Friday, July 19, 2019

Dozens take grueling hike to deliver 4,600 Boreal toad tadpoles to alpine wetland

As temperatures climbed under a blistering sun, about 35 Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologists, staff and volunteers headed up a steep mountain trail last week, each loaded with large bags of water filled with 200 or so squirming, black Boreal toad tadpoles.

In all, the hikers hauled 4,600 tadpoles up to an alpine wetland on Brown’s Creek at 9,780 feet, beneath the snow-tipped reaches of Mount White.

The grueling six-mile roundtrip by the team was part of an effort by CPW, led by Paul Foutz, CPW native aquatic species biologist and Boreal toad specialist, to restore the state-endangered toad, whose numbers have been crashing due to a deadly skin fungus.

At the picturesque wetland, the hikers were greeted by University of Colorado PhD candidate Tim Korpita, who had set up a laboratory on the edge of the water. Korpita and several graduate students took possession of the bags of tadpoles and separated the black, squirming amphibians based on how far developed each was toward metamorphosis into full-grown toadlets.

After placing the tadpoles in tubs in the water, the team of scientists began preparing an experimental probiotic bath they’ve dubbed “Purple Rain” due to its purplish hue. They use bacteria native to the local biological community and naturally found on toads to increase the abundance of protective bacteria during a vulnerable life stage of the toads. Scientists hope the fungus-fighting bacteria will be absorbed into the amphibian skin and protect the toads.

After hours of swabbing and mixing, the Purple Rain solution was suctioned from dozens of Petri dishes, collected in a large bottle and then carefully poured into the tubs full of tadpoles.

Then the scientists waited. The tadpoles needed to be bathed in the solution for 24 hours before they could be released into the wetlands, an historic Boreal toad breeding site that is now absent of toads.

“This is a potential game-changer for Boreal toads and amphibians worldwide,” Foutz said as he prepared to release a tub of tadpoles, which had sleek, black heads, long, translucent tails and tiny little legs. “It’s critical we find a cure to this deadly skin fungus that is killing our amphibians.”

The release of tadpoles went on for several days and marks the first large-scale field application of Korpita’s CPW-funded research in the McKenzie Lab at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Korpita and Dr. Valerie McKenzie and their research team have spent three years investigating the use of bacterial treatments to armor Boreal toads against the skin fungus. In their lab, Korpita and McKenzie increased toad survival by 40 percent after bathing the toads in the probiotic treatment.

The CPW staff and CU researchers will continue to monitor the tadpole’s development and metamorphosis this season. Next July they hope to find yearling toads returning to the wetland, where they will resurvey toads and check for the continued presence of the Purple Rain solution.



Jeff
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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hiker Rescued in Andrews Glacier Area of Rocky Mountain National Park

Yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, July 16, park rangers were notified that a 19-year-old female from Webster Groves, Missouri had taken an 80 foot sliding fall on steep snow covered terrain in the upper Andrews Creek area, landing in rocks. She received numerous injuries and was suffering from hypothermia when Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members reached her at approximately 3:30 p.m. They provided advanced medical care.

Due to her location and injuries, Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members requested assistance from a Colorado National Guard helicopter from Buckley Air Force Base to extricate her via a hoist operation, using a winch operated cable. This occurred at approximately 8 p.m. Rocky Mountain Rescue Group of Boulder County assisted with the helicopter hoist operations. The woman was flown to Upper Beaver Meadows and was transferred by ambulance to the emergency room at Estes Park Health.



Jeff
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Wild Basin Road Will Be Closed To All Uses Wednesday, July 24

From 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, the Wild Basin Road in Rocky Mountain National Park will be closed to all uses, including vehicles and pedestrians. This closure will occur at the Wild Basin Entrance station and will include the entire two-mile section of the road to the Wild Basin Trailhead. Rocky Mountain National Park’s road crew will be spreading gravel and grading the road to eliminate ruts and potholes as well as improving drainage. Due to the road being closed to all uses, visitors should avoid this area of Rocky Mountain National Park on Wednesday, July 24.

The closure will impact several hikes originating from the Sandbeach Lake Trailhead, Finch Lake Trailhead and the Wild Basin Trailhead.

The Wild Basin Road is a narrow, historic dirt road. Park staff restrict vehicle access in the Wild Basin area when parking areas fill and heavy congestion warrants. This occurs most weekends in the summer.



Jeff
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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

US Forest Service Proposes Bold Moves to Improve Forest, Grassland Management

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) released proposed changes to modernize how the agency complies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposed updates would not only give the Forest Service the tools and flexibility to manage the land and tackle critical challenges like wildfire, insects, and disease but also improve service to the American people. Revising the rules will improve forest conditions and make it simpler for people to use and enjoy their national forests and grasslands at lower cost to the taxpayer. The revised rules will also make it easier to maintain and repair the infrastructure people need to use and enjoy their public lands—the roads, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities.

While these proposed changes will save time and resources, they are ultimately intended to better protect people, communities and forests from catastrophic wildfire and ensure a high level of engagement with people and communities when doing related work and associated environmental analyses.

“We are committed to doing the work to protect people and infrastructure from catastrophic wildfire. With millions of acres in need of treatment, years of costly analysis and delays are not an acceptable solution – especially when data and experience show us we can get this work done with strong environmental protection standards as well as protect communities, livelihoods and resources,” said Secretary Perdue.

In 2008, the Forest Service codified its procedures for complying with NEPA in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 36 CFR 220. However, these regulations, in large part, still reflect the policies and practices established by the agency’s 1992 NEPA Manual and Handbook. When these regulations were adopted in 2008, they were intended to modernize and improve management processes. The proposed rule would further modernize the agency’s NEPA policy by incorporating experience from past 10 years. This experience includes input from comments on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from January of 2018, as well as feedback from roundtables, workshops, and input from agency experts.

