Monday, June 30, 2014

Summit County gear review: Choosing the right stand-up paddleboard

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

With stand-up paddleboarding on the rise here in the High Country, we thought we’d take some time to explore the ins and outs of paddleboard designs and answer some frequently asked questions.
For any prospective paddleboard buyer, the first question is, inevitably, Where do you want to use it?
Are you looking to enjoy a quiet morning paddle on a pristine mountain lake? Or are you looking to take it on one of Colorado’s many rivers?
Those completely new to the sport are often surprised to find out that whitewater stand-up paddleboarding exists. YouTube it. It’s a thing.
The other major factor is how portable do you want it to be? A hardshell board can get up to 12 feet long — not the best thing to strap on top of your Mini Cooper.
For all those questions it basically comes down to hard or soft? (Also an important question when in line at Taco Bell, but we digress.)
Hardshell — like a traditional surfboard — or inflatable: Those are the two biggest distinctions in the world of paddleboarding. Each has its advantages.
Inflatables offer portability and a lower price point. They’re also good for anyone looking to use them in a faster flowing river, because they’ll stand up to contact with rocks and they’ll flex in rapids. You wouldn’t want to go whitewater paddleboarding on a hardshell because of the potential for damage.
But what you gain in practicality in an inflatable, you lose in performance on flatwater.
“Once you go hard-boarding you never go back,” Matti Wade, owner of Ten Mile Creek Kayaks in Frisco, said. He recommends a hard board to anyone looking to stick to calmer water.
A hard board will track much better in flatwater, meaning you glide on top of the water instead of pushing through it. The result is a more efficient paddle stroke, and it’s easier to cover more distance. The difference between hard and soft paddleboards is comparable to that between whitewater and touring kayaks.
Provided that an inflatable is well made, it can be the most versatile solution. And in recent years their quality has improved to a point where they perform adequately on lakes or other flatwater.
“A lot of people are buying an inflatable because they can do lakes and rivers,” Wade said.
There are sturdy inflatables out there, but, Wade cautioned, “Be leary of cheap inflatables online. If the price is too good to be true, there’s usually a reason for it.”
It likely won’t be made from the most durable material. He said he’s seen a number of people come into his shop asking to have leaks repaired on cheaper boards.
That said, a good inflatable — made with durable material similar to a good whitewater raft — will stand up to a lot of abuse. They require a good air pump to get them rigid enough to perform well.
Costs will vary based on features and amenities. Some boards, for example, are now designed for specific activities, like fishing — with added straps or pockets — whereas others might be able to accomodate a canine passenger. As a general rule, inflatables are less expensive than hard boards. Expect to pay anywhere from about $700 to as much as $2,500 for a board — inflatables start on the low end of the price range; hardshells are closer to the high end.

Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Vuelta Keystone fondo-style cycling ride a first year success

Keystone, Colorado.

