Did you get a 100% increase in pay in the last year? Or did your money double in the stock market since June 2020? Mine, neither.
But Fraser Valley Recreation Center has a scheduled increase coming up on June 21. For Grand county seniors, your daily pass will go from $7 to $10 per day.
But, wait! Didn’t FVRC just increase the admission 75% last June from $4 to $7? Yes. As seniors who love to swim, we antied up weekly, figuring it would last a while.
But wait, FVRC management is increasing fees again this year by another 43%.
Have they forgotten the support Grand County has given them? Or do they figure everyone got a 100% increase or more in pay and can afford it?
Will anyone object to usurious increases to protect Grand County residents on a fixed income? Or is the rec center just for the wealthy?
— Brook E. Mark, Grand County
Grand County Trails: Hats off to HTA
Last Wednesday, our hiking-with-dogs group parked at the Phases Trailhead parking lot and headed up the Strawberry Road. Hiking with a group of dogs allows the dogs to get to know each other, socialize if you will. It seems to normalize them all and they quickly work out their differences.
At first, we always have some wild moments — even in the parking lot before we got started. Lucy jumped in the car right on Charlie’s lap. She was so excited to see her wild-child friend, Dixie. They jumped all over each other and chased each other, running in circles with Dixie grunting like a pig — as some dogs do. Joey jumped in and chased them both. It was so fun to watch! But boy, do they sleep well after this doggie date.
Meanwhile up Strawberry Road, signs said “road closed” and we soon found out there were dump trucks on the road hauling class C and gravel to the new parking lot at the top of the fishing access trail down to the Colorado River.
The Fraser River Canyon Access Trail had been improved years ago as a National Public Lands Day project and is a great hike down to the river, a perfect destination on a hot day with flowers galore. The new lot had been carefully walled with rocks to more than double the parking area available, and you could take off biking or hiking on the Phased and Confused Trail in the redeveloped Phases Trail System.
We had noticed another lot being created by the crew from Mountain States Snowcats after we entered the Strawberry Road below the end of the Phases trails. This is Headwaters Trail Alliance at work.
For years, HTA has been hard at work for the people of Grand County. More funding for this group from the county, the Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Fund, plus various GOCO and Colorado state trails funds grants is sparking life into a major nonprofit that has the recreation future of our residents and tourists at its heart.
When HTA was able to add a few key people, they developed programs with our love of the outdoors in mind, both economically and for the care of both public and private lands. The relationships that started with National Public Lands Day in the 90s have blossomed through the years into the Grand County Master Trails Plan, the Fraser to Granby Trail, the Adopt-a-Trail program, winter grooming, the Trail Smart Sizing Project, hazard tree mitigation, trailhead improvements and now the Stewardship Ambassador program, just to name a few.
Grants and private funds have been obtained to contract youth corps crews and summer field crews, or for capacity building, and creating and maintaining a sustainable tourism plan. They have been busy pushing their annual budget for the first time over the million-dollar mark. That is a lot of investment in our future.
This takes a lot of writing skill, coordination, volunteers, and pure dedication to Grand County — all in the middle of a pandemic, the second largest fire in state history, avalanches and droughts, and a huge influx of inexperienced people wanting to head for the wilderness.
Hats off to HTA. Grand County is lucky to have you. And to the people who volunteer both time and money, we could not do it without you.
Fire restrictions in place
In a couple weeks, Grand County has gone from low fire danger to extremely high fire conditions. Stage 1 Fire restrictions are in effect and violations can result in individual fines up to $5,000 and possible imprisonment.
Library Corner: The boundless opportunities of space
While the nights might be shorter, the warm days bleed into those evenings, and many Grand County residents and visitors might enjoy spending the waning hours of their waking hours gazing up at the night sky.
“Humanity’s interest in the heavens has been universal and enduring,” according to NASA. “Humans are driven to explore the unknown, discover new worlds, push the boundaries of our scientific and technical limits, and then push further. The intangible desire to explore and challenge the boundaries of what we know and where we have been has provided benefits to our society for centuries.”
