Colorado's abundant and varied wildlife is one of the best things about living in the state, but no animal gets the public's attention more than moose. To celebrate the state's largest, most charismatic species, CPW will host the Eighth Annual Grand Mesa Moose Day, July 29 at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center atop the Grand Mesa.
With the Grand Mesa moose population estimated at over 400 and statewide numbers exceeding 3,000, CPW says now's the time to learn about the giant ungulates, including where they live, what they like to eat, how they are managed and most importantly, how to watch them safely.
"Colorado has healthy and growing moose populations, including our local population on the Grand Mesa," said CPW's Northwest Region Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero. "They really are fascinating animals and many people have a tremendous interest in seeing them and learning more about them. One of the most important things you can do if you love moose, and all wildlife, is learn all you can about them. Moose are extraordinary animals. The more you know, the more interesting and enjoyable the species becomes."
State wildlife managers first brought moose to Colorado's North Park area in 1978, followed by several additional transplant projects over the next 30 years. The Grand Mesa relocation effort began in 2005, concluding two-years later after wildlife managers transplanted a total of 91 moose from Utah and existing herds in Colorado. The phenomenal growth in their population makes the transplant project one of the most successful wildlife management efforts in the state, and the country.
"We've held this event for eight years now, and interest is still very high," said Romero. "Kids especially have a great time with the various activities, including a scavenger hunt, guided hikes and a variety of arts and crafts, all to celebrate moose."
Romero adds other activities for kids and adults include presentations about moose biology and how biologists transplant, collar and track moose. In addition, kids can hike with a wildlife officer and try their hand at wildlife tracking using radio telemetry. There will also be a fly casting lesson taught by CPW staff and personnel from Cabela’s.
This year, the U.S. Forest Service is offering a new way to learn with the unveiling of their 'Agents of Discovery' application on July 29. Similar to the popular Pokemon Go, the new app is an interactive, location-based reality game, giving kids an electronic alternative to learn about wildlife habitat on the Grand Mesa.
Forest Service personnel will be on hand to explain the app, teach everyone how to use it and take users on a guided hike around Cobbett Lake. There are 15 challenger questions on this trail and will be 15 along Island Lake Trail. After successfully navigating all of the various stops, players can redeem a Smokey Bear bandana at the visitor center.
Grand Mesa Moose Day partners include Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, The Moose 92.3, Cabela's and the Grand Mesa Scenic & Historic Byway.
Take Highway 65 from Interstate 70 by Plateau Creek or drive up Highway 50 from nearby Delta and follow it up to the U.S. Forest Visitor's Center.
Anyone heading to the event is reminded to be attentive as it is increasingly likely to catch a glimpse of a moose.
•What: Grand Mesa Moose Day
•When: Saturday, July 29, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
•Where: U.S. Forest Visitor's Center - 20090 Baron Lake Drive, Hwy 65 - Top of the Grand Mesa