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Tierras públicas en manos públicas: Wilderness Workshop de Carbondale educa y trabaja con los locales para disfrutar los paisajes de Colorado

Un foto de Grizzly Creek a lado del camino de Grizzly Creek cerca de donde el proyecto re restoracion el 5 de junio estara.

Wilderness Workshop, una organización local de apoyo para tierras públicas, está celebrando el quinto aniversario del Día de las Tierras Públicas de Colorado con un programa de educación pública sobre cómo unirse a la lucha por mantener las tierras públicas bajo el dominio público.

“El pasado del Día de las Tierras Públicas de Colorado marcó de alguna manera un significativo punto de inflexión en nuestra conversaciones sobre las tierras públicas de este estado,” dijo Erin Riccio, directora de Community Organizing. “Y ahora hay gente en ambos lados que realmente se están uniendo y celebrando nuestras tierras públicas. En realidad ha generado un cambio monumental.

El sábado 15 de mayo fue el Día de las Tierras Públicas en Colorado y la organización planeó una caminata comunitaria en Lorax Trail en Carbondale para que la gente pudiera salir y disfrutar las posibilidades que ofrecen las tierras públicas que están tratando de proteger. Riccio dijo que Colorado puede desempeñar un papel enorme en la campana 30×30, un esfuerzo apoyado por la administración Biden para conservar un 30% de las tierras y aguas públicas y privadas en los Estados Unidos para el 2030. Para Colorado, eso significaría cerca de 14 millones de acres de tierra, dijo Riccio, y necesitarán ser conservados dentro de la esfera pública y privada. Según Ballotpedia, 36.23% de Colorado está constituido por tierras públicas, aunque eso no significa que todas estén protegidas.

“30×30 también necesita trabajo público y privado. Y el reporte que la administración Biden publicó la semana pasada, denominado America the Beautiful, está enfocado en … esfuerzos voluntarios de conservación tanto por el público como por los propietarios de tierras privadas,” aclaró Grant Stevens, director de comunicaciones de Wilderness Workshop.

Comunidades ribereños y humedales– que mantienen un gran diversidad de especies de plantas y vida salvaje y son los paisajes más ecológicamente productivos en las tierras altas de Colorado– sería destruido por la presa y el embalse propuestos.

Por ejemplo, los propietarios de tierras privadas que estén interesados en apoyar el movimiento podrían poner sus tierras voluntariamente bajo un convenio de conservación, que es una herramienta para sustentar y proteger el paisaje a largo plazo.

“Los rancheros que han puesto sus tierras bajo un convenio de conservación lo han hecho porque es algo que han querido hacer, es algo importante para ellos como administradores de la tierra,” Riccio dijo.

El amanecer en Thompson Divide mirando hacia el Monte Sopris y las Montañas de Elk.

Los eventos presentados por Defiende Nuestra Tierra contarán con la presencia de personal bilingüe, pero para otros eventos, Riccio dijo que desea incentivar la participación de los que no hablan inglés, y que ella tiene cierta facilidad con el español y podía ofrecer traducciones rápidas, si fuera necesario.

“Muchos de los materiales que distribuimos son bilingües y creo que la sola oportunidad de salir y disfrutar de una caminata, de crear comunidad y de conectar con otras personas es sumamente importante,” Riccio dijo.

Para ser un administrador de tierras públicas se puede empezar con pequeños pasos que tengan el potencial de generar un gran impacto, aclaró Riccio. El coordinador de campo de Wilderness Workshop, Sam Feuerborn, dijo que los eventos atraen a todo tipo de personas, algunos que podrían estar más familiarizados con la conservación y el trabajo de apoyo que otros, pero que la meta de Wilderness Workshop es llegar a donde estén dichas personas.

“Muchos de nuestros eventos tienen como propósito crear un espacio en el que un amplio espectro de personas puedan participar y disfrutar de nuestras tierras públicas, de manera que un componente de todo esto consiste en generar un espacio educativo basado en la recreación responsable de nuestros tierras públicas … y queremos asegurarnos de que todos tengan la oportunidad de ser educados tanto en cómo ser respetuosos de otros usuarios así como de las tierras en que están viajando,” Feuerborn dijo.

Otros dos eventos próximos de Wilderness Workshop para el verano son una colaboración con Glenwood Canyon Restoration Alliance para reparar algunas de las áreas quemadas de Grizzly Creek este 5 de junio y Homestake Exploration—un evento el 24 de julio en el que se explorará el área que está en riesgo de ser apropiada a raíz de la propuesta para construir Whitney Reservoir. La exploración se llevará a cabo tanto a nivel del suelo como por vista aérea desde lo más alto de Homestake Peak. El resto del horario para eventos del verano se publicará después de Memorial Day.

