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Prickly Pear Ice opens in Kremmling

Thanks to a new business in Kremmling, ice and purified water will be more available to stores and individuals. Kremmling business entrepreneur Dakota Docheff-Cordle and her husband Branden Cordle started Prickly Pear Ice, an ice and water dispenser located at the Kremmling Car Wash at 1103 Eagle Ave. 

The business celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 22. Docheff-Cordle said this is their only dispensing machine for now, but they hope to open more in the county. 

Customers can fill up their own 1-5 gallon containers with filtered water that’s also been sanitized by ultraviolet light. Prickly Pear also offers 10-pound bags of ice, or customers can fill their own coolers. Docheff-Cordle said she’s glad Prickly Pear opened in time for hunting season, and they plan to operate year-round. Water is 25 cents a gallon and ice is $2.75 for 10 pounds. Cash or cards are accepted. 

Docheff-Cordle, left, helps a customer during Prickly Pear’s grand opening.
Meg Soyars/Sky-Hi News

Career Day at Henderson Mine and Mill

Thefts of Kias, Hyundais in Colorado chase away auto insurance companies

With car thefts spiking in Colorado the past few years, three auto insurance carriers are now declining to cover certain vehicles, leaving at-risk owners with fewer options.

Allstate, State Farm and Progressive are passing over new owners of some Kia and Hyundai vehicles, as thieves steal those cars at higher rates. In 2021, Colorado held the No. 1 spot in the nation for motor vehicle thefts — and those rates continued to skyrocket in the first half of last year, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association.

In 2022, the top 10 U.S. cities for car thefts included Denver, Aurora, Westminster and Pueblo, according to the nonprofit.

From July through September of last year, the majority of the state’s most-stolen vehicles were either Kia models — Sportage, Optima, Sorento and Soul — or Hyundai — Tuscan, Sonata and Elantra. Truck owners were also targeted, with Chevy Silverados, Ford F-250s and GMC Sierras making the list.

Some of these thefts are blamed on a social media trend teaching users how to easily steal Kia and Hyundai models, which robbers then take for joyrides. The Kia Boyz hashtag, popularized on TikTok and YouTube, yields video after video of victims showing the aftermath of their ravaged cars and even catching young thieves in the act.

Read the full story at The Denver Post.

Parachute joins several Colorado towns considering action against US Postal Service

Diana Lawrence was delivered some bad news explaining why her mail wasn’t at the post office. 

“‘We don’t hold boxes unless we have a PO box on there,’” Lawrence said, relaying what she was told by a postal worker. The PO box number has to be on the package for the local post office to hold it. “And, yeah, I lit ’em up.”

Lawrence owns a mercantile store on First Street in Parachute, an area in which city leaders look to revamp commercially. She was waiting on a personalized sign she ordered for a customer. The sign did make it to the United States Post Office in Parachute from Michigan. But because it didn’t have a PO box noted on its package, the post office sent it back to its original departure.

According to town officials, Mayor Tom Rugaard, former Mayor Roy McClung and Lawrence, about 30-40% of Parachute residents and business owners don’t get mail delivered physically to their front door. The remaining 60-70% of Parachute residents live close enough to the post office to have their mail delivered physically, locals suspect.

For the residents who don’t, they are forced to get all their mail in a small PO box. To make matters worse, even if a person just has their physical address labeled on the package — and not the PO box number — the local post office doesn’t babysit it until you pick it up. This is why Lawrence’s customized sign for a customer made a round trip back to the Midwest.

Diana Lawrence unloads product onto the shelves at her mercantile shop in Parachute on Monday, March 13, 2023.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

“Most of my wholesalers won’t ship to a PO box,” Lawrence said. She was also told at the post office that if she had a complaint, to take it up with the postmaster. “I said, ‘Really?’ You think that’s gonna do me some good? Is that your answer?”

This is the exact impetus behind Parachute recently announcing it’s joining other Colorado communities in exploring possible legal action against USPS. The other communities include Avon, Buena Vista, Silverthorne, Crested Butte, Snowmass Village and Steamboat Springs.

In Silverthorne, for example, many people are just now receiving mail postmarked in December, a news release authored by this collective of towns states.