As we push out beyond our earth’s atmosphere, innovation brings many useful tools for those of us back home. Inventions as diverse as camera phones, wireless headsets, baby formula, tires, insulin pumps, and so much more can be credited to those in NASA or working with NASA. Who knows what can occur when our curiosity is stimulated?
GCLD’s upcoming space programs will provide boundless opportunities for you to excite your neurons and get your synapses flowing.
“Jewels of the Night” programs are being hosted by Grand County Astronomy Club Founder and GCLD volunteer Dave Schlichting. Recipient of NASA Cherri Brinley Award for Excellence in Space Science Education, Dave will bring the stars out of the sky and into our libraries.
“Just about everyone is interested in learning about space,” comments Dave.
During the Jewels of the Night programs, explorers will learn about the night sky indoors and then explore the sky through telescopes. Families are encouraged to attend, with a program taking place at each of Grand County’s five library branches this summer. For those attending the Kremmling Library program, telescope viewing will take place at the Robert Michael Wilson Observatory at West Grand High School.
Don’t miss West Grand School District’s very own science teacher Emmylou Harris, who will demonstrate how a comet is made with children having an opportunity to create and take home their own comet during “Tales of a Comet Tail.” Each branch is hosting this hands-on children’s program geared for those in elementary school and middle school.
“Emmylou makes science engaging and accessible!” comments Emily Pedersen, branch manager of Hot Sulphur Springs and Kremmling libraries. “She relates to kids of all ages with her scientist vibe and sense of humor. Over the years, she has taught us about everyday kitchen experiments, lungs, earthquakes, sound waves, and alchemy. Her programs are always very participatory, entertaining, and educational.”
For those interested in delving deeper into the boundless opportunities the night sky can offer, the Grand County Astronomy Club meets at 7 p.m. every second Saturday at the Granby Library. This group meets monthly to learn more and talk about astronomy. No prior experience is necessary to participate.
Looking to read about space in connection to your Tails & Tales Summer Reading Program? Try some of these favorites.
• “Packing for Mars” by Mary Roach — a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
• “Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir — the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission to save both humanity and earth, Ryland Grace must conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
• “50 Animals That Have Been to Space” by Jennifer Read: “It’s really interesting to see the year, reasons, and which country sent various animals into space…” — Nessa’s review.
Register at www.gcld.org under the “Programs” tab.
Jewels of the Night Sky — June 23 at Kremmling Library, June 30 at Granby Library, July 7 at Hot Sulphur Springs Library, July 21 at Juniper Library and July 28 at Fraser Valley Library. All programs begin at 8 p.m.
Tales of a Comet Tails — The program will be June 30 at 10 a.m. at Granby Library, noon at Juniper Library and 2:30 p.m. at Hot Sulphur Springs Library; and July 1 at 10 a.m. at Fraser Valley Library and 2 p.m. at Kremmling Library.
Grand County Fishing Report: The bite right now is as good as it ever gets
Here is this week’s Grand County fishing report.
Grand Lake: Right now the fishing is about as good as I can ever remember, so please get out and enjoy it. Lake traffic is very high, so be cautious when traveling on the water in any type of watercraft.
Surface temps are in the high 40s right now, and that is a good sign that the fishing is red-hot. The inlets continue to spill cold, clean water into the lake, and that is helping the bite tremendously.
Rainbows and browns are hungry and willing to eat a variety of baits in the morning. Small spoons, Tazmanian devils and jerk baits continue to produce when cast in shallow water.
The most important aspect of this bite is being on the water as early as possible. Once the sun hits the water, this bite seems to change, so start early.
The lake trout bite is very good right now. We have been finding fish in depths from 40-80 feet, and they are hungry. Tube jigs, spoons and hair jigs seem to be working best. Adding a small piece of sucker meat and/or scent has been contributing to high catch rates. This bite has been good for us all the way into the early afternoon.
Williams Fork: The ramp hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Water capacity is at 81%. The lake is 12 feet low. The surface temp is 56 degrees, warming to mid 60s in the afternoon.
Now that the deep water chironomid midge hatch is over, the lake trout bite has improved to fair to good. Lakers are being caught in 60-80 feet of water on plastics tipped with sucker meat. Bank fishing for rainbows is slow, as is trolling for Kokanee, both due to lack of population.
