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Wild Colorado briefs

Daily News staff reports

Starting Monday, crews will be felling hazardous trees along trails in the Dillon Ranger District in Summit County. This work is expected to continue through October. The public can expect delays as crews periodically hold trail traffic to allow for trees to come down across the trail.

Affected trails are: North Ten Mile Trail (FST #37), Spruce Creek Trail (FDT #58), McCullough Gulch Trail (FDT#851), Quandary Mountain Trail (FDT #47), and The Colorado Trail (FDT #2108.3) from the middle fork of the Swan to Georgia Pass.

No plans currently exist for closing the trails to public use, but delays should be expected until work is complete. Crews will post trail-guards who will stop the public until it’s safe to pass through the cutting area.

The White River National Forest Alerts website will be updated as the project proceeds. Visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver and navigate to Alerts and Notices. Call the Dillon Ranger District at (970) 468-5400 with any questions.

The Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamp is now available at post offices across the country, giving the public and easy and inexpensive way to help conserve wild tigers, rhinos, elephants, great apes and marine turtles around the world.

The stamps feature the image of an Amur tiger cub and cost 55 cents per stamp – slightly more than the cost of first-class postage. Revenue from sales goes toward on-the-ground conservation programs overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders programs.

Semipostal stamps are those issued for sale at a price above the present first-class postage rate. The extra proceeds go to a particular cause. The Save Vanishing Species stamp, authorized for two years by Congress, is just the fourth such semipostal stamp to be issued and is the first in 164 years that raises funds for international wildlife conservation.

To learn more about the Wildlife Without Borders Multinational Species Conservation Funds and the Save Vanishing Species stamp, visit: http://www.fws.gov/international/semipostal.

The popular Hanging Lake Trail will be closed this weekend to enable volunteer crews to assist the White River National Forest with trail maintenance and reconstruction.

This is a National Public Lands Day project, a nationwide effort to promote stewardship of public lands. It’s the second year for roughly 100 unpaid members of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (statewide) and Carbondale-based Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers to work on installing rock steps and reconstructing stone retaining walls along the well-used trail.

The work is intended to stabilize the trail tread and manage water movement across the trail. Experienced crew leaders trained by the two organizations will be supervising the project along with local Forest Service trails staff. The crews will be working with hand tools to position large boulders to build steps and retaining walls. It poses a considerable safety threat to hikers trying to pass through the work sites along the trail.

“We know hiking the Hanging Lake Trail is a very popular recreation experience. The volume of use on the trail is one of the reasons we need to do this work. It is a part of our mission to provide quality, safe recreation opportunities while protecting natural resources,” said Eagle/Holy Cross District Ranger Dave Neely.

Hunters and hikers planning to hike in and around the Holy Cross Wilderness Area of the White River National Forest are asked to be on the lookout for evidence that may help authorities discover the fate of a Chicago man who has been missing since last fall.

Nearly a year ago, 31-year-old James Nelson was dropped off at the Fall Creek trailhead at the start of a 25-mile hike into some of Colorado’s most challenging terrain. His fiancee planned to pick him up at the trailhead days later, but he failed to appear. No trace of Nelson was ever located, despite an intense four-day search with helicopters, search and rescue crews and trained dogs.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Vail Mountain Rescue Group are asking hunters who head into the area to be alert for discarded hiking equipment, an abandoned tent or possible human remains. Hunters typically veer off-trail into areas hikers don’t traverse, they say.

Officials say Nelson’s scent was most recently picked up near Lake Constantine on his planned route, and hikers reported seeing a man matching Nelson’s description on Oct. 3 last year. The search has been suspended, but if any clues are found, authorities are prepared to act.

However, lay people on the trail shouldn’t touch clues – instead, they should mark them, photograph them and record the location via GPS if possible. Any information should go to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

Nelson went by the nickname “JB,” wore a mustache and a goatee and was last seen wearing an orange long-sleeved shirt, khaki slacks and brown hiking boots. He may also have been wearing wire-rimmed glasses or sunglasses, possibly a black or green jacket and a rust-colored, knit stocking cap. His equipment included a red backpack, Diamond Back hiking poles, Asolo boots, Delorme NP-40 GPS unit and a grey and yellow single-person tent.


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