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Damage Assessment at Rocky Mountain N.P.

September 18, 2013 by · Comments Off on Damage Assessment at Rocky Mountain N.P. 

Rocky Mountain National Park remained closed for a fifth day Tuesday (Sept. 17) as crews worked to assess the damage in the wake of last week’s torrential rain storms, National Parks Traveler reported.

While some problems arose during the storms — roads washed out, trails buried, campgrounds cut off — since the weekend other problems have surfaced, such as landslides caused by saturated soils.

According to the park’s Facebook page, “(T)here have been a number of large landslides due to saturated soils, and falling trees continue to be an ever-present hazard.”

Though the park was closed to recreational visitors, Trail Ridge Road that runs from Estes Park on the eastern side of the park to Grand Lake on the western side was being kept open for emergency and essential traffic needs.

Aftermath of Massive Colorado Park Flooding

September 17, 2013 by · Comments Off on Aftermath of Massive Colorado Park Flooding 

The Roaring River, living up to its name, cleaved the Endovalley Road on the northern end of Horseshoe Park in Colorado. Photo courtesy of National Park Service and published on National Parks Traveler website. .

Roads severed. Walls of rock and mud blocking access. Trails washed out. That is some of the aftermath at Rocky Mountain National Park, where streams and rivers normally feeble at this time of year swelled to spring runoff levels and more after days of rain.

That’s the start of an overview of the massive flooding that has struck Colorado parks. National Parks Traveler reviews the damage in a current web posting.

Click here to read the entire story in National Parks Traveler.

 

 

 

 

Flash Flooding Threatens Colorado Campers

September 12, 2013 by · Comments Off on Flash Flooding Threatens Colorado Campers 

Flooding threatens several campgrounds in the eastern portion of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Campgrounds at Rocky Mountain National Park remain open but managers are warning visitors to stay out of the east side of the park because of fears of flash flooding, the Denver Post reported.

Heavy rains in the park, especially on the east section, have prompted the closure of several roads including Old Fall River Road at the U.S. 34 junction.

Trail Ridge Road remains open.

Also, the park’s backcountry office is canceling any overnight camping permits for tonight because of the weather.

 

The Current RV Park and Campground Briefs

June 21, 2013 by · Comments Off on The Current RV Park and Campground Briefs 

 

One of the campsites at the River Stone Campground in Alberta.

ALBERTA

From the Edmonton Journal:

The Alberta government has ordered a campground management company to stop illegally diverting water to an RV campground.

The order was issued against Smoky Valley Aggregate Inc. which operates the River Stone Golf Course and Campground northeast of Grande Prairie.

Provincial inspectors discovered on June 4 that water was being diverted from a surface pond on the property to a 75-site RV park, said Jacalyn Ambler, spokeswoman with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.

The enforcement order was issued June 7, after a subsequent inspection revealed the company still wasn’t following provincial regulations.

The company’s director, Braden Rycroft, did not have either of the licenses necessary to operate the water system, Ambler said.

The order requires the water system be immediately dismantled, Ambler said. It can be set up again if the company adheres to the necessary requirements, she added.

NEBRASKA

From the Oakland Independent:

A grand opening celebration of the Summit Lake campground was held on May 18 to celebrate the addition of 19 new campsites, bringing the total to 30.

The Bob Eckdahl Campground, named after the former park superintendent, now feature electrical hookups, something Eckdahl believed would be a great addition to the park.

Free admittance and activities for the children brought a host of families to the celebration.

Summit Lake was created by the Nebraska Recreation Department (NRD) and is managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The site, near Tekamah, features fishing, camping, picnicking and nature trails.

NEW YORK

From the Jamestown Post-Journal:

The New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation recently reopened the improved Group Camp 5 in the Quaker area of Allegany State Park.

The $733,000 project to improve the camp was funded through Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s New York Works initiative, which is revitalizing parks and historic sites across New York.

