Fall brings about changing leaves, crisp air and lots of forest activities. It is good to be aware of who else may be in the woods and what you should know before heading out.
Fall means that the few campgrounds still open are now first come, first served and can fill quickly this time of year. Be sure to plan for changing conditions when venturing out in the forest. Conditions can change quickly and warm days at lower elevations can still see snow up high.
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Hunting is very popular on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District. Hunters are reminded to follow all Colorado Parks and Wildlife hunting regulations, as well as U.S. Forest Service shooting and travel regulations. Wearing blaze orange is required for hunters by CPW, but it is recommended for everyone enjoying the forest this time of year to increase visibility. The forest has information specifically posted for hunters at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/hunting.
If looking for a hunting guide, there are six outfitter/guides authorized to offer big game hunting-related services on Canyon Lakes. They offer specific services and operate in designated 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 others offering services for hire are doing so illegally.
All 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 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.
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 cold or wet conditions, campfires can smolder and escape. Use caution.
For recreation information on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District, follow the district on Twitter @usfsclrd, check our website www.fs.usda.gov/arp or call the Visitor Information Office at 970-295-6700 (closed Wednesdays). Road status is available at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/roads and is always good to check when planning your trip.
Prescribed fires are also planned for this fall. The Pingree Hill Prescribed Burn located north of Highway 14 near Rustic and the Red Feather Prescribed Burn located north of Red Feather Lakes could both take place in October or November depending on conditions. Check the latest by calling our recorded information line at 970-498-1030.