“Crested Butte residents regularly spend 1-3 hours in a line that winds around the block, sometimes in sub-freezing temperatures, to pick up and send packages, send registered or Express mail or simply buy stamps,” the release states. “And in Steamboat Springs, more than 13,000 boxes and packages were dropped off in one day late last year, overwhelming the already understaffed local post office that serves a community of approximately 13,000 residents.”

For Parachute, in particular, the mail service is causing severe issues.

“It’s crazy, they tell you you’re an undeliverable address, when I can walk less than five minutes to their front door,” Rugaard said of the postal service. “My mom’s estate check got returned. I have to go back to Iowa to get it myself. It’s been returned twice because it only had my address.”

One big issue the city faces is that E-commerce companies like Amazon have what’s called a last-mile delivery contract with USPS. This means instead of Amazon bringing your package directly to your front door, it’s dropping off the package at the post office and letting the postal service take care of the final delivery. And if your PO box isn’t big enough or only your physical address is on the package, it gets returned to the sender.

This affects how the city sends out monthly bills and notifications, how people get their medicine and how people like Lawrence run their businesses.

“Something needs to be done, and hopefully that’s something the lawsuit will do,” Rugaard said. “That’s all I’m looking for, that our people are getting the mail they deserve to get.”

McClung said the post office has been a train wreck for a while, and that it’s really had some negative impacts on these smaller communities.

“Now that we’re doing all of this online ordering, and Colorado passed a law where the community that orders the product gets the sales tax, Parachute’s missing out on a bunch,” he said. “Because people get so frustrated trying to get packages delivered into Parachute, they have them delivered somewhere else.”

A box labeled “USPS priority mail” sits inside Diana Lawrence’s shop in Parachute on Monday, March 13, 2023.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

McClung said mail delivery service issues have really popped up in Parachute over the past 5-6 years due an increase in things like commerce and online ordering. McClung and, more recently, Rugaard, have been having round-table discussions with USPS representatives and U.S. Sens. John Hickenloooper and Michael Bennet to address Parachute’s delivery dilemma. McClung said, however, USPS was addressing “more of the symptoms” and “not the cause.”

“There isn’t any reason that we should be looked at as second-class citizens because we’re in a small town,” he said. “These folks deserve the exact same things that people in bigger communities have.”

The Citizen Telegram reached out to Postal Service Communication Specialist James Boxrud for this story but he did not comment.

According to Parachute Town Administrator Travis Elliot, if a lawsuit is filed against the USPS, it’ll likely cost about $30,000 for this new coalition of Colorado communities to retain representation. Parachute itself will post up $5,000 for legal costs.

Elliot said the exploration of possible legal options is to help understand why smaller communities seem to be neglected and not receiving the same level of service as across the nation. Action also could be taken to explore solutions, like potentially readjusting USPS’ last-mile delivery contract or hiring more personnel to cover routes in Parachute.

“They’re working as hard as they can, and they are working under stressful circumstances,” Elliot said of Parachute’s local postal workers. “We don’t think they’re the problem. It’s systemic.”

Lawyers at Denver-based law firm Kaplan Kirsh Rockwell LLP (KKR) and Karp Neu Hanlon in Glenwood Springs, which provides regular legal services to many of the communities, are currently researching two avenues for a potential lawsuit — violations of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, and the crippling Last Mile Delivery contracts that the USPS has with major internet retailers.

“We’re still exploring our legal options,” Hanlon said in the release. “Ideally, the Postal Service or the Biden Administration will take action immediately and provide the resources and direction needed to solve these problems, but if they don’t my clients may force the issue in the courts.”

For Lawrence, she’s worried that, if mail issues continue, it could affect the future commercial world of Parachute.

“We’re really trying to grow First Street,” she said. “But here again, what if we bring a bunch of new businesses in and their frustration is going to be with this post office, as well?

“I think it’s an amenity that’s far overdue.”

This story is from PostIndependent.com.

Skip the apres ski? Boycott burgers? Nutrition experts weigh in on Summit County’s mountain town lifestyle and how to reach peak health.

Editor’s Note: This is the first story in a four-part series that will publish every Thursday.

The natural allure of the Rocky Mountains and its plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities lured Karn Stiegelmeier to Summit County. 

“I was just out of college,” Stiegelmeier recalled of her move in 1975. “What did I do? I had to be a ski bum.”

Short on cash, Stiegelmeier stopped by the only grocery store on Main Street in Frisco and bought a large bag of apples and a giant pack of peanuts. For several weeks, she survived on little else — working as a cross-country ski instructor and hitting the slopes in her free time all the while.