Sebastian Foltz /

While cooler weather and a questionable forecast might have deterred some Front Rangers from last-minute registration in the inaugural Vuelta Keystone gran-fondo style cycling competition Saturday, the 125 riders in attendance were treated to what many described as a “gorgeous” ride.
“I loved the course,” Carrie Larson of Gypsum told the Daily after finishing the 90-mile ride — the longest of three course options. “It was absolutely beautiful.”
Larson — an Ironman competitor — took second among women in the timed portions of the ride.
Unlike the Courage Classic, the Triple Bypass or other High Country charity rides where time is not a factor, the Vuelta Keystone incorporated a competitive element with a fondo-style format. Already well known in Europe and increasingly popular in the U.S., fondo rides have timed racing sections within the larger rides. Between sections cyclists are free to ride at a more leisurely pace, if they choose.
“It was fun,” Jakob Marusarz of Dillon said after completing the 60-mile course. At just 12-years-old, Marusarz won the Vuelta’s youngest award.
He said after the ride that it was the longest he’d ever ridden.
Family friend and fellow rider Dave Servinsky said Marusarz even climbed the entire stretch up Ute Pass — north of Silverthorne — without stopping.
Riders set off on the 90-, 60- and 20-mile courses at staggered intervals, with a brisk 41-degree, 7 a.m. start for the 90-mile ride.
Cyclists in the 60- and 90-mile rides set out from Keystone Village and went north on Highway 6 to Silverthorne. From Silverthorne the pack traveled north on Highway 9 to the turnoff for Ute Pass. Following the timed climb up Ute Pass, the 60-mile route returned to Keystone. The 90-mile course continued north and circled Green Mountain Reservoir — the rider’s second timed portion — before returning to Keystone. The 20-mile course started with an up-and-back on a portion of Montezuma Road and included a ride around the Keystone Ranch Golf Course.
Each course was shortened slightly due to the closure of Montezuma Road, which has yet to fully reopen after a section of it was washed out by snowmelt.
“It was a blast,” Servinsky said, describing the event as having “unlimited potential” for future growth. “You couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was really well done.”
While race organizer Rob Quinn was disappointed by lower-than-expected day-of registration, he said he considered the event a success and was excited for its potential going forward.
Quinn believed as many as a 100 Front Range riders may have opted not venture up to Keystone due to the potential for bad weather. He said he had 25 registered no-shows in addition to the 125 riders who competed.
The event previously was held in Salida. Quinn moved it to Keystone to be closer to the Front Range and to highlight the area’s terrain.
Eric Short, team manager for the Prestige Imports cycling team, did the 90-mile ride and expressed what many said of the change.
“It just made a lot of sense. This is such a great venue.”
Vuelta organizers said they hope the event will be run out of Keystone for years to come.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Three gifted conductors, three top soloists for Breckenridge festival