Northerns can be found sunning in shallow water late morning. Some fish are following but they’re reluctant to bite. Slow moving baits my entice a strike.
Lake Granby: Fishing all over the lake is good to excellent right now. Water levels are rising steadily as well as the temps. We are seeing surface temps into the 60s already.
Rainbow trout are biting well in the inlets and moving water areas of the lake. Pink and silver spinners or spoons worked in erratic action have been doing well.
Brown trout are active along the rock and mud lines. Work them with deep diving crankbaits bounced in the rocks.
The lake trout bite has remained very good. Fish are being caught between 30-70 feet of water on small plastics in crayfish colors. Your typical tubes also will produce, especially with a small piece of sucker for extra enticement. Boat traffic has been heavy on the weekends, so use caution when heading out.
The fishing report is brought to you by Fishing with Bernie. Owner Bernie Keefe and his team have been guiding in Grand County for more than 25 years. Jake Foos, Randy H. and Dan Shannon contributed to this report. Go to www.FishingWithBernie.com for more.
Brower: What to do when it’s just too busy
The business and tourism prognosticators from across the country are saying it loud and clear: This summer will be very busy and most businesses won’t be able staff-up or expand to handle the increased demand.
So what’s a small business (or big business, for that matter) to do?
The first morsel of advice dispensed freely and without a hint of irony by leading business consultants is to hire more staff. That’s right. No irony there at all.
Well, most of us in Grand County and much of the U.S. can dismiss that since hiring extra staff for the busy upcoming summer will be nearly impossible because many are already having a hard time hiring just for the “normal” workload. But, if a manager can, then, by all means, hire more staff.
And work really hard at retaining existing work force.
But even with more staff, which I feel is increasingly unlikely for many Grand County employers, our local economy is still likely to be on overload. So here are some other ideas.
But first an owner might want to ask him or herself the following question: Is it better to take on all the demand, knowing that service in general, speed of service and perhaps the quality of product may be suffering? Or is it better to cut one’s losses by simply limiting hours and offerings so that what is offered can be of good quality with fast, friendly service?
The answer to that question that I think many of us are already seeing in Grand County is that it’s better to cut back on what’s being offered, either by limiting hours or limiting and diminishing the product. We are already seeing it take place … by necessity.
Some restaurants are cutting back their hours so that they are only open at peak times. Some are changing their food offerings so that the labor and stress that goes into preparing for a large, complex menu are diminished.
This strategy has some added value in that it also lowers and loosens the expectations of the customers. Just don’t make that Chateaubriand for two with a classic French red as an offering. Lower their expectations and lower your stress. And avoid alienating a customer by implicitly promising more than can possibly be delivered in these unique times.
Retailers too might want to consider cutting back on product lines and avoiding products that require particularly large amounts of staff and customer time and energy.
So a merchant has cut back on hours and adjusted the inventory. But now there’s still going to be long lines and impatient, hasty tourists. What to do?
In a nice or humorous way, let the visitors and guests know that staffing is tight and the business’s usually fast and friendly service might not be as great as it was 20 years ago. A polite sign or notice can go a long way in this regard: “Please be patient with us, we are going as fast as we can!” Or, “hold your place in line, it’s just as busy next door!” Let them know you know and that will help.
Automate. This is an emerging trend in the drinking and eating businesses around the country. Experiment with ways that customers can serve themselves. I have seen an entire wall decked out with self-serve spigots for alcohol where in customers pay by the ounce as they pour or pull their drinks.
This goes for ways to pay, too. Automate. Perhaps there’s a way to pay online for in-person service. I know there’s a way to get an automated tab upon entering an establishment and a way to experiment through self-service without only a one-point pay at the end. It’s happening more and more in big cities.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes offering less in shorter windows of time can allow staff-strapped businesses to make the most of these strange, post-pandemic (at least here) times.
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at email@example.com.
Grand County Fishing Report: Warm temps driving lake trout to deeper depths
Here is this week’s Grand County fishing report
Grand Lake: The water temperature is 45-51 degrees, and both inlets are flowing hard. The rainbow and brown bite has been slower this week with most fish being caught in 5-10 feet of water early in the morning.
