Friday, August 31, 2018

Operations Begin On Forest Canyon And Mirror Fires In Rocky Mountain National Park

Initial attack operations started today on both the Forest Canyon Fire and the Mirror Fire. On the Forest Canyon Fire hand crews hiked down from Trail Ridge Road. Mitigation and containment efforts are concentrating on preventing fire spread and spotting downhill. The Forest Canyon Fire is burning below Trail Ridge Road between Rock Cut and Forest Canyon overlook, and is approximately 5 acres. Two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATS) dropped retardant on the Forest Canyon Fire this morning but it was ineffective due to the steep terrain and valleys. A Type 1 helicopter has been assigned to the fire and should be in the area this afternoon.

Trail Ridge Road remains open unless fire conditions change. Upper Beaver Meadows Road is closed due to aviation operations.

The Forest Canyon Fire is burning in mostly lodgepole pine forest, with 50 percent of the stand killed by recent insect infestations. This area of the Forest Canyon Fire has not burned in the last 800 years. Fire behavior is being driven by steep terrain and the amount of fuel. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. However, a thunderstorm with lightning moved through the Forest Canyon area yesterday afternoon.

The Mirror Fire continues to burn in the remote northern section of the park in spruce fir forest. The Mesa Verde National Park Helitack crew are assigned to this fire. Trail closures are in effect for the Mirror Lake Trail, from the junction with the Mummy Pass Trail northbound to Mirror Lake. The Comanche Peak trail is closed from the park boundary southbound to Mirror Lake. Wilderness campsite closures include the Mirror Lake site and the Koenig stock site, and reservations for these backcountry sites are canceled until further notice.

Assisting Rocky Mountain National Park fire staff include Mesa Verde National Park Helitack, Estes Valley Fire Protection District, Grand Lake Fire Protection District, Boulder County Fire, and Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest.


Two Small Fires Burning in Rocky Mountain National Park

Two small fires are burning inside Rocky Mountain National Park in remote locations. One fire has been confirmed burning near Mirror Lake in the northern section of the park. A second fire is burning in the Forest Canyon area below Trail Ridge Road between Rock Cut and Forest Canyon overlook. Trail Ridge Road remains open, unless fire conditions change. Upper Beaver Meadows Road will be closed, due to the potential of aviation operations tomorrow.

Aerial resources have flown the areas to determine best fire management tactics. The Mirror Fire is burning near treeline in mostly spruce fir forest. The Forest Canyon Fire is burning in lodgepole. The initial size up of the Mirror Fire is one/tenth of an acre. The Forest Canyon Fire is approximately 3 to 5 acres. Both fires have more than 50 percent of the forest stand killed by recent insect outbreaks.

Firefighters will hike into the Forest Canyon Fire this morning for initial attack using hand crews and available aviation assets. A small crew and helicopter from Mesa Verde National Park will help to begin suppressing the Mirror Fire tomorrow.

Trail closures are in place for the Mirror Lake Trail, from the junction with the Mummy Pass Trail northbound to Mirror Lake. The Comanche Peak trail is closed from the park boundary southbound to Mirror Lake. Wilderness campsite closures include the Mirror Lake site and the Koenig stock site. Reservations for these backcountry sites are canceled until further notice.

The cause of the fires have not yet been determined. However, a thunderstorm with lightning moved through the Forest Canyon area yesterday afternoon.


Rescue Effort Takes Place In Longs Peak Search Area

On Wednesday night Emma Long, 23, of Houston, Texas, was reported by a friend as overdue in the Longs Peak area. Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members incorporated search efforts in the Keyhole Route area for Long as well as Jens “Jay” Yambert, who was reported missing on Tuesday night.

These efforts were underway early yesterday morning when park visitors notified rangers that they were assisting a female who indicated she had fallen at some time in the preceding 24 hours above the Keyhole. Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue members arrived on scene at 9:30 a.m. Long suffered serious injuries from the fall. Search and Rescue team members and visitors moved her via litter to The Boulder Field where a Flight For Life air ambulance from Colorado Springs flew her at 11:10 a.m. to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver.

Search efforts have continued for Jens “Jay” Yambert. After hearing about the search for Yambert, park staff have heard from visitors who saw Yambert on Monday morning, August 27, along the Keyhole Route. Visitors indicated that the weather was poor with ice, sleet, rain, and strong winds. Park staff greatly appreciate information that visitors are providing. From visitor descriptions, Yambert was wearing a black raincoat, gray shorts with high black socks, yellow gloves, sandals and a blue/gray backpack. He was carrying trekking poles.

