Superintendent Mary Risser stated today that restrictions on open fires will go into effect on Tuesday for the entire Dinosaur National Monument.  Building or using any open fire or campfire, except within National Park Service-provided fire grates and grills at developed campgrounds is prohibited. Even in the campgrounds where fires will continue to be allowed, visitors should be extremely cautious when having a fire.  Watch out for the wind blowing sparks into dry vegetation. Always make sure any fires – including charcoal fires – are completely out when you are done. You should be able to put your hand in the extinguished coals or charcoal.  Smoking is permitted only in enclosed vehicles, developed recreation site, or in areas cleared of all flammable material. Fireworks are always strictly prohibited in Dinosaur National Monument and other federal lands.  These restrictions will remain in effect until such time as the fire danger in the monument becomes less severe.



Good news for Steamboat Residents.  The City of Steamboat is planning to host a Fireworks Show on the 4th of July. After review of the Fireworks plans, evaluating specific conditions on Howelsen Hill and Emerald Mountain, and discussions with Fire Department staff and fireworks show officials, Fire Chief Mel Stewart agreed to authorize the July 4th Fireworks show.  While that’s good news for spectators, the show still could be cancelled if conditions change.  That would include a situation where there are fires in the area that affect the ability of the Steamboat Fire Department to cover the Fireworks show.  Due to the set-up of the show, all trails on the “Howelsen Ski Area” will be closed from 8 in the morning until 11 at night on the 4th. This includes the Mile Run Trail.  Other trails on Emerald Mountain will be accessible from Blackmere Drive and the Bluffs Trails, those trails will close at 6 in the evening and will remain closed until 11. The Trail closures are for safety and security reasons.



The Western Rivers Conservancy announced yesterday that the entrance to Cross Mountain Canyon and 2 and a half miles of the Yampa River immediately upstream have been permanently conserved for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people.  The project, a joint effort by WRC and the Bureau of Land Management, also opens new access to tens of thousands of acres of surrounding public land, including the Cross Mountain Wilderness Study Area.  The announcement follows WRC’s successful conveyance of Cross Mountain Canyon Ranch, at the mouth of its namesake canyon, to the BLM. The ranch lies 15 miles west of Maybell and spans 920 acres of pinyon-juniper woodlands, sagebrush communities, riparian areas, wetlands and former pastureland. It borders the eastern edge of the Cross Mountain WSA.  Until now, access to the area was difficult at best because the only feasible routes into the WSA were through private property or by boat. Now, the conservation lands, as well as the access they provide, are open to all.  The project also creates a permanent sanctuary for all four species of Colorado Basin warm-water fish: Colorado pike minnow, humpback chub, bonytail chub and razorback sucker.



This is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week and the National Weather Service has some statistics and tips to share. The majority of lightning fatalities occur among those who did not seek shelter from an approaching storm while outside doing recreational activities. From 2006 through 2012 there were 127 deaths nationally from lightning. Included in those deaths there were 26 fishing related; 15 camping; 14 boating; 12 soccer; 11 at the beach; 11 while farming or ranching, and 10 while riding bikes, motorcycles or ATVs. The National Weather Service says no place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. When you hear thunder, immediately move to a safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal topped vehicle with windows up.  If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby, get off elevated areas such as hills; never lie flat on the ground; never shelter under an isolated tree; never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter; immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water; and stay away from objects that conduct electricity such as barbed wire fences, power lines and windmills.  For more lightning safety tips, click here.



Colorado Parks and Wildlife invites kids and their families to enjoy a fun-filled day at Steamboat Lake State Park’s first-ever ‘Kid’s Fishing Clinic’, July 6th, from 9 to 12:30, at the Bridge Island boat trailer parking lot. Registration for the event will begin at 9 at the park.  Anglers between the ages of 6 and 12 will have an opportunity to learn the basics of fishing from Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, including fish identification, casting, cleaning their catch and rules and regulations.  Wildlife officials say fishing teaches kids important lessons about Colorado’s natural resources.  After the clinic, participants are invited to spend the afternoon at the park and attend a lesson on how to do a Japanese fish printing arts and crafts project.  Later that evening, everyone can enjoy a fireworks display at the park.  The ‘Kid’s Fishing Clinic’ is free; however, each vehicle that enters the park must display a Colorado State Parks annual pass or $7 daily pass, available at the park entrance.  For more information about the clinic, call 870-2197.



The United States Senate yesterday passed a sweeping bill to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants on a vote of 68-32.  The bill, introduced by Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and the ‘Group of 8,’ makes reforms to an outdated visa system that they say will protect American workers, provide significantly more tools and resources to secure the border, and establish a system for the future flow of immigration.  Opponents say what it really does is create a path to citizenship, or amnesty, for undocumented immigrants already in the country illegally.  The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million people living in the country without documentation. Undocumented immigrants will pay fees, taxes and learn English, although it’s unclear how that will be accomplished.  The bill now awaits consideration by the House of Representatives.



The Republican DA who supports executing convicted killer Nathan Dunlap says he’s thinking about running for governor.  George Brauchler is seriously considering opposing Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper in 2014.  Brauchler is DA in four counties southeast of Denver, including Arapahoe County, where Dunlap was convicted.  Brauchler has sharply criticized Hickenlooper for granting a reprieve to Dunlap, who was sentenced to die for ambushing and killing four people at a Denver-area pizzeria in 1993.  The reprieve is officially temporary but Hickenlooper has said he’s unlikely to revoke it as long as he’s governor, which could be until early 2019 if he’s re-elected.  Former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo has said he’s running for governor. GOP Secretary of State Scott Gessler has said he’s considering it.


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