Showing posts with label parks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parks. Show all posts

August 27, 2022

A Parks Pass for You! And a Parks Pass for You! Parks Passes for Everybody!

Annual Colorado state parks pass on a windshield.
These passes cannot be switched between vehicles.
 
The Denver Post had the story last June, but I don't think that it has sunk in yet:

Colorado residents who register a non-commercial vehicle will automatically pay for and receive a pass that allows entry to state parks under a bill Gov. Jared Polis signed Monday [June 20, 2022] that would take effect in 2023.

In the meantime, the state will set the fee, which to start won’t be more than $40, for the Keep Colorado Wild annual pass and work out other details of the program. Residents who don’t want to pay for the pass may opt out.

Affected vehicles incude passenger motor vehicles, trucks with an empty weight of16,000 pounds or less, motorcycles, and recreational vehicles.

Right now, the annual "affixed" pass as pictured is $80/year. Residents 64 years or older pay $70. There is also a "low income" pass.

Additional annual passes are $40/year per vehicle. For the same price, $120, you can buy a "family" pass that can be transferred from vehicle to vehicle if they are "associated" with the same household address.  

But maybe you should not buy one now. Keep reading.

A little-known fact is that many public libraries can "check out" a state park entry pass for a week.

But wait, there's more!

After first saying that a hunting or fishing license would be required to access state wildlife areas, which became more popular during the Covid-19 pandemic, CPW did a 180 and created access passes for most of these state-managed lands (some are owned outright; other are leased): One-day pass $9, annual pass $36.08 (plus habitat stamp) youth/senior/low-income annual pass $10.23. Online purchase here.

Now, big changes!

Ta-da! The Keep Colorado Wild Pass. One pass to rule them . . . or least replace the annual state parks pass — not the wildlife area pass. That stays as above.

"The $29 pass fee is included in the vehicle registration pricing total for each vehicle a resident owns unless they choose to decline."

In other words, you will be charged for the pass unless you decline it. So if you never take your restored 1964 Chevy Impala into a state park, you have to opt-out, otherwise you will be charged.

On the other hand, it is cheaper than the current annual pass.

[Otero County Clerk Lyyn] Scott says the renewal card you receive in the mail will have the extra fee on the card, if you do not want it you must subtract the $29 fee from the total you send in. The easier way, of course, is to just go to the clerk and recorder's office and opt out.

Other sources says that you can opt out if you renew your vehicle registration online. I wonder how many people who do it that way will even notice the extra charge.

In five years, "visitation at Colorado state parks has increased from about 14 million to 17 million visitor days per year."

The Keep Colorado Wlidfe Pass, says CPW,  means millions for "wildlife habitats, search and rescue programs, avalanche awareness education, outdoor equity learning programs and more."

 It should at least double the always-stressed state parks budget. It's also just a little bit sneaky.

July 23, 2022

CPW Fishing App Discontinued & I Wonder Which Others to Keep


You maybe did not notice, but last April, Colorado Parks & Wildlife shut down its CPW Fishing app. 

It's still the Apple app store (Android too, I assume), but a CPW spokesman said,

The app is no longer being updated or supported. As we close it down, those who have downloaded the app may still be able to use several functions, but we consider it closed as we are no longer updating the app and that may cause App and Play stores to remove them without notice. We are building a new website with this type of functionality included moving forward.

Users are instead directed to the online Colorado Fishing Atlas,  "an interactive mapping tool offered by CPW that allows users to search for fishing opportunities by species or proximity to your home or destination" and to the division's printed guides.

Here are some outdoor apps that I am keeping and others that I am deleting to free up space.

CPW's  Match A Hatch Colorado app is still available on Google Play, but I don't know what happened with Apple. It works for me because it does not require a data connection. It just serves up photos of what insects should be on the water this month and suggests some matching fly patterns. Keep.

CO Woody Plants (Colorado State University) is straightforward, but it has to download photos. Are you out in the boonies? Carry a printed field guide. I like Derig and Fuller's Wild Berries of the West. Delete.

The myColorado app (State of Colorado) is supposed to hold your driver's license, Colorado Parks and Wildlife licenses, car registrations, etc. Well, the first one works. The driver's license is up to date, but the app still displays my 2019 fishing license with EXPIRED across it. Gee, thanks. Better keep the paper license in my wallet. (But I did drive off without my wallet last Thursday, so I could have needed that digital driver's license, hypothetically.) Keep.

Merlin Bird ID (Cornell University) needs 1.14 GB of iPhone storage, but I hardly use it. It seemed like a good idea, especially when traveling. But sometimes when I test it against known birds, it is not even close. When you do have a good connection and screen space, Cornell's All About Birds website is really useful. Otherwise, a field guide that shows ranges, so you are not trying to identify a Florida bird in Arizona. Sibley Birds West is a good one. Delete.

Explore USFS (US Forest Service)—another example of "just because you can put it on a smartphone does not mean that a smartphone works best." It works better in a web browser on your computer. The app take up "only" 766 MB, but every "tour" of a national forest requires an additional download. Delete.


Colorado Trails Explorer, otherwise CoTrex. "COTREX puts information about all of Colorado’s trails in your hands, thanks to a collaborative effort by land managers at every level." Well, not really, but it has gotten better since its first version.

