December 09, 2011

Colorado Approves New Natural Areas

Colorado will have three new designated "natural areas" following action by the Colorado Wildlife and Parks Commission yesterday.
The 2,529-acre Miramonte Natural Area is located within the Dan Noble State Wildlife Area at Miramonte Reservoir in San Miguel County. Renowned for its excellent recreational opportunities and remarkably diverse rare plant habitats, this area also serves as an indicator of healthy sagebrush communities and provides some of the best habitat for the Gunnison sage-grouse in the county.

• North of Durango in La Plata County, 125 acres of the Haviland Lake State Wildlife Area have become the new Haviland Lake Natural Area. Plant communities common to the southern Rockies meet with Four Corners communities in interesting and unique assemblage of species. Riparian shrub lands and robust wetland vegetation at the site provide habitat for sensitive wildlife species such as the osprey and the Northern leopard frog.

• In eastern Colorado north of Idalia, the 2,240-acre Arikaree River Natural Area is part of the largest remaining naturally functioning Great Plains river system in the state. Several native and uncommon species of amphibians, fish and reptiles reside in a mature riparian corridor that includes high-quality native prairie and streamside plant communities. The area, owned by the Colorado Land Board, is a meeting ground for many bird species from the eastern and western United States and is one of the best birding areas in Colorado.
I'd like to get out to the Arikaree area before the weather gets too hot. To the south, I assume that there is still accessible state land along the Republican River, even with Bonny Reservoir lost. (I am glad that Dad is not around to see Bonny drained; it was one of his favorite getaway spots when he needed a little prairie time.)

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