Though popular, the 90-year-old cabins at Group Camp 5 had fallen into a disrepair and the area was served by pit toilets. State funding paid to replace deteriorated cabins with 18 new four-bed cabins along with construction of a modern bathroom, including showers and a small laundry. In addition, renovations to the central mess hall and access improvements for people with disabilities in all areas of the camp were completed as part of the project. Patrick Construction of East Amherst built the bathroom facility and state park forces constructed the cabins and renovated the mess hall.

WASHINGTON

From the Seattle Times:

Gov. Jay Inslee’s office advanced plans Thursday to close 34 state agencies including the state parks system if lawmakers fail to pass a budget by the end of the month.

The state is expected to start sending notices to thousands of workers on Monday to warn of possible layoffs.

“Absent an appropriation by the Legislature, most government operations cannot continue to operate. About two-thirds of all state agencies and boards and commissions will cease operations or be mostly shut down,” said Nicholas Brown, the governor’s general council.

However, at the same time the governor’s staff was detailing the effects of a shutdown, budget negotiators in the House and Senate said they were getting closer to a deal.

KANSAS

From the Pittsburg Sun:

The collective efforts of several area agencies made the RV park off of the U.S. Highway 69 Bypass an even more appealing place to stay.

Pittsburg tends to have traffic from two wheels on up throughout the summer, and Jim Buche, the member of Pittsburg Beautiful who spearheaded the project, said the building of a shelter and a showerhouse/restroom facility will add something nice for bikers and RV traffic.

He said Pittsburg State University construction students helped design it a year ago and then began working on the facilities, which were paid for out of Pittsburg Beautiful endowment funds, last fall.

NORTH CAROLINA

From The Associated Press:

State officials say Morrow Mountain State Park in Stanly County is still closed because of damage caused by recent storms.

The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation says the park will remain closed for several weeks as work crews continue to assess damage, remove trees and clear debris from around facilities, roadways, camping areas and trails.

A statement from the division says repairs to damaged structures must be completed before they can be reopened. Hazardous trees on steep terrain may require removal by contractors. No reservations are being accepted for the park’s campsites, picnic shelters and vacation cabins

There were no injuries from the June 13 storm. Several hundred trees were toppled, and at least five park structures, a cabin and vehicles belonging to park visitors were damaged.

 

Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds

June 12, 2013 by · Comments Off on Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds 

 

Cover of Arizona camping guide.

ARIZONA

From Arizona Foothills Magazine:

Although out-of-towners often think of Arizona as a barren desert with scorching temperatures and nothing but cowboys and cacti, it actually hosts some of the most spectacular campgrounds in the country. Kelly Vaughn Kramer, Arizona native and author of “Camping Guide: 100 of the Best Campgrounds in Arizona,” shares her favorite campgrounds to escape to during the hot summer months.

Click here to read the entire story.

COLORADO

From the Summit Daily:

A fire that started Monday (June 10) on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park had increased in size from two acres to an estimated 300-400 acres by late evening on Tuesday.

A reconnaissance flight on Tuesday afternoon showed the fire moving to the northeast toward Nakai Peak. Park officials reported no communities or structures were threatened.

The fire spread on Tuesday afternoon due to a spot fire spawning from the original two-acre blaze. “It is increasing in size due to winds, low humidity and beetle killed trees,” wrote Parks spokesperson Kyle Patterson in an update on Tuesday.

On the north end of Big Meadows on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, the fire was reported around 5 p.m. on Monday, June 10. Lightning started the fire, according Park officials.

The fire, dubbed the Big Meadows Fire, is located roughly three miles north of the Kawuneeche Visitors Center and four miles in from Trail Ridge Road.

WASHINGTON

From the Spokesman-Review, Spokane:

Larry Justus, who operates the Lakeland RV Park on Bayview Creek with wife, Liz, has a lung disease with a name that friend Herb Huseland of Bayview can’t pronounce. The disease is killing him.

