Come on out and "chat it up" with a ranger. Meet Sara Flores from Silt. She's been working at the Rifle Gap State Park Complex for four seasons. She is originally from Novato, Calif., and by profession she is a Realtor and co-owner of Real Estate Out West in Rifle, in the sunny yellow house at 11th Street and Railroad Avenue. Sara says she is blessed with two jobs. As a seasonal park ranger, she gets to help happy people as they find their ideal, temporary home (campsite) for a day, a weekend or a week. As a Realtor, she helps people find their ideal, permanent home in the surrounding community.I asked Sara what her most heartwarming story is, after four seasons at the park. Sara told me, "Sometimes when people get to the park after a long work week, I can see stress written all over their faces. But time and time again, I've watched them transform into happy and relaxed people. This is just one way in which it's clear to me that our natural resources are so important to all of us."Sara also shares that each of our three local state parks have their unique attributes. "Harvey Gap Reservoir has the most beautiful aqua blue color to it. I've even had people ask if we dye the water. Rifle Gap offers opportunities for so many recreational water sports. Rifle Falls is lush and green, it's like a visit to the tropics amongst our high desert landscape." Stage 2 fire restrictions I want to remind everyone that Rifle Gap State Park Complex is following the Stage 2 fire restrictions put in place on other public lands on June 22.That means visitors cannot build, maintain, attend or use a fire or campfire, charcoal grill, coal, wood burning stove or sheepherders stove, including in developed camping and picnic grounds. That also means you can't smoke, except inside an enclosed vehicle, trailer, building or tent. So, no campfires or charcoal grilling allowed. Propane grills are OK. Use your common sense when the wind is blowing. However, there are still plenty of recreational activities at our three state parks. Bring an old-fashioned picnic to the park and enjoy the outdoors. Hike Rifle Falls' Coyote or Squirrel Trails. Attend a park naturalist/environmental education program, which will resume on July 20. Check out the family activity backpack at the Rifle Gap Visitor Center or Rifle Falls' entrance station to explore the park. Take up fishing and purchase a fishing license in town. Bring your boat out to enjoy some fishing.Rifle Gap, Rifle Falls and Harvey Gap are managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, created with the merger of Colorado State Parks and Division of Wildlife. The agency manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. For more, go online to www.parks.state.co.us and http://wildlife.state.co.us.Terry Wise is the summer season park naturalist and volunteer coordinator for the Rifle Gap State Park Complex. Reach her at 625-1607.
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