“Se supone que las tierras públicas deben estar bajo custodia pública. Son un recurso increíblemente valioso para nuestras comunidades, especialmente aquí en el valle de Roaring Fork. Son grandes propulsoras de la economía para nuestra región y son en realidad un lugar muy importante para muchas personas que desean salir y encontrar la soledad que normalmente no pueden hallar en su vida ordinaria. Son realmente importantes para la biodiversidad y para las especies de vida salvaje que tenemos aquí,” Riccio dijo.

 

Te puedes comunicar con la reportera Jessica Peterson al 970-279-3462 o al correo jpeterson@postindependent.com

Public lands in public hands: Carbondale’s Wilderness Workshop educates and engages locals to enjoy Colorado’s landscapes

A photo of Grizzly Creek along the Grizzly Creek Trail near where the restoration project for June 5 will be.

The Wilderness Workshop, a local public lands advocacy organization, is celebrating the fifth anniversary of Colorado Public Lands Day by educating the public on how to join the fight to keep public lands public.

“The past of Colorado Public Lands Day kind of marked a monumental turning point in our conversation around public lands in this state,” Erin Riccio, Director of Community Organizing said. “And now you see where you have folks on both sides of the aisle who are really rallying and celebrating our public lands. So it really has created a monumental shift.”

Saturday, May 15 is Colorado Public Lands Day and the organization is putting together a community hike at Lorax Trail in Carbondale so individuals can come out and experience the possibilities of the public lands they’re trying to protect. Riccio said Colorado can play a huge part in the 30×30 campaign, an effort backed by the Biden administration to conserve 30% of public and private lands and waters in the United States by 2030. Within Colorado, that would look like 14 million acres of land, Riccio said, and would need to be conserved within the public and private sphere. According to Ballotpedia, 36.23% of Colorado is public land, however that doesn’t mean all of it is protected.

“30×30 is going to take public and private work, too. And the report that the Biden administration released last week, called America the Beautiful is focused on … voluntary conservation efforts by the public and private landowners,” said Grant Stevens, Communications Director at Wilderness Workshop.

Riparian and wetland communities—which sustain a high diversity of plant and wildlife species and are the most ecologically productive landscapes in the Colorado high country—would be destroyed by the proposed dam and reservoir.

For example, private landowners who are interested in supporting the movement can voluntarily place their land into conservation easements, a tool to help sustain and protect the landscape long term.

“The ranchers who have put their land into conservation easements have done so because that’s something they want to do, that’s something that’s important to them as stewards of the land,” Riccio said.

The event for Saturday will take place from 1-5 p.m. at Lorax Trail in Carbondale. The hike will only take about 1.5 hours roundtrip, Riccio said. After the hike there will be drinks and snacks in the parking lot and conversation about Wilderness Workshop’s goals and previews of events they’re planning for this summer. Events hosted by Defiende Nuestra Tierra will have bilingual staff attending, but for this Saturday and other events Riccio said she still encourages non-English speakers to come, and that she has some Spanish language abilities and can offer quick translations if needed.

“A lot of our materials we hand out are bilingual and I think just the ability to get out and enjoy a hike, build community and find connection with people is incredibly important,” Riccio said.

Sunrise on the Thompson Divide looking toward Mount Sopris and the Elk Mountains.

Becoming a steward of public lands can be done by taking small steps to action that have the potential for huge impact, Riccio said. Wilderness Workshop’s Field Coordinator, Sam Feuerborn, said that their events attract all kinds of people, some who may be more familiar with conservation and advocacy work than others, but that Wilderness Workshop’s goal is to meet them where they are.

“A lot of our events are aimed at kind of creating a space for a broad spectrum of folks just to participate and enjoy our public lands, and so a component of that is creating educational space around responsible recreation on our public lands … and we want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to really be educated on how to be respectful of both other users and the lands that they’re traveling on,” Feuerborn said.

Two of Wilderness Workshop’s other upcoming summer events are a partnership with the Glenwood Canyon Restoration Alliance to repair some of the burned areas of Grizzly Creek on June 5, and Homestake Exploration — an event on July 24 that will be spent exploring the area that is at risk to be taken over by the proposed Whitney Reservoir both on the ground level and by getting a bird’s eye view from the top of Homestake Peak. The rest of the summer’s event schedule will be released after Memorial Day.

