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Boulder Brook Blog

Use Caution and The Zoom

Spring is birthing season and wild babies are everywhere!  From now through mid-summer visitors are likely to see young animals that may appear alone in the forest, in backyards, on or near trails (especially close to Lake Estes) or along the sides of roads.  Rest assured, they have not been abandoned. If you see a baby animal, move away quickly. Never get between a mom and her offspring.

 

If you are a parent, you understand why. An Elk cow will know you are close and both see and smell you long before you see her. The same holds true for Deer and Moose mothers, so do not approach or attempt to get the baby animal to move.  They are safe and secure right where they are and mom is probably a lot closer than you may realize.  As wonderful as calves and fawns and pups and kits are, Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDW) reminds us not to approach, touch or handle young animals as they are best cared for by their parents.

 

It seems strange to us that animal “infants” are left alone by their mothers but it is to their advantage and for their benefit. Young elk and deer and moose, for example, carry no scent, blend well in to their surroundings, and learn to stay still, silent and safe while their mothers forage and gain the nutrition they need to recover from birthing and produce milk for the young ones to nurse.

 

CDW reminds us also to keep our pets leashed and/or under control.  As much as we love them and as domesticated as they are at home, in the woods, dogs and cats are natural predators. Canines and Felines acting on their natural instincts will find young animals, birds and bird eggs, and can attack, kill, or even frighten a babe to death.

 

Remember – for the benefit and safety of all –  Look. Keep your distance. Use the zoom!

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Digging Out Trail Ridge Road May 2015 Update

access RMNP snow removal crews usually begin plowing Trail Ridge Road in mid April from both east and west sides to meet up near the middle at the Alpine Visitor Center (11,796 feet above sea level).

 

The annual target for opening the road is Memorial Day Weekend. However, where plow operators normally encounter drifts from 18 to 22 feet, this spring, they have also dealt with fairly consistent freezing temperatures above 10,000 feet, lots of wet and stormy weather with many days of low to no visibility, high wind, drifting snow, and icy road conditions.

 

Park snowplow operators will continue to plow the road, and it will open as soon as it is safe to do so.  Due to the extended forecast for winter conditions at higher elevations, it is too soon to predict when Trail Ridge Road will be open for the season.  Remember, too, that melting and refreezing snow creates icy road conditions after sundown at higher elevations. Please plan your trip accordingly.

 

Park staff expect a busy Memorial Day Weekend throughout Rocky Mountain National Park.   Visitors planning to recreate in the park’s backcountry, depending on their destination, should be prepared for a variety of conditions including snow, ice, slush and mud.

 

For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park please contact the park Information Office at (970) 586-1206, the Trail Ridge Road status recorded phone line at (970) 586-1222 or check the park’s website at www.nps.gov/romo.

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Spring into Awareness – Elk and Calving Season

It’s spring! Everything is blooming.  Elk Cows are either heavily pregnant or are recovering from giving birth.  At this tender time, they are hyper-vigilant — irritable, jumpy, and highly protective of their young.

 

For the first several weeks of their lives, the calves remain hidden while the cows browse and recover much-needed nourishment and strength after birthing.  It is very important to observe from a very safe distance, never get between a cow and her calf, and be respectful of their sensitive condition.

 

Here are some guidelines for safe wildlife viewing:

 

Be aware of your surroundings. Remember, Elk see you long before you see them. Awesome Elk Fact: Elk have evolved the ability to detect even the slightest motions.  They can rotate each eye independently and have extreme wide-angle vision so they are able to see to both sides and straight ahead simultaneously. They will detect your presence long before you detect theirs.

 

Observe trail and detour signs. If a trail or path is closed, choose an alternate.  The bird sanctuary along Lake Estes Trail is a popular “nursery” but Elk can be anywhere.

 

You are way too close if: an animal is carefully watching you, if her ears are up and her head is down, if she paws the ground or reacts in any way when you move or if she appears “jumpy.”  Never make eye contact with a wild animal. It is received as aggressive, dangerous, or threatening and can trigger aggression. For everyone’s safety, look away and back away.

 

Keep dogs leashed and quiet. Do not allow them to bark, lunge at or chase wildlife.  Elk frequently cross the roads in and around Lake Estes. Never allow your dog to bark at wildlife from open windows of your vehicle.

 

Do not block traffic or stop in the middle of the road. “Elk Jams” are dangerous for both  animals and other drivers. Pull safely to the shoulder or park in designated areas.

 

Elk know no boundaries, but people do. Remember to respect private property as well as the herd and one another when viewing wildlife.

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May 2nd is Duck Race Day!

No longer do we send only plain yellow racing rubber duckies into the river and follow them to the finish line; now, we send them with Zombie Ducks, who could possibly try to eat the regular ducks for fortification as they race the river in this happy day of entertainment, family fun and general silliness.

 

The fun begins  Downtown at 10a at Bond Park where you can adopt your Ducks. Then head over to Nicky’s (1350 Fall River Road – walkable from Boulder Brook) for Quackers and Riverside Ramblers (Retail/charitable shopping and live entertainment).  The Estes Park Singers, Ballerina Duckies, and Lucky (the Race Mascot) will be in the spotlight from 12n-1p for the big Duck Drop!