Larry, who is in hospice care, informed Herb as cheerfully as possible that there’s nothing anyone can do for him healthwise. It’s the end of the line. But he asks one thing of his many friends in and beyond picturesque Bayview, on Lake Pend Oreille.

For as long as he can handle it, Larry wants them to drop by the RV park at 3 o’clock on Friday afternoons, per tradition, for his weekly happy hour. He wants to schmooze with as many of his friends as he can before he meets the Reaper. A man who can look death in the eye and smile has lived a great life.

From a news release:

The mission of the the MHRV Association is to promote the RV lifestyle and “creating lifetime memories” with family and friends. The message of the Washington State Parks’ Association is “adventure awaits.” Together, these two Washington institutions offer joy and discovery to everyone in the state, the association noted in a press release announcing a donation of $7,188.

“Owning an RV wouldn’t nearly be as fun if you couldn’t spend time in our state parks. They’re beautiful,” said Dave Helgeson, MHRV show director. “But we’re in danger of losing some of them. In fact, more than 40 Washington state parks are at risk of closure due to massive budget cuts so we felt we needed to help in some way. The MHRV hosted two very successful RV shows this year and we’re donating a portion of the gate to the state parks.”

During both MHRV shows (Seattle and Puyallup) held in Feburary and May, some of the money collected at the at the box office was donated to Washington state parks. “It’s their 100th Anniversary and this is our small way of saying ‘Happy Birthday,’” said Helgeson.

A special presentation was held in Olympia June 10 when the MHRV presented a check of $7,188 to park Assistant Director Mike Sternback.

MICHIGAN

From the Daily Globe, Ironwood:

Getting a reservation at Sunday Lake Campground can be a hard thing to do, according to discussion at Monday’s (June 10) city council meeting in Wakefield.

The first day to reserve a spot for the season is Jan. 2 and interested campers are lined up at City Hall or call on the phone that day to reserve a spot.

“We know that day is going to be crazy every year. It’s worked that way for the past six years,” said city clerk Jennifer Jacobson.

The campground has 90 campsites, 79 with water and electric service.

Carrie Braspenick, a Wakefield resident, called the park “a little gold mine,” and said that 95% of the campers are local. Braspenick asked that an alternative plan be made for locals to make early reservations. Mayor Richard Boleyn directed city manager John Siira to bring the issue to the planning commission.

Some campers are taking issue with the new rule that no outside refrigerators larger than 12 cubic feet are allowed, as some campers do not have indoor refrigerators. Another issue is some campers come and set up their campsite for up to two weeks before registering.

Siira said that wireless Internet will be available at the campground soon, as the city has chosen Black Bear Appliance and Computer Repair of Marenisco to provide the service to campers at a cost of $1 a day, $5 a week or $10 a month. The city will incorporate the cost into next year’s camping rates, as sharing of the access password is anticipated.

Coca-Cola promotion

From a news release:

Coca-Cola has launched its fourth annual promotion of parks nationwide through the “America’s Favorite Park” social networking contest.

Nearly all of us could be more active. Coca-Cola is helping to make this a little easier and a lot more fun, with a friendly competition amongst parks and an opportunity to earn up to a $100,000 grant for recreation improvements.

Voting can be done in three ways:

  • Vote once a day at www.coke.com/parks.
  • Check in at a park using Foursquare, a location-based social networking website for mobile devices, and get up to five votes every day.
  • Log more than 20 minutes of physical activity through the MapMyFitness app for mobile devices, and get up to 10 votes every day.

The park with the most votes will win a $100,000 recreation grant from Coca-Cola and the title of “America’s Favorite Park.” Second- and third-place parks will win $50,000 and $25,000 grants, respectively. Another $15,000 grant will be awarded at random to a lucky park that comes in fourth to 25th on the leader board.

ALBERTA

From CBC.ca:

A proposed lakeside RV development is worrying cottage owners on Lake Isle about one hour west of Edmonton. A developer is planning to build nearly 450 lots on land not far from the shoreline on the lake.