“Public lands are supposed to be kept in the public trust, they’re an incredibly valuable resource to our communities, especially here in the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s a huge economic driver for our area but it’s a really important place for a lot of people to get out and find that solitude that they wouldn’t normally get in their everyday lives. It’s really important for biodiversity and the wildlife species that we have here,” Riccio said.

If you go…

– Register for the Colorado Public Lands Day celebration at this link.

– More information about this event can be found on its Facebook page.

Reporter Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or jpeterson@postindependent.com.

On the Fly column: The next step is tying your own flies

Scott Spooner ties some flies.
Jake Muse

Thinking of taking that next step and tying your own flies? For most, this phase comes later in their fly fishing career, but it’s never too early to start. You would think tying your own would save you a little money, but I’m not too sure about that. The dividends are paid in a real sense of satisfaction and an entomological education.

The best part is that you really start to pay attention to the size, shape and color of your offerings, and why the fish key in on a certain insect, or more specifically, the life cycle stage of that insect. One caution — many people who are starting to tie try to bite off more than they can chew, attempting the most difficult flies before learning the basics, which ultimately leads to frustration on the vise.

We recommend starting with the basics: San Juan Worms, midge larva, brassies and simple streamers. Learning how to throw consistent thread wraps on a hook and how to whip finish without giving it a lot of thought pays off down the road. We also steer folks away from buying a “kit,” and suggest that they simply build up their selection with materials they’ll actually use, versus a bunch of stuff that they won’t.

It doesn’t take much to get started; all you really need is a good pair of scissors, a comfortable chair and table, a basic vise and a few other oddball tools to get going. No one ever forgets the first fish that they caught on a fly they tied themselves. I know I never will. It may have just been a simple San Juan Worm, but my heart leapt out of my chest when that fish was successfully in the net. Be sure to ask your local fly shop how to get started. Tying your own gives you an entirely new perspective on fly fishing.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.

Hold onto your handlebars Garfield County, Colorado bike month is right around the corner

A bicyclist rides towards Mt. Sopris on the Rio Grande Trail.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

For the state of Colorado, celebrating bikes is a one-two punch with National Bike Month taking place in May and Colorado Bike Month being designated for June. Zuleika Pevec, the clean energy program coordinator at CLEER said her company teamed up with Garfield Clean Energy to provide virtual and in-person events to Garfield County residents to empower them to see biking as a reliable way to travel.

“From CLEER’s point of view it’s really part of the transition to a clean economy. So, we do a lot of work with electric vehicles and promoting electric vehicles, but a huge part of transportation is active transportation … what we want to do is encourage people to see the benefits,” Pevec said.

For the first three Saturdays in June there will be bike workshops in every town in Garfield County with the exception of Parachute and Battlement Mesa. There will be a bike safety workshop, one on simple and basic bike repairs, a bike tour of common locations in each town and the last Saturday, June 26, will be a bike expo held in Glenwood Springs.

“Those are going to be the three sort of learning, educational workshops. And the final, culminating event is going to be in Glenwood and it’s going to be a bike expo,” Pevec said. “Kind of like a car show but with bikes, so we’re gonna find fun, unique bikes and have their owners come show them off. … (You can) get all bike nerdy and see all the cool bikes that are out there.”

Troy Titchschler, owner of Defiance Cyclery in New Castle, said he’s been biking all his life and got the urge to open his own bike shop after an outdoor store he worked at during college closed down back in 1987. Titchschler said the energy of the biking community is vibrant and enthusiastic especially because of the number of trails in the area.

“Particularly in New Castle, the biking community has really grown a lot in the last few years. You know there was that old joke in the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ if you build it they will come. Well, that’s how it works with trails, too,” Titchschler said.

His shop is primarily for service and bike maintenance, but he’ll also do bike fittings for people which Titchschler said is essential to having a good experience while biking.

“We can take an existing bike and make it biomechanically better for you. There’s a lot of adjustment in bikes that people don’t know or understand. And they can make a big, big difference especially with things like knees. No pain, no gain has no place in bicycling … if it hurts it’s probably bad. Usually there’s a way to address it and usually it’s not that difficult. There’s no such thing as a one size fits all bike,” Titchschler said.

Pevec said the goal of CLEER’s programming in June is to take elitism out of biking, often associated with the expense of a new bike, and show those who are less familiar with the sport that it is easier than they may think to incorporate into their day-to-day errands.

