Colorado National Forest areas reopen following historic wildfires as fall recreation and hunting seasons approach

Steven Bonifazi

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(Photo courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

By Steven Bonifazi

(FORT COLLINS, Colo.) The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests have reopened additional areas after being closed due to last year's wildfires and this year's summer monsoons.

The reopening of these areas was made possible through the hard work this summer of National Forest managers, partners and volunteers across northern Colorado. The groups have mitigated tens of thousands of burned trees, stabilized hundreds of miles of roads and trails, restored fire containment lines and cleared debris, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“So much great work has been done with partners, volunteers, and Forest Service Staff to stabilize and rehabilitate the burned areas this year,” said Deputy Forest Supervisor Aaron Mayville. “While there is still more work to do, we are particularly glad to be able to open this terrain for hunters in advance of archery and muzzleloader seasons.”

Areas including Long Draw Road where the Cameron Peak Fire burned, the Keyser Ridge area located on the Williams Fork Fire in Grand County. Additionally, the western side of Stillwater Pass off Colo. 125 where the East Troublesome Fire and the summer monsoons impacted have all reopened.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife are reminding the public that the burned areas that are reopening have critical hazards from loose debris that can roll down hillsides to burned trees that can fall over without notice. Furthermore, burned stumps on trails can easily be hidden and rainstorms can cause sudden landslides while areas open to walking and hiking have soils that stabilize and allow vegetation to grow.

Some of the areas are still closed as a result of large damage and rehabilitation work taking place with heavy equipment in areas such as Crown Point in Larimer County, Kinney Creek Road, Cabin Creek Road and Kaufman Creek Road in Grand County that have all been damaged by the monsoons this summer. The public is being urged to remain out of the closed areas to avoid danger and prevent further damage so that recovery work can take place.

Fire recovery options like helicopter mulching could possibly take place in those open areas.

“Public land access is critical for our hunting public to have the ability to scout, camp and harvest an animal during their hunting seasons,” said Mark Leslie, area wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Our hope is that hunters who were impacted by the public land closures last year will be back out in the field this fall helping us manage local wildlife populations. The reopening of these areas for hunting season is great news.”

For more information regarding Colorado's National Forests reopening, click here.

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