“We have pored over 10 years of environmental data and have found that in many cases, we do redundant analyses, slowing down important work to protect communities, livelihoods and resources,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “We now have an opportunity to use that information to our advantage, and we want to hear from the people we serve to improve these proposed updates.”

The updates would create a new suite of “categorical exclusions,” a classification under the NEPA excluding certain routine activities from more extensive, time-consuming analysis under an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. The proposed categorical exclusions would be for restoration projects, roads and trails management, and recreation and facility management, as well as special use authorizations that issue permits for outfitters and guides, community organizations, civic groups and others who seek to recreate on our national forests and grasslands. The new categorical exclusions are based on intensive analysis of hundreds of environmental assessments and related data and when fully implemented will reduce process delays for routine activities by months or years.

The proposed update is open for public comment for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Public comments are reviewed and considered when developing the final rule. Instructions on how to provide comments are included in the online notice.

More information on the proposed rule change and how to comment is available on the Forest Service website.



Jeff
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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Two Recent Rescue Incidents In Rocky Mountain National Park

Yesterday morning, July 12th, a park visitor notified park rangers via 911 that a 30-year-old Denver man had taken a 75 foot tumbling fall in The Trough area of Longs Peak. The man received numerous injuries. Park rangers patrolling in the area reached the man at 9:30 a.m. to provide initial advanced medical care.

Due to his location and injuries, Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members requested assistance from a Colorado National Guard helicopter from Buckley Air Force Base to extricate him via a hoist operation, using a winch operated cable. This occurred at approximately 1:45 p.m. The man was flown to Upper Beaver Meadows and was transferred by ambulance to Estes Park Health. Rocky Mountain Rescue assisted with the helicopter hoist operations and ground operations. Rocky Mountain Fire also assisted with ground operations. Team members encountered severe thunderstorms and lightning when hiking back to the trailhead.

At 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night, July 10, park rangers were notified by cell phone that a 53-year-old Alabama man was severely ill at a park wilderness campsite roughly 5 miles from the North Inlet Trailhead on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members in addition to two members of the Grand Lake Fire Protection District hiked to the area and provided advanced medical care. The man was assisted in walking to the trailhead. The team reached the trailhead at 4 a.m. Thursday, July 11. He was transferred by ambulance to Middle Park Medical Center.



Jeff
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Friday, July 12, 2019

Old Fall River Road Opens For The Season In Rocky Mountain National Park

Old Fall River Road opened to vehicles today, Friday, July 12. The road normally opens by fourth of July weekend but winter conditions at higher elevations in the park this year, as recently as June 23, delayed the snow clearing and maintenance of Old Fall River Road.

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.

The historic road provides access to Chasm Falls, as well as the hike to the summits of Mt. Chapin, Mt. Chiquita and Ypsilon Mountain.

Old Fall River Road is scheduled to close to vehicles for the season on October 7, 2019.



Jeff
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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Confirmed Wolf Sightings in Colorado

The wolf recently sighted and photographed in Jackson County, Colorado was confirmed by Wyoming Game and Fish to be a dispersing male gray wolf from Wyoming. The collared wolf is from the Snake River pack and was last recorded by transmission signals on February 12 during routine telemetry flights around South Pass.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife will monitor the area but is no longer actively pursuing the wolf’s location. CPW will remain in close communication with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA Wildlife Services, Wyoming Game and Fish and local municipalities. Under the Endangered Species Act, harming, harassing, or killing a gray wolf other than in cases of self-defense is unlawful.

Ski Hi News is also reporting that a wolf, presumably the same one, was recently spotted in Grand County, located on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park.



Jeff
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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Translocation of Mountain Goats From the Olympics to the Cascades

On July 8, a coalition of state and federal agencies, with support from local tribes, began the second two-week round of translocating mountain goats from Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest to the northern Cascade Mountains to meet wildlife management goals in all three areas.

This effort is a partnership between the National Park Service (NPS), the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS) to re-establish and assist in connecting depleted populations of mountain goats in the Washington Cascades while also removing non-native goats from the Olympic Mountains. Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympics in the 1920s.



In May 2018, the NPS released the final Mountain Goat Management Plan which outlined the effort to remove mountain goats on the Olympic Peninsula. The population of mountain goats at that time was estimated at 725. Both the plan and the associated environmental impact statement were finalized after an extensive public review process which began in 2014.

The first two-week capture period in September 2018 removed 115 mountain goats from the population in the park. An additional two-week period is planned for this year beginning August 19 through 30.

“Mountain goat relocation will allow these animals to reoccupy historical range areas in the Cascades and increase population viability,” said Jesse Plumage, USFS Wildlife Biologist.

While some mountain goat populations in the north Cascades have recovered since the 1990s, the species is still absent from many areas of its historic range.

Aerial capture operations will be conducted through a contract with Leading Edge Aviation, a private company that specializes in the capture and transport of wild animals. The helicopter crew will use immobilizing darts and net guns to capture mountain goats and transport them in specially made slings to the staging areas.

While capture operations will be conducted throughout the park and national forest for both two-week periods, a few locations that are known to have a high number of mountain goats will be areas of focus for the capture crew. On the first two days of the capture period, the emphasis will be on the Klahhane Ridge and Appleton Pass areas. The Seven Lakes Basin area and the Lake of the Angels area in the southeast have a high number of mountain goats that the capture crew will be working to remove. In August, Mount Ellinor in Olympic National Forest will be an area of focus.

This year there will be two staging areas for each two-week period. For July and August, one staging area will be located on Hurricane Hill Road beyond the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park. The other staging area will be located in Olympic National Forest in the Hamma Hamma area in July and switch to the Mt. Ellinor area in August. The staging areas will be closed to public access.