“We’ve got environment; we’ve got infrastructure; we’ve got loss of quality of life; we’ve got issues,” said Deb Hunter, whose summer home is just down the lake from the proposed development.

She’s worried about nesting ground for birds and the impact such a large development would have on the sewer system and roads.

University of Alberta water expert David Schindler said overdevelopment has already contaminated the lake with harmful nutrients, such as phosphorus.

“Lake Isle right now should have no more development,” he said. “Every year there are complaints about blooms of noxious blue-green algae that float ashore and produce toxins causing beach closures.”

The developer said a series of ponds proposed for the land sloping toward the lake will catch phosphorus and improve water quality.

“What these ponds are going to do is divert all the flows into the ponds so we’re not going to have any direct flow into the lake,” Riaz Choudrhy said.

A public hearing is scheduled for July 3.

 

Waveland, site of a rebuilt water park, is located in Hancock County toward the left of this map of Gulf coastal cities. Map courtesy of Wikipedia.

MISSISSIPPI

From WLOX-TV, Biloxi:

Today, South Mississippians will have a new place for summer fun. That’s when Buccaneer State Park in Waveland will reopen Buccaneer Bay Water Park.

The water park was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and it has been an eight-year process to rebuild. Before the storm, the water park was one of the state’s largest tourists attractions. Now, after a $5 million restoration project, officials are hoping it regains that status.

“It was what we called one of our million dollar revenue parks. I can’t recall exactly the total profit, but it was generating well over a million dollars a year. Of course, we’re looking for even better than that now almost eight years later,” said Ramie Ford , director of Mississippi State Parks.

The park is now ready to reclaim the half million visitors it attracted before the summer of 2005.

“We draw from Louisiana, Alabama, the entire state of Mississippi,” said Waveland Mayor David Garcia.

“So having that kind of visitation come through this particular park, it’s got to be good for the area,” explained Ford.

Shops and restaurants on the way to Buccaneer, like Dee’s Discount Variety Store, have already seen the benefits from Buccaneer’s campground.

Store Owner Roger Estopinal Jr. said, “They’ll pick up fresh cold cut meats. They’ll pick up fresh boiled crawfish. They’ll pick up hardware for their campers that they need, butane tanks. I do see them coming in more to get more of their picnic supplies, things for their family outing.”

And business owners expect even more business from the water park visitors.

Buccaneer Bay Water Park is located on the beach in Waveland.

OREGON

From KNDO-TV, Yakima, Wash.:

The U.S. Forest Service says a hazardous tree removal project at Jubilee Lake Campground near Pendleton, Ore., could delay the campground’s opening date.

Walla Walla District Ranger Mike Rassbach says workers need to remove more than 350 hazardous trees from the 50-acre recreation area before it can safely open for the summer season.

Rassbach says the Forest Service is contracting to have the hazardous trees and associated slash removed, with the project scheduled to begin the week of June 17. He says he hopes it will be completed in time for the 4th of July, but anyone planning to visit in early July should have an alternative plan in mind, and should call to confirm the campground opening date.

“Several other campgrounds in the area will be open and operating for the holiday weekend including Target Meadows, Woodward and Woodland campgrounds,” Rassbach said.

He says the hazardous trees in and around Jubilee Lake Campground are predominantly old age sub-alpine firs that have become susceptible to insects, disease, soil compaction and vandalism in their old age.

CALIFORNIA

From the Redwood Times, Garberville:

Two people were injured in the medical tent at last weekend’s Summer Arts and Music Festival in the Benbow State Recreation Area when several large branches fell from a redwood tree near the main stage. The medical tent was crushed, and KHUM’s broadcast tent was also destroyed – canceling the Ferndale-based station’s plans to continue broadcasting live from the festival on Sunday.

“After hearing a number of pops and cracks that sounded like firecrackers, we watched in horror as the branches came down over the walkway that people travel to get from the concert bowl into the backstage area,” wrote Justin Crellin, general manager of the Mateel Community Center.

