Outdoor Heritage Day a great opportunity for youth to learn outdoors

Jim Davis, a student at Fruita Monument High School, loads some of the 1,200 fishing rods to be used at this year’s Outdoor Heritage Day later this month at Palisade’s Riverbend Park.



042011 Fishing rods 1

Jim Davis, a student at Fruita Monument High School, loads some of the 1,200 fishing rods to be used at this year’s Outdoor Heritage Day later this month at Palisade’s Riverbend Park.

Saturday marks the fourth Outdoor Heritage Day, an event conceived by local District Wildlife Manager Frank McGee of the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

It was grown from McGee’s initial idea of pulling youngsters away from electronic entertainment and getting them out of doors to a day filled with activities for the whole family.

From 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Palisade’s Riverbend Park, youngsters of all ages can enjoy a wide spectrum of outdoor-related recreation, including archery, rock climbing, nature hikes, the DOW’s hunting simulator and fishing in the park’s recently stocked lakes.

And it’s all free, sponsored by state and federal land management agencies, local governments, private conservation groups and scads of local businesses.

Not to mention the youngsters themselves, including the battalion of students at Fruita Monument High School who, under the tutelage of science teacher and active outdoors volunteer Billy Johnson, spent their lunch hours and class time putting together 1,200 fishing rods donated by local sponsors for the Pathways to Fishing program.

“The students are studying human impacts on wildlife management and they really like to help out with Outdoor Heritage Day,” Johnson said.

He said the rods, which will be handed out free to Outdoor Heritage Day participants, are funded by GOCO, the Division of Wildlife, the Colorado Mule Deer Association and the Colorado Sportsmen Wildlife Fund.

McGee’s goal remains the same as it was four years ago: get youngsters to put down the remote and pick up a fishing rod, a hiking stick or simply an interest in the natural world.

“We encourage families to put the TV remote and game console down every now and then and enjoy the great outdoor activates we have here in Colorado,” McGee said.

Getting kids fishing is a catching idea, if you will. Several other cities, including Delta, Steamboat Springs and Durango, are planning similar events after seeing how successful the Palisade event has become.

The Delta Outdoors Heritage Day is set for as-yet-unannounced day in June at Confluence Park.

More information is available at http://www.outdoorheritage.org.

And speaking of kids going fishing, the annual “Mac” McCarty Fishing Derby, sponsored by Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods, is set for April 30 and May 1.

The derby goes from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and is free to all youngsters 12 and under. Fishing happens at the store pond, 445 West Gunnison Ave.

This, too, is a free event but room around the pond is limited, so preregistration is a must.

Information: 242-8165.

Vega Reservoir sets May 1 opening: Weather and ice conditions permitting, the 2011 boating season at Vega State Park begins May 1.

A reminder from Colorado State Parks: All boats entering this and all Colorado parks must be inspected for aquatic nuisance species prior to launch.

According to a parks announcement, the Vega State Park entrance and the ANS station will be open starting May 1 on weekends between 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. and weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

If an ANS inspector is not present at the station, boaters are requested to ask for a boat inspection at the visitor center.

Colorado boat owners should be familiar with this drill but it bears repeating: Colorado State Parks says boaters choosing to launch without the required inspection face fines.

Deep snow, but Yellowstone open:  Roof-deep snow across Wyoming hasn’t kept the National Park Service from opening roads into Yellowstone National Park.

A recent park announcement said early spring visitors to Yellowstone’s interior may drive through the park’s north entrance at Gardiner, Mont., and west entrance at West Yellowstone, Mont., to Norris, Madison, Canyon and Old Faithful.

Updated park road information is available 24 hours a day at 307-344-2117.

Bob Jacklin, who has run a fly fishing guide service in West Yellowstone, recently said this winter has been the snowiest he can remember in his 37 years in West Yellowstone.

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