outdoor recreation

Dan Salkeld doesn’t like plunging toilets, filling out tax forms, or clipping his children's toenails. But he loves collecting ticks in Colorado.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's call to increase peak-season entrance fees at 17 popular national parks appears to be an unpopular idea. The overwhelming majority of submitted comments were strongly opposed to it. Now, the National Park Service is rethinking the plan.

Life’s been tough on Chris Marchion. There was the high school football injury and the knee replacement.

“Unfortunately I got a hip that’s wore out,” he says.

We’re standing alongside a gravel road near a cow pasture. Nowadays, this is about as close as Marchion can get to the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area. It’s a clump of rolling, grey mountains in the distance.

A Look Back At Our Top 5 Most Popular Stories Of 2017

Jan 4, 2018
Clockwise from top left: Courtesy Jodene Parlapiano; Steve Wilson; Partnership for Community Design; CS Pioneers Museum; Andrea Chalfin

Before we shut the book on 2017 once and for all, we'd like to take one last opportunity to reflect on the year that was. What better way than to revisit the stories from this past year that made the biggest impression on you, our loyal readers and listeners. 

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

After days of sustained outrage, the city of Colorado Springs has taken down a large blue frame erected last week in Garden of the Gods.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

UPDATE: As of mid-day Monday, 12/18/17, the city had removed the frame.

ORIGINAL STORY--FRIDAY 12/15/17: A newly-installed structure at Garden of the Gods has local outdoor enthusiasts crying foul. In a widely shared post on Facebook, the outdoor adventure non-profit UpaDowna brought the frame to the attention of its followers, many of whom have described the structure as “ugly” and a blight on the natural beauty of the park. 

National Forest Service, Pike & San Isabel National Forests

After more than five years of being closed to the public, portions of the Waldo Canyon burn area are reopening.  The Waldo Canyon Trail and Trailhead along Highway 24 remain closed.

Courtesy: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The state parks program that puts backpacks with parks passes, binoculars, and guides into public libraries is in its second year.  "Check Out State Parks" officially launched last year in more than 280 libraries statewide.  This year, it's expanded to include many publicly funded college and university libraries. 

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

With summer here, people are flocking to the outdoors, including the trails, campsites and reservoirs of the Colorado State Parks system. Last year, the parks hit a record number of visitors – 13.5 million.  But Colorado is struggling to keep up with the demand.

Austin Cope / KSJD

One of the biggest trade shows in the outdoor industry is still looking for a new home after the Outdoor Industry Association decided to leave Utah after two decades. Colorado has thrown its hat in the ring as a new potential site for the event, which brings together many of the world's largest outdoor companies.

Dana Cronin / 91.5 KRCC

Outdoor sports dominate the Upper Arkansas River Valley, with attractions like white water rafting and fly fishing drawing tourists from across the country. With climate scientists predicting reduced flow as the century unfolds, the region could face a future with less water.

Tyler Hill / KRCC

A new study outlines the economic benefits of parks and recreation in the Pikes Peak region.  Parks help lower public health costs, raise property values, and attract tourism dollars, according to the study.

Miguel Vieira / FLICKR-Creative Commons

Cheyenne Mountain State Park reopened on Thursday after high winds earlier this week forced its closure.

Maeve Conran / Connecting the Drops

About three years ago, flood waters rushed down the Big Thompson River through Estes Park and eastward to Loveland, destroying whole stretches of the river channel and adjoining roads. That flood echoed a similar one 40 years ago that killed 144 people, destroyed countless homes and decimated the riverbed. Now, roads are being repaired and the eco-system is slowly recovering. That recovery is crucial for the economy of local communities.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

President Barack Obama recently signed a new law that could benefit Colorado hiking trails.

The new National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act calls for a national strategy to utilize partnerships for trail maintenance.

Studies show that youth spend less than ten minutes a day outside in unstructured play.  In an effort to combat this national issue, Great Outdoors Colorado has awarded roughly $13 million in grants to communities across the state, to encourage children to appreciate, enjoy and take care of the great outdoors.

The Inspire Initiative, launched last year with six pilot projects, ties into the state plan of having every resident within a ten-minute walk or bike ride to a park or open space within a generation.

Greg Smith / Flickr

As the city works to stabilize the Sand Creek stormwater channel, engineers are looking for creative ways to make the structures even more useful. One idea is to create a trail for fat bikes. Those have particularly wide tires that can traverse sand and leave little impact.

Kate Dunn / 91.5 KRCC

The Manitou Incline is reopening to the public. The Incline closed in August for the second phase of its Trail Enhancement Project.

Lloyd Athearn / Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, via Facebook

The peak of another Colorado 14er may soon become public land. The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) intends to buy three parcels of land extending over the peak of Mount Shavano near Salida. The move comes after the discovery of mining claims which means the land is currently privately owned.  

Bob Wick, BLM California / BLM Flickr / Creative Commons

Visitors of Browns Canyon in Chaffee County are invited to share their opinions of the National Monument in a series of listening sessions.

Dana Cronin / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado is known for its iconic 14,000-foot peaks, more commonly known as fourteeners. Despite their majestic appearance, these high peaks have a fragile ecosystem and it takes a considerable amount of effort to keep them in good condition.  The season is over now, but for about five months of the year, crews work to create and repair trails.

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

A new mobile app looks to incentivize users to help out the environment.

The app, called YourCO, will allow users to log do-it-yourself conservation projects, such as picking up trash or turning down the thermostat, and earn badges and rewards along the way.

Holly Pretsky / KRCC

Hundreds of cyclists passed through southeast Colorado this past weekend for the fifth annual Pedal the Plains ride.

courtesy Pedal the Plains

The fifth annual Pedal the Plains bike ride is set to begin Friday in Ordway. The three-day 150-mile ride will take place in the Lower Arkansas River Valley this year, passing through Ordway, Fowler and La Junta.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

Starting today, June 20th, almost 300 libraries across the state will offer backpacks for checkout through a new program called "Check Out State Parks."

Dennis McKinney / CO Division of Wildlife

Colorado could be the next state to allow hunters to wear florescent pink. A Democratic proposal to give hunters the option of wearing pink, in addition to orange, passed the Republican controlled Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee on Thursday.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

An avalanche killed a snowmobiler near Wolf Creek Pass earlier this week. With the recent snows, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center says there's increased avalanche danger.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Governor John Hickenlooper announced Wednesday that the state will prioritize connecting and building 16 hiking and biking trails in all parts of Colorado. The goal is to connect and build missing trail segments to make it easier for people to access open space and parks.

It's part of the governor's Colorado the Beautiful initiative, unveiled in 2015.

Colorado Springs

Voters overwhelmingly decided to allow Colorado Springs to retain $2.1 million in excess revenue to repair and improve eight stretches of trail throughout the city.
 

The targeted trails include Shooks Run, Skyline, and the Sand Creek Trails.

Karen Palus, head of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said the improvements will include trail resurfacing and increased signage. Palus also said they’ll try to minimize the impacts to trail users.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Camping fees for Colorado Parks and Wildlife are going up to help keep up with rising maintenance and utility costs. 

The fee increase will be anywhere from $2-$10 a night depending on the campsite, with the exception of primitive campsites that don't have electrical outlets or restrooms nearby.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Manda Walters says even with the added cost, she doesn't see visitor numbers dropping.

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