“Not to think that ‘well, I can’t bike commute so I don’t bike,’ you know … there are so many other ways to utilize your bike than going to work or school. … I think as people start riding more they’ll realize that it’s just fun to be out and hopefully realize it’s easier than they think it is,” Pevec said.

Some of Titchschler’s basic tips besides having your bike properly sized is to clean it regularly, wear a helmet and gloves, and to be careful not to put too much lube on the chain.

Titchschler said the bikes are the most energy efficient form of transportation based on what they can give you and where they can take you from how much effort you put in. The benefits to cyclists’ health and to opting to ride instead of drive are ones Titchschler said would improve our way of life and we ought to embrace them.

“If people adopt them, bicycles can save the world. They cut down on the high price of fuel, they make your body healthier, they can do a lot of things right. … They’re quiet, they’re durable, they’re fun … it might be the best invention we ever made,” Titchschler said.

 

Reporter Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or jpeterson@postindependent.com.

On The Fly column: The Mother’s Day hatch


Caddisflies are the official entrée of choice for trout this week, as we always see the first waves of these prolific insects from around Tax Day to Mother’s Day here in Colorado. There are many kinds of caddis, from those that free-swim around the river to those who build exquisite cases. Caddis adults can range from a big size 12 down to a Lilliputian 20, and we see them hatch in stronger numbers on bright and sunny days.

Caddisfly hatches are all about water temperature. Usually, 50 degrees is the magic number, and these intense hatches always start in lower elevations and work their way upstream as temperatures begin to rise in April and May. As of this writing, the hatch is thick on the Colorado River and has started creeping up the Roaring Fork. The lower 15 miles of the Roaring Fork are where the action is, and we’ve noticed the fish are generally waiting until after noon to put on the feedbag.

Calling this the Mother’s Day hatch can be a bit misleading; if you wait until mid-May, you may miss out on some or most of the action. Caddis will hatch all summer and into the fall, but the fish are hyper-focused on these insects at the moment and tend to ignore all else. Any seasoned angler will tell you: Trout tend to focus on what they see the most of, so you’ve got to match the hatch.

How you approach this annual event is important as well. Caddis move completely differently than mayflies on the water, generally skittering and flopping around versus sitting calmly on the surface for preflight like mayflies tend to do. Fishing your dry flies across and downstream is practically a must, and the trout want to see that fly skate a bit as it enters their sight window. Soft Hackles and Prince Nymphs will work until the fish start looking up, then you’ll want to switch to dry flies. The time is now, so take advantage of the epic conditions before runoff interruptus arrives.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.

Campground reservations in White River National Forest now available

The summer season for roads and trails on the forest is approaching as well, with many opening to summer vehicles May 21.
File photo

Reservations are now available for many of the campgrounds on the White River National Forest, which open as early as mid-May.

“We expect another very busy summer season on the White River National Forest,” said Matt Henry, acting recreation program manager for the forest. “The more you plan ahead by making reservations early and by being aware of conditions and regulations, the better trip you’ll have.”

While many forest campgrounds are available for reservation at www.recreation.gov, there are also first-come, first-served developed campgrounds on the forest. These fill up quickly and hopeful campers will have a better chance of finding a site if they avoid peak periods such as weekends and holidays.

Campground information, current conditions including fire restrictions, motor vehicle use maps, important alerts and other information to help people plan ahead are available at www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.

Several other popular areas on the White River National Forest require reservations. Reservations to hike Hanging Lake can be made at www.visitglenwood.org. Parking and shuttle reservations for the Maroon Bells Scenic Area are available at www.aspenchamber.org. The White River National Forest also has group sites, day-use areas and rental cabins available for reservation on www.recreation.gov.

“We really encourage people to plan ahead and have a backup plan or two in case their top choice for a campground or trailhead is full,” Henry said.

The summer season for roads and trails on the forest is approaching as well, with many opening to summer vehicles such as mountain bikes, OHVs and four-wheel drive vehicles May 21.

“We are seeing an increasing number of violations from mountain bikers and off-highway vehicles on roads and trails not yet open,” Henry said. “Please help us protect roads, trails and wildlife by being patient and hanging on just a few weeks more until they are open to summer vehicles.”

Hanging Lake ready and waiting for visitors’ return Saturday; reservation-only hiking resumes following Grizzly Creek Fire

Trees along the steep cliffs above Hanging Lake sit charred while the lake itself remains untouched after the Grizzly Creek Fire swept through Glenwood Canyon last summer.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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For Ken Murphy and some of his H2O Ventures crew, the return trip to the Hanging Lake Rest Area this week was almost surreal.