The animals will be cared for by veterinarians before WDFW wildlife managers transport them to staging areas in the north Cascades for release. To maximize success, goats will be airlifted in their crates by helicopter directly to alpine habitats that have been selected for appropriate characteristics.

WDFW plans to release the mountain goats at six sites in the Cascades in July. Three of the release sites will be staged from the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS). These release sites include the Chikamin area on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Preacher Mountain on the MBS, and Hardscrabble Ridge on an inholding owned by Forterra. Two release areas are near mountain peaks south of the town of Darrington on the Darrington District of the MBS. The other is near Mt. Index on the Skykomish Ranger District of the MBS.

Mountain goats follow and approach hikers because they are attracted to the salt from their sweat, urine, and food. That behavior is less likely in the north Cascades where visitors are more widely distributed than those at Olympic National Park, said Dr. Rich Harris, a WDFW wildlife manager who specializes in mountain goats.

“In addition, the north Cascades has natural salt licks, while the Olympic Peninsula has virtually none,” Harris said. “We’d expect salt hunger to be lower in goats that have natural sources available to them.”

For more information and updates on the project, visit nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/mountain-goat-capture-and-translocation.htm.



Jeff
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Friday, July 5, 2019

Recovery Operations For Micah Tice - Missing in Rocky Mountain National Park Since November

Today, July 5, remains believed to be those of Micah Tice were found by Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members. On Thursday, July 4, private searchers affiliated with the Tice family, reported to park staff that they found items believed to belong to Tice below treeline in the Boulder Brook drainage. The Boulder Brook drainage was one of the areas where initial search efforts were heavily focused. However, through the winter and spring, this area was covered in deep snow.

Due to these items being found yesterday, Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members focused search efforts in this area this morning, July 5, when they discovered his remains.

Rangers have completed an on scene investigation and recovery operations are taking place. His remains will be transferred to the Larimer County Coroner’s Office. Larimer County Coroner’s office will not release positive identification until completion of an autopsy.

Background:

•On the afternoon of Monday, November 26, 2018, Rocky Mountain National Park staff were notified that US Air Force Prep School Academy Cadet Micah Tice was missing, and possibly within the park in the Longs Peak area. His vehicle was subsequently located at the Longs Peak trailhead.

•The investigation determined that Micah Tice was likely attempting to climb Longs Peak on Saturday, November 24. On November 29, witnesses reported that they saw and talked with Micah on Saturday, November 24, between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m., just above treeline in blizzard conditions. The two visitors indicated the weather was terrible at the Longs Peak Trailhead and that visibility and weather conditions continued to worsen. Tice was reported to be wearing a black sweatshirt, black sweatpants, a black hat, black lightweight gloves, tennis shoes and a light blue backpack. The visitors discouraged Tice from continuing to the summit due to his clothing, footwear and weather conditions. Micah had apparently not communicated his plans to anyone.

•At sunrise, Tuesday, November 27, three days after he was last seen, active search efforts began in the Longs Peak area of Rocky Mountain National Park for Tice. A Colorado Air National Guard Blackhawk helicopter attempted to assist with aviation operations on Tuesday, but were curtailed due to 90+ mph winds.

•Longs Peak is the park’s highest peak at 14,259 feet in elevation. In late fall through early summer, Longs Peak is an extreme ascent requiring advanced winter mountaineering skills. Conditions on November 24 in the area were severe, including significant snow accumulation, extremely high winds, blizzard conditions, and bitter cold temperatures.

•Over an intensive search period, ground and aerial searchers covered an approximate 10 square mile search area. These efforts were focused on sections of the Longs Peak Trail, the East Longs Peak Trail, the Battle Mountain area, Granite Pass, Jim’s Grove, the Boulder Field, Mount Lady Washington, Chasm Lake, Peacock Pool, the Boulder Brook drainage, the Storm Pass Trail, and the Wind River drainage. On Sunday, December 2, the first day conditions were conducive to flying this area, search managers assigned aerial searchers from the Colorado Air National Guard to perform reconnaissance of the entire Keyhole Route to the summit of Longs Peak.

•Additional military coordination included cell phone forensic analysis. The cell phone data was requested early in the investigation, and received on Thursday, November 29. Cell phone data provided broad areas of potential transactions but was vague information given the limitations of the signal in that area. These transactions were not “pings” nor texts nor phone calls. This information indicated Tice’s cell phone was picking up a signal early Sunday morning, November 25. The large, broad area referenced in the analysis was part of where search efforts were conducted.

•Beginning Friday morning, December 7, through Sunday, December 9 search activities for Micah Tice were focused from the Granite Pass area to the northern lower slopes of Longs Peak, including the Wind River and Boulder Brook drainages. On Monday, December 10, due to conducive weather conditions at high elevations on Longs Peak, teams focused their efforts on the Keyhole Route to the summit of Longs Peak as well as the Chasm Lake area, Clark’s Arrow and the Loft. On Tuesday, December 11, searchers again focused efforts in the Wind River drainage.

•Searchers experienced chest deep snow, thick snow covered forests, and vast areas of dead and down trees, especially in drainages away from snow packed trails. At higher elevations, winds scoured the landscape leaving it bare or depositing deep drifted snow. Those conditions existed from the first day of search operations and can cover or erase clues. Depending on the search area and day, team members encountered harsh winter conditions including extreme winds, low visibility, bitter wind chills, below freezing temperatures, deep snow and high avalanche danger.

•The park has worked closely with the US Air Force Academy since the beginning of this incident, coordinating investigative and operational assistance, and incorporating a team from the Air Force Academy Mountaineering Club in initial search efforts. The Air Force Academy Colorado Parents’ Club coordinated efforts from numerous organizations and individuals to donate daily meals for searchers.