Local resident Jeff Brown suffered multiple fractures to his leg. Another female victim, whose identity has been withheld for privacy reasons, had an injured ankle. There was a third person in the medical tent at the time that was not harmed.

“The consensus is that it was an act of God,” said Tom Gunther, superintendent of the California State Parks’ Eel River Sector. “Limbs fall off these redwood trees on a regular basis. There could be wind, disease, all kinds of reasons. But that particular tree? The hazardous tree program assessed that tree last year and it was deemed healthy.”

Gunther said that even after they hit the ground the tree limbs were green and healthy, with no visual indication that they were at risk of falling.

“The response was quick, and it could’ve been much worse. We’re very fortunate that it was a broken leg and not a death,” Gunther said.

 

Firefighters Battle Fern Lake Fire in Snow/Cold

December 11, 2012 by · Comments Off on Firefighters Battle Fern Lake Fire in Snow/Cold 

Fighting a forest fire in the snow may seem odd to outsiders unfamiliar with the challenges that face today’s firefighters but that’s what’s unfolding in northern Colorado.

Snow, cold temperatures and plenty of hard work by fire crews have nearly knocked down the Fern Lake Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, oldwestnewwest.com, Cheyenne, Wyo., reported.

As of Monday (Dec. 10) with the fire roughly 88% contained, officials opened the park on a limited basis. Visitors may enter the park through Highway 34, the Fall River Entrance, and Highway 36, the Beaver Meadows Entrance.

The road is open to Many Parks Curve, the normal winter closure point on Trail Ridge Road. Bear Lake Road will remain closed until further notice because of fire operations.

Upper Beaver Meadows, Hidden Valley, and trails leading into the area around the Fern Lake Fire remain closed. Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fall River Visitor Center is open weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All pre-evacuation and evacuation orders have been lifted and all residents have been allowed to return to their homes. The town of Estes Park and all its businesses are open for visitors and holiday shopping.

By Monday evening, snow accumulations were 4 to 6 inches in the fire area. The snow cover will prevent further spread, although the fire will continue to smolder in heavy fuels, officials said.

Cold temperatures, with heavy snow, forced firefighters from the fireline because of safety concerns.

Crews removed debris created by fire line construction along the northeast perimeter, and removed fire hose laid out to protect structures in, and in the vicinity of, the YMCA. Crews and equipment continue to be demobilized, as fire suppression objectives are met. Adequate firefighting resources are being retained to continue suppression efforts, if fire behavior increases.

The fire started on Oct. 9, but because of its location in dense forest and away from property, the fire was fought with firefighter safety in mind.

Full containment of the fire should be by Dec. 31, officials estimated. As of Monday morning, the size of the fire was 3,498 acres. One structure was lost, and no injuries have been reported. The cost of the fire to date, according to National Park Service officials, is $6 million. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs

December 10, 2012 by · Comments Off on The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs 

WEST VIRGINIA

From the Register-Herald, Beckley:

A new campground is under construction in Summers County’s corridor of the New River Gorge’s National River.

Robin Snyder, chief interpreter for the National Park Service, said the National River received federal project funding to create a campsite 1.5 miles past the Sandstone Visitors center in Meadow Creek.

“This is going to be a lovely campground right on the New River featuring a boat launch. We expect to attract local and distant visitors,” she said.

The Meadow Creek Campground will be the first in the New River Gorge to offer electric and water. The park is looking at the feasibility of providing sewer as well, she said.

In all, the campground will have more than 20 camping sites with at least 5 R.V. sites.

The rest of the sites will be “pull in” and visitors can camp in their vehicles or pitch a tent.

A comfort station with bathrooms and a dumping station is also under construction at Meadow Creek.

Construction on this campground began in October and is expected to be finished by the end of September 2013.

Snyder said the park service is studying the possibility of having a fee for the campground, which would be used to maintain the site.

