Forest – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 06 Feb 2020 17:53:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Colorado State Forest Service adds new forester in Pagosa Springs http://www.pagosasun.com/colorado-state-forest-service-adds-new-forester-in-pagosa-springs/ Thu, 06 Feb 2020 22:00:31 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=196899

Mercedes Siegle-Gaither

By Teddy Parker-Renga
Special to The SUN
A new special projects forester with extensive knowledge of forest ecosystems is now available to help guide landowners through the forest management process.
The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) recently hired Colorado resident Mercedes Siegle-Gaither to assist with the My Southwest Forest program. She brings a wealth of skills in natural resources and public outreach to this position and plans to begin with a focus on the Pagosa Springs area.
“I can’t wait to get involved with the community and local forests to increase stewardship in the area. We have such amazing forests here in southwest Colorado,” Siegle-Gaither said. “I feel that taking care of our forest ecosystems is something we can all be a part of: Healthy forests mean healthy communities.”
Siegle-Gaither was born in central Wisconsin, where she developed her love for the outdoors and forest environments. She attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and majored in biology. While working toward her undergraduate degree, she studied symbiotic relationships in Belize and plant ecology and management in Australia at the University of Newcastle-Callaghan. Siegle-Gaither attended Mississippi State University to obtain her master of science in forestry, focusing on hydrology and ecology.
After graduating, she worked for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Wyoming and Colorado in the cadastral (land boundaries) and recreation departments. Siegle-Gaither then accepted a position as the urban and community forestry coordinator for the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture before returning to Colorado to work as a wildlife biology technician for the Southwest Conservation Corps and BLM in Cañon City. As a wildlife technician, she developed a deeper passion for protecting Colorado’s forests while backpacking through the Mosquito and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges, deploying bat detectors and establishing lynx analysis units in coniferous forest habitats.
At the CSFS, Siegle-Gaither will support the My Southwest Forest program, a partnership among the CSFS, American Forest Foundation and Natural Resources Conservation Service designed to help private landowners in southwestern Colorado protect and restore forested lands. Through the program, qualified forest landowners may be eligible for a free consultation with a local CSFS forester.
To learn more about the program, please visit MySouthwestForest.org. Landowners can call Siegle-Gaither at the NRCS Pagosa Springs Field Office at 731-3615.

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Bighorn sheep research project continuing http://www.pagosasun.com/bighorn-sheep-research-project-continuing/ Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195433 By Esther Godson
Special to The SUN
To gain a better understanding of wild Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the U.S. Forest Service will continue their efforts on a five-year project to study the cliff-dwelling mammal.
Starting in late January or as conditions allow, a helicopter crew will be used to locate and capture bighorns and fit them with GPS telemetry collars. The collars will allow biologists to follow daily movements of the animals and determine what areas of the wilderness they use.
Crews may also swab nasal tissue and take blood samples that could be used to determine if the bighorns have been exposed to diseases that can adversely affect the animals. These actions will help the agencies achieve conservation objectives for bighorn sheep herds on National Forest System lands. This will be the third year that helicopter crews will be used to capture and collar bighorns in the Weminuche Wilderness.
The remote nature of the Weminuche bighorn herds has made detecting and monitoring the animals from the ground difficult. Consequently, the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region has approved landing the helicopter in the wilderness for the project. Weather permitting, the capture crew will attempt to capture up to 15 animals. They anticipate one to two days of flight operations with no more than 34 landings. In the primary capture area, roughly between Vallecito Creek and Wolf Creek Pass, there are about 395 bighorns that reside primarily in the Weminuche Wilderness.
“We don’t know a lot about how these bighorns use the landscape,” said Brad Weinmeister, a terrestrial biologist for CPW in Durango. “We know that this area provides good habitat, but we’d like to get more information to help us with management plans.”
Four of the five Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herds occurring on the San Juan National Forest are in the Weminuche Wilderness.
CPW considers the Weminuche population to be a top priority for statewide inventory and monitoring, habitat protection and improvement, disease prevention and research. The project is being funded by the U.S. Forest Service, CPW and the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society.
If you have specific wildlife questions, please contact Joe Lewandowski, public information officer, CPW Southwest Region, at 375-6708.

