Fire Mitigation

Wildfires burned more U.S. acreage in 2020 than in any other year since that information was first tracked in 1983. In essence, the 2020 fire season never ended, continuing through 2021 when the Marshall Fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Boulder County on Dec. 30, causing more than $500 million in damages and becoming …

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The Sign Guy

By Mike Rosso If you’ve traveled in Colorado’s national forests over the past 15 years, chances are pretty good you’ve seen some of Bob Rohrich’s handiwork. Rohrich is a Recreational Technician with the U.S. Forest Service and based out of the Salida shop on East 3rd and C Street. He has been designing and hand-crafting …

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A Lost Tribute to a Historic Christmas Tree

By Mike Rosso Deep in a ravine below a Forest Service road on Marshall Pass is a decaying wooden sign dedicated to the first National Christmas Tree harvested from Colorado. The large wooden sign reads: “The White House Christmas Tree for Peace. John F. Kennedy President 1962. The first White House Christmas Tree from Colorado.” …

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By Ben Lara

Editor’s note: This tribute to Brett Beasley was read during a Celebration of Life event held on February 10, 2017.
My name is Ben Lara and for the past seven years I had the amazing experience in working with Brett as his immediate supervisor.  Brett started his Forest Service career in 1995 in the Upper Arkansas Valley.  For the next 22 years he would go on to become one of the most recognizable and accomplished natural resource managers in the Upper Arkansas Valley.  His enthusiasm and dedication to the Forest Service was infectious.  You could not spend any amount of time with him and not become his best friend.  He had an amazing capacity to love and care for people.  Beasley, Beas or Brett with two TT’s had many nicknames. One of my favorite came out while working on a volunteer project on the top of Monarch Pass.  We ran into some hikers along the section of trail we were working on. I didn’t recognize them but they asked if the “Legend” Brett Beasley and asked if he was working that day. From then on I would address all my emails and text as “What’s up Legend?,” “Hey Legend.”

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A Public Lands Champion, Brett Beasley: 1970-2017

By Mike Rosso

On February 4, 2017, U.S. Forest Service employee and Salida resident Brett Beasley, along with a teenaged boy, set out from 11,380-foot-high Uncle Bud’s Hut near Leadville for some backcountry skiing.

The weather then turned bad. A fast-moving blizzard blew in and the pair likely became disoriented, resulting in a frigid night huddled in a snow cave. Rescuers were sent out the next morning after being alerted by the friends and families who were also staying at the hut. Both Brett and the teen were experienced skiers but there was nonetheless much concern about their whereabouts and health. Around 2:30 that afternoon, the pair were finally located in the Porcupine Gulch area, nearly three miles from the hut.

The boy was apparently unharmed and was taken by snowmobile to his family. Meanwhile Brett was treated at the scene for severe hypothermia. The weather conditions did not allow for a medical helicopter which may have aided in his rescue and he died on the scene on Feb. 5, his 47th birthday.

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Wild Connections: Mapping Potential Wilderness Areas

By Tyler Grimes

Up the East Gulch from its confluence with the Arkansas River, a few miles east of Texas Creek in Fremont County, is Echo Canyon. Further up the gulch, Table Mountain looms to the southwest, past Bull Ridge.

Surrounding this mountain, gulch and canyon are 32,000 acres of roadless Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. The area is classified under the BLM’s Area of Critical Environment Concern (ACEC) because of its valued species: a BLM Instant Study Area protecting 17 native grasses: and its importance as a wildlife corridor for mountain lion, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, black bear, elk, mule deer, pronghorn, Gunnison prairie dog, wild turkey, peregrine falcon, Mexican spotted owl, great blue heron and bald eagle. Conservation Science Partners (CSP) recognizes 7,641 acres of Table Mountain as having “important ecologically based indicators of high biodiversity, resilience to climate change, and landscape connectivity.” The unit is deemed one of Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition’s (CCWC) top 11 areas worthy of wilderness designation. 

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Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area

 By Mike Rosso

The Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area (BCWSA), near Penrose, is a hidden gem encompassing nearly 27,020 acres. Administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a portion – 13,734 acres – is within an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. As part of the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the BLM was directed to inventory areas for their wilderness characteristics. These areas are known as Wilderness Study Areas (WSA). Until Congress makes a final decision either to designate these areas as wilderness or release them for other multiple uses, the BLM manages WSAs to preserve their suitability for designation as wilderness.

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Water Update

by John Orr

The National Ski Areas Association Sues the Forest Service

Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs was speaking over in Breckenridge a couple of years back and told the group in attendance that “the water ditch is the basis of society.” Colorado law grew from those simple agricultural roots: put the water to beneficial use first and you get the right to divert the same amount in subsequent water years. Another early beneficial use developed around mining operations.

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Core Cutting Dates: December 5-13, 2009

Permits: $10 each. One tree per permit. Limit 5 permits per person. All sales are final.

Area Entry Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – For your safety, no entry is allowed before or after these hours.

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