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To help landowners create defensible space around their homes, Chaffee Chips will coordinate free neighborhood slash removal and chipping services in four geographic areas this year.

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If you think this week’s regular season finale has a playoff feel to it, you’re not alone. No. 1-ranked Buena Vista (4-0) travels to No. 3 Estes Park (4-1) for a noon kickoff Saturday.

The weirdness of spring football and its necessitated cozy scheduling suddenly has a sense of electricity, the kind urgency brings – an urgency borne of playoff seedings on the line.

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The Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands Salida Ranger District is extending the dates for seasonal road closures in the Four Mile Travel Management Area which will now be in effect from Dec. 1-April 30 each year.

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After extending its 2020-21 season by a week, Monarch Mountain closed its season Sunday, setting a record for visitor numbers despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Randy Stroud, Monarch general manager, said in setting its season record, it broke the 200,000 mark for the first time.

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GARNA executive director Dominique Naccarato will host an hour-long Zoom lecture from 7-8 p.m., April 15 about birding, an exciting way you can interact with nature anytime and anywhere.

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The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association and Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative lead forester Andy Lerch will lead an interpretive hike through areas just above Monarch Park, where ARWC and the US Forest Service have worked to mitigate fire danger.

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Competitors have followed the path of spring runoff since 1999, skiing from the Continental Divide at Monarch Pass for 6 miles, then mountain biking in the shadow of Mount Shavano for a 17 mile ride to the banks of the Arkansas River where whitewater kayaks take paddlers into downtown Salida.

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The Arkansas River Basin has the best water supply outlook in the state with a streamflow volume forecast of 86 percent of average following recent storms that brought heavy snow accumulations to the eastern slope.

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Mountainfilm on Tour brings a selection of culturally rich, adventure-packed, and incredibly inspiring documentary films curated from the Mountainfilm festival in Telluride.

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Snow in the mountains, sun in the valley and spring break have combined to inspire legions of people to visit Buena Vista recently. And while business owners and their staff members rejoice as visitor dollars help make up for a difficult year, the surge in tourism also brings challenges for the town’s trail network.

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One, near the Tunnels north of Buena Vista has been vandalized. Fourmile volunteer Alan Robinson discovered the damage to the sign, as well as damage to the newly built Bureau of Land Management restrooms at the CR375 parking area.

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In 2020, the Friends of Fourmile organization of the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association received a grant from the Chaffee Common Ground Fund with an ambitious objective attached.

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The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association is seeking the next generation of leadership for its board of directors.

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Signs officially marking the path of the Stage and Rail Trail, a planned 70-mile cycling trail that closely follows the rail line of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad between Salida and Leadville, were recently erected along CR 371, a big step in a very gradual process to create a long-distance cycling trail in Chaffee and Lake counties.

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While CKS Paddlefest “as it has happened in the past” will not be taking place this Memorial Day weekend, some of the land-based competitions that make up the riversports celebration are moving ahead.

Hunters hoping to draw a big-game license in Colorado in 2021 are urged to review the changes in license requirements and fees prior to the March 1 opening of the application period (March 1 – April 6 at 8 p.m. MT). For a good overview of what’s in store, watch CPW’s “What’s New” video for the 2021 big-game seasons.

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A Colorado Springs man who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor poaching charges in three counties likely will never legally hunt again in Colorado or 47 other states after a Colorado Parks and Wildlife hearing examiner permanently suspended his hunting privileges.

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Hunters hoping to draw a big-game license in Colorado in 2021 are urged to review the changes in license requirements and fees prior to the March 1 opening of the application period (March 1 – April 6 at 8 p.m. MT). For a good overview of what’s in store, watch CPW’s “What’s New” video for the 2021 big-game seasons.

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A Colorado Springs man who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor poaching charges in three counties likely will never legally hunt again in Colorado or 47 other states after a Colorado Parks and Wildlife hearing examiner permanently suspended his hunting privileges.

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After a bit of a slow start to the ski season at Monarch Mountain, snow storms have been steadily hitting the ski area during the last month.

The mountain has received 25 inches of snow in the last seven days as of Thursday and received a measurable amount of snow in 12 of the first 18 days of February, said Scott Pressly, Monarch’s vice president of mountain operations.

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When Charlie and I both wore the clothes of younger men, I owned a successful organization that provided hunting and fishing opportunities for folks in several states in addition to packaging trips to exotic locations worldwide in the same pursuit.

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February is only halfway over, but it’s already been one of the deadliest months for avalanches in the history of Colorado. Six people have died in avalanches already this month, including two more during the weekend, bringing the number of fatalities to 10 this season.

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In December, Chuck and Lindy Chicowitz sold the whitewater rafting outfitter they started on the Upper Arkansas River in 1983. Noah’s Ark will now have two longtime employees at the helm.

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As temperatures dipped rapidly Saturday evening, Chaffee County Search & Rescue-North and a Chaffee County Sheriff’s deputy were called to Browns Canyon National Monument to escort a group of hikers back to the trailhead.