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

Orchestra lovers are in for quite a ride this summer as the Breckenridge Music Festivalpresents a once-in-a-lifetime season featuring not one but three talented guest conductors, each of whom will make a musical case for why he should be selected to lead the next generation of the BMF’s Festival Orchestra.
Each candidate will conduct the orchestra through two concerts in the summer series, one featuring a solo artist he selected and invited to perform in Breckenridge. The evenings with the visiting candidates, along with appearances by three acclaimed soloists, make up the backbone of this summer’s programming.
Lighthearted fare
Boulder native Francesco Lecce-Chong, who serves as associate conductor for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin, presents opening night on Thursday, July 17. His program spans a cheerful range from Baroque to Broadway. On the classical side, “A Midsummer’s Opening Night” features familiar pieces by Copland, Mendelssohn, Handel, Mozart and Gershwin. Then Lecce-Chong presents Helen Welch, a critically acclaimed and diverse vocalist who sings pieces from the 1930s to present day, to perform fun tunes such as “Over the Rainbow” and selections from “A Chorus Line.”
“When you are on vacation and visiting a place like Breckenridge, you expect a more lighthearted approach in a summer festival, one that reflects the beautiful place where you are,” said Marcia Kaufmann, BMF executive director. “Lecce-Chong was particularly charming in his decision to make opening night a lighthearted concert, bringing in a vocalist to do jazz and Broadway and mixing in everybody’s favorites on the classical side — like Mozart’s ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,’ which even if you don’t know the name, you will recognize instantly.”
On Saturday, July 19, Lecce-Chong presents a program designed “to explore the unique clarity, virtuosity and expressivity of a chamber orchestra like the BMF orchestra.” The three contrasting works to be presented include what he describes as “a shockingly stormy, youthful symphony from Haydn, a virtuosic ensemble work by Ginastera and Mendelssohn’s magnificent ‘Scottish Symphony.’”
Music from three continents
The second candidate is the Austrian-born David Danzmayr, who serves as music director for the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra in Chicago and the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio. Danzmayr’s musical sections for the Thursday, July 31, and Saturday, Aug. 2, concerts introduce him to the audience while adding a worldly flare. They include both Austrian and American pieces — and not just North American, but South American, too.
“Danzmayr has a big affinity for the Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla and the liber tango,” Kaufmann said. “He chose to highlight a spectrum of popular Austrian music but also the Austrian composer Gulda, who is less well known here.
“There’s a quirky sense of humor in the compositions. It’s a very personal statement but also incorporates a lot of the elements he enjoys on three continents.”
Among the music of modern American composers, Danzmayr includes works by William Bolcom and William Grant Still. Internationally recognized pianist Lisa Smirnova will join him for the Saturday, Aug. 2, concert.
“Do you like to ski?” festival organizers asked Danzmayr when they were trying to entice him. “Well of course; I’m Austrian,” he replied.
Americana and family fun
The third and final candidate for the position of Breckenridge Music Festival conductor is Rossen Milanov, a multilingual, Bulgarian-born conductor who serves as music director for the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in Princeton, New Jersey, and Symphony in C, formerly the Haddonfield Symphony. Milanov will lead the orchestra in the Friday, Aug. 8, and Saturday, Aug. 9, concerts.
On Friday, Aug. 8, Milanov will conduct the festival’s free family concert, “The Composer is Dead,”back by popular demand. The child-centric evening features a musical setting of Lemony Snicket’s illustrations and story, narrated by Christopher Willard of the Backstage Theatre, along with other pieces of the conductor’s choosing.
“We always do a family concert, and it fell in his week,” said Olivia Grover, BMF marketing director. “He loves community service, and he loved the idea, so he jumped on it. It’s a big challenge to do narrative with a narrator and do it well.”
On Saturday, Aug. 9, Milanov dives deep into Americana, with selections including “Appalachian Spring,” by Aaron Copland, with the familiar Shaker hymn “‘Tis a Gift to be Simple.” He invited the internationally acclaimed, Iceland-based soprano Dissela Larusdottir, who regularly performs at The Metropolitan Opera in New York, to star in the evening. She will sing Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” and Bernstein’s take on a bel canto aria in “Glitter and be Gay” from “Candide,” among others. Expect “vocal pyrotechnics,” Milanov said. The evening concludes with Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, also known as the “Jupiter Symphony.”
“He’s very international,” Kaufmann said of Milanov. “He conducts extensively in Europe and the United States. Even though he has embraced the complexity of music worldwide, one of the things he does seem to really enjoy is the music of this country.”
Outgoing conductor Gerhardt Zimmermann, who has led the Breckenridge Music Festival orchestra for the past 20 years, will take up the baton in four concerts, including “Scottish Fantasy & Schubert” on Friday, Aug. 15, and the festival’s closing night, “Gerhardt’s Favorites,” on Saturday, Aug. 16.
Throughout the summer, audiences are invited to weigh in on the conductor selection.
Erica Marciniec is a paid writer with the Breckenridge Music Festival.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Lake Dillon expands paddleboard lesson, rental and tour offerings

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

Special to the Daily/Stand Up Paddle Colorado

Considered the fastest-growing water sport in the country, and already a fixture of many warm-weather climates, stand-up paddleboarding continues to gain popularity here in the High Country. In response to the increased demand, Dillon Marina officials announced this week that Stand Up Paddle Colorado will now offer a number of services through the marina, including rentals, lessons and tours. The company already offers tours and lessons out of the Frisco Bay Marina, in addition to its Upper Colorado River whitewater tours and lessons.
“We’re beyond excited to be operating out of the Dillon Marina this summer,” company co-founder Javier Placer said. “We see this as the beginning of a long and enjoyable relationship with the marina, the town and the community as a whole.”
Since restrictions requiring wetsuits were lifted last summer, a number of area outfitters have reported a growing demand for paddleboard rentals. Matti Wade, owner of the Ten Mile Creek Kayaks store in Frisco, said he’s seen a growth in sales and an increasing number of customers inquiring about the sport.
“It’s definitely picked up in the past years,” Wade said.
Placer credited the sport’s versatile nature and minimal learning curve for its increased popularity.
“You can have one craft that can fulfill many different applications,” he said. “You can use it on a reservoir. You can use it on a river. You can use it on the ocean.”
Whitewater paddleboarding also is on the rise in the state.
Placer said another factor in the sport’s growth is that it’s less intensive on the joints than other water sports, making it possible for people who no longer feel comfortable paddling a kayak or a raft to participate. A number of his associates are retired professional kayakers who have taken to whitewater paddleboarding.
Placer noted that he’s seen people of all ages take up paddleboarding.
“We’ve had 70-year-olds that have gone down the river,” he said, adding that his 9-year-old daughter is an adept paddler.
For Wade — an avid kayaker — paddleboarding offers a different feel. He described it as “walking on water” and said it also offers a full-body workout for those who want to paddle more aggressively.
As to the draw of paddling on Lake Dillon, Placer said it’s simple. “You’re pretty much paddling in a postcard.”
In addition to rentals, tours and lessons, Stand Up Paddle Colorado also will offer paddleboard yoga through Breckenridge-based Meta Yoga Studios.
Placer also hopes to start a local group in the near future to grow the stand-up paddle community and organize activities like group paddles on the lake.
In addition to Stand Up Colorado, area outfitters offering rentals include Kodi Rafting in Frisco, Alpine Sports in Breckenridge, the Frisco Bay Marina and Ten Mile Creek Kayaks.
Rates vary but one can expect to pay between $35-$75 dollars per rental depending on length of time and quality of equipment. Not all area outfitters offer overnight rental.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Friends of the Lower Blue River purchase Slate Creek Community Hall

