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Park Service trying to track fossil vandals at Dinosaur National Monument

Missing chunk of sauropod leg bone spurs investigation

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A vandalized dinosaur fossil has spurred a National Park Service investigation.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dinosaur National Monument rangers are trying to track down information  related to recent fossil damage and theft on the Fossil Discovery Trail. A tour leader first reported the damage to the large fossilized sauropod leg bone Sept. 2.

Rangers are requesting that anyone with information on the fossil damage to contact the monument at (435) 781-7715. A $750 reward will be provided for information that leads to a conviction. Continue reading

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Colorado: Dinosaur National Monument marks National Park Week with special events and activities

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Dinosaur National Monument is best known for its trove of fossils, but also harbors a great collection of ancient Native American rock art. Photo courtesy NPS.

Stargazing, an Easter Egg hunt and movie screenings all part of the festivities

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dinosaur National Monument, in northwestern Colorado, will celebrate National Park Week with a slew of special activities, including an Easter Egg hunt of the younger set (April 20), a birthday party of sorts for the monument’s famed stegosaurus statue, as well as a twilight tour and stargazing.

“National Park Week is a great time to get out and celebrate your parks. At Dinosaur National Monument, we are excited to welcome visitors from all over the world,” said acting superintendent Mark Foust.”We would especially like to welcome local residents who may not have come out to the monument recently. We are proud to be a part of the local communities and would love to see as many people as possible re-connect with the monument and take advantage of the free admission days to get out and enjoy the quarry area and the canyon country.” Continue reading

Colorado: Permits for river trips through Dinosaur National Monument going online

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Floating past Tiger Wall on the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Changes will enable boaters to apply for four launch dates

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Starting this year. boaters looking to garner a permit for the popular trip through Dinosaur National Monument will be able to apply online instead of via snail mail at Recreation.gov.

The application period runs Dec. 1, 2013 through Jan. 31, 2014 for high-season multi-day trips, and the online application system also opens up some new opportunities for boaters. Recreation.gov does require each applicant to register and create a profile with their unique email address and a password so that they can process payments.  Continue reading

Public lands: Advocacy group looks to boost Latino visitation and engagement at national parks

‘Four Stops’ tour features social media coverage

Pueblo del Arroyo, Chaco

Pueblo del Arroyo, Chaco Culture National Park in New Mexico, one of the stops on a tour aimed at boosting Hispanic engagement with national parks. Photo courtesy NPS.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Some National Park Service officials have long expressed concern that the country’s changing demographics could affect park visitation. Currently, only 9 percent of the nation’s approximately 54 million Latinos visit the country’s national parks each year, according the American Latino Heritage Fund.

One of biggest barriers to entry is awareness, according to the Hispanic Access Foundation, which is sponsoring a “Four Stops” tour starting this week boost turnout and  protect parks from oil and gas development for future generations.

Foundation president Maite Arce and her family will complete the 950-mile tour with stops at Dinosaur National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, Arches National Park and Chaco Culture National Park in New Mexico. You can follow the Arce family on Facebook and Twitter. Continue reading

Massive rockslide closes parts of Dinosaur Nat’l Monument

100-foot chunk of rock breaks off canyon wall

The large lighter-colored area indicates the extent of the rock slide above Jones Hole Creek as seen from the fish hatchery

The large lighter-colored area indicates the extent of the rock slide above Jones Hole Creek as seen from the fish hatchery in Dinosaur National Monument. Photo via NPS.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A rockslide has closed portions of Dinosaur National Monument, According to the National Park Service, the slide has resulted in the closure of NPS lands from the boundary of the monument and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery to Ely Creek.

The first rock slide was reported June 18, when a large slab of rock broke free from a cliff face just a short distance inside the monument boundary, less than .25 miles from the Jones Hole Fish Hatchery. One fisherman reported having to run from a boulder that landed in the stream not too far from his location. After receiving reports, park rangers checked the scene and did not see any further activity. Continue reading

Firefighters make progress against Colorado wildfires

Red flag fire warnings persist in western Colorado

A NASA satellite image shows smoke from the Black Forest Fire.

A NASA satellite image shows smoke from the Black Forest Fire.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Firefighters in Colorado gained ground on a handful of wildfires Friday. By the end of the day, the deadly and destructive 15,000-acre Black Forest Fire was 30 percent contained. The Royal Gorge Fire was reported as 65 percent contained after burning across a footprint of about 3,200 acres of sagebrush and in pinon forests, including stands of trees killed by ips beetles.

New fires are also burning in western Colorado, where red flag fire warnings are in effect starting 12 p.m. Saturday (June 15). Gusty winds, warm temperatures and low humidity will create challenges for firefighters in the area, including at the lightning-sparked Ward Gulch Fire, where Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue deputy chief Jeff Berino is the incident commander.

At the Black Forest Fire, officials said rain helped firefighters establish some control of the flames — to the point that the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office was able to lift some evacuation orders. Continue reading

New group aims to protect national parks from drilling

Retired park rangers call on the BLM to fully adopt national leasing reforms

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Mesa Verde National Park could be at risk from oil and gas drilling. NPS photo.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — As oil and gas drilling rigs creep closer and closer to the borders of popular national parks around the country, a passel of retired park rangers has formed a new organization to try and protect cherished resources, including view sheds, air quality and wildlife habitat.

The idea is not to stop drilling. The ex-rangers acknowledge that energy development is needed. Rather, the group wants to hold other federal agencies — primarily the BLM — accountable to national guidance that requires smart, up-front planning when it comes to drilling around parks.

“We’re really concerned about the impacts if the drilling isn’t properly planned,” said Ellis Richard, a National Park Service veteran who ended his career as acting superintendent of Dinosaur National Monument, one of the park units potentially threatened by drilling. Continue reading

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