A marathoner, whitewater kayaker and skier, Stiegelmeier has lived in Summit County for almost three decades. Here, she said, it can seem like people are addicted to their favorite outdoor activities — from winter sports to rock climbing, mountain biking, rafting and more.

“The classic story is: ‘I came here to ski, and I stayed because it’s just so much fun,’” Stiegelmeier said. 

Patios often become places where locals and visitors congregate to enjoy a drink after a long day out on the mountain, and resort towns’ plentiful bars offer fast-casual dining and fat-laden treats to fulfill folks’ hunger after calorie-burning workouts. These moments are a reprieve from Summit County’s health- and environment-centric lifestyle that fosters high scores when it comes to national data regarding health, but apres ski culture and hearty foods are ingrained in the High Country culture, Stiegelmeier said.

Locals’ love for the outdoors is part of what has made Summit County one of the most active counties in the country. Out of Colorado’s 64 counties, Summit ranks fourth for its activity rate, according to Colorado Department of Health and Environment reports.

Nationally, the estimated median rate of physical inactivity is about 26%, but in the region including Summit, Eagle, Garfield and Grand counties the inactivity rate is closer to 10%, a 2013 study by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found.

Meanwhile, obesity rates in Summit County have historically been lower than a vast majority of the country. The state health department’s study also found that the region including Summit, Eagle, Garfield and Grand counties had the lowest prevalence of obesity in Colorado — which is already the second-leanest state in the United States.

But whether dining on a ski bum’s budget or enjoying the amenities of a resort community — where burgers and beers are among the most common menu items — is being physically active enough to outweigh the need for a healthy diet?

Skipping the Apres Ski

As an avid kayaker in her younger years, Stiegelmeier remembers stocking coolers full of beer before her many rafting trips. When she finished her first marathon, her friends were waiting — beer in hand — at the finish line.

“It’s part of the culture — the sense of: ‘We’re going skiing, and we’re going to have a drink,’” Stiegelmeier said. “It seems pretty universal. Summit County is definitely more of a party place than a lot of places, and I think that’s part of being a tourist town.”

Dandi Hussey, center, sips her beer as Devon Rosson, left, and Chad Hussey, right, watch skiers and snowboarders make their way down the slopes at Copper Mountain Resort on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. The group sits in this same spot every year in Center Village after a day on the mountain as a way to relax and enjoy one another’s company while on vacation.
Andrew Maciejewski/Summit Daily News

For nearly every subculture of physical activity available in Summit County, there is a subculture of drinking to go along with it. Slopeside bars make it easy to end a day on the mountain with a few cocktails, and after rock climbing or summiting a 14er, many seek out a cold beer as a way to soothe sore muscles.

But while experts acknowledge that many people indulge in alcoholic drinks after a strenuous day of physical activity, they say booze has more drawbacks than benefits when it comes to nutrition.

Heath Gasier is an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the Duke University School of Medicine whose research has focused on performance nutrition at high elevations. While many active adults may choose to end the day with an alcoholic drink, Gasier said “moderation is key.”

Alcohol can inhibit an antidiuretic hormone that promotes water loss and causes dehydration. Gasier added that many people who have spent the day exercising may already be at a loss for water, so alcohol can exacerbate that dehydration.

Since alcohol impairs judgment, Gasier said people commonly replace meals with several drinks. That especially can leave a person feeling sluggish or burnt out the next day, he said, since there is nothing to restore their energy levels or replenish nutrients and vitamins.

“A lot of people go on ski trips, and they’re not acclimatizing to the environment. They’re just going to ski and go to the pub every night and just deal with it,” Gasier said. “Is it the best approach? No.”

Erika Bettermann, a Denver-based dietician who focuses on sports nutrition, noted that in addition to dehydration, alcohol can disrupt sleep, impact digestion and impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins.

In particular, alcohol can inhibit the body’s ability to take up B Vitamins, which are needed for energy metabolism and glycogen synthesis, Bettermann said. Glycogen is a form of glucose and a main source of energy stored in the muscles.

After too many drinks “you’re not going to be able to store all the energy you need for the next day,” Bettermann said. So, before a long day on the slopes or hiking a 14,000-foot-tall mountain, it is probably better to take it easy.