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

Marty Richardson / Special to the Daily

The sounds of social gatherings and spirited dancing will once again fill the Slate Creek Community Hall on a regular basis. On June 16, the Friends of the Lower Blue River acquired the historic building from the Summit Historical Society. This Saturday, June 28, the friends group will hold its annual summer celebration at the hall, a gesture echoing decades of local tradition.
Years of use
Built in 1936, the hall was a Works Progress Administration project, but it was also a labor of love, according to Summit County historian and author Mary Ellen Gilliland. “Many of the local residents donated work and materials,” she said, including the land. “It was lovingly constructed.”
The hall sits on 7/10 of an acre north of Silverthorne, near Ute Pass. Boxy and white on the outside, inside it features a small stage and a specially ordered oak wood floor. (According to Gilliland, most floors at that time were made from maple.)
Dancing was a big part of social gatherings in the hall, Gilliland said.
“Everyone came and everyone dressed up. They got all gussied up, the girls, and everybody from the grandpas down to the little kids were there,” she said.
The revelry lasted through the night, with frequent trips to the cars parked outside for furtive sips of alcoholic beverages that were not allowed inside. Somewhere around midnight, the dancing would pause for supper, which was often locally caught trout, Gilliland said. This wasn’t the end either, by any means.
“The dances were supposed to end at 2 a.m., but the partygoers often took up a collection to pay the band to continue until daylight, and they stayed all night long,” Gilliland said. While the adults danced, the children inevitably drifted to the edges, where they curled up to sleep underneath piles of coats.
Saturday social
“I think of the stories that would seep out of the floors and walls if you take time to listen,” Bob Sweet, friends group board member, wrote in an email. “The laughter, the cheers, the tears, the sharing and caring of Lower Blue Valley residents then and, starting this Saturday, or residents now.”
The most recent social gathering will take place Saturday, June 28, at the hall, which Sweet wrote, “is in wonderful condition” for its 78 years. An ice cream social will follow a short meeting, along with a performance by folksinger Kerry Grombacher.
“One of our objectives is to help preserve that way of life in the Lower Blue and work toward historical preservation,” said friends group executive director Marty Richardson. “That’s why we’re very pleased to have this property.”
The event is family friendly and all are welcome.
“This weekend’s event is an invite to those who feel and share those same values to join us, celebrate and socialize with old friends and make new friends,” wrote Sweet.
In order to hold events in the building while maintaining its integrity, the friends group plans to work on various restoration projects, starting this summer.
“Right off we’re going to be working on getting it painted and getting the outside of it fixed up,” Richardson said.
The hall received a new roof in 1998, along with electrical upgrades. The group will continue updating the electricity, as well as anything else needed.
Sweet added that the plan is to “revive the heart and soul of the building.”
In the future, Richardson said, the hall might be used for nonprofit group meetings or a showcase venue for artists. Most importantly, the historic aspect of the building will be preserved.
“If you move a building from its original site it loses all historic ranking, it can no longer be a historical site, a historical building, and the state historical society won’t recognize a building that has been moved,” Gilliland said, “so it’s a real boon that it can stay on its original site. It’s a wonderful thing.”
The Slate Creek Community Hall is a designated historic site as recognized by Summit County. The friends group plans to apply to the state for historic status as well.
“In terms of really looking at history that’s disappearing from our state, and these places that were built during the Depression for the Works Progress Administration, those are important things to preserve the way of life that is really fast disappearing here in the state,” Richardson said. “So preserving those buildings gives us a link to our past and to understand who lived here and why and how this whole area was settled.”
By preserving the building, the friends hope to preserve the memories and history that it represents.
“As always, the building will be used for a place of interaction of the community to address issues common to us all, a place to advocate for the land and people of the valley, a place to educate and be educated on common issues that confront us all,” wrote Sweet.
“I look forward to it again being a place to meet neighbors, share like interests, learn of new interests and develop understanding and trust.”
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summit County pets available for adoption