Park rangers would like to hear from anyone who has been in the Longs Peak or Mount Meeker area since Sunday, August 26, particularly on the Keyhole Route, Keplinger’s Couloir, The Loft, Chasm Lake, Clark’s Arrow and the Roaring Fork area. Please call (970) 586-1204.


Volunteers Needed for Young Gulch Trail Work

Restoration work is continuing on the Young Gulch Trail in the Poudre Canyon that was badly damaged by the 2013 Flood. Progress has been slow and steady by volunteers and Forest Service employees with plans to open the trail sometime in 2019.

There is still a little more than a mile of trail to build and about two miles that need finish work. The Wildlands Restoration Volunteers will be hosting a volunteer day on September 1 and 2, 2018. Details about the project as well as the sign-up, is available on Wildlands Restoration Volunteer’s website at

This event is a great way to learn how trails are built and to help protect and conserve your National Forest resource. The Forest Service greatly appreciates all the volunteer support that has taken place so far on this very popular trail.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Search In Longs Peak Area For Overdue Man

On Tuesday night, August 28, Rocky Mountain National Park rangers were notified by a family member that Jens “Jay” Yambert, 60, of Urbana, Illinois, was overdue. Yambert is believed to have started from the Longs Peak Trailhead at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 26. His rental car was found at the trailhead last night after park staff were notified by his family that he was overdue. It is unknown what Yambert’s planned destination or route was. One possible route may have been Clark’s Arrow to the summit of Longs Peak.

Yesterday morning members of Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue team began searching the Longs Peak area including Clark’s Arrow, the Boulder Field, North Face, Lamb’s Slide and Peacock Pool. Aerial surveillance also occurred with assistance from Northern Colorado Helitack.

Yambert was possibly wearing a black raincoat, khaki pants and hat, sandals and a blue/grey back pack. He may also be using trekking poles.

Park rangers would like to hear from anyone who has been in the Longs Peak or Mount Meeker area since Sunday, August 26. Especially those who noticed abandoned gear or other clues. Please call (970) 586-1204.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

USDA Forest Service Announces New Strategy for Improving Forest Conditions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) recently announced a new strategy for managing catastrophic wildfires and the impacts of invasive species, drought, and insect and disease epidemics.

Specifically, a new report titled Toward Shared Stewardship across Landscapes: An Outcome-based investment Strategy outlines the USFS’s plans to work more closely with states to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments in areas with the highest payoffs.

“On my trip to California this week, I saw the devastation that these unprecedented wildfires are having on our neighbors, friends and families,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We commit to work more closely with the states to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires. We commit to strengthening the stewardship of public and private lands. This report outlines our strategy and intent to help one another prevent wildfire from reaching this level.”

Both federal and private managers of forest land face a range of urgent challenges, among them catastrophic wildfires, invasive species, degraded watersheds, and epidemics of forest insects and disease. The conditions fueling these circumstances are not improving. Of particular concern are longer fire seasons, the rising size and severity of wildfires, and the expanding risk to communities, natural resources, and firefighters.

“The challenges before us require a new approach,” said Interim USFS Chief Vicki Christiansen. “This year Congress has given us new opportunities to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with state leaders to identify land management priorities that include mitigating wildfire risks. We will use all the tools available to us to reduce hazardous fuels, including mechanical treatments, prescribed fire, and unplanned fire in the right place at the right time, to mitigate them.”

A key component of the new strategy is to prioritize investment decisions on forest treatments in direct coordination with states using the most advanced science tools. This allows the USFS to increase the scope and scale of critical forest treatments that protect communities and create resilient forests.

The USFS will also build upon the authorities created by the 2018 Omnibus Bill, including new categorical exclusions for land treatments to improve forest conditions, new road maintenance authorities, and longer stewardship contracting in strategic areas. The agency will continue streamlining its internal processes to make environmental analysis more efficient and timber sale contracts more flexible.

The Omnibus Bill also includes a long-term “fire funding fix,” starting in FY 2020, that will stop the rise of the 10-year average cost of fighting wildland fire and reduce the likelihood of the disruptive practice of transferring funds from Forest Service non-fire programs to cover firefighting costs. The product of more than a decade of hard work, this bipartisan solution will ultimately stabilize the agency’s operating environment.

