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Outdoors

  • Blue jays joining Steller’s jays at area feeders

    Several readers of this column have called me during the last month to tell me they have had a “real honest-to-goodness Eastern blue jay” at their feeders. This is an exciting event, which seems to be occurring with more regularity each fall. They stay for a day or two and then usually disappear. This bold, sassy blue jay has apparently worked its way west along the water courses over the past many years.

  • Work gets under way on G-town Lake trail segment

    After years of planning, work is under way to construct a portion of the Georgetown Lake trail — a project that has been two decades in the making. 

    While the entire 1.5-mile trail around the lake is expected to cost $700,000, the town has $40,000 to get things started. The Clear Creek Recreation District has provided a $25,000 grant, and Georgetown is providing $15,000. Georgetown also is supplying workers and equipment, and the county is supplying trail-surface aggregate.

  • Construction could begin this fall on trail segment

    Construction on a 6-mile paved trail along Clear Creek Canyon could begin this fall, with completion expected in the spring of 2015.

    The $13.9 million project will link Clear Creek and Jefferson counties with a 10-foot-wide concrete trail and eventually tie into the larger Peaks to Plains Trail that will stretch 65 miles from Loveland Pass to Adams County.

    The trail project will run approximately 4 miles in Jefferson County and about 2 miles in Clear Creek.

  • Squirrel antics are a comical sight

     If you have a resident western red squirrel in your yard, you are in for daily episodes of enjoyment and laughter.

    I have lived in this house for a little over 48 years, and when we arrived in April of 1965, a pair of golden-mantled ground squirrels and a pair of gray-and-white tassel-eared squirrels thought they owned our patio. 

  • All plants big and small

    When you begin to study wildflowers, you, out of necessity, begin to learn about the development of plants, learning that plants range from microscopic algae and mosses to giant and thousands-of-years-old trees.

  • Walking through mining history

    Scattered white clouds float around snowcapped mountain peaks as you stand in the parking lot a few miles up Guanella Pass Road wondering which way to go.

    Fortunately, there is a good map of area trails displayed on a large sign in front of the rushing creek filled with snowmelt.

  • County officials believe pine beetle infestation is abating

    State and county officials agree the pine beetle infestation is slowing as it moves east through Clear Creek County and down the Interstate 70 corridor.

    Kevin Zimlinghaus, a U.S. Forest Service forest specialist, said Rocky Mountain pine beetles are evident but not as much as several years ago.

    “We’re still having movement from west to east down the I-70 corridor. Pockets are still showing up here and there,” Zimlinghaus said.

  • A watershed event

    The fourth annual Watershed Festival truly was unlike any other festival because the only agenda for its 30 vendors was education.

    Everyone from toddlers to seniors who attended Saturday’s festival, sponsored by the Clear Creek Watershed Foundation, at Courtney-Ryley-Cooper Park in Idaho Springs could learn something about the environment, water, mining and recycling. Some booths had participants play games, while others asked questions and provided displays. 

  • Yellow wildflowers herald the coming of autumn

     Driving into town last week, I was amazed by the least chipmunk activity. Darting back and forth across the road with cheeks bulging, they were carrying great quantities of seeds and berries into their dens for winter food. 

    In addition, like careless children at a picnic, it looked like they had splashed yellow mustard all along the road. These splashes of yellow were wildflowers for it is the color of autumn. Between the house and Safeway, I was able to identify as least six different yellow wildflowers without even getting out of the car.

  • Watershed Festival to feature fishing, snowmaking, hands-on learning

    By Sandy Barnes

    Staff Writer

    The fourth annual Clear Creek Watershed Festival on Saturday, Sept. 15, promises to be a fun and educational event for kids and families.

    Hands-on learning opportunities at 30 environmental stations will range from water-quality sampling to fly fishing and gold panning.