Still, for those who are just looking to enjoy the mountains and have fun — rather than push their limits or crush a personal record — alcohol may not have many nutritional benefits, but a drink or two probably won’t put too much of a damper on their recreation, Gasier added.

Downhill Duke’s bartender Mo Ginsburg pours a beer near the base of Center Village at Copper Mountain Resort as she talks to a guest on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. Nutritionists say having a beer after a long day of physical activity isn’t bad, but they say moderation is key to avoid affects to nourishment.
Andrew Maciejewski/Summit Daily News

Stiegelmeier noted that often drinking “is just part of having fun and celebrating and socializing with friends.”

Glasier agreed.

“People need to know that it’s okay to do that,” he said. “Especially when you’re consuming a lot of energy, space it out over the course of the vacation. That’s the best advice I could give somebody.”

Going eco-friendly 

Growing up, Stiegelmeier was never a fan of the taste of meat and would sneak her plate under the table to feed the family dog.

Nowadays, Stiegelmeier is well accustomed to a vegetarian diet. It hasn’t just provided her with the vitamins, nutrients and energy she needed for an active lifestyle full of kayaking, hiking and skiing. It is also better for the planet, something that many recreationists in Summit care deeply about.

“The basic vegetarian diet is so much healthier for the planet,” she said. “Carbon released from meat products is huge.”

This graph shows the number of pounds of carbon dioxide released when producing a serving of various food products, according to the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems.
Steven Josephson/Summit Daily News

Living in the Rocky Mountains, Stiegelmeier said she — and many other Summit County residents — has developed a strong appreciation for the natural world.

“For most people, if you just go out for a hike or a cross-country ski, you just do that,” she said. “But if you do it for very long, you start to get a sense of how much you like the environment and how much you care about it.”

Despite some misconceptions, diets structured primarily around plants and vegetables have a multitude of health benefits too, especially for people who are physically active, according to Jerry Casados, a Denver-based dietician who specializes in helping people transition to a plant-based lifestyle.

Casados said most people seek out his expertise for health reasons — including help managing weight loss, autoimmune disorders or high cholesterol. He said he started eating a plant-based diet himself more than a decade ago after his doctor showed him images of his heart and clogged arteries.

“I look at it as a holistic approach,” Casados said. “Because it really heals the whole body.”

Plant-based diets can reverse the effects of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and improve bowel movements and acid reflux. On top of that, there are all the environmental benefits as well.

One of Pure Kitchen’s vegan power bowls is pictured at the restaurant in Frisco on Sept. 25, 2022.
Andrew Maciejewski/Summit Daily News

Animal agriculture is a resource-intensive industry, Casados said, with livestock such as cows releasing large amounts of methane — a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. 

According to the University of Colorado Environmental Center, raising livestock for human consumption generates nearly 15% of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide — more than all transportation emissions combined.

Whereas an area the size of two football fields could feed 14 people living on a plant-based diet, the same area could only feed two people if used for animal agriculture, Casados said. So even reducing your meat consumption by just a couple meals a week can have a positive environmental impact, he said.

As far as plant-based meat alternatives — like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods — go, while they taste a lot like meat and are a good transition food for people just starting a plant-based diet, they are highly processed and not much healthier than the real thing, Casados said.

Despite popular belief, Casados said, it is not difficult to get the vitamins, minerals, amino acids and protein from a plant-based diet. Though people should consume a large variety of fruits and vegetables for the full benefits of a plant-based diet.

“Diversity is the key to plant-based diets,” Casados said. “Just eat a bunch of everything — what we call the rainbow.”

A cup of broccoli, for example, contains more calcium than a glass of milk, Casados said. Meanwhile beans tend to be high in protein and potatoes offer both protein and complex carbohydrates — which are higher in fiber and nutrients than simple carbohydrates like sugar.

Really, people eating a plant-based diet only require two vitamin supplements due to the lack of meat in their diet, Casados said. About once a week, he recommends people who choose a plant-based lifestyle take Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12 supplements — although someone who spends time outside in the sun may not even require a Vitamin D supplement.

Noting that even some of the world’s largest animals — like elephants, horses and hippos — eat primarily plant-based diets, Casados said there is no reason humans cannot do the same. More frequently, he added, extreme athletes like ultramarathon runners are turning to plant-based diets for the benefits they can provide in terms of blood flow and energy levels.