Finally, because rising rates of firefighter fatalities in recent decades have shifted the USFS’s approach to fire response, the report emphasizes the agency’s commitment to a risk-based response to wildfire.

The complete strategy is available at Photographs of the event are available at:


Monday, August 20, 2018

Rocky Mountain Region Begins Hiring for 2019 Field Season

The Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service recently announced the availability of over 900 temporary jobs for the 2019 field season throughout national forests and grasslands in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Temporary jobs are available in a variety of exciting and rewarding occupations such as fire, trails, forestry, engineering, wildlife, recreation, fisheries, archaeology and administrative support.

Job seekers can apply for temporary jobs through USAJOBS during these time frames:

* September 14 – October 12, 2018: Wildland fire jobs and other early season temporary jobs

* September 14 – September 28, 2018: Recreation, fisheries, forestry, engineering, and other jobs

For more information, please click here.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mountain Lion Enters Home in Boulder

Boulder Police Department and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers were dispatched last Thursday evening to the 400 block of Marine Street for a report of a mountain lion inside a home.

Boulder Police arrived on scene at 10:40 p.m. to the unoccupied residence and found that the mountain lion had entered the house through a screen door to get a cat that was inside.

When the CPW wildlife officer arrived at 11:30 p.m., they decided the best way to get the mountain lion out of the house was to use non-lethal bean-bag rounds to fire at it in an attempt to chase it out the front door. Officers were successful in getting the mountain lion out of the house. Officers saw the lion run up the street and believed it went up into the foothills near the Boulder Canyon vicinity.

CPW wildlife officers maintained an enhanced presence in the area on Friday and over the weekend to make sure the mountain lion didn' return.

If you have an encounter with a lion, immediately contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Before or after these hours, contact Colorado State Patrol or your local Sheriff’s office.

To report a sighting, please contact your local area office or the Northeast Region CPW Office (Denver): (303) 291-7227


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sen. Bennet Introduces Protections for San Juan Mountains

Although this news is several months old I just found out about this piece of legislation, known as the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, and fully support it, as some trails in the San Juan Mountains are being overrun and need further protection:

Earlier this year, in April, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet introduced the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act to protect approximately 61,000 acres of land located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado. The bill would designate some of the state’s most iconic peaks as wilderness areas, including two fourteeners: Mount Sneffels and Wilson Peak.

“We must do our part in Washington to push this bill across the finish line,” Bennet said. “Not only are these iconic landscapes vital to outdoor recreation and local economies, but they also stand as a symbol of our public lands legacy in Colorado—a legacy we must pass onto our kids and grandkids. I’m grateful to all of the county commissioners and leaders who have tirelessly worked to advance this effort for over a decade, and I’m particularly grateful to Commissioner Hilary Cooper, who has played an instrumental role in shaping the legislation we introduced today.”

This legislation is the result of years of collaboration among San Miguel, San Juan, and Ouray Counties. Originally introduced in 2009, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act passed the House Natural Resources Committee unanimously in 2010 and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in 2013.

Since 2009, Bennet has worked closely with local leaders in Southwest Colorado to update and advance the bill in the Senate. In March of this year he joined supporters in Ouray County to renew their efforts to pass the legislation. Bennet looks forward to engaging with all stakeholders and interested parties to hear any additional input on the legislation.

In addition to the expansion and designation of new wilderness areas, the legislation would create the Sheep Mountain Special Management Area, which would provide special protection for the Ice Lakes Basin.

For more information, please click here for a map of the areas impacted, and click here for the text of the bill.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Proposed Campground Fee Increase in Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument is requesting public comment on a proposal to increase the daily fee for overnight stays at Saddlehorn Campground. The current fee is $20.00 per night. The proposed increase will be $22.00 per night. Holders of the America the Beautiful Access and Senior Lifetime passes would continue to receive 50% off the per night campground fee.

The campground fee was last raised in 2011. Since then the administrative costs associated with the campground, including the National Recreation Reservation System service charges have gone up. “We are committed to keeping the park affordable, but we also want to provide visitors with the best possible experience,” said Colorado National Monument Superintendent Ken Mabery. “The money from camping fees is used to fund projects benefiting the park visitor’s experience.”

