New scopes provide a peek at bighorn |

New scopes provide a peek at bighorn

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Pete Fowler

A man from Indiana lowered his eyes full of expectation to a blue viewing scope underneath a clear blue sky, hoping to see bighorn sheep on the hills of Glenwood Canyon. Instead, Mark Kozuch saw late Wednesday morning what he’s 95 percent sure will become part of his future: the beauty of Glenwood Canyon and the surrounding area.”This is neat,” he said. “This is really neat.”Two binocular-style viewing scopes were installed about a month ago to help people spot bighorn sheep at the No Name Rest Area. Kozuch was checking them out as part of a short stay in Parachute to get a better feel for the area. He said he’s likely to move to the area to accept an engineering job in the oil and gas industry, despite the high cost of housing.Kozuch had wandered up the winding pathway to a viewing area overlooking the Colorado River, railroad tracks, Interstate 70 and crags of Glenwood Canyon, where hints of fall yellows, golds and reds are just beginning to dust the hillsides. He checked out four displays on Glenwood Canyon’s geology, history and bighorn sheep. The surrounding views were better than Valparaiso, Ind.”They’re awesome,” Kozuch said. “This is a fantastic rest area. I couldn’t believe it.”

He probably didn’t see any bighorn sheep because, as one sign explains, they’re more active in the morning and in the evening, rather than shortly before noon.”To increase your chances of spotting them, scour the slopes for their white rumps during the early morning and late afternoon, when they are most active,” it reads.The Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado Department of Transportation, Bureau of Land Management, City of Glenwood Springs and White River National Forest partnered to install the scopes. One scope is nearer to the ground, allowing for viewing from a wheelchair.”We have so many people driving through the canyon where you can all of a sudden see bighorn sheep sitting by the side of the road,” said Sally Spaulding, a White River National Forest public affairs specialist. “We thought it would be a place for visitors and locals to see bighorn sheep, (learn) why they are there, what they are, and also to get them to use the scopes instead of slowing down or stopping on the highway.”The sheep prefer south-facing slopes in the winter and spring, Spaulding said, and the stretch along Interstate 70 between Glenwood Springs and No Name is one area they are regularly spotted due to the topography of that part of the canyon.In addition to the scopes, the DOW and the city installed interpretive panels by the entrance to the Glenwood Canyon recreation path near the Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves. Those are meant to educate people and detail efforts to monitor the bighorn sheep herd and enhance its habitat in Glenwood Canyon.

The views of Glenwood Canyon, even without bighorn sheep, reinforced Kozuch’s desire to move to the area for the natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 pfowler@postindependent.comBighorn sheep

• Both rams and ewes have a permanent, continuously growing set of horns• Only rams develop long, curled horns that can exceed three feet in length• An adult ram’s skull and horns can weigh over 40 pounds• Bighorn sheep use steep rocky crags to escape from predators like mountain lions, black bears and coyotesPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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