Lake trout are hanging from 35-55 feet mostly. Small plastics tipped with sucker meat jigged along the bottom has been catching most of the lakers.
Williams Fork: The ramp hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Water capacity is at 77%. The lake is 16 feet low. Surface temp is 54 degrees in the early morning, rising to the low 60s by the afternoon.
The lake trout bite remains slow to fair with mostly juvenile fish being caught in 60-70 feet of water on small grubs tipped with sucker meat. With the water warming quickly, mature fish are moving off the shallower humps to deeper drop-offs.
Fishing for rainbows and kokanee will be slow for the season. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has not stocked since 2019 in an effort to rid the lake of gill lice. Northerns are slow, but they can be found in shallow water sunning. Slow moving suspending or floating jerk baits may entice a strike.
Lake Granby: The water temp is 50-54 degrees and will be increasing quickly with the anticipated temperatures this week. Rainbow trout fishing is excellent in the inlets and moving water with a small piece of worm drifted in the current; pink and silver spinners also have been working well.
Brown trout are condition dependent but can still be a great bite on crankbaits if it gets windy or in those low light periods of the day along rocky shorelines.
Lake trout have started to move deeper, but the bite remains very good. Tube jigs have been the most consistent in 30-50 feet of water. The color of the tube they want seems to change by the day. We are finding some groups of fish that don’t seem to want to bite, but if you keep moving, you will find an active group.
The fishing report is brought to you by Fishing with Bernie. Owner Bernie Keefe and his team have been guiding in Grand County for more than 25 years. Sam Hochevar, Randy H. and Dan Shannon contributed to this report. Go to www.FishingWithBernie.com or find Fishing with Bernie on Facebook or Instagram for more.
Library Corner: GCLD to the rescue for (Forced) Family Fun Time
A weekly family event in the Gallagher household is (Forced) Family Fun Time. We all go. No one is allowed to say no, and usually, our arms are crossed. Sometimes, it’s in the outdoors: skiing, hiking, paddling. Occasionally, it’s a museum. Or, it could simply be a board game.
Ever since we’ve delved more into GCLD’s Library of Things collection, there has been a lot less arm crossing. We’ve explored our state parks with the Check Out the State Park Pass Backpack. None of us are ready for “American Idol,” as we learned with the karaoke machine.
Thanks to all the sports equipment and passes we can check out, we’ve also discovered why we are not on the Olympic volleyball, baseball, climbing teams, nor have been invited to Wimbledon. I’m sure my family loved the holiday mug koozies we knitted with the needles we checked out. And the “Minute to Win It” kit kept us laughing during the lockdown.
But now it is summer, and we’re ready to get outside with friends. So many excursions highlighting the Tails & Tales Summer Reading Program theme are happening through GCLD that “Forced Family Fun Fime” will now be “Happy GCLD Explorers.”
“Summer is made for exploring and spending time outdoors with family and friends,” shares Chris Newell, GCLD director of Public Services. “The GCLD Summer Reading Program offers exciting field trips for the whole family to help readers of all ages make real-life connections to the books they may be reading and to learn about some of the hidden gems in our community. Our goal is to provide kids with an opportunity to experience things through the senses and to make those valuable connections to books.”
Last year GCLD ventured with a small group led by ENW Volunteer Tom to Cataract Lake in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. Back by popular demand, this lovely two-mile hike is a great place to see butterflies, birds, and fish.
If you have some little ones who enjoy animals, there are multiple petting zoo jaunts taking place in June. Winding River Resort is opening up their petting zoo for GLCD program participants to visit, as well as the Linke Farm. After so long without touching anything in public, families are invited to pet the critters, including bunnies, piglets, goats, and calves.
Built for walking on rocky, steep terrain with a two-toed foot with a dog-like pad sensitive to the earth underneath and a nail that curves into the ground to grip, llamas are becoming more and more common as a pack animal on our Colorado trails. Join GCLD in July for a family hike with a llama this summer as these beasts of burden carry our lunches.
