Grace Hood


The cost of getting into some national parks increases on Thursday.

The rates will go up despite the fact that visitation at parks is up, which means bigger crowds, congested traffic and busier visitor centers. But more people aren't translating into a big boost for park budgets. For example, visitation at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is up 20 percent so far this year and Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion are also seeing double-digit increases. The parks are also seeing the strain. About 100 parks are planning an entrance fee hike.

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This is part of a series of stories about starting over, profiling people who, by choice or circumstance, reinvented or transformed themselves.

Chapel of the Interlude is a fitting name for a church in the middle of a narrow, winding canyon.

In 1969, benefactors built the intimate wood-paneled structure to provide an oasis next to one of the busiest roads leading to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Voters across Colorado cast their final ballots yesterday on state and local issues and candidates. 

"Hello. Are you registered to vote in Colorado?"

It's a refrain many in the state have grown to loathe this summer — heard outside their favorite grocery store or shopping mall as signature gatherers race toward an Aug. 4 deadline to put four energy-related measures on the November ballot.

With two of those measures backed by environmentalists, and the other two by industry-supported groups, all of the energy talk is leading to confusion among potential voters.

GOP Candidates Swap Races

Feb 27, 2014

Wednesday’s surprising race swap between Representative Cory Gardner and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck may demonstrate a game changer for Colorado’s Republican Party. Colorado State University political science professor Kyle Saunders says the solidly Republican 4th Congressional District is a more natural fit for Ken Buck. He thinks Gardner has a better opportunity to win the Senate race against incumbent Democrat Mark Udall.

The indoor shooting range at Archery in the Wild in northern Colorado used to be dominated by camouflage and hunters. But on this Saturday morning, the archery range is dotted with ponytails and 7-year-old girls like Y'Jazzmin Christopher.

The popularity of The Hunger Games series is fueling an interest in the sport of archery, particularly among girls. Some sporting equipment outfitters say they've seen a big boost in bow and arrow sales since the film series began in 2012.

The 2013 election marked a victory for foes of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Colorado. Voters in three Front Range communities decided to put limits on the practice.

As a government shutdown furloughs thousands of federal employees in Colorado, the state is reaching into its own pocket to ensure that work can continue on some roads and bridges damaged by flooding. Today, Governor John Hickenlooper said the state would pay the salary costs for 120 National Guard engineers, with some reimbursement coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We want to make sure that we don't lose a single day in trying to get these roads open and getting these communities back together again."

The heavy floodwaters in Colorado this month caused more than 37,000 gallons of oil to spill into or near rivers, and the state's oil and gas industry is rushing to fix equipment damaged during the storm. It comes at a time when there's growing public concern about the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing in the state.

After rain pummeled flooded communities over the weekend, long awaited sunshine poked through the clouds Monday. Towns are just starting to dry out from days of heavy rain and flooding.

Rain ground recovery efforts from days of massive flooding across Colorado to a halt Sunday. Helicopters were prevented from conducting additional search and rescue efforts in Boulder and Larimer counties.

The Obama administration launched an initiative Friday aimed at reducing the risk of wildfire to water supplies in the West. As KUNC's Grace Hood reports, Colorado will be one of six states to see pilot projects.

Flows of ash and debris into streams after a wildfire can be damaging to the local water supply. Aiming to mitigate this problem, the US Departments of Agriculture and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding Friday. USDA Chief Tom Vilsack:

The peak of the summer harvest is approaching, which means that if you have a community supported agriculture share, you may be receiving a daunting amount of fresh produce to cook every week.

Preliminary estimates show insurance companies will pay almost $300 million dollars to homeowners affected by the Black Forest Fire. About 3,600 auto and homeowner insurance claims have been filed since the June wildfire, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. But Executive Director Carole Walker expects that number will grow.

The rambling, funky ride called Banjo Billy's Bus Tours, in Boulder, Colo., is equal parts history, crime stories and comedy. It's all woven together by John Georgis — better known as Banjo Billy — in a playful, "choose your own adventure" style.

"You can either choose a PG tour, or a PG-13 tour, or an R-rated tour," he tells one group of riders. The crowd chooses the R-rated version, but they have to work for it.

"If you want the R-rated tour, you gotta say it like a pirate," Banjo says, drawing a bunch of "arrrrghs" from tour-goers. "R it is!"

Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the High Park fire northwest of Fort Collins, Colo. The blaze consumed 259 homes in the rural area, but so far only 10 households have finished rebuilding a year later.

As Gary and Martha Lemert sort through photographs from the High Park fire, it takes just one before and after shot to convey the complete devastation of their 10-acre property.

All they had left after the fire was a green roof that looked like it had been melted on top of gray rubble. All told, the Lemerts lost eight buildings, including a garage and a guest house.

Colorado responded to the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., by passing new gun control measures last month. That's not sitting well with several gun-related businesses in the Centennial State, where four companies have announced plans to relocate all or some of their operations.

The U.S. military and law enforcement agencies have seen increased public scrutiny on the domestic use of the robotically piloted planes known as drones. Working on the sidelines of this debate, the U.S. Geological Survey has been trying to find a second life for retired military drones in the areas of environmental and wildlife management. Instead of watching the battlefield, these drones are watching birds.

An obscure tax code provision crafted for drug dealers is giving state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries a headache.

In Colorado, federal income tax rates for dispensaries can soar as high as 70 percent because of a tax code section that does not allow businesses to claim certain deductions.

The section is known as 280E, and it was originally written for illegal drug traffickers. But today it's a thorn in the side of licensed dispensary owners like Erica Freeman.