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Colorado: Free fishing this weekend

Relatively low river flows make for good angling this year

Trent Park, Silverthorne, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After the earliest snow-melt on record, many Colorado rivers and streams are already running clear and warming up. And with flows projected to drop off quickly going into summer, the upcoming free fishing weekend might be the perfect time to get into the groove of the season.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife traditionally sets aside the first full weekend in June to promote sport fishing. For this weekend only, anglers do not need a valid fishing license in order to wet a line. The state fishing report is online here.

“Fishing is one of Colorado’s most important outdoor traditions and a great way to hook kids on healthy outdoor recreation,” said Greg Gerlich, aquatic section manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Free fishing weekend also gives anglers who haven’t fished for a while a chance to reconnect with the simple pleasure of being on the water.” Continue reading

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Colorado: Public meeting set to discuss makeup of new commission for combined parks and wildlife agency

A fox in Breckenridge, Colorado. PHOTO BY DYLAN BERWYN.

Representation of different user groups at issue in debate over the composition of the new Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The merger between the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks resulted in the formation of a new advisory board to help set policy for the combined agency.  The composition of that panel has been at issue in a series of meetings and behind-the-scenes negotiations, as wildlife and conservation advocates want to ensure that the makeup of the new panel doesn’t dilute the core mission of the former wildlife agency. Continue reading

New Colorado state wildlife & parks board to meet

A northern goshawk in the forest near Breckenridge, Colorado. PHOTO BY JENNEY COBERLY.

July 7 – 8 meeting set to discuss merger of agencies, elect officers and conduct regular business

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The first meeting of the new combined Colorado Parks and Wildlife Board will include the election of officers that will set regulations and policies for the new Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, as well as a two-hour discussion about the merger of the former Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks.

The two-day meeting is July 7 and July 8 at the Hunter Education Building, located at the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife’s campus at 6060 North Broadway. Audio from the meeting will be streamed live online at the wildlife commission website. Continue reading

Colorado: Regional U.S. Forest Service chief Rick Cables picked to head new combined parks and wildlife division

After10 years as regional forester, Rick Cables will take charge of a newly combined state parks and wildlife division in Colorado.

Veteran resource manager should help ease transition woes

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper sidestepped any potential friction over who will head the newly combined Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks by picking a well-respected U.S. Forest Service leader to head the new division and its 800 employees.

Rick Cables, who has served as Rocky Mountain Regional Forester since 2001, will take over in early July.

“I feel privileged to be joining the remarkable professionals of the newly created Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife,” Cables said. “Their passion, professionalism and dedication to Colorado’s wildlife and state parks make our wonderful state even more special. I’m very excited to pursue this new challenge. To my friends in the U.S. Forest Service, an agency that I love, I thank you for the experience and look forward to advancing Colorado’s conservation heritage.” Continue reading

Breckenridge: Planners huddle on outdoor strategies for kids

Access to outdoor play has huge health benefits for youth

A Colorado youngster enjoys some wide open spaces around Dillon Reservoir.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Educators and health experts agree that the rapid increase in the use of electronic media among youth creates potential health risks as kids spend less time in active outdoor play.

On average, youngsters spend an astounding 7.5 hours per day with electronics and computer games, Kaiser Permanente’s Sandra Hoyt Stenmark said Monday in Breckenridge at a national conference of recreation  resource planners.

“If they’re engaged with their media, they’re probably not outside in unstructured play,” Hoyt Stenmark said, adding that we’re potentially raising a generation that’s “disconnected from the land, doesn’t know where their food comes from … and doesn’t know why environmental preservation is important.”

Her remarks came at one of the opening sessions of the conference, where the planners and land managers will focus in part on how to re-weave an outdoor culture into the fabric of American life. Early remarks outlined some of the negative health impacts of sedentary indoor lifestyles, including an alarming increase in child obesity that leads to a host of associated health problems. Continue reading

Colorado: State Parks board cuts senior discounts

Click on the image for the interactive version of the Colorado State Parks map.

Budget cuts force agency to raise all fees

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado State Parks officials say they are cutting discounts for seniors 64 and older “out of necessity,” because of state budget cuts.

The Colorado State Parks Board voted last week to reduce the discounts, affecting the Aspen Leaf Annual Pass and on Aspen Leaf camping fees. The prices of an Aspen Leaf Lifetime Pass, created by the Colorado Legislature, will also increase.

The Aspen Leaf discounts will be reduced because Colorado State Parks will receive no general tax dollars and substantially less support from severance tax dollars as of July 1, 2011, according to Gary Butterworth, chairman of the Colorado State Parks Board.

“We value all park visitors and have reluctantly reduced discounts for seniors to address the state’s budget cuts,”  Butterworth said. “Reducing the Aspen Leaf discounts for seniors is a last resort. We tried to protect the senior discounts as long as possible, just as we have tried to avoid park closures. We approved these reductions purely out of necessity.” Continue reading

Outdoor Nation youth movement to gather in Denver

July 23 ‘Summer Fun Day’ is open to the community

Two Colorado youngsters enjoy the outdoors at Summit Lake, near Mt. Evans.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Youngsters from around the Rocky Mountain West who love to play outside — and are fired up about getting their peers about the outdoors — will gather July 23 in Denver’s Cherry Creek Park as part of the Outdoor Nation’s Youth Summit.

“You might take for granted that youth from the Rocky Mountain West have a solid connection to the outdoors, but that isn’t always the case,” said Outdoor Nation Ambassador Kimberly Banzhaf.  “We’re excited to plant the Outdoor Nation flag in Cherry Creek State Park and to find ways that our generation can ensure that our outdoor spaces are appreciated and enjoyed by the youth of today and for generations to come.”

Co-hosted with Colorado State Parks, with generous financial support provided by the national presenting sponsors The North Face, REI Foundation and the Conservation Fund, the three-day event will convene 250 passionate ‘Outsiders’ from across the region. Their mission together is to empower a new generation of outdoor leaders to develop and undertake projects that address regional barriers currently limiting outdoor participation — ultimately engaging millions of more young people in the outdoors. Continue reading

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