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Wolf reintroduction initiative qualifies for 2020 ballot http://www.pagosasun.com/wolf-reintroduction-initiative-qualifies-for-2020-ballot/ Thu, 16 Jan 2020 22:00:06 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195431 The Restoration of Gray Wolves Initiative has qualified for Colorado’s 2020 ballot.
The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office made the announcement in a press release on Jan. 6.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Additional Forest Service roads close for season http://www.pagosasun.com/additional-forest-service-roads-close-for-season-2/ Sun, 12 Jan 2020 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=194573 By Brandon Caley
Special to The SUN
To protect road surfaces and for public safety, many Forest Service roads are seasonally closed to wheeled motorized vehicles, except snowmobiles operating on snow. The roads are open to nonmotorized uses, including bicycling, hiking and horseback riding.
Roads will remain closed until most of the road surface can withstand traffic without damage.
An open gate does not give permission to damage roads. Damage is defined as: ruts 1 inch deep or deeper on gravel roads, 4 inches deep or deeper on native surface roads. Do not go off roads, except to park adjacent to the road on dry ground.
Following is the road which remains open as of Jan. 6:
• Williams Creek, No. 640 (from gate to lake), open.
For additional information on travel management, road openings and to pick up a Motor Vehicle Use Map with specific information on Forest access roads, contact the Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268 or stop by and visit us Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 180 Pagosa St.
Current information on other seasonal Pagosa Ranger District road closures is available at www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan. Click on the “Forest Road Conditions” link located on the right side of the page under the “Quick Links” box. Under Alerts and Notices, click “Pagosa Ranger District Road Status.”

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2019 YEAR IN REVIEW http://www.pagosasun.com/2019-year-in-review-2/ Thu, 09 Jan 2020 22:00:51 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=194567 2019 was a busy and interesting year in Pagosa Country. There was no want for good news, bad news, controversial issues, and no lack of interesting news events to keep SUN readers focused on local events, situations and personalities.
Over the next few weeks, The SUN will take a look back at some of those events, selected by SUN staff writers. This week, we look back at April, May and June.

APRIL

• On April 1, Pagosa Peak Open School (PPOS) added Julie Simmons to its board. Simmons replaced former board member Clay Buchner.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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2019 YEAR IN REVIEW http://www.pagosasun.com/2019-year-in-review/ Thu, 02 Jan 2020 22:00:42 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=194166 2019 was a busy and interesting year in Pagosa Country. There was no want for good news, bad news, controversial issues, and no lack of interesting news events to keep SUN readers focused on local events, situations and personalities.
Over the next few weeks, The SUN will take a look back at some of those events, selected by SUN staff writers. This week, we look back at January, February and March.

January

• Beginning Jan. 5, the Pagosa Fire Protection District (PFPD) began 24/7 paid staffing for the first time in the department’s history.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Additional Forest Service roads close for season http://www.pagosasun.com/additional-forest-service-roads-close-for-season/ Thu, 26 Dec 2019 22:00:35 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=193725 By Brandon Caley
Special to The SUN
To protect road surfaces and for public safety, many Forest Service roads are seasonally closed to wheeled motorized vehicles, except snowmobiles operating on snow. The roads are open to nonmotorized uses, including bicycling, hiking and horseback riding.
Roads will remain closed until most of the road surface can withstand traffic without damage.
An open gate does not give permission to damage roads. Damage is defined as: ruts 1 inch deep or deeper on gravel roads, 4 inches deep or deeper on native surface roads. Do not go off roads, except to park adjacent to the road on dry ground.
Following are the roads which remain open as of Dec. 23:
• Blanco River, No. 656.
• Buckles Lake, No. 663.
• Devil Mountain, No. 626.
• Mosca, No. 631.
• Price Lakes, No. 731.
• Williams Creek, No. 640 (from gate to lake).
For additional information on travel management, road openings and to pick up a Motor Vehicle Use Map with specific information on Forest access roads, contact the Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268 or stop by and visit us Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 180 Pagosa St.
Current information on other seasonal Pagosa Ranger District road closures is available at www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan. Click on the “Forest Road Conditions” link located on the right side of the page under the “Quick Links” box. Under Alerts and Notices, click “Pagosa Ranger District Road Status.”