To comment on the proposed campground fee increase, please provide your comments between August 15 and September 15, 2018 online at or through the mail to:

Colorado National Monument
Attention: Chief Ranger
1750 Rim Rock Drive
Fruita, CO 81521.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Reward for killing of two mountain goats on Quandary Peak increased to $15,000

Thanks to donations, Colorado Operation Game Thief is increasing the reward offer from $5,000 to $15,000 for information leading to an arrest or citation in the case of two mountain goats that were shot and found dead on July 3, approximately 2.8 miles up the Quandary Peak Trail.

Anyone with any information can call or email Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648 (1-877-COLO-OGT) or to report any information. Callers or emailers may remain anonymous if they choose.

For more information on Colorado Parks and Wildlife regulations or stopping poachers, please visit


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Celebrate The Night Sky At Rocky Mountain National Park

America's national parks contain many cherished treasures. Among them are captivating natural sounds and awe-inspiring night skies. Seeing the Milky Way or a particular constellation can be inspirational for park visitors. In Rocky Mountain National Park, as in other parks, natural darkness of starry skies is an important resource of this special place. Rocky Mountain National Park invites you to celebrate darkness!

Tonight, August 4th, at 9 p.m. join park staff on the west side of the park for a Celestial Wilderness Night Sky Program at Harbison Meadows

Enjoy the Perseid meteor shower by attending our Night Sky Festival August 10, 11, and 12. During this 3-day event, special night sky programs and speakers will be offered at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, Upper Beaver Meadows, Moraine Park Campground, Glacier Basin Campground, Harbison Meadow, and Timber Creek Campground. Solar viewing, family activities, and information booths. NASA scientists will be available at Moraine Park Discovery Center August 10, 11 and 12, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Stop by Kawuneeche Visitor Center during the three days from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. to learn more about meteors.

Check the park website or visitor centers for the schedule of events at:


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Recovery Efforts Completed For Brian Perri

Brian Perri’s body was recovered yesterday morning by helicopter from Rocky Mountain National Park. His body was transferred to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. Boulder County Coroner’s office will not release positive identification until completion of an autopsy. However, it is believed that the body is that of Brian Perri, 38, of Fort Collins, Colorado.

On Saturday afternoon, July, 28, 2018, a ranger was responding to a SPOT device activation from a visitor recreating in the area. While looking for the source of the SPOT activation, the ranger came upon Perri’s body. Perri was located southwest (not northwest which was originally listed in a previous news release) of the summit of Mount Meeker in steep terrain. Mount Meeker (13,911 feet) is the second highest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Perri took an approximate 25 to 40 foot tumbling fall and appears to have died instantly. He was located downhill and southwest of the Mount Meeker summit photo that he texted to a friend on June 30. He was found above tree line at the base of a steep, nearly vertical drop off, consisting of large boulders, loose rock and talus scree slope.

Searchers, including ground teams, a dog team and helicopter aerial operations were in the vicinity of where Perri’s body was located. Unfortunately, the steep terrain, angle, sheer size of the rocks and boulders as well as the coloring of his tan and green clothing made it extremely difficult to see him.

Late Thursday July 5, 2018, park rangers were notified by Fort Collins Police that Brian Joseph Perri, 38, of Fort Collins, Colorado, had been reported as missing. Perri was last known in the Mount Meeker area of Rocky Mountain National Park. On June 30, Perri texted a friend a photograph of himself from the summit of Mount Meeker. After rangers were notified of the missing man on July 5, six days after he was expected back, they located Perri’s car in the parking lot at the Sandbeach Lake Trailhead. Perri was day hiking and was expected out on Saturday, June 30.

Extensive search efforts began the evening of Thursday, July 5, and encompassed significant sections of 22.5 square miles above tree line as well as forested areas. The majority of the search area was in rugged and remote terrain with loose rock, steep ridges, and exposed cliffs, on ridge lines and couloirs. The area was searched by helicopters, ground searchers, dog teams, and UAS reconnaissance. Assisting Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue members has been Larimer County Search and Rescue members and dog teams, Rocky Mountain Rescue based in Boulder County, Fort Collins Police, Northern Colorado Helitack, Colorado State University Police Department, Front Range Rescue Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States(SARDUS) and Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado (SARDOC), Flight For Life Air Ambulance and Colorado Search and Rescue Board members.

Boulder County Coroner’s Office will determine the cause and date of death.

The visitor who activated the SPOT device was located Saturday evening, July 28, by other rangers in the Keplinger Couloir area with a lower leg injury. Rangers remained with the man overnight. On Sunday morning, July 29, the hiker was taken by Flight For Life Air Ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center where he was treated and released that morning.