•Also assisting Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members has been Larimer County Search and Rescue, Rocky Mountain Rescue based in Boulder County, Colorado Air National Guard, Alpine Rescue Team, Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol, Colorado Avalanche Information Center, Grand County Search and Rescue, Douglas County Search and Rescue, Colorado Search and Rescue Association, Summit County Rescue Group Dog Team, Front Range Rescue Dogs, and FLIR Systems Inc. who volunteered their services to conduct thermal imaging of the search area.



Jeff
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Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Parking Lot and Lawn Lake Trailhead Closed Tuesday, July 9 Rainbow Curve Overlook Closed July 10 For Pavement Preservation Work

Beginning at 9 p.m. Monday, July 8, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Parking Area, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and the Lawn Lake Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park will be closed to all uses for a pavement preservation project. These closures will be in place through Tuesday, July 9, until 7 a.m. Wednesday, July 10. Visitors entering the park from the east side on Tuesday, July 9, are encouraged to visit the Fall River Visitor Center that day.

The Rainbow Curve Overlook, along Trail Ridge Road, will be closed on Wednesday, July 10. This closure will begin at 9 p.m. July 9, and end at 7 a.m. on Thursday, July 11.

For the week of July 8, crack sealing will take place on Bear Lake Road. Traffic will be reduced to one lane, up to 20 minute rolling delays should be expected.

Beginning Monday, July 22, the Park & Ride lot along the Bear Lake Road corridor will have approximately 100 fewer parking spaces available, due to material staging for the pavement preservation project.

Due to limited parking, park visitors are encouraged to board the Hiker Shuttle. This shuttle runs every 30 minutes from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the Park & Ride on Bear Lake Road. Expect wait times to board the shuttles.

This important project is critical for the long term protection of park roads and parking areas. Due to the elevation of Rocky Mountain National Park and temperatures, resurfacing pavement projects can only take place in the summer. Work will not take place during the weekends or holidays.

Other areas of the park that will be impacted throughout the summer by this ongoing pavement preservation project include the Sheep Lakes Parking Lot, Forest Canyon Overlook Parking Area, Rock Cut Parking Area, Lava Cliffs Parking Area, and numerous smaller parking areas and overlooks. Work will also take place on Bear Lake Road and sections of Trail Ridge Road. When specific work dates are scheduled for major areas, this information will be disseminated.



Jeff
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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Successful Search Efforts Today For Man In Mount Chapin Area Rocky Mountain National Park

This morning, Wednesday, July 3, Rocky Mountain National Park rangers began search efforts for a 51 year old man from Baton Rouge, LA. At 8 p.m. last night, Tuesday, July 2, park rangers were notified by a family member that the man had not been heard from since Monday morning, July 1. He was reported to be planning a hike in the Mount Chapin, Mount Chiquita, Ypsilon Mountain area. His rental car was located at 9:30 p.m. at the Alpine Visitor Center parking lot.

Members of Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue team searched the Mount Chapin, Mount Chiquita, Ypsilon Mountain areas, the Chapin Creek drainage, and the Poudre River Trail both from Milner Pass and from the Corral Creek Trailhead. Northern Colorado Interagency Helitack assisted with aerial reconnaissance.

A Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue ground team found the man at 11,400 feet in elevation on the northwest side of Mount Chapin at approximately 1:30 p.m. He appeared to be uninjured but exhausted from two unplanned nights in the backcountry. He was flown from the area by Northern Colorado Interagency Helitack at 3:00 p.m. and taken by ambulance to Estes Park Health. All ground search teams are hiking back to trailheads at this time.



Jeff
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Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests Approve 10% Increase in Campgrounds and Day-use Area Fees for 2019 Season

A ten percent fee increase was approved for American Land & Leisure operated campgrounds and day-use areas on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland for the 2019 season.

American Land & Leisure requested the fee change to offset the rising cost of labor, contract work, services and supplies. Special use permits allow concessionaires to request such fee adjustments.

Fees will increase on average by 10 percent and will remain the same through 2021. Fees were last changed in 2017.

“Concessionaires are a crucial part of helping us operate, maintain and improve our recreation sites,” said Forest Supervisor Monte Williams. “Adjusting fees allows the concessionaire to cover costs and stay competitive, it helps our concessionaires deliver a quality recreation experience to our customers.”

Reservations that were made before the pricing change was listed in the reservation system at www.recreation.gov will be honored. Senior and Access passes will continue to be honored providing a 50 percent discount to holders at campgrounds.

American Land & Leisure operates 51 campgrounds and seven day-use areas for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland. The Forests and Grassland has been operating most campgrounds and some day-use areas through concessionaires since the mid-1990s. Concessionaires perform the onsite operations and maintenance, and return a portion of their proceeds to the Forests and Grassland that are reinvested in improvements.

The 2019 campground fee and amenity list can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/campinglist.



Jeff
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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Rocky Mountain National Park - Third Most Visited National Park - Plan Ahead For A More Enjoyable Visit

In 2018, Rocky Mountain National Park was the third most visited national park with over 4.5 million visitors. This visitation represents a nearly 42 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 continue to address what effect this level of visitation is having on visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experiences and operational capacity. Park staff restrict vehicle access in three specific areas, the Bear Lake Road corridor, the Wild Basin area, and Alpine Visitor Center when parking areas fill and heavy congestion warrants. These restrictions occur most days in July and August, in addition to weekends in June and September. Bear Lake Road restrictions and Wild Basin Road restrictions often begin by 9:30 a.m.

Plan ahead for a more enjoyable visit to Rocky!

Hike early or hike late.
• Check the weather forecast before you arrive at the national 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, particularly to avoid lightning and thunderstorms.
• Carpool
• Take advantage of the park shuttle: www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/shuttle_bus_route.htm
• Trailhead parking lots fill early in the day:
    > Glacier Gorge Trailhead by 6:00 a.m.
    > Bear Lake Trailhead by 8:00 a.m.
    > Park and Ride by 9:15 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 9:30 a.m., your best option, and on many days your only option, will be to take the Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center. This shuttle runs every 30 minutes from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the Park & Ride on Bear Lake Road. Expect wait times to board the shuttles. An entrance pass is required to use The Hiker Shuttle. Please see below for how to purchase a pass online.