Preparing for hiker visits to resume Saturday, it was the first time they had set foot at the rest area along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon that serves as base camp for the Hanging Lake Trail since they were forced to hastily evacuate the afternoon of Aug. 10, 2020, when the Grizzly Creek Fire broke out.

The famous Hanging Lake sits untouched after the Grizzly Creek Fire swept through Glenwood Canyon last summer.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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The famous Hanging Lake sits untouched after the Grizzly Creek Fire swept through Glenwood Canyon last summer.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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“We had to make sure all of our staff and the guests who were up on the trail got out of there safely,” said Murphy, who runs the Hanging Lake hiking permit reservation system for the U.S. Forest Service and the city of Glenwood Springs.

Within 45 minutes, everyone was out of harm’s way as the fire raged in and around the canyon for the next several weeks. It wouldn’t be declared officially out until Dec. 18, after consuming 32,631 acres.

Murphy hadn’t been back since that crazy day last summer. Nine months later, everything was pretty much right where they’d left it.

“There was a computer tablet we left behind, and lots of personal items belonging to employees — jackets, backpacks, computerized radios, even some paychecks,” he said.

Murphy figures there were maybe a hundred people on the trail when the fire started — far fewer than would normally have been there on a peak day in early August.

The number of daily visitors last summer was limited even more than the usual 615, due to pandemic social-distancing protocols.

Little did Murphy know when that day began that it would end with him canceling thousands of reservations that had been booked for the remainder of the year.

Hanging Lake Reservation System vital statistics

Available daily reservations: 615

Daily time slots available: 12, starting at 6:30 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m.

Reservations booked to date: Approximately 23,000, or 20% of the total available May 1 through Oct. 31; 75% are Colorado residents

Where to make a reservation: visitglenwood.com/hanginglake/

Popular destination reopens

The Hanging Lake Trail and its iconic lake destination reopens Saturday to permit holders for the first time since the Grizzly Creek Fire erupted, and for the first time at maximum capacity since before the pandemic.

Reservations are filling up fast, especially on weekends through September, said Lisa Langer, director of tourism for Visit Glenwood Springs, during a press conference Thursday before members of the media were allowed a sneak preview hike up the trail.

“So far, we have almost 23,000 reservations made for the entire six-month period (from May 1 through Oct. 31),” she said.

That represents only about 20% of the total number of reservations available, but many weekends throughout the summer are already booked solid, with the exception of some 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. slots, she said.

When reservations opened, 7,500 were made in the first 90 minutes alone.

To date, 75% of reservations are from Colorado residents, Langer said.

“We actually have 56 international guests who will be making the hike,” she said. “I find that very encouraging for travel.”

Rockfall, debris flow concerns

A couple of post-fire concerns persist as people begin making the trek up the 1.2-mile trail to the pristine lake and back.

While the trail and lake area were mostly unscathed by the fire, there’s still a concern for falling rocks and trees from the burn-scarred slopes above, and for debris flows if there is a major rain event, advised Leanne Veldhuis, Eagle Holy Cross District Ranger for the White River National Forest.

Eagle Holy Cross District Ranger Leanne Veldhuis speaks to members of the media during the Hanging Lake media day on Thursday.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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The Forest Service in 2019 launched its partnership with the city of Glenwood Springs, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and others to implement the new Hanging Lake management plan, requiring a permit and limiting the number of hikers, due to parking issues at the rest area and resource impacts along the trail.

“That enabled us to be flexible in addressing social distancing and post-fire challenges just one year later,” Veldhuis said. “And safety will be really important this year.”

Due to the debris flow potential, H2O Ventures will not be running the usual shuttle between Glenwood Springs and the trailhead this year, so that people can more quickly evacuate in their personal vehicles, if need be.

CDOT will also be keeping a close eye on the weather each day in order to be prepared to close areas and implement an evacuation plan if heavy rains are expected over the canyon.

“We are also advising people to be sure to check the weather if you’re planning on coming up to Hanging Lake, or just traveling through the canyon this year,” Elise Thatcher, CDOT Region 3 Communications Manager, said during the press conference.

Colorado Department of Transportation Region 3 Communications Manager Elise Thatcher speaks to reporters during Thursday's Hanging Lake media day.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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She said CDOT is working closely with NOAA to obtain the most detailed hourly weather reports as possible, so that any trouble spots can be pin-pointed before a rain event happens.

