Colorado environment briefs: White River hosts international rangers | SummitDaily.com

Colorado environment briefs: White River hosts international rangers

White River hosts international rangers

The White River National Forest welcomed 28 global park rangers to Summit County last week.

The visitors came from 14 different countries and were in the region as part of a Colorado State University-sponsored International Ranger Training course. That course is being held in conjunction with the eighth annual World Ranger Congress that begins Sunday, May 22 in Estes Park and concludes on Thursday, May 26.

The rangers and their CSU-based trainers arrived for lunch in Frisco on Friday, May 13 and were greeted by officials from the U.S. Forest Service, Summit County government and the town of Frisco. County Commissioner Dan Gibbs and Frisco town manager Bill Efting received these individuals, a majority of them Kenyan, and highlighted the significance of recreation and tourism in the county. Also prominently discussed was the importance of working in partnership with the Forest Service given that 80 percent of area lands are designated National Forest.

Following lunch, the rangers were provided a tour of National Forest lands surrounding Dillon Reservoir by Dillon district ranger Bill Jackson, deputy forest supervisor Mike Donald and forester Shelby Limberis. The three White River employees noted the multiple-use mission of the Forest Service while discussing a range of local projects that included recreation access, special-use permits, forest management, landscape recreation and wildfire prevention.

The international delegation also visited Vail Pass, where many had their first experience with snow. After their time in Summit County, these rangers continued west on their journey to explore several other National Parks including Arches, Canyonlands and Mesa Verde.

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Tenmile Recpath opens

The Tenmile Canyon portion of Summit County's Recreational Pathway System has now been plowed and is open for the 2016 season.

This area of recpath typically re-opens significantly later than other stretches of the pathway because of active avalanche danger in numerous locations throughout the canyon. Earlier this year, the county entered into a three-year agreement with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) to provide weekly on-site snow-safety evaluations. The county uses CAIC's analysis to determine when the canyon is safe for both maintenance workers and the public.

"Avalanche paths above the Tenmile Recpath continue to lose snow volume and show a continued trend toward an unlikely threat of an avalanche reaching the bike path," CAIC reported in an assessment on Sunday, May 15.

The county plowed the path and removed warning signs on Monday, May 16. Although the path is now open, there may still be wet and icy spots, and users may encounter workers and maintenance vehicles while on the path. Recpath users are urged to exercise caution and slow down when approaching work areas.

"Public safety is always our paramount concern in determining in when to open each section of the recpath," Brian Lorch, director of Summit County's Open Space and Trail Department, in a news release. "We appreciate how patient everyone has been by staying off the path in Tenmile Canyon until it was cleared."

For more information about the Summit County Recreational Pathay, contact Open Space and Trails at (970) 668-4060, or visit: http://www.summitcountyco.gov/openspace.

CPW fishing tournament

The state's anglers can win boats and other fishing gear at two approaching Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) tournaments.

The tournaments, at Ridgway State Park in Ouray County (June 4-12) and Elkhead Reservoir in northwest Colorado (June 11-19) are free and open to anyone with a 2016 fishing license for the state. No pre-registration is required.

The Ridgway event is a smallmouth bass competition, while Elkhead is for both smallmouth bass and northern pike. For both tournaments, fish of all sizes will be "PIT" tagged — 10 bass at Ridgway, 10 bass and 10 pike at Elkhead.

"This is a great time of year to fish for these species that are plentiful in these reservoirs" Sherman Hebein, senior aquatic biologist for CPW's Northwest Region, in a news release.

Anglers will keep the fish they catch and turn them in at the end of the day, and CPW staff will check them with an electronic scanner. Those who have caught tagged fish will be eligible to win a boat to be awarded at each tournament. Those who don't catch tagged fish will also be eligible for prizes.

To learn more about the Ridgway tournament, call Ridgway State Park at (970) 626-5822 or (970) 252-6000. For the Elkhead event, call (970) 276-2061. And for complete rules for the tournaments and fishing tips, visit: http://www.cpw.state.co.us/tournament.

—Compiled by Kevin Fixler

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