And, if you haven’t already visited the BLM ammonite site just west of Kremmling, this is a must-do trip for Grand County residents (visitors are welcome, too!). Many, many, many years ago, Colorado was at the bottom of an ancient ocean, and Fossil Ridge was believed to be a breeding ground for ancient sea creatures. Massive ammonite shells and other invertebrates litter the grass and bring oohs and ahhs from visitors.
Check the programs calendar at www.gcld.org to find out more about these and other upcoming field trips for Grand County. Registration is needed as space is limited and in case of a weather incident. We look forward to seeing you with your friends and family as you explore boundless opportunities.
Grand County Trails: Preventing forest fires is our responsibility — also quit feeding the bears
Sitting out on my back patio with my morning coffee, I listened to the birds singing and the trees rustling, or at least what I could hear amid the rumble of campers and other vehicles passing on US Highway 40 below.
I watched a beautiful fox cross the meadow below. The grass and plants are shades of green, and the colorful daffodils and tulips in Tim’s Garden are a beautiful contrast.
Speaking of contrasts, my thoughts turn to those who lost everything in the fires last year. I remember driving up Colorado Highway 125 and US Highway 34 for the first time to survey the desolation created by the East Troublesome Fire and tears came to my eyes. I just couldn’t imagine the beautiful sight turning to ashes.
Last week, the Denver Post stated the Western fire season is starting drier than 2020.
“As bad as last year’s record-shattering fire season was, the Western US starts this year in even worse shape,” says Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press.
Park Williams, a UCLA climate and fire scientist, “calculated that soil in the western half of the nation is the driest it has been since 1895. This summer we’re going into fire season with drier fuels than we were at this time last year.”
And the situation is getting worse week by week, especially since last year’s monsoon season, which was supposed to bring much of the year’s moisture, never showed up.
Most of the vehicles I heard on this morning were coming to Grand County to their treasured getaway in the mountains to escape the heat and hustle of the city. Some were coming to visit others who are lucky enough to live here. Others just want to get into the “wilderness” for their own experiences.
Once here, they want to build campfires and don’t understand they need to make sure conditions are safe for an open flame. The Grand County Wildfire Council recently produced a “Fire Restriction 101” flier meant to guide people with fire information and precautions.
“Improperly doused or misplaced fires are one of the leading causes of wildfires,” says Schelly Olson, Grand Fire Assistant Fire Chief.
The Wildfire Council advises keep fires small — 3 feet in diameter is the max — and inside a metal ring or permanent structure. Rocks do not make a permanent fire ring. Check for proper conditions, never burn in high winds or leave a fire unattended.
Please, do not burn slash piles during the summer months, as that is only allowed November thru April while snow is on the ground. People should also know that burn barrels are now illegal since they do not combust efficiently, create a smoke nuisance, and produce toxic pollutants. Dispose of smoking materials in places where they cannot be a source of ignition — or better yet, don’t smoke.
Guests should also learn the difference between Stage 1 and Stage 2 fire restrictions and the meaning of red flag warnings — or when conditions are ripe for wildland fire ignition and rapid propagation.
For more information, visit the wildfire council at www.BeWildfireReady.org, email BeWildfireReady@gmail.com or call 970-627-7121.
Additionally, please don’t be the person who provides wildlife with appetizing trash and keeps that bear coming back for more. Sadly, a fed bear is often a dead bear and relocation does not help that learned habit. That bear must be put down or it will continue to root out trash and become dangerous to humans.
Weekenders often put out their trash when leaving, even though pickup may not be for several days. I have cleaned up too many scattered piles and left many notes on people’s doors. When camping, keep your food suspended out of reach and no food in your tent to temp the critters who are only following their sensitive noses. We want to see the wildlife, not need to kill them for the habits we create in them.
Be responsible out there!
Grand County Fishing Report: Best bite for Grand Lake’s rainbow, brown trout comes early and on overcast days
Here is this week’s Grand County fishing report.
Grand Lake: The water temp 44-47 degrees, and both inlets are flowing. Rainbows and browns have been biting well at the surface early in the morning and throughout the day when it’s overcast.
By mid-morning on sunny days, try fishing a little bit deeper in 10-15 feet of water. Lake trout are spread out in the water column with most being caught in 30-50 feet of water on small plastics tipped with sucker meat.