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

King by Michael Yearout Photography

Pets available for adoption at the Summit County Animal Shelter.  Contact the shelter at (970) 668-3230.


TAZ, 7 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, orng tabby, neutered male

SYLVESTER, 7 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, black and white, neutered male
ASLAN, 1 year 9 months, Domestic Longhair mix, orange, neutered male

LUCY, 3 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, black and white, spayed female

DALLAS, 1 year 2 months, Domestic Shorthair mix, orng tabby, neutered male

MISTER, 6 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, black, neutered male

WILLOW, 10 years, Maine Coon mix, brown tabby, spayed female

BENJI, 4 years, Domestic Longhair mix, black, neutered male

GENIE, 4 years, Domestic Shorthair, dil calico, spayed female

BIRDIE, 7 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, black and white, spayed female

PANDA, 1 year 6 months, Domestic Shorthair mix, black and white, spayed female

KING, 2 years, Domestic Shorthair, orng tabby, neutered male

AMOS, 2 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, brown tabby and white, neutered male

CHARLES, 7 years, Maine Coon, brown tabby and white, neutered male

HEATHER, 2 years, Domestic Mediumhair mix, black, spayed female

SADIE, 7 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, tortie, spayed female

PINO, 1 year 10 months, Domestic Shorthair mix, black and white, spayed female

FLUFFY, 1 year 10 months, Domestic Mediumhair mix, black and white, neutered male

MASYA, 7 years, Domestic Mediumhair mix, dil calico and gray, spayed female

MONA, 9 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, brown tabby, spayed female


WILLOW, 4 years, Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix, brindle, spayed female

RAMBO, no age, Dachshund and Chihuahua - Smooth Coated mix, tan, unaltered male

BOOTS, 7 years, Bernese Mountain Dog mix, black and white, neutered male

ODIE, 5 years, Black and Tan Coonound mix, tan and black, neutered male

CHARLIE, no age, Australian Shepherd mix, tan and white, spayed female

SALLY, 2 years, Pit Bull Terrier, white and brindle, spayed female

JACOB, 2 years, Pit Bull Terrier mix, brown and white, neutered male

CHANCE, 1 year 6 months, Australian Shepherd mix, brown and white, neutered male

JACKIE, no age, Australian Cattle Dog mix, blue merle and black, spayed female

TEQUILA, 7 years, Chihuahua - Smooth Coated mix, tan, neutered male

STONEY, 4 months, Chihuahua - Smooth Coated mix, white and tan, neutered male

ASPEN, 2 years, Pit Bull Terrier and French Bulldog mix, white and brindle, neutered male