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Are you curious about our local wildlife? Join the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) for a virtual lecture, “A Wildlife Wander”, presented by Ryan Kempfer and Chris Kassar of Elk Raven Photography.

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After 3 consecutive years of negative testing, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has removed Green Mountain Reservoir in Summit County from the positive waters list for quagga mussels, a prohibited aquatic nuisance species.

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Monarch Mountain Ski Area remains open despite its inclusion on Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s list of outbreak sites across the state.

The inclusion on the list was made Jan. 14. Since that time several employees of the winter sports area have tested positive for the virus although Monarch’s general manager, Randy Stroud, issued a press release Thursday calling the inclusion “somewhat misleading.”

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“There’s just exceptionally weak snow around the whole state,” said Ben Pritchett, forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. “It’s not historically unusual, but it’s different than what we’ve had the last few years.”

Conservation biologists at Colorado Parks and Wildlife are charged with keeping a close eye on sensitive wildlife – animals that sometimes are classified as “species of greatest conservation need” by the agency. One of those species is the southern white-tailed ptarmigan.

Local, regional and state organizations are nearly finished with the first phase of a conservation plan along the Arkansas River meant to promote public access and preserve land in southern Lake County.

The driving mission behind decades of work by Trout Unlimited is to conserve, protect and restore America’s cold-water fisheries and their watersheds.

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Chaffee County Search & Rescue–North rescued three exhausted hikers on Mount Belford Sunday evening.

Search and Rescue was paged out to the fourteener at about 5 p.m., Nov. 29. According to an update on CCSAR-N’s Facebook page, the hikers were without headlamps for nighttime hiking or adequate winter gear.

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Monarch Mountain will open for the season today, officials announced Thursday.

“With the most recent snowfall to hit the central mountains, Monarch Mountain will be opening for the season on Friday, Nov. 27,” the ski area wrote in an email.

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A Colorado Parks and Wildlife search team's two-day recovery effort came to an end midday Monday when divers from Pueblo County Search and Rescue recovered a body in the water at Clear Creek Reservoir.

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently signed a partnership agreement with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to help educate people on how to recreate responsibly to conserve Colorado’s natural resources.

CPW is the first state agency in the U.S. that oversees parks, fish and wildlife to partner with Leave No Trace and advocate for both public land and wildlife conservation.

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On Nov. 3, Coloradans voted to pass Proposition #114 - The Restoration of Gray Wolves, a measure directing the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to develop a plan to reintroduce gray wolves west of the Continental Divide. With this decision, the planning process for reintroduction will begin.

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As Colorado Parks and Wildlife opens Fishers Peak State Park for a limited “sneak peek” recreation opportunity, the agency continues to look ahead for future state park opportunities. Demand for accessible outdoor spaces remains high in the state, and CPW invites Coloradans to share their ideas for properties or partnerships that may become the next Colorado state park.

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With county sales tax revenues posting stronger collections than expected during the pandemic, the Chaffee Common Ground Citizens Advisory Committee will consider whether to recommend additional funding for strengthening forest health and reducing wildfire danger.

The new, motorized singletrack trail in the Four Mile Travel Management Area, DudBobs, is open, but it took a team effort during the last several years to complete.

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Chaffee County Search & Rescue–North is seeking to recruit new volunteers as the busy summer season closes.

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Homeowners in the Chalk Creek drainage created more than 160 piles of slash in preparation for the Chaffee Chips neighborhood fire mitigation event taking place this weekend.

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The Bureau of Land Management has enacted Stage 2 Fire Restrictions for lands throughout Southern Colorado, including those in Chaffee County.

The announcement came on a windswept fall afternoon one day after the Cameron Peak Fire north of Rocky Mountain National Park grew to become the largest wildfire in state history, breaking a record that had been set just 48 days prior when the Pine Gulch Fire north of Grand Junction grew larger than the 2002 Hayman Fire.

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OpenSnow.com’s Joel Gratz speaks in Salida, says ‘odds are stacked in favor’ of an average winter

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When the Leadville 100 was cancelled this year due to COVID-19, 22-year-old Annie Hughes, a Buena Vista High School graduate who lives in Leadville and had been training for the ultramarathon, did the sensible thing and decided that she would run a course that was even longer and higher.

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The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association kicked off its annual fundraiser on Saturday, National Public Lands Day, honoring some of it’s volunteers while raising money to support its mission. The fundraiser, along with the organization’s Environmental Hero Awards, are being held online this year.

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Season pass holders will be able to ski any day they want to this season at Monarch, but people buying single-day lift tickets will need to plan ahead.

Monarch Mountain’s 2020-2021 operating plan includes wearing masks on chairlifts, limited capacity indoors and a push to get people to purchase lift tickets ahead of time, among other changes to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be conducting mandatory chronic wasting disease testing during the 2020 hunting season in specific Game Management Units as part of efforts to control the spread with its Colorado Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan.

Heavy July rains washed out parts of the Rainbow Trail, which was then closed to wheeled traffic.

The U.S. Forest Service, San Isabel National Forest, Salida Ranger District, announced Thursday it has reopened a section between roads 101 (Bear Creek) and 108 (Methodist Mountain) to all uses.