• 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.



Jeff
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Friday, June 28, 2019

Delayed Opening For Old Fall River Road In Rocky Mountain National Park

Old Fall River Road, which normally opens to vehicles by the Fourth of July holiday weekend, is anticipated to open on Saturday, July 13, if weather and conditions allow. Winter conditions at higher elevations in the park, as recently as June 23, have delayed the snow clearing and maintenance of Old Fall River Road. The road is currently closed to all uses, including bicycles and pedestrians Tuesday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and open Saturday, Sunday and Monday to bicycles and pedestrians. This schedule will continue until the road opens to vehicles.

Although the trail leading to Chapin/Chiquita/Ypsilon will not be accessible until at least the road opens, hikers will still have access to Chasm Falls during the schedule mentioned above.

There are limited long term records of the opening dates of Old Fall River Road prior to 1985. In 2011, after the heaviest late spring snow seen in decades, the opening was delayed until July 30. That was the latest the road had opened in 26 years. Old Fall River Road received significant damage during the historic flood of 2013 and reopened in July of 2015.

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.

Old Fall River Road is scheduled to close to vehicles for the season on October 7, 2019.



Jeff
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Warren Gulch Trail closes temporarily for safety concerns

Due to imminent safety concerns and private landowner conflicts, Warren Gulch Trail on the Arapaho National Forest is temporarily closed to all use. District staff are scouting potential alternative routes for the lower portion of the trail and looking for partners interested in participating in a reroute project.

The historic Warren Gulch Trail is a 4.3-mile National Forest System trail on the Clear Creek Ranger District that has been in existence since at least the 1930s. The trail begins near Echo Mountain on Colo. Highway 103, heads north, and then runs steeply downhill. The lower third of the trail crosses several private claims with multiple owners, terminating near Idaho Springs.

Felled trees now block the trail on portions of private land at the bottom of the hill, which is used predominately by mountain bikers riding at high speeds. These safety threats cannot be cleared due to easement issues. As mountain bikers are unlikely to turn around at the steep downhill section that borders the private property, the entire trail will be closed until a solution is identified.

The Forest Service is seeking opportunities to relocate the trail to avoid private landowner conflicts. Environmental analysis will need to be completed and a new route will need to be constructed prior to the trail reopening.

“The goal is for the new trail to be more sustainable and enjoyable for users,” said District Ranger Scott Haas. “Part of making that successful will be engaging in partnerships to help implement the new trail connection. In the meantime we ask users to please respect the closure for their own safety and to avoid conflicts with private landowners.”

If all goes smoothly with route-finding and environmental analysis, Haas said he would hope to have the new trail opened by fall 2020.

See the Warren Gulch Closure Order and Map.



Jeff
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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Parking Lot Closed Thursday, June 27th / Glacier Gorge Trailhead Parking Lot Closed June 26th For Pavement Preservation Work

Beginning at 5 a.m. Thursday, June 27 through 7 p.m. the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Parking Area and Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park will be closed to all uses for a pavement preservation project. Visitors entering the park from the east side on June 27, are encouraged to visit the Fall River Visitor Center that day.

Beginning at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25, through 7 a.m. Thursday, June 27, the Glacier Gorge Trailhead Parking area along Bear Lake Road will be closed to all uses. On this day park shuttle buses will not be dropping off or picking up visitors at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead shuttle stop. All other bus stops in the Bear Lake corridor will be operational.

Beginning Monday, July 22, not on June 10 as was originally reported, staging for the pavement preservation project will take place in the Park & Ride lot along the Bear Lake Road corridor. The staging area will fill approximately 100 parking spaces, making these unavailable to the public, until the fall.

Due to limited parking, park visitors are encouraged to board the Hiker Shuttle. This shuttle runs every 30 minutes from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the Park & Ride on Bear Lake Road. Expect wait times to board the shuttles.

This important project is critical for the long term protection of park roads and parking areas. Due to the elevation of Rocky Mountain National Park and temperatures, resurfacing pavement projects can only take place in the summer. Work will not take place during the weekends or holidays.

Other areas of the park that will be impacted throughout the summer by this ongoing pavement preservation project include the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Parking Lot, Bierstadt Lake Parking Lot, Alluvial Fan Parking Lot, Lawn Lake Parking Lot, Sheep Lakes Parking Lot, Horseshoe Park Overlook, Many Parks Curve Parking Areas, Rainbow Curve Parking Area, Forest Canyon Overlook Parking Area, Rock Cut Parking Area, Lava Cliffs Parking Area, Lumpy Ridge Access Road and numerous smaller parking areas and overlooks. Work will also take place on Bear Lake Road and sections of Trail Ridge Road. Park visitors should expect rolling delays of up to 20 minutes during road work. When specific work dates are scheduled for other areas, this information will be disseminated.

For a list of hikes and trailheads impacted by each of the areas listed above, please click here.

For further 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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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Be Aware Of Swift Water Danger When Recreating In Rocky Mountain National Park

As temperatures increase and thunderstorms occur, visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park should be aware that mountain streams can be dangerous especially in late spring and early summer. Don’t underestimate the power of water.

Park visitors are reminded to remain back from the banks of streams and rivers. Rocks at streamside are often slippery. Water is extremely cold and can be deceivingly deep. Water levels generally rise in the afternoon and follow thunderstorms. Always provide proper supervision for children, who by nature, tend to be attracted to water. Powerful currents can quickly pull a person underwater.

Due to rapid snow melt, area trails and bridges may become impassable due to rising water levels. If you encounter impassable areas, be prepared to back track to alternate hiking routes.