If heavy rains are expected on a given day or over a period of several hours, CDOT may close the recreational path and rest areas along I-70 in order to limit the number of people who could be in harm’s way, she said.

“That way, when we evacuate, we can do it much faster and more safely if people are in their cars and not at the rest areas or on the bike path,” Thatcher said.

If there’s a flash flood watch, CDOT will have workers on stand-by and equipment at the ready, and those areas will be closed. If it turns into a flash flood warning, the canyon will be evacuated completely, the highway closed and law enforcement will be on hand to monitor things.

In the event of an I-70 closure in Glenwood Canyon lasting longer than two hours, CDOT is advising motorists this summer to take the northern detour via U.S. 40 and state Highways 9 and 13. The southern route via U.S. 50 is not recommended this year, due to a major construction project along that stretch, Thatcher said.

Fire recovery and rehabilitation

Along the Hanging Lake Trail on Thursday new growth was already visible in the underbrush, some amid charred trees that have fallen and been cut up and removed from the foot path by Forest Service crews.

The first patches of snow left over from the winter appeared about halfway up the trail, where the stream is beginning to flow.

A trout swims in the pristine water of Hanging Lake.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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The famous Hanging Lake sits untouched after the Grizzly Creek Fire swept through Glenwood Canyon last summer.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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At one spot a little farther up the trail, one of the new interpretive signs showed slight damage, likely from a falling tree or other debris. But the remainder of the infrastructure is still intact, including the numerous foot bridges, handrails and the boardwalk along the south end of the lake itself.

At some point over the winter, a major rockslide covered the short trail spur up to Spouting Rock, one of the popular features near the lake.

It wasn’t discovered until the snow melted just a few weeks ago, said Sarah Strehle, Glenwood Canyon Recreation Program Leader for the Forest Service.

This past week, crews were called in to rebuild the trail using pry bars and shovels to position the rocks that had fallen into a new stair-stepped trail that now serves the Spouting Rock area.

Views from above the Hanging Lake on the trail to Spouting Rock on Thursday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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“We wanted to make sure it was ready for this weekend, and that it would be safe for people,” Strehle said.

Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, which arranges volunteer crews for trail projects in the area, has been heavily involved in raising funds for trail restoration work in Glenwood Canyon after the fire.

“There has been a lot of enthusiasm for that restoration effort,” said Jacob Baker, communications and engagement manager for RFOV. “Our job is to convert that enthusiasm to on-the-ground volunteers.”

On May 13, RFOV is hosting a virtual town hall at 6 p.m. with some of the stakeholders involved with the fire recovery effort, including city, Forest Service, CDOT and Union Pacific Railroad representatives.

The event will also serve to kick off a new $100,000 fundraising campaign to complete the trail work, Baker said.

Already, Alpine Bank has agreed to match the first $25,000 raised and Black Hills Energy has kicked in $12,000.

A man looks out at Hanging Lake during a media day Thursday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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“Many businesses and hopefully individuals understand that Glenwood Canyon is important, and they need to make a commitment to its restoration,” he said.

The first volunteer trail project in the canyon is slated for May 22 on the Jess Weaver/No Name Trail.

And, on Sept. 25, National Public Lands Day, RFOV will be doing a major trail project to rebuild sections of the Hanging Lake Trail to National Park Service standards, Baker said.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Primary hunting draw applications, park visitation up statewide

Primary draw applications in Colorado are up by 74,593 applications from last year, according to data from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“What I can tell you is hunting applications were up, hunting license sales last year were up,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton.

“Everything in the COVID era, from a wildlife standpoint, is up.”

Hampton said the state is also seeing a 30% increase in park visitations over the last year.

“We continue to set a record for the number of people applying for licenses,” Hampton said, noting that what those applications translate to for the actual number of hunters in the field won’t be known until for several months.

Hampton surmised that some of the increases in primary draw applications could be due to Colorado hunters applying in-state versus going to hunt in other states with family due to COVID-19.

“Some of these increases could be due to other states restricting access for hunters,” Hampton said. “Hard to say if one thing is pushing the numbers or if all factors are driving it.”

In a more localized update, Hampton explained the impacts the Grizzly Creek Fire could potentially have on Glenwood Canyon’s wildlife.

“Fires have an impact, but the impact of fire in terms of big game hunting tends to be access not animal mortality,” Hampton said.

Hampton explained how wildlife in the western United States has evolved a resiliency to wildfires.

Hampton said the state was able to track collared elk during the Cameron Peak Fire.

