PARKS AND WILDLIFE ANNOUNCES NEW STATE WILDLIFE AREA NEAR MEEKER
After the completion of a successful land swap between Colorado Parks and Wildlife and ExxonMobil, the Colorow Mountain State Wildlife Area near Meeker is now open to hunters, outdoor recreationists and the general public. The agency is encouraging everyone to enjoy the newest addition to the nearly 350 state wildlife areas across Colorado. The properties are typically purchased with revenue generated from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. Colorow Mountain SWA was acquired by exchange under terms negotiated by CPW and ExxonMobil. Under state law, CPW is required to manage the areas for the benefit of wildlife. The acquisition not only opened up new lands to hunting and recreation, it also allows access to several sections of Bureau of Land Management lands north of Colorow Mountain SWA. Under the terms of the exchange, ExxonMobil received over 900 acres of CPW land adjacent to Rio Blanco County Road 5, known as the Square S hayfields. In return, Colorado Parks and Wildlife received over 1,500 acres that comprise the new SWA, located north of Highway 64 and Rio Blanco Lake SWA, northwest of Meeker. Colorow Mountain SWA will be managed for both off-highway and conventional passenger vehicles. A portion is limited to foot and horseback only.
DINOSAUR PREPARING TO IMPLEMENT WINTER CLOSURES
Beginning Monday, the Quarry Visitor Center and Exhibit Hall at Dinosaur National Monument will be open from 9 to 5 daily. The Center, seven miles north of Jensen, Utah features exhibits, a theater and sales area for the Intermountain Natural History Association. The Hall features the world-famous wall of dinosaur bones and exhibits. Staff will continue to offer daily ranger-guided hikes on the Fossil Discovery Trail through September 29th. Junior Ranger programs will be offered at the Quarry Exhibit Hall on Saturdays and Sundays through the end of September. On the Colorado side of the monument, the Canyon Visitor Center near Dinosaur will close for the season on September 30th. Campgrounds will also begin closing for the season or going into winter operations. Water service at the Echo Park Campground will be turned off on October 1st. Campers can still use the campground, but must bring their own water. When water is not available, camping fees will not be charged. The Green River Campground, located near the Quarry Visitor Center, will close for the season October 6th. Water will be turned off at the Split Mountain Group Campground on October 7th, at which point it will be open to all campers on a first-come, first-served basis. The Gates of Lodore Campground on the monument’s north end will continue to have water available until the end of October.
POACHING CASE SEES MEN USING POISONED ARROWS
The recent poaching arrest of four men from South Carolina by Colorado Parks and Wildlife has prompted public discussion and debate about the importance of ethical hunting. It also illustrates how seriously the agency, law-abiding hunters and many residents of the state take illegal wildlife activity. After a lengthy investigation by state and federal wildlife officials, George Plummer, Michael Courtney, Joseph Nevling and James Cole were arrested Sept. 7th near Collbran for suspicion of violating a variety of wildlife laws including using a powerful toxin attached to their arrows, hunting after legal hours, using bow-mounted electronic or battery-powered devices and hunting bear, deer and elk over bait. The use of poisons and toxicants allows an individual to take an irresponsible shot, relying on the effects of the drugs to kill the animal rather than skill, patience, discipline and a well-placed shot. During the course of the yearlong investigation, the four men were placed under surveillance by investigators from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Because of the overwhelming amount of incriminating evidence investigators gathered, the four men quickly pleaded guilty to the illegal activity. Plummer, who is considered the leader of the group, admitted to officers that he had used poisoned arrows in Colorado for the past twenty years while fully aware that it is illegal in this state. The four accepted a plea bargain and agreed to pay over $10,000 in fines for the use of the toxicant and for illegal possession of big game. They forfeited all evidence seized in the case, including four Mathews compound bows, arrows and quivers, an ATV, night vision goggles, flashlights mounted on their bows, coolers containing game meat, animal hides, the poison and the arrow-mounted pods used to inject the drug into the elk, deer and bear they killed. All four men received a 4-year deferred sentence on charges of illegal possession of three of more big game animals, which can result in fines of up to $10,000 per animal and a year in prison if they violate the terms of the deferred sentence. During the 4 years, the men are banned from hunting in Colorado.
HOUSE PASSES HEALTHY FOREST ACT
Yesterday, the House passed legislation by Representatives Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Doc Hastings (R-WA) to immediately address the hazardous conditions of Western forests by establishing a plan for healthy forest management to reduce the occurrence and severity of wildfire, protect watersheds, species habitats and ecosystems, and prevent the loss of life and property. Tipton’s Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act was combined with Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings’s Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act during a Natural Resources Committee markup in July. The resulting comprehensive Hastings-Tipton forest management package was passed by the House yesterday and now goes to the Senate. H.R. 1526 addresses the shortfall in county revenue for schools and critical services caused by lack of timber harvest by requiring the Forest Service to produce at least half of the sustainable annual yield of timber required under law since 1908 and to share 25 percent of those receipts with rural counties. In order to meet this goal while providing for healthy forests, the bill includes the local management framework set out in Tipton’s bill by directing the Forest Service to prioritize hazardous fuels reduction projects proposed by governors and affected counties and tribes.
ROCK SPRINGS MAN WILL SERVE UP TO 100 YEARS
A Rock Springs man was sentenced in District Court Wednesday to as much as a century in prison. Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said 41 year old Grady Hodge was found guilty on June 7th of two counts of Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the First Degree after a five-day jury trial in District Court in Green River. Haskell said Grady’s charges were the result of an extensive Sheriff’s Office investigation led by Detective Michelle Hall. On Wednesday, Judge Nena James sentenced Hodge to prison for thirty to fifty years” on each count, with the sentences to be served consecutively. Haskell said Hodge is also wanted by authorities in Burnet County, Texas, for multiple counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child and Indecency With a Child. Hodge is fighting extradition on his Texas charges.
BOOSTER CLUB SELLING YARD SIGNS
The Moffat County High School Booster Club is selling yard signs for current and future athletes. You can also get a sign that just says proud supporter. They are vinyl and will have your current athlete’s name on them, and wire legs to place into the ground. The signs are about 2 feet by 1 1/2 feet, and each costs $10.00. If you’re interested in getting one, you’ll find an order form by clicking here.
In high school sports:
Little Snake River Valley beat Farson (48-16).
Steamboat fell to Glenwood (37-10).
Soroco beat Hayden (26-6).
Moffat County lost to Delta (53-7).
Meeker beat Vail Mountain (3-0).
Steamboat topped Palisade (3-0).
Meeker is on the road to play Del Norte at 1.
Moffat County hosts Grand Valley at 3.
Steamboat goes to Delta at 1.
Little Snake River Valley goes to a tournament in Thermopolis.
Soroco heads to Paonia at 1.
In boys soccer:
Moffat County is home against Roaring Fork at 11.
Steamboat welcomes Evergreen at 11.
In boys tennis:
Steamboat continues at the tournament in Hotchkiss.
In cross country:
Moffat County hosts a meet with Rangely attending.