Monday, June 23, 2014

Breckenridge BikeBus puts the party into pedaling

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

Krista Driscoll /

The music is blasting and the maid of honor is keeping time on a cowbell, her bride-to-be sister and the rest of the entourage banging on hand-held instruments, as the Breckenridge BikeBustravels slowly north on Main Street. Passers-by stop to ogle or take the occasional photo, and the bachelorette party rewards them with whoops and hollers.
The ladies keep their feet moving, pedaling the human-powered vehicle forward as BikeBus founder and owner Curt Cavnar navigates down the busy street to the first stop, Northside Pizza. Cavnar parks the bus in the shade and busies himself with hand stamping for drink specials and herding the group into the bar, where they order a round of shots.
What makes a BikeBus
This is the third year that Cavnar has been giving BikeBus tours and hosting pub-crawls around Breckenridge. For the past two summers, he ran all of the tours, and the business, by himself, but this year, he’s hired his first full-time employee who drives and helps with maintenance.
“He has a great personality for the bike bus,” Cavnar said. “I pinch hit instead of driving all the tours like I was the past two years, which allows me to focus on working on other opportunities and sales and promoting the business.”
Cavnar got the idea for the bus from seeing similar vehicles in other places. He thought it was a cool idea, so he started looking into it.
“There’s not a lot of them, and there’s a lot of ideal places to do it,” he said. “ I started calling other operators around the country that had these vehicles, and they said it’s a really viable business model. I decided to rent one out, took my neighbors and I out on it, and after that, I decided hey, I’m going to do this.”
Cavnar’s neighbor, Lee Kendrick, a local fabricator, built the Breckenridge BikeBus, which seemed a daunting task to Cavnar, who had only previously seen Kendrick do some minor machining and plumbing projects.
“I said, ‘This isn’t quite a kitchen sink here,’” Cavnar said. “But he put together what, in the end, was an incredible masterpiece. I hear people who have ridden on other ones that this one is by far the Maserati of bike buses, more solidly built with more features than any of the other ones they’ve ridden on.”
For all ages
The town of Breckenridge has been very accepting of the BikeBus, Cavnar said, because it’s a low-cost, low-impact alternative to many of the activities available in and around town.
“People don’t have to go far,” he said. “They aren’t driving to Buena Vista for a raft trip or doing something that’s potentially perilous. It’s a low-key and inexpensive way for groups to have fun, a short distance from center of town. We’ve had infants to 90-year-olds to people with disabilities.”
The bus can hold 16 people, and there are non-pedaling seats for those don’t want or need the exercise. All of the stops on the pub-crawl tour are family-friendly, so kids can have a soda or grab a bite to eat, and riders are allowed to bring along snacks and a water bottle to stay hydrated. A motor in the bus also provides extra assistance up hills or whenever else it’s needed, so grandma isn’t puffing and panting through the altitude.
“We don’t ride that motor as if it’s a big golf cart,” Cavnar said. “We help supplement with those people when they need some assistance, so they aren’t having a heart attack when they are going south on Main Street.”
Business of joy
Cavnar said when he found the BikeBus idea, he was looking for something that wasn’t the average everyday grind of running a business.
“If I was going to do it, I wanted it to be something that I would enjoy,” he said. “It’s a super enjoyable operation; people have an absolute hoot on that thing, and that’s gratifying, too. If you’re kind of in a business where you can create happiness for people, you’ve chosen the right business.
“It’s exceeded my expectations. I knew it was a fun thing, but I’m overwhelmed at how much fun people have on it. I have people telling me it’s one of the most fun things they’ve ever done in life. It’s very gratifying.”
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Environment briefs: Breckenridge’s mountain cleanup, bear awareness and baby animals

