Help create safe wildlife crossing in Colorado; Lily Pad Lake hike set for Tuesday, Aug. 3 and spots are still open. If you can’t make it, Summit Voice will tweet live from the trail. Click on this link to follow on Twitter.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — High country residents, volunteering as citizen naturalists, can help Colorado wildlife experts gather data on how and where animals move through the local forests, and where they might cross roads by participating in the Witness for Wildlife program.
A Summit County hike is set for Tuesday, Aug. 3 up the Lily Pad Lake Trail, and a few spots are still open. Hikers will meet at 9 a.m. at the Lily Pad Lake trailhead near Frisco.
The goal of the program is to get people up into Colorado’s high mountain wildlife corridors to search for signs like tracks and scat. The trips are led by volunteers that have been trained in wildlife tracking techniques, scat identification, data collection, GPS skills, trip leading, and field safety.
The track and scat data collected this season by citizen naturalists will used to supplement and ground-truth the data we’re collecting as part of the I-70 Safe Passages Project. The goal of this is to create safe wildlife passages through our busy mountain highway system. This helps makes highways safer for drivers, too. Detailed information on the I-70 Safe Passage project is online here.
Witness for Wildlife is a collaboration among Center for Native Ecosystems, Denver Zoo, Freedom to Roam, and Colorado Mountain Club.
The hikes will take place throughout the summer right here in our Summit County backyard in the Herman Gulch and the Lily Pad Lake/Blue River wildlife corridors.
Along with the Aug. 3 hike on the Lilypad Lake Trail, more trips are set for Aug. 27 and Sept. 9, 19, 23 and 26. Get the full schedule here.
Here’s are short excerpts from a blog post by Alison Huyett, a field biologist with Witness for Wildlife project:
- “Witness for Wildlife is a program that focuses on bringing a new awareness to trail users about how roads and other elements of the human footprint disrupt the ability of wildlife to move throughout the landscape.
- These trips are designed to educate the public and instill a sense of stewardship for our Rocky Mountain region and the wildlife that call it home. In Colorado, there are over 300 documented wildlife corridors – important pathways that allow wildlife to travel regularly or seasonally between critical habitats. Roadways like I-70 create major barriers for wildlife attempting to move north and south to meet their daily and seasonal needs.”
From I-70, take the eastern Frisco exit, #203.
At the roundabout, take the 2nd turn onto the dirt/gravel road (go past the clearly-marked private drive).
Continue .5 mile to the Meadow Creek Trailhead (the road ends at the trailhead).
From the trail, stay to the right when it forks, and follow the sign to Lily Pad Lake.
Meet at Lily Pad Lake Trailhead.
9am – Introduction and review of data forms
9:30am – Hike and record information along the way. Be prepared to take photos, GPS points, and write down data on your data form.
1pm – Wrap up and final questions
What to Bring:
Hat and Sunscreen
Hiking boots/Appropriate footwear – there may be some shallow stream crossings
Camera, if you have one
Handheld GPS unit, if you have one
We’ll provide clipboards and pens for you to complete the data forms. We’ll also provide guide books.
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, I-70, public lands, Summit County Colorado, transportation, wildlife Tagged: | Colorado wildlife, I-70, Summit County News, Summit County wildlife, wildlife corridors