“We were able to work with the firefighting groups and forest service and (Bureau of Land Management) to bring in their mapping and overlay the fire progression maps with the elk movement data from these collars,” Hampton said. “It was fascinating to watch. But these animals move out of the way of the fire and move right back behind it.”

During the Grizzly Creek Fire, Hampton said Glenwood Canyon’s bighorn sheep hung out along closed sections of Interstate 70 during the fire, in addition to seeking refuge in the Colorado River.

The burned areas left behind by the Grizzly Creek Fire may seem scorched, but Hampton said fire left behind an ideal setting for vegetation growth in those areas.

“If people go up in that burn area there’s a lot of green up,” Hampton said. “The canopy is gone, the sun is hitting those areas and what grows there is extremely nutritious for those big game animals that work their way back in there. There’s some long term benefits for big game.”

However, there are negative implications for the canyon’s aquatic life.

“There are some very big concerns for fisheries in areas where that ash drains into rivers and streams,” Hampton said.

Depending on how quickly the snow melts, ash can either absorb into the ground or run into the drainages, creeks and streams.

“Ash can contain both toxic chemicals, especially in areas where homes and outbuildings may have burned,” Hampton said.

“Anything with chemical composition, or even some bushes when they burn will have toxic elements in terms of being a fish.”

Hampton explained how fine ash particles in heavy quantities can cement in water beds, killing off the invertebrates and insects in the rocks that fish rely on for food.

“If it’s thick enough, if the water becomes muddy, the fish can suffocate from it,” Hampton said.

The ash’s impacts on the rivers and streams in Glenwood Canyon are something the CPW is watching very closely.

Hampton said the CPW is working closely with a team that includes area water managers, utility providers and federal agencies that’s monitoring the aftermath of the fire and making sure water sources are being protected as much as possible.

“That muck can clog diversion structures and irrigation structures,” Hampton said.

“It can be a real problem for municipal water supplies. We’re king of working to take care of all those things too.”

Primary Draw Applications
2020 2021 Percent Increase
Pronghorn 86,913 91,540 5.32%
Elk 215,207 246,602 14.5%
Deer 211,968 228,087 7.6%
Goat 23,388 27,338 16.88%
Sheep 31,192 35,919 15.15%
Moose 45,412 52,823 16.3%
Desert Bighorn 4,398 4,917 11.8%
Fall Bear 30,873 36,718 18.93%
Overall 649,351 723,944 11.48%

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

On the Fly column: Under no obligation

Gifford Maytham holds a Roaring Fork brown trout.

The universe is under no obligation to make sense to us, and this is doubly true when applied to trout fishing, don’t you think? In the course of a busy day in the fly shop, anglers from around the world (and from around the block) celebrate their successes with us, as well as their crises of fishing faith. Some days the trout do what they are expected to, but more often than not, they don’t. The same goes for insect hatches.

This doubly applies to an angler that fishes here a few days a year and expects the world from the insects and fish. Most of us can accept the randomness of hatches and fish behavior, while others expect a certain hatch to happen at a certain time at a certain place, which can set that angler up for a frustrating day. We all should be thankful for what the river offers us on any given day, and the more you fish, the more gifts she will eventually bestow upon you.

We have all had one of those fishing days where everything clicks together easily, and when we go back to the scene of the crime the following day, absolutely nothing is working despite identical conditions. This is a teaching moment, to be sure. Deep breaths and a change in game plan is needed on these days. The tough days are down payments, as I’ve said before.

The rivers here in the Roaring Fork Valley can spoil us rotten, given the prolific insect life and thousands of trout we enjoy. Whether you’ve fished here for a lifetime or it’s your first time, we should all come to the realization sooner or later that these waters can be tough once in a while. Trout can make us laugh one minute and cry the next, because they are under no obligation to make sense to anybody, right?

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.

‘Listo para la próxima:’ CMC presenta una conferencia virtual para ayudarle a personas locales y a lo largo del país a estar preparados para la temporada de incendios forestales

Captura de pantalla del evento educacional Incendios Extremos de CMC con el Oficial de Informacion Kale Casey.

Kale Casey está más que familiarizado con los incendios forestales—cómo empiezan, el daño que pueden causar y las formas de prepararse para éstos. En una discusión virtual presentada por Colorado Mountain College, Casey habló de sus 14 años de experiencia combatiendo incendios forestales y capturó la atención de los presentes, desde Kansas City hasta el Western Slope, respondiendo preguntas sobre las prácticas más efectivas a lo largo del año, no solo durante la temporada de incendios.