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

Breckenridge Ski Resort, Vail Resorts Echo and the Forest Service invite the public to Breck’s annual Mountain Cleanup Day on Thursday, June 26, at the Peak 8 base area.
Volunteers should meet at 9 a.m. on the patio at the Ski Hill Grill to pick up trash bags, receive directions to specific cleanup sites and sign waivers.
The resort will provide volunteers with free barbecue from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ski Hill Grill. Volunteers will also receive a summer activity voucher good for a ride on the Alpine Slide or Gold Runner Coaster at the Breckenridge Summer Fun Park and valid until Sept. 1.
Spokeswoman Kristen Petitt Stewart said the resort tries to reunite lost items ­­— which sometimes include expensive watches, rings, phones, cameras and wallets — with their owners.
Besides skiing and snowboarding gear and historic artifacts from the mining era, she said people often find beads, bras and underwear.
Parking is available in the North Gondola Lot, and buses will run to the base of Peak 8 starting at 8:30 a.m. Volunteers should bring water, sun block, sunglasses, a hat, snacks, gloves, sturdy hiking boots and layers to prepare for unpredictable weather.
The resort also is having a food drive and will accept canned food items for the Family and Intercultural Resource Center.
Every year, dozens of Colorado bears must be relocated or euthanized because of conflicts with humans.
The state has a two-strike policy for bears, which are searching for food and are drawn to towns, residences and campgrounds at this time of year.
The first time a bear becomes persistent in its search for food near humans, it is trapped, tagged and taken to a remote area to be released.
If the bear gets in trouble again, it is killed. Sometimes, if a bear shows very aggressive behavior on a first encounter it can be euthanized.
“Destroying a bear is never an easy decision for a wildlife officer,” said Abbie Walls, public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the southeast region. “But human health and safety is always our No. 1 priority.”
Bears are not usually aggressive toward people, but may become so if food is present. Never approach a bear. If you see one, encourage it to leave by yelling, throwing rocks or spraying water at it from a safe distance. If food continues to be present, it likely will return.
Follow these tips to help keep bears out of trouble:
✔ Keep garbage in a well-secured location and only put out garbage on the morning of pickup.
✔ Clean garbage cans regularly to keep them odor free.
✔ If you don’t have secure storage, put items that might become smelly into the freezer until trash day.
✔ Don’t leave pet food or stock feed outside.
✔ Bird feeders should be brought in at this time of year ­— birds don’t need to be fed during the summer.
✔ If you have bird feeders, clean up beneath them, bring them in at night and hang them high so they’re inaccessible.
✔ Secure compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food and they’ll eat anything.
✔ Allow grills to burn for a couple of minutes after cooking to burn off grease and to eliminate odors. Clean the grill after each use.
✔ Clean up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck. Don’t allow food odors to linger.
✔ If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don’t allow fruit to rot on the ground.
✔ Keep the bottom-floor windows of your house closed when you’re not home.
✔ Do not keep food in your car and lock the doors.
After children chased a moose calf into a hotel lobby in Vail two weeks ago, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer picked up the baby animal and brought it to a facility in Fort Collins.
This is the time of year when wild animals give birth to their young and officials ask the public not to approach, touch or handle young animals.
“We know that people are trying to be helpful, but the young animals are best cared for by their own parents,” said Renzo DelPiccolo, area wildlife manager in Montrose for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “The best thing people can do is to leave young wildlife alone.”
During spring and early summer, people often see young animals alone in the forest, in backyards, on or near trails or along the sides of roads.
“The animals have not been abandoned,” he said. “Young animals are often left alone to allow the mother to feed, to help them avoid predators and to learn how to live in the wild.”
If you see deer fawns or elk or moose calves alone, move away quickly and don’t attempt to get the animal to move. Young birds often fall out of their nests or are pushed out of nests by parents to encourage them to fly.
“If a young bird is on the ground it will quickly learn to fly. So let nature take its course,” he said.
If you think a bird may be stepped on or easily found by a dog, pick it up and move it a short distance to cover.
Remember to keep pets under control. Dogs acting on their instincts can find animals and attack them. The stress of being attacked often is fatal for young animals. In neighborhoods and backyards, cats are adept at finding eggs and young birds.
“Many studies show that cats are damaging the songbird population. Please, don’t let your cat roam free,” DelPiccolo said.
Cat owners can place a small bell on the cat’s collar, and the sound will alert small animals.
Don’t give food to wildlife. They also become habituated to humans and will stay in residential areas instead of natural lands, and animals bunched up in small areas are more vulnerable to diseases and predators.
Understand that not all newborn animals will survive.
If you have any questions, call the nearest Colorado Parks and Wildlife office or visit
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Volunteer ranger patrollers are eyes, ears for Dillon Ranger District