Williams Fork: Ramp hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Williams Fork is at 73% capacity, and the surface temp is 49 degrees early in the morning before warming to 52 by afternoon.
The lake trout bite is slow to fair. Juvenile lakers are biting well in 60-70 feet of water. Mature fish can be found in 40-70 feet, but the bite is tough right now. I’m seeing trophy class lakers break the surface, casting for them is hit and miss.
Northern pike are sluggish in the cold water and recovering from the spring spawn. Kokanee fishing is slow due to lack of population. Rainbow fishing is also slow since the lake hasn’t been stocked since 2019.
Lake Granby: Water temp has been 48-53 degrees. The bite has slowed a bit but is still good. Rainbows and browns are biting well in the inlets and rocky shorelines on spinners, and small natural colored crankbaits.
Lake trout are being caught in 20-60 feet of water. The transition areas between the rocks and mud have been good areas to concentrate on.
Small tubes, grubs and crayfish imitations have been the most consistent with the preferred color being different every day. Tip your jig with a small piece of sucker meat and keep it fresh for the best action.
The fishing report is brought to you by Fishing with Bernie. Owner Bernie Keefe and his team have been guiding in Grand County for more than 25 years. Randy H., Sam Hochevar and Dan Shannon contributed to this report. Go to www.FishingWithBernie.com or find Fishing with Bernie on Facebook or Instagram for more.
In the schools: Class of 2021 graduates Saturday
Great Happenings this week in East Grand Schools.
• Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2021. There has never been a class that has been forced to show resilience and flexibility like this group.
This group of seniors has shown great leadership, community service, academic achievement and pride throughout their school careers, but this past year has proven that we have a group of tremendous young adults graduating from Middle Park High School on Saturday.
• At Granby Elementary, Mrs. Bankert’s fifth-grade class undertook a project to re-build part of the playground. After months of work, they have completed securing the bridge and successfully finished the project they started. Good job students!
• Our Science Fair winners at Granby Elementary have been selected. A special thanks to Mountain Parks Electric, Colorado Headwaters Landtrust and Grand County Extension for sponsoring awards for the Granby Elementary Science Fair.
• The Homegrown Talent Initiative Successes for this school year:
– 62 students participated in the internship program, and 50 of those students were Middle Park High School students.
– 59 businesses hosted interns this year, including 39 new partnerships.
– HTI, along with the partnership of GCHE and East+West Grand School Districts, hosted a weeklong virtual career fair.
– Five students were paired with businesses outside of our county in a virtual job shadow.
– Built out sustainable framework, resources and handbook for the internship program.
• Middle Park High School Dance and Fitness class went to teach dance at Granby Elementary this week.
• GES fifth-graders are doing a great job on their last artist study. They are learning about the contemporary surf artist from Hawaii Heather Brown. Fourth-graders are finishing up the year creating glass fusion magnets while the third-graders are working on landscape paintings that focus on creating a foreground, middleground and background.
The second-graders had a blast throwing paint around when learning about the abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. First grade is working on the abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky. Lastly, the kindergarten artists have had a great year working on all kinds of different art skills. They are finishing up a desert landscape painting.
• Third grade at GES completed its longstanding tradition of tie-dying shirts to be ready for Field Day on June 1. Hopefully, we will have pictures for next week.
• East Grand Middle School students learned how to play golf then seventh grade and some eighth-graders got to play out at Grand Elk. Thanks to everyone at Grand Elk for helping put it all together.
• East Grand Middle School’s eighth-graders spent the day at the YMCA roller skating, swimming, wall climbing, playing miniature golf, and tubing. Thank you to everyone at the YMCA! It was a great day for all!!
• Granby Elementary School students participated in their annual Bike Rodeo. Students learned and practiced safe riding in a town environment, how to improve riding skills and basic first aid and safety. All of the stations were taught by Granby police officers, firefighters, EMS, animal care and control, the MPHS Crew, and Granby Elementary School staff. A special thanks to the Granby Police Department for donating a brand new bike we raffled off to a lucky student. We are thankful for the supportive community we live in. We got to giddy up, round em’ up and Yee haw!!!!