Rocky Mountain National Park warns of late season fire danger

Big Meadows fire Rocky Mountain National Park Arial view

The 2013 Big Meadows fire in Rocky Mountain National Park scorched more than 600 acres. Photo courtesy RMNP.

Drying grasses and shrubs up fire danger in parts of Colorado

Staff Report

FRISCO — Summer may be winding down, but the wildfire season is not over yet. In the past ten days, fire managers and park rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park have responded to four illegal, escaped campfires.

All four were quickly extinguished, each burning less than 0.25 acres, but park managers say they all had the potential to spread quickly and threaten lives and property. Continue reading

Appeals court upholds Colorado poaching conviction

Former Meeker outfitter who was convicted of baiting deer and elk with salt claimed his confession was coerced

Bull elk in morning sun, Rocky Mountain National Park.

A grazing bull elk in northern Colorado. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A convicted northern Colorado poacher will remain in prison after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last week affirming the 41-month prison sentence and fines the former outfitter received in early 2013 for illegally baiting deer and elk with salt.

Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh, 73, of Meeker, Colorado, had appealed his conviction based on a series of legal technicalities, claiming that his confession was involuntary. The appeals court denied those claims after reviewing records of the investigation and questioning by investigators.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigators, between 2002 and 2007, Rodebaugh and an associate used large quantities of salt to attract elk and mule deer to an area in the White River National Forest where he had installed tree stands, enabling their clients to easily kill the animals. Continue reading

Morning photo: Mountain colors

Dawn patrol … and more

FRISCO —What could be better than a rainbow stretched across the jagged skyline of the Tenmile Range? Maybe the scattered rays of the morning sun coming up over the Continental Divide, or the vibrant buzz of a bumblebee perched on purple thistle, or deepening purple and orange clouds over Frisco’s landmark Peak One. It’s tough to choose, that’s for sure, so I’m glad I don’t have to pick just one favorite image from this week’s photo wanderings in Summit County. If you love these shots, check out the online Summit Voice gallery, where a purchase goes a long way toward supporting independent Colorado environmental journalism.

Upcoming seminar spotlights regional water issues

CRWCD’s annual water seminar features leading national and regional water and climate experts

Several weekend stories addressed water quailty issues.

Got water?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado this summer may have escaped the severe drought plaguing much of the West — at least for now — but that doesn’t mean the state is immune from regional water woes.

Planners and water users know very well that huge long-term challenges remain for all the states in the Colorado River Basin, and some of those issues will be highlighted during the Colorado River Water Conservation District’s Sept. 10 water seminar in Grand Junction.

Two of the most important women in Western water leadership will be addressing the Colorado River District’s popular Annual Water Seminar in Grand Junction, Colo., that takes place Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Two Rivers Convention Center. Continue reading

Popular Waterton Canyon recreation area near Denver closed after bear chases cyclist

American black bears are notorious scavengers, and their habit of seeking out human food nearly always ends badly. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.

American black bears are notorious scavengers, and their habit of seeking out human food nearly always ends badly. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.

Wildlife managers have closed several areas this summer due to bear activity and to avoid unwanted encounters

Staff Report

FRISCO — After earlier summer closures of popular national forest areas due to close encounters with bears, Denver Water and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have decided to close Waterton Canyon to public recreation until further notice — for the same reason.

According to a release from Denver Water, there are two sows, each with twin cubs, and other bears actively foraging in the canyon. Friday afternoon, a biker was chased by a bear in the canyon. No one was injured. Continue reading

Summer rains keep Colorado mostly drought-free

El Niño projected to bring above average autumn precipitation

dr

Spring and summer rains helped make up for a winter snowfall deficit in Colorado, where statewide precipitation was 98 percent of average 10 months into the 2015 water year. Graph courtesy NRCS.

Staff Report

FRISCO —Serious drought conditions persisted across the far West in July, but Colorado’s wet spring and summer helped boost the state’s water supplies and stream flow forecasts going into the late summer and fall. Only two small slices of the state have experienced abnormally dry conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Continue reading

Morning photo: Golden days

Sweet sunrise …

FRISCO — With smoke and haze from distant wildfires hanging in the sky, the morning sunlight has been diffuse and gentle, creating some spectacular sunrise scenes along the shore of Dillon Reservoir. It may be slightly comforting that the fires are hundreds of miles away, but at the same time, it’s a reminder that the entire West has been getting warmer and drier for decades. There’s no reason to think that Colorado’s current moist phase will last forever. Based on the regional patterns, it seems a lot more likely that the next drought in the Rockies will be even worse than the last, but for now we have a respite and a chance to prepare for the next inevitable wave of wildfires when the weather turns dry once again.

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