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Outdoors

  • The sound of elk bugling buffets the fall landscape

    (Reprinted from Sept. 7, 2006)

    Once more it is time for the “bugling” of the bull elk to flow down the mountains. This eerie, wailing sound is part of the rutting season and as much a part of the Rocky Mountain autumn as the turning of the aspen leaves.

    The first call reported to me this year was on Saturday, Aug. 26. A bit early but not too unusual. The calling will continue through September and dwindle in October, with still a few last calls heard in November.

  • New trails opened at Staunton State Park

    Hikers at Staunton State Park now have two new trails to explore after more than three years of planning, and both ultimately provide up-close of Elk Falls.

    Launched in mid-September with a ribbon cutting, the Chimney Rock and Elk Falls trails both begin about 5 miles from Staunton’s main parking lot, with the latter trail being an offshoot of the first. According to park manager Zach Taylor, both trails have been envisioned since the 1990s but were not formalized until 2010.

  • Volunteer poop patrol cleans up popular off-leash area

    Volunteers cleaned up 430 pounds of dog waste at the Elk Meadow off-leash park on Saturday as part of Jeffco Open Space’s National Public Lands Day event.

    The park, which Open Space employees said is “being loved to death,” has seen a lot of traffic in recent months, with many visitors not monitoring where their dogs go or what they do — or doo — while off-leash.

  • Wood rats are interesting animals, though unwanted tenants

    (Reprinted from Sept. 17, 2008)

    A friend who volunteers at the Evergreen Nature Center stopped by last week to show us photographs of a wood rat taken by a couple who live on Upper Bear Creek. These folks had seen and heard some little critter in their house and wanted to be sure to live trap it and remove it before they left on a vacation.

  • Take a hike: Observing trail etiquette is important for all users

    Within my first month of living in Colorado, I learned the hard way how to use trails properly and politely. And as more and more visitors flock to Colorado — some of those using local trails might be novices.

    Public parks are wonderful things, and open to all. Everyone should be able to feel comfortable using the trails, no matter their type of recreation. So below are some trail etiquette tips that I’ve compiled with the help of Jeffco Open Space.

    For pedestrians

  • It’s important for foothills residents to be bear-responsible

    (Reprinted from Sept. 15, 2010)

    Bears have been particularly plentiful this summer and will continue to be until about the first of November when snow and cold weather will send them into hibernation.

    We have had a female with three cubs roaming around Herzman’s Mesa most of the summer. This is a dangerous situation, and we need to do everything we can do to avoid human contact with these bears.

  • Jeffco Open Space eyes land purchase — in Clear Creek County

    The Jeffco Open Space staff is working on a land acquisition many involved think could be unprecedented for the county.

    Last month, Open Space Director Tom Hoby met with the county commissioners to present his agency’s second-quarter update. The meeting included highlights of eight projects Hoby wants the commission to approve, the most interesting of which is a potential land deal across the county line in Clear Creek.

  • Wet summer has brought new weeds to the area

    (Reprinted from Sept. 2, 2009)

    On Friday evening, Aug.14, the Weed Awareness Committee met for its last summer weed pulling at Evergreen Lake.

    This rainy summer has produced an unusual number of weeds, as well as unusually big weeds. Two of the participants had brought a sample of a new weed that had appeared in their yard.

  • Evergreen teen finds his calling in the wild

    Instead of attending English Composition 101 and anatomy lectures, Winston Buchanan, 19, of Evergreen opted to spend his most recent college semester building igloos and rock-climbing.

    Buchanan took part in the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Spring Semester in the Rockies program, which included expedition courses in which students of all ages learn technical outdoor and survival skills, leadership and environmental ethics.

  • Leafy spurge weeds can grow in abundance unless eradicated

    (Reprinted from Aug. 29, 2012)

    It’s beginning to look a lot like autumn, I’m unhappy to say. Seldom does autumn come this early, but the drought seems to have made plants mature early, and many of the late summer and autumn flowers are blooming or past blooming already.

    When any plant is stressed by drought or any other condition, they do what all plants do: They bloom and produce seeds to carry on the species. Last week, Sylvia Robertson brought me a plant specimen taken from a large patch at Evergreen Lake.