Outside Briefs, Jan. 28, 2017
Officials looking at options for increased traffic at monument’s east entrance
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.
Sportsmen’s Roundtable Caucus is Feb. 9
Hunters and anglers interested in expressing their opinions about a variety of wildlife-related issues can attend the next Northwest Region Sportsmen’s Roundtable Caucus on Feb. 9 in Meeker.
The caucus will begin at 6 p.m. at the White River Electric Association Building, 233 Sixth Street.
Elected and appointed representatives on the roundtable will gather feedback and relay it to Colorado Parks and Wildlife leadership at the Statewide Sportsmen’s Roundtable meeting scheduled for mid-March.
“There are several pressing issues that directly impact our sportsmen on the table,” Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde said. “From winter conditions, mule deer numbers and predator management to CPW’s financial sustainability, this is where sportsmen can come listen, learn and give their input.”
The roundtable consists of four appointed members and two elected members from each region. Twice each year, the statewide roundtable meets with the CPW director and other members of CPW’s leadership for detailed discussions about a variety of wildlife management challenges.
Spruce beetle most damaging pest in 2016
The spruce beetle was the most damaging forest insect pest in Colorado for the fifth consecutive year, based on a 2016 forest health aerial survey conducted by the Colorado State Forest Service and U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region.
Douglas fir beetle populations also continued to expand and mountain pine beetle, western spruce budworm and Douglas-fir tussock moth populations continued to decline.
Spruce beetle populations continued to cause widespread tree mortality, impacting 350,000 acres of higher-elevation stands of Engelmann spruce statewide. The largest infestations were detected primarily in southern and central Colorado, with more than one-third of those acres “new” or not previously affected.
Since 1996, spruce beetle outbreaks have caused tree mortality on more than 1.7 million acres in Colorado.
The aerial survey also indicated that activity of Douglas-fir beetle, a close relative of spruce beetle that attacks and kills mature Douglas-fir trees, significantly increased on the Western Slope, with 19,000 acres affected. Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties, along with most of the Gunnison Basin, were all heavily impacted with pocket activity in 2016.
Mountain pine beetle, which affected nearly 3.4 million cumulative acres statewide over the past two decades, also has declined for years and remains at background levels, with fewer than a thousand acres affected statewide in 2016.
To obtain local 2016 Aerial Detection Survey information, contact the nearest CSFS office.
Reserve camping spots in state parks now
The time is now to make reservations for popular camping locations in the spring and summer.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say many state park camping locations are already booked over Memorial Day but there are still some prime locations for the July 4 holiday.
“Camping spots in parks near Denver are often booked six months in advance, so planning ahead is the best way to secure a prime spot,” said Margaret Taylor, CPW assistant director for capital, parks and trails. “Cabins and yurts are typically booked first, followed by sites with electrical and water hook-ups and then tent camping sites.”
Over Memorial Day weekend, only three state parks still have wide availability: Mancos State Park, Paonia State Park and Yampa River State Park.
Mancos, which is a 40-minute drive west of Durango, offers yurts as well as tent camping.
To make camping reservations, go to the CPW website or by call 303-470-1144 (Denver) or 1-800-678-2267, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Colorado has 42 state parks with multiple options for RV hookups, camp sites, cabins and yurts. Download the state parks brochure at cpw.state.co.us for more information.
Rock Mtn. Elk Foundation, landowners protect nearly 1,800 acres
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with conservation-minded landowners and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to permanently protect 1,742 acres of prime elk and greater sage grouse habitat in northwest Colorado. The tract is nearly surrounded by public lands. It is also adjacent to the Diamond Breaks Wilderness Study Area and only a few miles away from Dinosaur National Monument and Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge.
The property is key summer and winter range for big game and home to more than 500 elk as well as mule deer and other bird and animal life. It is also central greater sage grouse range and lies within a two-mile radius of leks in both Colorado and Utah, one of which contains more than 60 males.
Though the conservation easement is on private property, the landowner granted a public access easement to CPW allowing public elk hunts every year going forward in the highly limited draw unit of Game Management Unit 1.
The landowner previously placed a RMEF conservation easement on a 796-acre plot of adjacent ranch land immediately across the border in Utah.