The White River National Forest has closed all camping around Crater Lake in the Maroon Bells Wilderness until further notice.
Last weekend, there were several reports of incidents around the lake in which black bears got into hanging food bags and ripped into and destroyed tents where food was improperly stored.
Wilderness rangers responded Sunday by removing all campers from the area, closing all dispersed campsites and carrying out more than 13 pounds of food and litter.
“Visitors need to realize the long-term impact of their actions. Leaving any kind of food or attractants improperly stored in bear country can lead to serious human injury or death, and leaves Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials with little choice but to have the bear or bears put down,” said district ranger Karen Schroyer.
Backpackers and campers in the West Maroon Creek drainage will soon be required to store all food, garbage and attractants in bear-resistant containers.
BIG GAME TIME
Parks and Wildlife reminds hunters that there are still about 20,000 leftover big-game and turkey licenses available and that unlimited over-the-counter elk licenses are now available.
Available leftover licenses include pronghorn, elk, bear, deer and turkey, species that can be hunted across the state on more than 23 million acres of public lands.
Colorado has the largest elk herds in North America, making the state a hunting destination for sportsmen and -women from across the country and the world.
The CPW website (cpw.state.co.us) offers hunting brochures, regional guides and safety tips, among other information.
HERE COMES THE SUN
Colorado is among the top 10 states for solar energy, according to an Environment Colorado report released Aug. 5.
“We are so lucky to have so many fantastic days of the year where we have sun; it would be irresponsible if we didn’t take advantage of it,” said Colorado Sen. Linda Newell, a Democrat from District 26, which includes Denver’s southern suburbs.
The report emphasizes that it isn’t sunlight availability that makes states solar leaders; rather, it’s the degree of effective public policy created to help capture solar energy.
Solar capacity in Colorado grew 18 percent, from 270 MW to 331 MW, in 2013, the report said, and the state’s progress helped fuel a tripling of solar energy nationwide in the last three years.
As the industry grows, the cost of installing solar systems becomes more accessible. The price of installed systems fell 60 percent between early 2011 and late 2013, the report says.
“Colorado’s solar industry has grown up around favorable state policies so that we now have more than 230 companies providing 3,600 jobs in communities,” said Rebecca Cantwell, executive director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association. “Since Colorado voters became the first in the nation to adopt a renewable energy standard, the solar industry has contributed about $1.5 billion in economic benefits.”
Colorado’s solar progress is attributed to a number of programs, including the state’s Renewable Energy Standard, which requires investor-owned energy utilities to produce 30 percent renewable energy by 2020.
“Visitors need to realize the long-term impact of their actions. Leaving any kind of food or attractants improperly stored in bear country can lead to serious human injury or death, and leaves Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials with little choice but to have the bear or bears put down.”
White River National Forest district ranger