“Cuando pasas tanto tiempo con las cuadrillas, empiezas a internalizar lo que ellos viven y en qué consiste realmente este exigente estilo de vida. Los dolores, las penas, la soledad. No poder ir a bodas ni a cumpleaños … pero finalmente te das cuenta, con el paso de los años, que estas personas son héroes,” Casey dijo.

El principio de su presentación incluyó resúmenes de los incendios en Grizzly Creek que ocurrieron durante el verano del 2020. El incendio empezó el 10 de agosto con una chispa en la mediana del I-70 en Glenwood Canyon. La interestatal estuvo cerrada por dos semanas y el fuego cruzó el río Colorado y terminó quemando 32.631 acres antes de ser contenido completamente el 18 de diciembre. Casey compartió fotos de los campamentos que su equipo estableció cuando estuvieron combatiendo los incendios que amenazaron la cuenca de Glenwood Springs y que afectaron el tráfico en la I-70. Algo que levanta los ánimos de los bomberos es ver a los residentes de las áreas que están protegiendo poner letreros de gratitud o la interacción en los medios sociales acerca del trabajo que están haciendo.

“Realmente agradecemos que la comunidad de Glenwood Springs y la comunidad de bomberos en general se estén involucrando más en esto. El equipo que utilizamos, nuestras tácticas, cómo trabajamos; cuando los bomberos notan esta participación realmente se sienten revitalizados, porque a veces ellos sienten que han sido olvidados allá arriba frente a los incendios,” Casey dijo.

Él recomendó tomar las medidas necesarias para hacer de su casa un lugar defendible y enfatizó que las comunidades deben abandonar la excusa de que “No sabía que esto podía arder,” y en vez hacer el trabajo necesario para estar preparado cuando el incendio inevitablemente llegue.

Captura de pantalla de Kale Casey saludando a los que han protegido a comunidades y residentes de los incendios forestales.

“Esto es lo que los bomberos quieren ver. … Ellos quieren ver que hiciste algo para crear un espacio defendible. Ellos quieren ver que derribaste esos diez árboles favoritos que has amado, de los que has contado historias, y bajo cuyas sombras tus hijos se criaron … y que los has cortado para crear un espacio defendible,” Casey dijo.

Parte de la decisión sobre dónde los bomberos instalan su equipo responde a consideraciones de cuán seguros estarán en esa área. Una manera es reduciendo la acumulación peligrosa de combustibles que rodean la propiedad de uno, ya que cuando llegan las cuadrillas esos son elementos que están fuera de su control. Casey también mencionó la conexión entre el cambio climático y la temporada de incendios, cómo las temperaturas están subiendo mucho más antes y por más tiempo. Todos estos factores propician el incendio perfecto.

“Mira lo que pasó en Colorado el verano pasado. Yo estaba en Pingree filmando a una cuadrilla que estaba eliminando parches peligrosos en la nieve y zanjando una línea de fuego el 21 y 22 de noviembre porque estábamos preocupados de que iba a haber otro incendio como el de Fern Lake o Estes National Park, tal como sucedió en diciembre del 2010,” Casey dijo.

Pensar en todos los pasos antes de que llegue el momento da tranquilidad y facilita una evacuación exitosa. Casey recomienda considerar los seis pasos que aparecen abajo si te encuentras en una situación en la que tienes que evacuar inmediatamente, tener preparado un plan, y estar pendiente de otros que también estén tratando de mantenerse a salvo durante los incendios.

“Como nuestro pueblo de Willow se ha quemado dos veces, tenemos una sólida organización VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster), y durante el último incendio en cuanto las casas empezaron a arder … estábamos mucho más preparados para responder … y todo lo demás pues ya lo vivimos una vez y todos se aseguraron de estar preparados para el próximo.”

Si tienes más preguntas de seguridad y de cómo estar preparado para los incendios forestales, puedes contactar a Kale Casey al correo kale_casey@firenet.gov. Para ver la presentación, visita este enlace.

Considera estos seis elementos en caso de evacuación inmediata:

– Personas y mascotas

– Documentos importantes y números telefónicos

– Prescripciones, vitaminas y gafas

– Fotos y recuerdos irremplazables

– Disco duro de su computadora personal y dispositivos de almacenamiento

– “Plástico” (tarjetas de crédito y de cajero automático) y dinero en efectivo

 

Te puedes comunicar con la reportera Jessica Peterson al 970-279-3462 o al correo jpeterson@postindependent.com