Outside briefs, Feb. 11, 2017
Western Slope stops on Ride the Rockies
The annual Ride the Rockies bicycle tour will again have a Western Slope flavor to the week-long ride.
The ride will be June 10-17 and will cover 447 miles. The 2017 route will be a point-to-point ride starting in Alamosa and ending in Salida.
Riders will take off June 11 from Alamosa on a grueling 92-mile ride over Wolf Creek Pass to Pagosa Springs. Day 2 will be a 68-mile ride to Durango.
Day 3 will be the Durango loop, a 38-mile ride.
On June 14, riders will have another demanding ride from Durango to Ridgway. The 83-mile trek will have three 10,000-foot plus passes to navigate, including Red Mountain Pass.
Day 5 is a quick jaunt of 32 miles, with a 52-mile option, into Montrose. Day 6 goes into Gunnison, a 65-mile ride, and the final day is another 65-mile ride into Salida.
Ride the Rockies is a completely supported ride with a 2,000-rider cap.
The lottery registration is now open and runs until 5 p.m. on Feb. 26. Riders will be notified March 3 if they’ve made the list or not.
Bald eagle population in state thriving
In the 1970s, Colorado’s bald eagle population was in serious trouble.
But now, Colorado Parks and Wildlife estimates there are more than 170 nests in the state.
CPW is thrilled with the success.
“The recovery of bald eagles is truly emerging as a success story,” said Mike Sherman, wildlife biologist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Through 30-year monitoring of these birds across the state, we are encouraged and heartened that the population is bouncing back and continuing upward.”
Thanks to volunteers and CPW staff and other agencies, the monitoring project is now more than 30 years old. Countless hours have been spent monitoring nest activity, eaglet production and gathering additional data for biologists.
Bald eagle nests can be seven to eight feet across, usually in tall trees high above the ground. They often choose dead limbs in tall trees, possibly because their view is not obstructed by foliage. Nests are often found near water. The female lays one to three eggs, which are dull white. The incubation period is about 35 days, with both the male and female keeping the eggs warm.
Guided snowshoe hike is Saturday
A guided snowshoe hike will be held on Grand Mesa on Saturday. Hikers should meet at Jumbo Campground parking lot at 9:45 a.m.
The naturalist-guided hike is sponsored by Interpretive Association Western Colorado.
To reserve snowshoes or more information, call 970-874-6637.
Officials looking for solutions to increased monument traffic
With the increased traffic at the east entrance to Colorado National Monument, officials want to evaluate possible options and solutions.
The annual number of cars passing through the east entrance has increased by 56,000, with 252,694 vehicles entering the east entrance last year.
According to officials, the increase is due to more visitors to the monument and the growing population of the Glade Park area.
The goal is to expedite the time spent introducing visitors to the park without diminishing their experience.
The monument plans to use grant funds from the Federal Highway Administration to make construction changes to the entrance.
To comment on the east entrance traffic and ideas for better traffic flow, contact Colorado National Monument officials at nps.gov/colm; call 858-3617, ext. 300; comment on Facebook by searching ColoradoNM; or send a letter to Colorado National Monument, 1750 Rim Rock Drive, Fruita, 81521.