Jeff
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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

American Trails Video: Building Trail Culture

American Trails recently published the presentation (below), which was given by Amy Camp during this years' International Trails Symposium. Ms. Camp's presentation discussed "Building Trail Culture" in communities across America. As trails in our national parks and forests become increasingly overcrowded (which I discussed in detail in my book), utilization of local trails will become more important as hiking participation rates continue to grow. Here's a synopsis of the presentation:
Trail communities around North America have come to appreciate (and clamor for) the economic benefits of trails. In fact, a model for community development—“trail towns”—has emerged to aid struggling communities in leveraging their trails. But we’ve got it mostly wrong. While economic gain contributes to community vitality, too heavy of a focus on any one trail benefit lacks balance…and heart. Those places that value trails simply for the dollars brought into town miss out on the “trail magic” that can touch communities. If we flip our focus from visitor transactions to truly engaging both visitors and locals, culture shift is possible. One concrete way of doing so is through programming immersive, memorable, joyful trail experiences. This talk will share programming examples and make a case for how these connections can transform communities from a culture of indifference to a culture of “yes,” of hospitality, of inclusion, and stewardship.

Building Trail Culture-Amy Camp from American Trails on Vimeo.




Jeff
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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Bear Lake Parking Lot Closed June 17 - June 21 - Pavement Preservation Project In Numerous Locations Throughout The Summer In Rocky Mountain National Park

Beginning at 6 p.m. Monday June 17, through 7 a.m. Friday, June 21, the Bear Lake parking area in Rocky Mountain National Park will be closed to all uses for a pavement preservation project. On Monday, June 17, shuttle buses will continue to operate from the Bear Lake Parking Area until 7:30 p.m.

Beginning on Tuesday, June 18 through Thursday, June 20, park shuttle buses will not be dropping off or picking up visitors at the Bear Lake shuttle stop. All other bus stops in the Bear Lake corridor, including the Glacier Gorge Trailhead bus stop, will be operational.

Beginning Monday, June 10, staging for the pavement preservation project will take place in the Park & Ride lot along the Bear Lake Road corridor. The staging area will fill approximately 100 parking spaces, making these unavailable to the public, until the fall.

Since 2016, park staff have restricted vehicle access in the Bear Lake Road corridor when parking areas filled and heavy congestion warranted. Due to less parking availability, particularly from June 18 through June 20, park visitors who plan to hike in the Bear Lake Road corridor during these three days should plan for vehicle restrictions to occur earlier in the morning.

Due to limited parking, park visitors are encouraged to board the Hiker Shuttle. This shuttle runs every 30 minutes from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the Park & Ride on Bear Lake Road. Expect wait times to board the shuttles.

This important project is critical for the long term protection of park roads and parking areas. Due to the elevation of Rocky Mountain National Park and temperatures, resurfacing pavement projects can only take place in the summer. Work will not take place during the weekends or holidays.

From Monday, June 10, through Thursday, June 13, work will take place in the Moraine Park Campground. From Monday, June 24 through Thursday, June 27, work will occur in the Longs Peak Campground. These campgrounds will be closed during these periods.

Other areas of the park that will be impacted throughout the summer by this ongoing pavement preservation project include the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Parking Lot, Bierstadt Lake Parking Lot, Alluvial Fan Parking Lot, Lawn Lake Parking Lot, Sheep Lakes Parking Lot, Horseshoe Park Overlook, Many Parks Curve Parking Areas, Rainbow Curve Parking Area, Forest Canyon Overlook Parking Area, Rock Cut Parking Area, Lava Cliffs Parking Area, Lumpy Ridge Access Road and numerous smaller parking areas and overlooks. Work will also take place on Bear Lake Road and sections of Trail Ridge Road. Park visitors should expect rolling delays of up to 20 minutes during road work. When specific work dates are scheduled for other areas, this information will be disseminated.



Jeff
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Friday, June 7, 2019

Moose attack outside Nederland prompts warnings of potential aggressive wildlife behavior defending their young

A 69-year-old man was attacked by a cow moose while working on a ranch Thursday morning and was transported by ambulance to Boulder Community Hospital for examination of his injuries.

The incident occurred on private property outside of the town of Nederland. The man was doing property work near thick willow brush when the cow (female) moose attacked him.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers surveyed the property and found a cow moose still in the area and witnesses report seeing her with a calf recently, likely prompting the defensive and aggressive behavior. A dog was also present at the scene of the attack.

No action will be taken against the moose because this incident occurred outside of town on private property, the moose was in its natural habitat and likely a result of seasonal behavior being very protective of its young.

Although this incident was not believed to be sparked by irresponsible behavior, it does serve as an example that wildlife are just that, wild, and they can act in unpredictable ways. CPW reminds the public to respect wildlife and their space.

“It serves as a good reminder that not only moose, but elk and deer are also having babies right now, and does and cows can be aggressive when their fawns and calves are newborn and very vulnerable to predation,” said Area Wildlife Manager Kristin Cannon. “They may be aggressive towards people, but especially people with dogs, and especially if those dogs are off leash.”

Many birds and mammals give birth this time of the year. Now through the end of the month, newborn wildlife will be found across the landscape and it is important that when they are observed, that people do so from a distance and never try to interact with them.

Having dogs off leash often escalates run-ins with wildlife from just a sighting into what could be a dangerous situation.

“As people are recreating for the next three or four weeks, they should be keeping their dogs on a leash or leaving them at home,” Cannon said. “They should be aware of their surroundings and should give all wildlife plenty of space.”

One way to avoid an unnecessary run-in with a moose is to steer clear of thick willow habitat in riparian areas where they are likely to be found eating or resting. Their calves, who are born at the end of May and early June, are often lying in the willows while their mother is off grazing. Calves are usually weaned off a mothers milk after a couple months.