“These athletes say their recovery time is shorter, they have plenty of energy, they can go forever,” he said. “There’s more oxygen moving with the blood with a plant-based diet. You’re really improving your energy level with the blood flow.”

Surveying the menu

A day full of physical activity is sure to leave stomachs growling. So in one of the county’s most active communities, it’s no surprise that most evenings tourists and locals alike flock to the restaurants, pubs and fast-casual eateries that line ski town streets.

As Summit County has grown over the years, Stiegelmeier said she has seen the restaurant and bar industry grow in tandem, especially as tourism has become more and more a feature of the county’s economy.

“By the nature of being a tourist town, you have to have quick-to-grab, satisfying foods. I think it’s human nature to want quick, satisfying things that aren’t really that good for you,” Stiegelmeier said. “It seems like there’s always more burgers and pubs and quick and easy fixes in Summit.”

But experts say that rather than giving into the craving for a quick fix right away, a little thought while surveying the menu can go a long way — especially for those who are physically active and want to maintain their energy levels for the next day’s outing.

“I’ve been to very few places that don’t offer healthy food,” Glasier said.

A southern chop salad filled with lettuce, avocado, grilled corn, black beans, shredded pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, red onions, tortilla strips and jalapeno ranch is pictured on at TBar Bar and Grill at Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 8 base area on Thursday, March 16, 2023. While many bars offer burgers, pulled pork and hearty soups, most offer healthy options packed with plant-based proteins like black beans, nuts and quinoa.
Andrew Maciejewski/Summit Daily News

For those expending a lot of energy, healthy food is always going to be better, though he said he understands the allure of a burger and fries at the end of an exhausting day, Glasier said, and while a grilled chicken breast with whole grain rice is probably ideal all the time, that is simply not realistic for most Americans. However, replacing a burger patty with that chicken breast will cut down on fats that can inhibit a person’s ability to hydrate, and replacing french fries with steamed vegetables can provide more of the vitamins and nutrients the body needs to recoup after a long day.

Bettermann noted that, while tasty, processed and fatty fried foods can have a negative impact on people’s ability to recreate the next day. Greasy, heavier foods take longer to digest because of their high fat content, she said, leaving the stomach full for longer, which can increase the chances of heartburn and acid reflux.

“If we’re talking about discomfort while hiking, (fried foods) can wreak havoc on the gut the next day,” Bettermann said. “High-fat, processed foods are typically something to try to avoid.”

Plant-based fats like those found in avocados, nuts and seeds are often a better choice for those looking to engage in strenuous physical activity, she said.

Despite some popular myths about carbohydrates, Bettermann said carbs are an especially important food group that people should be sure to eat enough of — especially when exercising regularly, because the body uses carbs to make glucose for energy.

Josh Walker sprinkles toasted sesame seeds on a vegan Pure Thai Bowl at Pure Kitchen Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. Pure Kitchen uses vegan-based meals to allow patrons to customize their order to accommodate dietary restrictions while still offering classic proteins like meat.
Andrew Maciejewski/Summit Daily News

When choosing from a menu, people should consider how they normally eat — because changing that all of a sudden could shock the body — as well as how much they exercised that day and how much they plan to exercise the next several days, Glasier said. 

Constantly consuming fatty processed foods or sugary sweets — which provide a quick energy boost then a crash — is likely to lead a highly active person to run an energy deficit and become burned out, he said. But, as long as these foods aren’t being consumed day-in and day-out, a physically active person is probably able to “cheat” a little bit more than their less active counterparts.

“That burger and fries and a couple beers is probably just fine,” Glasier said. “I wouldn’t have a problem with it.”

In fact, Glasier said, if he spent a day on the slopes, he would probably order a burger and a beer himself.

If you go

What: The Longevity Project with speaker Gary Taubes, New York Times bestselling author and investigative health journalist

When: 5-8 p.m. April 12

Where: Silverthorne Pavilion, 400 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne

Tickets: $25 at SummitDaily.com/longevity

This story is from Summit Daily.

Grand County Wildfire Mitigation partners celebrate successes in 2022

In an era of megafires in Colorado, the Grand County Wildfire Council works to educate the community about increased risk, providing a conduit between fire mitigation resources and individuals. Created in 2013, the Wildfire Council includes diverse group of members from the Colorado State Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, fire protection districts, Northern Water and Denver Water.