When CoTrex first launched (rushed out), it was basically a hiking aid for state parks with good cellular data service — Cheyenne Mountain State Park next to Colorado Springs, for instance, although it might have a few dead spots.

There have been improvements since. You can use the website to pick a trail (foot? bicycle? ATV? dogs allowed?), get some information about it,  and download the smartphone app for iPhone or Android. 

You can get driving directions to the trailhead using Google Maps, which means there are some  . . . oddities. One southern Colorado trailhead is labeled "Florence Re-2," which is a school district in a different county. Why? (Letting users add info leads to mis-info. There is plenty of wrong labeling on Google Maps —nonexistent places and so on.)

Users can create profiles, leave trip reports, all the usual stuff. There is a brief tutorial. 

On the other hand, smartphone users will have the usual problems with small-screen navigation, and I have seen some errors in the driving directions, like using the wrong name for a road. It all comes down to whether the state agencies will commit to long-term maintenance.  Keeping, for now.

If you value any outdoor apps in particular, let us know in the comments!

February 10, 2011

Blog Stew, according to George Leonard Herter's Celebrated Recipe

• A Web guide to the cult of George Leonard Herter, expert on hunting, fishing, cooking, surviving nuclear war, and living with a bitch. (Thanks for the link!)

• And George Herter would have had some pungent things to say about death by GPS! (Hat tip: Odious & Peculiar).

Two Colorado state parks win environmental education awards, one for an art class in the spirit of Andy Goldsworthy (whose work, believe me, is not as simple as it looks).
Since 2009, the Art in Nature Program has been a terrific vehicle to engage youth from the juvenile justice system's probation department. The young people start out yawning, uninterested and fidgety, but once they get outdoors, that attitude changes. As they gather the natural materials, including leaves, rocks and branches from the ground, to create a piece of art, they become engaged both physically and emotionally. They become children again, laughing and playing in nature. A sense of pride and community develops within the young people as they build their sculptures and work together.

May 29, 2010

Pueblo Reservoir Sunset

Those are the Wet Mountains in the distance. (Click image to embiggen.) If you work for state parks, you are required to call this thirty-something-year-old body of water "Lake Pueblo."  Sounds better.

The little point in the foreground with the juniper growing out of it looks like some of the "Penrose-Rock outcrop complex," made of limestone and interbedded shale, if I read my soil maps correctly. They belong to the Penrose-Minnequa Association, which has its annual meeting the last Saturday of June at La Tronica's Italian restaurant in Pueblo. (Joke.)

Sometimes I think that if there were more colorful sandstone and less of the blah beige shale, this area would attract more Georgia O'Keefe wannabes.

Oh well, you take what you got. At least the walleye and crappie were biting.

March 01, 2010

High Country News Misrepresents National Parks Gun Law

On February 22, it became legal to carry concealed weapons in national parks and wildlife refuges according to the laws of the state in which they are located.

Most states require classroom instruction, a firing-range session, and a criminal background check in order to grant a concealed-carry permit. Vermont and Alaska do not require permits. Arizona permits "open" carry.

It's been a whole week, and mass carnage has not yet erupted.

Sitting her office, Betsy Marston, retired editor of High Country News, "views with alarm" the new regulations: "tourists around you might be packing an assault rifle."

(High Country News always seasons its good environmental reporting with plenty of stereotypes and liberal guilt.)

Right. Frankly, I doubt that Mrs. Marston could define "assault rifle" if you handed her a pencil and piece of paper. And even using Wikipedia evidently is too much trouble.

Let's go back to that key word: concealed. It means, "you can't see it," and that fact pretty rules out rifles and shotguns.

But why let simple facts get in the way of editorial opinions?

National parks are not always safe places, and the dangerous predators usually walk on two legs. (I prefer pepper spray for the four-legged type.)

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, Sebastian of Snowflakes in Hell puts boots on the ground, looking for carnage in parks and monuments, but he finds none.

Funny about that.

February 18, 2010

Still Not Exactly the Joads

New York Times reporter Kirk Johnson tries to get a Grapes of Wrath vibe going in this story on nomadic retired volunteer parkies, but I don't think it works.

These people are not that desperate.

But if you like to travel, like outdoor-related work, and can stand dealing with the public, it's not a bad way to live.

December 28, 2008

State Parks Wants to Make Mountain Bikers Pay

Buried in a Colorado State Parks plan for more trails at Lake Pueblo State Park lies--surprise!--a plan to collect more fees from park visitors.

That's right, all you mountain bikers parking at the "red gate" and other access points on Colorado 96, the parks bureaucrats want some money out of you.

One official trailhead with parking, trail information signage, and a self-service pay station may be considered along Highway 96 at the area know as the “red gate”.

The parkies want to tag you too.

Day use and seasonal passes should become available to the trail user. A receipt and wire tag system similar to systems used by the Forest Service or ski areas could be used and displayed on the bicycle or horse while riding in the park. By accepting and paying the fees, the user is expected to follow trail etiquette and release the State of Colorado from liability.

Because there is nothing more important in being outdoors than liability issues.