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

If you enjoy using trails in the Dillon Ranger District, it’s likely that you will come across a fellow hiker in an official-looking uniform, sporting a clean-pressed, earth-toned tee, a nametag and friendly smile.
This local ranger patroller isn’t being paid to keep a watch on the forest. The Friends of the Dillon Ranger District ranger patrollers are everyday Summit County residents volunteering their time to give back to the community. Silverthorne resident Thekla Schultz joined FDRD’s ranger patrol program after moving to Summit County a few years ago.
“When I found out about the program, I thought it would be a neat way to explore the different trails and do something useful to contribute to the community,” she said.
In 2014, our 45 returning volunteers and 16 new ranger patrollers will attempt to complete about 300 hikes as a group over the course of the season. Last year, our ranger patrollers completed 281 hikes, patrolled 1,456 miles of trails, contributed 1,400 volunteer hours and came in contact with 5,863 forest visitors. This year, we set a goal for our ranger patrollers to contribute a total of 1,600 volunteer hours. This is equivalent to what two full-time paid rangers would complete during the five-month season.
FDRD program manager Scott Fussell has spent countless hours recruiting volunteers, ordering uniforms and materials, responding to questions and planning various ranger patrol trainings (with a great deal of support from veterans of the program).
Fussell gives our volunteers the resources they need to establish a friendly presence on local public lands, educate forest visitors and collect information that better helps the Dillon Ranger District serve the community.
“Ranger patrollers are our eyes and ears on the trail,” he said. “They go on roughly 300 hikes per year as a group, so they really do see what’s going on and what needs taken care of, such as downed trees or trail repairs. This helps us with long-term planning and goals.”
Public service part of job
Public service is another big part of FDRD’s ranger patrol program. Ranger patrollers are equipped to answer questions from the public to make their user experience more enjoyable. Our ranger patrollers help inform visitors about forest regulations and trail conditions and often answer the question, “Where am I?” Our ranger patrollers have even helped injured guests get the emergency help they need.
In addition to being trained on forest safety and regulations, our ranger patrollers have the opportunity to go on educational hikes led by local experts, covering topics about our mining history, wildflowers, mushrooms, wildlife and GPS techniques.
“We want to give our ranger patrollers as much info as we can to better prepare them for their job,” Fussell said. “They get questions ranging all over the board. The more knowledge we can get into their heads, the more they can relay to forest visitors.”
Shultz has been a ranger patroller for two years. During this time, she’s taken part in a variety of the educational hikes offered to these volunteers.
“It helps me to educate people, and it makes my job more interesting if I can share local history and other information with people who don’t live in the county,” she said.
Watching wildlife
Dillon Ranger District wildlife biologist Ashley Nettles led an educational hike for FDRD’s ranger patrollers earlier this month as part of FDRD’s training program. She urged volunteers to report anything unusual they observed in the forest regarding wildlife or habitat.
“It could be something really important like a sensitive species that we are monitoring or a track of a rare species that we’ve never observed here before,” Nettles said.
The wildlife biologist urged volunteers to stress to the public that although animals may seem like they aren’t bothered by our presence, we are in their habitat and we need to respect the animals by giving them lots of space to go about their daily routines. Nettles said she appreciates volunteer ranger patroller’s ability to educate the public about important wildlife issues.
“These folks are able to get our message out to visitors about being safe during a wildlife encounter, how to observe wildlife safely and the reasons we ask the public to respect rules, such as dogs on leash and closures during critical wildlife reproductive times,” she said.
Rangers can also clarify information that the public has perhaps assumed or misunderstood about wildlife, Nettles said.
“For instance, a visitor may think that it’s safe to approach a moose for a picture but believe that black bears are the most dangerous animal in the forest,” she said. “Rangers can clear up these kinds of misconceptions.”
Ranger patroller Schultz said she enjoys making a positive impact on the forest by educating forest users and likes the camaraderie she feels participating in the program.
“I get to meet people not only out on the trails but also lots of other volunteers and (FDRD) staff who are dedicated, helpful and friendly,” she said. “It’s given me a real sense of community.”
Breeana Laughlin is the office and volunteer manager for Friends of the Dillon Ranger District. She can be reached at For more information on the organization, visit
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.