At the council’s January steering committee meeting, members presented a summary of the “2022 Grand County Wildfire Mitigation Successes.”  The achievements include accomplishments by the Wildfire Council, Colorado State Forest Service’s Granby office, Arapaho National Forest’s Sulphur Ranger District, Routt National Forest’s Yampa Ranger District, BLM’s Kremmling Field Office, Grand County Natural Resources, Grand County Office of Emergency Management and local fire districts. 

“Though a lot of work was accomplished in 2022, there is still more work to be done,” wrote Katlin Miller, council programs manager, in a news release.

According to the release, Grand County is currently in the process of updating its community wildfire protection plan.  Community input is an important part of the planning process. The  county has created an interactive story map and survey to gather community input and host information about the plan. The story map can be found at Co.Grand.Co.Us.

In 2023, Grand County’s wildfire mitigation partners will continue to work together toward their mutual goal of becoming a “fire adapted community,” which means they take responsibility and implement actions to reduce wildfire risk. The council is currently a member of the organization Fire Adapted Colorado. In spring 2023, it will also host Chipping Days, where residents can remove smaller trees and branches on their property and bring them to locations to be chipped.

“The successes listed below do not include the activities of private homeowners that did not take part in the (council’s) partners’ programs,” wrote Miller. “While it is difficult to estimate the amount of work done by private landowners and contractors, these actions should not be undervalued.”

Grand County Wildfire Council/Courtesy Photo

The following is a list of just some of the council’s and their partners’ achievements. These achievements will reduce the intensity of a future fires, making conditions much more favorable for firefighters to work effectively.

Grand County Wildfire Council 

– Five community Chipping Days: 257 attendees in total and 312 acres mitigated. 

– Forty-two recipients reimbursed $124,695.90 from the fuels reduction cost-share programs and 217 acres mitigated.

– A new wildfire educational guide and increased educational resources, available on the council’s website, BeWildFireReady.org.

Colorado State Forest Service 

Awarded $1 million from Healthy Forests Vibrant Communities State of Colorado. The project will be located in near Fraser at Sheep Mountain, with an expected completion date of Dec. 15, 2023. 

– Three educational outreach events with a total of 90 attendees. Twelve communities received designation by the Fire Protection Association as Firewise Neighborhoods.

  Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest – East Grand  

– East Troublesome Mulch Source units: 81 acres, clearcuts in burn area.

– East Troublesome Fire scar reforestation:  planted 128,000 trees across 889 acres.

Routt National Forest – West Grand 

– 116 acres of cutting and piling completed; pile burning to continue in 2023 with 20 acres burned in December 2022. 

Bureau of Land Management – Kremmling 

– East Troublesome Aerial seeding: 8,000 acres 

Grand County Division of Natural Resources 2021-2022 summary

– Four hundred and thirty-four burn permits issued countywide for local fire protection districts.

  Grand County Office of Emergency Management in partnership with Team Rubicon 

– Individuals served: 240, homes mitigated: 108 

Local fire protection districts 

– 10 home and roadside thinning projects, 50 Home and HOA inspections. 

To learn more about the Grand County Wildfire Council, its programs and meetings, or read the council’s full 2022 achievements, visit BeWildFireReady.org. Their next meeting will be held on April 23; it is open to the public in person and via Zoom.  

Campground closure at Rocky Mountain National Park could have ripple effect across Colorado forests

With Rocky Mountain National Park’s largest campground shutting down this summer for a modernization project, reducing available campsites on the eastern side of the park by more than half, ripple effects are apt to be felt at campgrounds across the Front Range.

The closure of the Moraine Park Campground means 244 fewer sites for 2023, and it figures to put more pressure on nearby campgrounds in the adjacent Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests, which spreads out along the Continental Divide from Clear Creek County to the Wyoming border, and it ranks as the third-busiest in the U.S.

“Our reservable campgrounds are in high demand,” said Reid Armstrong, Arapaho & Roosevelt spokesperson. “There’s seven and a half million people visiting our forests every year, and a lot of them want to camp. Planners need to be on it, planning their trips now.”

To help, the forest service met with the national park few weeks ago, Armstrong said. “We are going to be working with Rocky Mountain National Park, their front desk and their volunteers, to do some training and provide some information about dispersed camping. We’re going to be putting something together so they can provide some of that information to their visitors.”

