitations to provide for the safety of the 500 expected runners and other road users such as motorists and bicyclists:

• The eastbound Rim Rock Drive traffic lane will remain open. East bound traffic exiting the monument through the Grand Junction entrance may experience a delay of approximately 20 minutes starting about 7:45 a.m.

• The westbound traffic lane will closed to vehicle and bicycle traffic during the event. The westbound lane will be reserved for marathon runners. As the marathon progresses, the westbound lane will reopen for vehicle use by stages starting from the eastside.

• All facilities will remain open to the public including all scenic overlooks. Although, there will be limited access to the trail head parking areas near the east entrance from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., the trails will remain open to hikers.

Traffic to/from Glade Park:

• Grand Junction to Glade Park traffic should plan to use Little Park Road between the hours of 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. This alternative is paved and only slightly longer.

• Glade Park to Grand Junction can use either Little Park Road or Rim Rock Drive eastbound. Traffic traveling eastbound on Rim Rock Drive and exiting the monument through the Grand Junction entrance may encounter a delay during the start of the marathon at about 8:00am.

• Two-way travel along Rim Rock Drive between the Grand Junction entrance and the Glade park turnoff (DS Road) will be restored at approximately 9:30 a.m.

Returning this year is the half marathon which will start at the Highland Overlook at 9:00am. The 300 athletes participating in the half marathon will be bussed to the overlook. Parking will not be available to spectators and visitors until after the marathon runners have passed this point. Due to limited parking throughout the monument and the one-way traffic, spectators are encouraged cheer the all the athletes on at the finish line in Fruita.

For additional information regarding the Rim Rock Marathon, please visit www.rimrockmarathon.com.

Fall hours are now in effect at Colorado National Monument. The visitor center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. For additional information please visit www.nps.gov/colm or call 970-858-3617, ext. 360.



Jeff
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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Some Elk Herds Show Early Signs of Adapting to Chronic Wasting Disease

New research shows that elk herds infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD) for decades are genetically different than herds that haven’t been exposed to the fatal disease. It all comes down to a specific gene and a relatively rare variant of a protein. Elk herds with a long history of CWD have the rare version of the protein at twice the frequency when compared to herds that do not have CWD.

This protein is important because previous studies on elk in captivity found that elk with the rare version of the protein can survive longer after contracting CWD, which may also allow them more time to reproduce. Elk with the more common version of this prion protein may only live two years or less before succumbing to the disease.

How this single, genetic difference might affect other aspects of health and fitness in herds remains to be seen. For example, carrying this rare version of the protein may have other unknown harmful effects on elk, and other factors, such as new strains of CWD, may also affect the influence of the rare protein on elk herds with CWD. It is important to note, too, that most elk studied do not have the rare variant of the protein. This suggests that wildlife managers should continue to take a cautious approach and adopt strategies that minimize the spread of CWD.

“One of the most important conclusions from this study is that we cannot assume this genetic adaptation will prevent the impacts of CWD on elk. We must continue to evaluate and, where necessary, adjust how we manage elk populations that are or could be exposed to this disease,” says Dr. Ryan Monello, lead author of the paper Pathogen-mediated selection in free-ranging elk populations infected by chronic wasting disease.

To see if wild herds are adapting to CWD, biologists from the National Park Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, USDA Agricultural Research Service, and Washington State University collected and analyzed more than 1,000 samples from elk populations in Colorado, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Some of the herds had been infected with CWD for 30-50 years, while others had never been exposed to CWD.

“CWD remains a major concern for the health of wild deer and elk populations and now occurs in more than 20 states and provinces in North America. These findings are critical for establishing a baseline in our study populations and understanding how elk populations may or may not be able to respond to CWD going forward,” Dr. Monello says.

This research was published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Oct. 30, 2017. Read the full paper here.



Jeff
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