Jeff
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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Trail Ridge Road Opens For The Season Prepare For Icy Conditions

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is open for the season. Due to melting snow on the road and the potential for freezing temperatures visitors should be prepared for icy conditions. At this time, night time closures will not be implemented. However, 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. Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store are anticipated to open by this weekend.

Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 24, in 2017 it opened on May 31 due to a late May snowstorm. 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 October 31.

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. This year, crews ran into average or below average snowpack in many locations until May when numerous spring storms brought significant snow and drifting above 11,500 feet.



Jeff
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Forest Service partners with Common Outdoor Ground to assess area trails - seeks volunteers

The USDA Forest Service will have crews doing trail maintenance at multiple locations in the Snowy and Sierra Madre Ranges this summer. In anticipation of that work, the Forest Service has partnered with Common Outdoor Ground (COG), a community organization in southeast Wyoming, to hike or ride trails and assess trail conditions using a consistent approach.

The Rapid Trails Assessment Program will be focused on Platte River and Savage Run Wilderness trails, as well as on Sheep Mountain. If enough volunteers are available, trails assessment is also desired in Encampment River and Huston Park Wilderness areas.

An orientation meeting for interested volunteers will be held on Tuesday, June 4, at Fire Station #3 in West Laramie from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Representatives from the Forest Service and COG will explain the event, go over what sort of data needs to be collected, and identify group leaders.

The plan is for COG and identified group leaders to hike or ride trails at multiple locations on Saturday, June 22 and collect data.

Those who are interested in helping collect trail information but cannot participate on June 22 should still attend the informational meeting or connect with the contacts below, to explore if alternate plans can be arranged.

This unique partnership was established to ensure that trail crews can maximize efficiency this summer with up-to-date information about where repairs are necessary, and where downed trees are obstructing trails.

For more information about volunteering for the trail assessment event:

* Chad Grossenburg, Recreation Management Specialist with the Medicine Bow National Forest Central Zone, chad.grossenburg@usda.gov, (307) 745-2405

* COG Steering Committee, commonoutdoorground@gmail.com, message on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/commonoutdoorground

Common Outdoor Ground is a community organization providing volunteer support for sustainability of outdoor spaces in southeast Wyoming. COG wants to partner with existing groups and land managers to work toward common goals. Those commonalities include:

* Supporting access to public lands and multiple-use of those lands
* Supporting and expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation
* Facilitating the organization and training of volunteers/pooled resources
* Assisting land managers and partner organizations in meeting natural resource objectives
* Promoting responsible and informed outdoor ethics

COG has an agreement with the Medicine Bow National Forest to help coordinate volunteers and resources for multiple work days and events in 2019.



Jeff
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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Rocky Mountain National Park Celebrates World Migratory Bird Day 2019

On Saturday, June 8 park staff will offer two great events to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day. 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 welcome. 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 showing of the award-winning film, “Hooked on Hummingbirds.” Learn about the world’s hummingbirds and their truly miraculous journeys in this breathtaking film. The film is one hour and admission is free. Park staff will be giving away World Migratory Bird Day posters during the event, while supplies last.

To enjoy more of the wonderful bird life Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer, we invite you to explore the recently-created park Sound Library. This extensive catalog contains over 210 recordings of more than 60 bird species, soundscapes, and wildlife including elk, coyotes, western chorus frogs and even a pine squirrel. All the recordings were collected in the park by Dr. Jacob Job, a researcher with Colorado State University and the NPS Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division. The park is excited to allow visitors to virtually experience the sounds of the park through the sound library and to have a historical record of the soundscapes so that changes can be monitored over time. Pictures and additional information also allow visitors to learn more about the park’s extensive wildlife. To explore the Rocky Mountain National Park Sound Library go to: https://www.nps.gov/romo/learn/photosmultimedia/soundlibrary.htm.



Jeff
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Friday, May 31, 2019

Recovery Operations For Ryan Albert Missing Since Early October

This past Saturday, a team of two Rocky Mountain National Park climbing rangers conducted a patrol of Longs Peak. While patrolling down the section known as The Trough, rangers found a glove that matched the brand that Ryan Albert was believed to have been wearing. Albert was last seen on October 4, 2018.

Yesterday, Thursday, May 30, a team of four highly skilled park climbing rangers ascended The Trough and after several hours of searching in this steep winter alpine terrain, located Ryan Albert’s body covered in deep snow at an elevation of approximately 12,300'. This location is approximately 1,000' below The Ledges section of the Keyhole Route (approximately 2,000' below the summit). This area is in winter conditions with deep snow and ice.

This morning, rangers completed an on scene investigation and Ryan Albert’s body was recovered by helicopter. 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. Once the investigation is complete more details will be released. Until then, no further information is available.

On October 5, 2018, search efforts began in the Longs Peak area of Rocky Mountain National Park for Ryan Albert after he was reported overdue by a family member. Albert was last seen on October 4, by another park visitor at approximately 10:30 a.m. in the area of Granite Pass heading toward the Keyhole on Longs Peak. Inclement weather that started on October 4, was the beginning of a multi-day weather pattern of extreme conditions including low visibility and fog, thunderstorms and snow showers and freezing temperatures in the 20s and 30s. Search teams faced pockets of deep snow as well as verglas ice. Those winter conditions lasted through the search efforts.

During the first two days of these search efforts in October, in challenging weather and terrain, teams were able to search higher elevations including sections of The Boulder Field, the Keyhole Route, The Loft, Chasm Cirque, North Longs Peak and Boulder Brook. As the snow accumulation and ice continued to build at higher elevations, teams worked lower in the search area throughout the first week. On Friday, October 12, eight days after Albert was last seen, a break in the weather allowed aerial reconnaissance to take place. In addition to searchers looking from the helicopter, footage was taken of high probability areas. Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members spent numerous days reviewing the extensive footage.

