Some hunting seasons have begun, making it a good time to remind forest visitors to be aware of activities, various closures and potential road delays.
Hunters are reminded to follow all Colorado Parks and Wildlife hunting regulations, as well as U.S. Forest Service shooting and travel regulations. Wearing bright colors is required for hunters by CPW, but it is recommended for everyone enjoying the forest this time of year to increase visibility.
Forest visitors are encouraged to stop by their local Forest Service office to pick up maps to know where private land boundaries are located. Free motor vehicle use maps are available to help plan trips, including as an app on your smart phone, and visitor information specialists can help you plan your trip with valuable local information. Map information is available online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/arp/maps-pubs.
Some closures on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District are within the September 2013 Flood area, including the popular Old Flowers and Pierson Park roads. Information on these closed roads and trails is online at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/floodrecovery. Visitors can expect delays along Long Draw Road, as hazard tree removal work continues. Delays are also expected along the Greenridge Road (#319) for the same type of hazard tree removal work. Crown Point Road (#139) is closed past the Browns Lake Trailhead for culvert replacement through October.
The Forest Service understands these closures and delays can cause inconveniences for forest visitors, but they are imperative for public and employee safety and natural resource protection.
Fall also means that all campgrounds are now first come, first served and some can fill quickly in the fall. Most campgrounds remain open through at least Sept. 28, with some open into October and November.
Remember, your safety is your responsibility. An important message for visitors year-round is that of falling tree hazards, especially in mountain pine beetle hit areas. Avoid dense patches of dead trees. Take a saw or ax with you to remove fallen trees from roads in case you become trapped. It is also an important to extinguish all fires until they are out cold. Even in wet conditions, campfires can smolder and escape. Use caution.
If looking for a hunting guide, there are only six outfitter/guides authorized to offer big game hunting-related services on the CLRD. They offer specific services and operate in specific areas. Each are registered with the state and regulated by the Forest Service to ensure safe, quality service and forest resource protection. A list is available at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/outfitterguides. Any other entities offering services for hire are doing so illegally.
For recreation information on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District, please call the Visitor Information Office at 970-295-6700 or follow the district on Twitter @usfsclrd. The forest also has information specifically posted for hunters available online at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/hunting.