 

Ducks swim 2.5 miles, not all of which can be seen by the naked eye!  While waiting for your Ducks to finish, gather at Riverside Park for cheering, race updates, live music and activities. Just Us performs at Noon, followed by Ballerina Duckies and Ron Ball. Enjoy Venture Crew 10 and face painting from 1p-4p:  From 2p-4p enjoy Brass Quintet and Steve Smersh. From 1p-2:30p Meet Bruiser – The Big Dog and representatives from our very own Rocky Mountain Conservancy.  From 1p-4p enjoy Balloon and Caricature Art; check out “Lucky’s Adventure” (a new children’s book by Marilyn Maher); chow on delish homemade treats by Estes Park Band Boosters; shop Quacker Gifts, and meet at the finish line -where Lucky and Park Rangers will be cheering all the winners!

 

Will Yellow Ducks prevail or will the Zombies take this year’s prize?

 

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Bears Are Awake and Hungry!

From the Front Range to the Western Slope, our cherished Black Bears are waking and emerging from their winter hibernation. After not eating for months, they wake hungry and just about anything will do! Since Bears can smell a promising food source from miles away, it is up to us to prevent backyard scavenging and to direct their searches to natural sources. Left to their own devices, bears naturally gravitate to the areas with the best food. It is up to us as friends of nature to ensure that the best food is not leftover pizza or pizza boxes; pet food; pets; bird food; people food or food wrappers; compost; deli, grill or kitchen scraps and/or utensils.

 

Be Bear Aware! Living and working with nature takes just a little extra care and only a tiny bit of effort. Remember:

 

  • Thoroughly clean picnic areas and burn off grills —  Leave no scent, leave no trace.

 

  • Bears like and can easily scent anything meat or sweet!  Do not leave food, food wrappers or any potentially smelly food related items  in your car.

 

  • Never intentionally feed bears or other wildlife. It is illegal and potentially dangerous for both you and the animals.

 

  • Diligently use Bear Safe dumpsters and recycling bins.

 

We welcome and appreciate ALL of our visitors – two and four-legged alike. It is up to us to be respectful of nature and to remember we are nature’s caretakers and guardians. Love the outdoors and all life in it — Be safe. Be conscientious. Be Bear Aware.

 

For more information on living with wildlife, please visit www.wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/Pages/LivingWith.aspx

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Creepy and Wonderful

The annual celebration of horror, The Stanley Film Festival (SFF), runs from April 30 to May 4, and features a total of 54 films at 3 locations, 3 panels, and several additional creepy activities including an interactive horror game, spine-tingling radio plays, and “something to do with Zombies.”

 

Take a peek into a few of this year’s features:

 

Sun Choke: a recovering psychotic; a bizarre holistic wellness routine, a nanny enforcer, and an obsession that threatens sanity;

 

Some Kind of Hate: a troubled teen subjected to severe bullying conjures a vengeful, violent ghost on a mission of retribution;

 

Good Night Mommy: after extensive reconstructive facial surgery, two children are unsure about the identity of the woman behind the bandages. Is it mom?

 

Over Your Dead Body: vicious spirits awakened by a theater production company horrify unsuspecting actors in this re-imagined, Japanese ghost story.

 

When Animals Dream: a remote seaside town in northern Denmark, a young independent woman, and a blossoming heritage of werewolves;

 

Deathgasm: a couple of metalheads start a band and release an ancient evil in this energetic, action-comedy;

 

Stung: an overdose of toxic fertilizer accidentally breeds a mutated pack of giant, blood-thirsty wasps.

 

After all the spine-tingling horror, camp, monsters, hauntings, and general creepiness, soothe jangled nerves and enervated brain cells with long hot soak in your spa tub…yes, we understand you will be sleeping with all the lights on.

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April 25th is Earth Day

Join park staff and community partners at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center to celebrate Earth Day and National Junior Ranger Day with special booths, arts and crafts activities, ranger programs, and greenhouse tours. Learn more about how to take care of our national parks and our planet. Ask for the special Earth Day Scavenger Hunt activity sheet and/or get your Junior Ranger Badge!  Both are free!

 

Activity Schedule:

10a – 2p Biodiversity Olympics (Family-friendly activities to get moving)

11a – 12n Volunteer Trash Pick-up (Meet at the visitor center at 10:45, dress for the weather, equipment is provided)

10:30a Bear Necessities Program

1p Nature Walk

2p Skins and Skulls Program

 

Park greenhouse tours will be held from 10a to 2p.  Stop by for a tour and see young plants springing to life.  A map with directions to the greenhouse will be available at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center.

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206 or visit www.nps.gov/romo

 

 

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Come Visit Boulder Brook

Nestled next to the rambling waters of Fall River, Boulder Brook is ideally located to take advantage of the unique shopping of downtown Estes Park or the rugged splendor of the Rocky Mountain National more