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Boulder Brook Blog

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

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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



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Adventure Awaits!

Right across the street, on the hill where the Big Horn Sheep graze and nap in the shade of the pines, is a wealth of knowledge, adventure, learning and creativity that sources a panorama of unique, educational and fun adult, kid and family classes, activities, and myriad opportunities to experience Rocky Mountain National Park in fresh and exciting ways with the support of a professional naturalist, guide, or Park educator.


Everyone gets to see and experience the wonder and beauty of the Park on Educational Adventures by Bus.  Choose a half day trip to the top of Trail Ridge Road   or take the full day to enjoy the Grand Lake Safari .  Enjoy the unique light of Sunset over Never Summer Mountains from Rock Cut on the Sunset Safari  or experience the rut like never before on an Elk Expedition


Bringing the kids?  Check out the catalog of Youth & Family Classes where awesome opportunities for children of all ages to enjoy being outdoors in nature abound.  In June, kids and parents together can take a Virtual Geocache Adventure to either Hollowell Park or Upper Beaver Meadows.  Art Adventures; Photojournaling; Fly-fishing and Stream Ecology; Trailblazing; and lots of hands on learning with topics ranging from “Who Pooped in the Woods?”  to “What’s Hiding Underwater?” are offered several times throughout June and July.


Hike with a Naturalist in one of four new Adult Hiking and Skill-Building Classes.  The new series begins in August with a visit to Lawn Lake, and follows in September with hikes to Mount Ida, Loomis Lake, and Chasm Lake.


Artists, photographers, and writers from next door and from all over the world come to Rocky for inspiration and to practice their craft.  Creative immersion into drawing and painting; landscape and wildlife photography; and Plein-air painting are just a few of the creative experiences available.


Natural History Classes are available nearly every day.  Explore Owls, Raptors, Eagles, Toads, Bears, Elk, Mountain Lions, Insects, Moose, Pika, River Otters, Butterflies, Geology, Rocks and Minerals, Grasses, Mushrooms, Plants and Wildflowers, orchids, and secret places.


Visit for our Events Calendar or go to for a full catalog and to choose your adventure!


Rocky Mountain Nature Conservancy , the non-profit official partner of RMNP is allied with the National Park Service, Colorado State Parks, the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the US Fish and Wildlife Service offers an extensive year-round catalog of adventures , classes, and interactive programs.

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Rocky Mountain Irish Gathering

The Rocky Mountain Irish Gathering is truly a magnificent celebration of Irish culture and history uniquely presented through educational and fun exhibits, films, lecturers, storytellers, vendors, special guests, dancing and music in a family friendly, mountain festival atmosphere.


Superb music throughout the weekend includes traditional Irish music and modern trad/rock performances in Gaelic. The whole family will awe to the sound of pipes and drums accompanied by the lightning fast pace of dancing feet as multiple Dance Troupes of all ages amaze visitors with their skill and stamina.  We dare you to keep still!


The Gathering inspires cultural and community connections with special guests including authors, historians, artists, authors and of course, cooks! The event features a special children’s area; traditional refreshments, food and beverages for everyone to taste and savor; Interactive activities and exhibits, shopping, and a few surprises! Contests include Take Me to Ireland; Irish Road Bowling; Men with Kilts and Best of the Best Fiddlers.


Pack your kilt, gather your clan, and make your plans today! The festival opens on June 18 and runs through the weekend. More info:




Thursday Only: 17 and younger FREE, 18 and older $12.00


Friday – Sunday:  General Admission $15 advance; $20 at the gate  *  Senior (age 60+) $12 advance; $15 at the gate  *  Children (age 13-17) $10 advance; $12 at the gate * Children 12 and under enter free.


Firefighter/Military/Police with valid ID – $10.00 (purchase at gate only)


Entry for Take Me To Ireland Contest included with above cited tickets.


Friday Night Concert: $20 featuring: Trinity Irish Dancers at 7p  *  Seo Linn at 8:30p  * The Prodigals at 10:30p


Saturday Night Concert: $20 featuring: Trinity Irish Dancers at 7p  *  Seo Linn at 8:30p  *  Surprise guest at 10:30p


VIP PACKAGES NOW ON SALE! $360 all inclusive package for $250 includes (2) daily passes all four days, concert tickets (2) Fri and (2) Sat. FREE parking right on festival grounds all four days, (12) Free drink cards, (4) food cards, (2) 2015 Rocky Mountain Irish Gathering T-shirts, meet and greet bands!

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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