Another significant winter storm began late Saturday, October 13, bringing additional snow accumulation at higher elevations. On Thursday, October 18, through Saturday, October 20, teams went back to the upper mountain at the Keyhole and Ledges area and again faced continuing deteriorating conditions including waist and chest deep snow, steep icy slopes and extremely slow travel. On Sunday, October 21, a team traveled to the Chasm Cirque area and visually searched Lamb’s Slide, Mills Glacier, Camel Gully and the Chasm View fall line with binoculars and spotting scopes.

Assisting Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members during the previous search efforts in October were Larimer County Search and Rescue, Rocky Mountain Rescue based in Boulder County, Trans Aero, Northern Colorado Interagency Helitack and Colorado Search and Rescue Board members. When conditions allowed, dog teams from Larimer County Search and Rescue, Rocky Mountain Rescue and Front Range Search and Rescue Dogs also assisted.



Jeff
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Aggressive bear believed to have attacked woman in Monday morning attack killed by wildlife officers

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers and personnel with the United States Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services tracked and killed an aggressive bear believed to have been responsible for attacking a female hiker near Aspen Monday morning.

At approximately 8:30 yesterday morning, witnesses reported seeing a bear in the proximity of the Hunter Creek trailhead that closely matched the description of the one involved in the attack.

After following the bear's trail during the morning, officers killed it on Highway 82 near the intersection of McSkimming Road just before 1 p.m. this afternoon.

CPW officers will transport the carcass to the agency's Wildlife Health Laboratory for a full necropsy, then to a laboratory in Wyoming for DNA testing.

By policy and to protect human health and safety, CPW officers are required to euthanize any wild animal that has injured a human, regardless of the circumstances. Relocation is not an option due to the agency’s dangerous bear policy and concerns the bear would resume its aggressive behavior in its new territory.



Jeff
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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Lily Lake Phenology Walk At Rocky Mountain National Park

Help Rocky Mountain National Park document seasonal biological events as a citizen scientist on your next stroll around Lily Lake. The Lily Lake Phenology Walk allows visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park an opportunity to collect scientific data and learn more about plant and animal species found within the park. Over time, as observations are collected, the park will gain a better understanding of how plants and animals at Rocky Mountain National Park respond to environment changes. Has there been a shift in when willow shrubs begin to bud in the spring? Are Aspen leaves changing color later or earlier than in the past?

With just a smartphone or a tablet with an internet browser, the Lily Lake Phenology Walk webpage provides descriptive images to help answer simple questions related to the timing of biological life cycle events of certain species found along the trail. Adding only 20 minutes to your hike on the 0.8-mile trail that circles Lily Lake, this activity is perfect for frequent or one-time visitors of all ages.

Phenology, the study of the timing of biological life cycle events and how climate and habitat influence them, has been a topic of interest lately as we contemplate how species will react to a changing climate. The data gathered with the Lily Lake Phenology Walk can help determine if there are shifts in the phenology of the park’s species in this area.

Further information about the Lily Lake Phenology walk, including links to the questions page and previously submitted data is available at go.nps.gov/LilyLakeScience. 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. For more information about the hike around the lake, please click here.



Jeff
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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Infamous Angel's Landing

Over the last year or so I've had the privilege of publishing a couple of short films by Christopher R. Abbey. This includes films on climbing 14,505-foot Mt. Whitney in California, as well as a three-day backpacking trip in the Mt. Sterling area of the Great Smoky Mountains. His latest film chronicles his hike up Angel's Landing in Zion National Park, and highlights some of the crazy terrain hikers travel over to reach its summit. Hope you enjoy:





Jeff
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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Search underway for aggressive bear that bit woman as she hiked near Aspen yesterday morning

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are looking for an aggressive bear that bit a woman on the thigh as she and her husband hiked on the Hunter Creek Trail near Lone Pine Road in Aspen at approximately 9:15 yesterday morning.

The woman reported that she and her husband were walking back to Aspen when they saw a bear walking toward them on the trail. The woman says they tried to give the bear space and stepped off the trail. As the bear walked by, she says it suddenly turned, charged and bit her before it ran off and disappeared from view.

According to investigating officers, the bite wound did not appear serious. CPW is not releasing the identity of the woman.

CPW officers have called in experts with the USDA's Wildlife Services to assist with tracking the bear, described as light brown and weighing approximately 200-300 lb. As of Monday evening, the bear had not been located.

CPW officials say considering the attack occurred near Aspen, it is possible the bear may enter city limits before it is found. They urge all residents to be cautious.

"This is an aggressive bear and by policy, we will put it down if found," said CPW Officer Matt Yamashita." But until we find it, the public should remember what to do if they see any bear. If it appears aggressive or shows no fear of humans, do not approach it. Haze it away by yelling or banging pots and pans, then call CPW or 911 immediately."

Yamashita says bears usually stay away from people but if a bear has been fed or has lost its natural fear of humans, they can be extremely dangerous.

If you see a bear, CPW officials offer these basic tips:

• Do not run from a bear, stand your ground and talk firmly to the animal
• If it continues to approach, throw rocks and sticks, wave your arms and yell loudly
• If the bear attacks, fight back as aggressively as possible and do not stop until the bear runs off

"Fortunately, these incidents remain very rare," said Yamashita. "But when people and bears interact, it can increase the possibility of a dangerous conflict. This woman was lucky that she was not seriously injured."

The section of the Hunter Creek Trail up to the Lani White Trail remains closed until further notice while officers search for the bear. For more information about the closure, contact Pitkin County Open Space.

CPW will conduct a full necropsy on the animal if it is found.

For more information about bears in Colorado, including hiking in bear country, visit cpw.state.co.us/bears.



Jeff
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Ramble On: A History of Hiking