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This season, give the gift that grows http://www.pagosasun.com/this-season-give-the-gift-that-grows/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=192426 By Esther Godson
Special to The SUN
Plant-A-Tree holiday gift certificates are now on sale at San Juan National Forest offices for the person on your Christmas list who has everything.
“Each $20 donation to the Plant-a-Tree Program will result in 10 seedlings being planted locally to help reforest burned areas of the National Forest,” said Gretchen Fitzgerald, San Juan National Forest reforestation forester. “This covers our costs to collect, store and grow native seeds, then ship and plant the seedlings.”
Donors to the program receive a certificate, which can be presented as a gift and is suitable for framing on behalf of a person or family. Donations can be made at most San Juan National Forest offices by cash, check or credit card. The purchase is considered a charitable donation by the IRS. Contributions cannot be refunded.
The U.S. Forest Service established the Plant-A-Tree Program in 1983 to allow donors to contribute money toward reforestation on national forests to memorialize loved ones or commemorate births, weddings or special events, while helping to improve the environment. Seedlings planted with the donations are not designated on the ground as a memorial or individually recognized, but instead become part of the forest ecosystem.
For more information, contact the San Juan National Forest at 247-4874.

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Pagosa Ranger District seasonal road closures http://www.pagosasun.com/pagosa-ranger-district-seasonal-road-closures/ Mon, 02 Dec 2019 12:00:05 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=192125 By Esther Godson
Special to The SUN
The Pagosa Ranger District will be temporarily closing the following San Juan National Forest roads to wheeled motorized vehicles starting Dec. 2. All motorized trails on the Pagosa District close for the season Dec. 1.
Roads are closed seasonally to wheeled motorized vehicles to protect critical wildlife habitat and/or to prevent damage to road surfaces during freezing and thawing periods, even if snow levels are not very deep.
Visitors to the San Juan National Forest should be prepared to encounter closed gates on a number of forest roads across the Pagosa Ranger District starting Dec. 2, unless resource and safety considerations warrant an earlier closure.
See below for specific Forest Service road closure dates.
The following roads will close Dec. 2:
• Blue Creek, No. 012/Big Branch No. 664.
• Snowball, No. 646.
• Turkey Springs, No. 629 lower/middle gate.
• Eight Mile Mesa, No. 651.
• Kenney Flats, No. 006.
• Valle Seco, No. 653.
• Burns Canyon, No. 649 (second gate).
The following roads will close Dec. 16:
• Castle Creek, No. 660.
• Lefthand Canyon, No. 024.
• Fawn Gulch Road, No. 666.
• Trail Ridge, No. 639.
• West Fork, No. 648.
• Williams Creek, No. 640 (gate after boat ramp).
• Nipple Mountain, No. 665 (main gate at Mill Creek Junction).
• Devil Creek, No. 627.
The following roads will close Dec. 23:
• First Fork, No. 622.
• East Fork, No. 667.
• Fourmile, No. 645.
• Jackson Mountain, No. 037.
• Snow Ranch, No. 628.
• Turkey Creek, No. 647.
• Turkey Springs, No. 629 (main gate at Piedra).
• McManus, No. 633 (at Plumtaw intersection).
• Middle Fork, No. 636 (includes Toner).
• Plumtaw, No. 634.
• Burns Canyon, No. 649 (main/first gate).
• Jack’s Pasture, No. 746.
The following roads will close Jan. 6:
• Blanco River, No. 656.
• Devil Mountain, No. 626.
• Mosca, No. 631.
• Buckles Lake, No. 663.
• Price Lakes, No. 731.
Please contact the Pagosa Ranger District to obtain the most up-to-date road information prior to heading out to the forest during the early winter season. Stop in, call the office at 264-2268 or visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5262330.

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National Forest Christmas tree permits on sale http://www.pagosasun.com/national-forest-christmas-tree-permits-on-sale/ Fri, 29 Nov 2019 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=192108 By Esther Godson
Special to The SUN
Christmas tree permits, which allow you to cut your own holiday tree, are on sale for $8 at the Pagosa Ranger District, 180 Pagosa St., Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
A permit allows you to cut one tree up to 20 feet tall for personal use until Dec. 31. Permits come with a brochure with safety tips, information on which species of tree to harvest and the best places to find trees.
The Forest Service is also offering one free permit to fourth-grade students who hold a valid Every Kid Outdoors pass or paper voucher downloaded from: www.everykidoutdoors.gov. The free permit is only good at agency offices and the participating fourth-grader must be present.
National Forest roads are not plowed for snow removal, and icy or snow-packed conditions may exist. For information on road conditions and Christmas tree harvesting, go to www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan.

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