There are seven national forest campgrounds with 252 campsites located along the Peak to Peak Highway between Estes Park and Nederland, including two within 15 miles of the park’s eastern entrance gates. Armstrong also suggests campers consider options on the west side of the park. There are 15 national forest campgrounds with more than 400 sites there, four of those located within 15 miles of the park’s Grand Lake entrance. There also is a campground on the western side of the park, eight miles north of the Grand Lake entrance, with 98 sites.

Read more at denverpost.com.

Grand County elementary students take a field trip to see the Colorado Symphony

Grand Concerts sponsored a field trip Feb. 28 for 125 students from Fraser Valley, Granby and West Grand elementary schools to see a Colorado Symphony Youth Concert at Boettcher Concert Hall at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

A grant from the Grand County Board of Commissioners funded the trip, so students went free of charge. The fourth and fifth graders joined over 2,000 other students at the concert, which had the theme “Lift Every Voice” about unity, social justice and creative self-expression this year.

A news release from Grand Concerts quoted West Grand music teacher Misty Lamb as saying she was excited for her kids to hear the instruments they have learned about and the opportunity for students, especially in mountain communities, to experience an orchestra live is rare and special.

Grand Concerts offers a $1,000 Joan and Roger Shaw Memorial Music Scholarship to high school seniors majoring in the music field, and applications are due March 24 — the day before the organization’s next concert, when the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado will play at the Church of the Eternal Hills in Tabernash. 

Tickets are available for purchase at GrandConcerts.org, but students can attend for free.

Reader photo: Sunrise waves

Letter to the editor: For National Agriculture week, talk to a farmer or rancher

March 21, 2023, marks the 50th year that the U.S. will celebrate the contributions of farmers, ranchers and agriculture with National Agriculture Day.  There is so much to celebrate that it has grown to Agriculture Week, March 19-25. 

Colorado agriculture provides multiple benefits to our state beyond the obvious one, food.  Benefits such as jobs, open space, economic opportunities, wildlife habitat and recreation.  Beginning with small fields of corn and squash that were grown in the canyons around Mesa Verde, Colorado farmers and ranchers have overseen a great expansion in the abundance and diversity of products available, while using less resources like land and water.

 I love being a member of an average farming and ranching family; taking care of our land, water and animals on a daily basis.  Our family has been here since 1907, and like other families, have adapted to the times, met adversities and improved resources. One benefit we enjoy are the animals we provide habitat, sanctuary and migration corridors for. Among them are 172 varieties of birds including bald eagles, cranes, otter, elk, deer, mountain lions and bears.

As we watch our next generation continuing the family heritage, we have no doubt that our land will be in agriculture well into the future. Want to know more, ask the experts, the farmers and ranchers around you.  After all, you’re lucky enough to live in rural Colorado, the favorite habitat for farmers and ranchers.

Jo Stanko

Regional Assistant Commissioner

Steamboat Springs, Colorado    

Junior Winter Park Competition Center athletes take wins at Big Mountain Competition

Junior skiers and snowboarders tackled Winter Park’s most extreme terrain during the Big Mountain Competition. The adrenaline-filled event was hosted and judged by the International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association.

Freeriders ages 12-18 showed off their courage and skill as they navigated chutes and took jumps off cliffs and natural features in the resort’s double-black diamond territory.

Below are winners from Winter Park Resort’s Competition Center, as they took on junior freeriders from around the country.

Day one skiers

12-14 Boys:

  • Cooper Branon; first place
  • Rowan Renzelman; second place
  • Charlie Milverstedt; fourth place
  • Vance Romcevich; fifth place

12-14 Girls:

  • Elliot Szczytowski; second place
  • Gabriella Clemens; fourth place
  • Lena Snowberg; fifth place

15-18 Boys:

  • Aiden Renzelman; first place
  • Luke Walter; fourth place

15-18 Girls:

  • Amelia Trexler; third place

Day two skiers

12-14 Boys:

  • Sam Milverstedt; first place

12-14 Girls:

  • Cayla Lee; second place
  • Elise Wobus; third place

15-18 Boys:

  • Oliver Search; third place
  • Chandler Hill; fifth place



  • Jameson Washburn; first place


  • Liam Piece; first place
  • Johnny Olk; second place
  • Drew Washburn; third place
  • Dade Bunnell; fourth place
A freeride skier takes his first jump at the Big Mountain Competition at Winter Park Resort.
Thomas Doerr/Courtesy Photo