COLORADO

From the Estes Park Trail-Gazette:

Rocky Mountain National Park officials have opened the park on a limited basis after brief closure due to the Fern Lake Fire. Visitors may enter the park through Highway 34, the Fall River Entrance, and Highway 36, the Beaver Meadows Entrance.

Weather permitting, the road will be open to Many Parks Curve, the normal winter closure point on Trail Ridge Road. Bear Lake Road will remain closed until further notice because of fire operations. Upper Beaver Meadows, Hidden Valley, and trails leading into the area around the Fern Lake Fire remain closed. Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fall River Visitor Center is open weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information click here to read the latest account in the National Parks Traveler.

ILLINOIS

From The Associated Press:

Illinois vehicle owners will pay $2 more for license plates next year after Gov. Pat Quinn approved a surcharge to help repair and maintain state parks.

The Democrat signed a law Friday (Dec. 7) increasing registration fees Jan 1.

The money will go to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The agency says the fee could raise as much as $20 million annually toward a $750 million repair backlog. That account could grow to $35 million annually with other new recreational and fishing fees

Basic license-plate renewals will be $101 with the surcharge. A spokesman for Secretary of State Jesse White — who opposed the increase — says the fee will apply to until renewals due in March at the earliest.

 

 

Colorado’s Fern Lake Fire Fight Cost Tops $3M

December 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on Colorado’s Fern Lake Fire Fight Cost Tops $3M 

The Fern Lake Fire, which has gone through varying stages of smoldering and flaring up since it was first spotted back in October, has cost the National Park Service more than $3 million to combat and the bill continues to rise, National Parks Traveler reported.

The fire, which has destroyed one cabin inside the park and led to the evacuation of hundreds living in outlying areas of Estes Park, Colorado, is roughly 3,500 acres (latest revision) in size, with 40 percent of the fire contained.

Click here to read the entire story.

 

Colo. Firefighters Get a Break in Fern Lake Fire

December 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on Colo. Firefighters Get a Break in Fern Lake Fire 

Weather, which has hampered firefighters battling a wildfire in Rocky Mountain National Park, seemed to turn into an ally Monday (Dec. 3) as cooler temperatures and lighter winds settled over the fire, National Parks Traveler reported.

While a private cabin in Moraine Park within the park boundaries was lost to the Fern Lake Fire, officials said high winds Sunday and into Monday did not push the fire any closer to the park’s eastern gateway town of Estes Park, Colo.

Roughly 150 firefighters and 18 engines stayed on the fire through the night, and as dawn arrived the total was expected to grow by 100 personnel with more resources en route to the park.

Click here to read the entire story.

 

 

Fern Lake Fire Threatens Colo. Campgrounds

November 28, 2012 by · Comments Off on Fern Lake Fire Threatens Colo. Campgrounds 

The Fern Lake Fire in Estes Park, Colo., has crossed to the southern side of Spruce Creek, spurred on by red flag conditions, Rocky Mountain National Park officials reported Tuesday (Nov. 27).

The fire, west of Moraine Park, was mapped Saturday at about 1,370 acres. Strong winds and low humidity have increased the fire activity. Ground attack has been difficult for firefighters because much of the blaze — fed in part by beetle-killed trees — is in steep, rugged terrain. Use of a helitanker was limited Tuesday due to the wind, the Longmont Times-Call reported.

Smoke from the fire was visible in several places along the Front Range. A fire and smoking ban is in effect in the park’s backcountry until further notice. Moraine Park Campground is still open and campfires in grates are allowed there.

Trails in the immediate area of western Moraine Park are closed to hikers, including: Fern Lake Road beyond the winter parking lot, Fern Lake Trail all the way to Lake Helene, the Cub Lake Trail from the trailhead to The Pook, and the Mill Creek Trail from the Mill Creek Basin campsites to the Cub Lake Trail. Hikers on closed trails will be ticketed.

Information about the fire is available at inciweb.org/incident/3294 and at the parks’s website,www.nps.gov/romo. A recorded fire information number can be called at 970-586-1381.

 

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