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Fish Creek Trail Beaver Ponds Volunteer Group

Recently, a group of area residents who reside near the newly completed extension of Fish Creek Trail began volunteering their time in the evenings to monitor trail safety and illegal trail parking, and to provide information about the beaver and their habitat. This volunteer group formation was sparked by concerns from residents who live along Fish Creek Trail and by the Recreation District’s interest in providing a safe experience for both trail users and wildlife viewers.

Parking in the beaver ponds area, or on the trail itself, is not permitted. People who stop to view the beaver colonies create a relatively unsafe situation along the trail when they use the beaver ponds area as a parking lot. The Fish Creek Trail volunteer group serves a critical role by engaging visitors and locals alike, providing information about beaver habitat and behavior, and directing people to proper parking areas — which helps keep cars from parking on or along the trail.

Estes Valley Recreation and Park District (EVRPD) is excited to be working with such a great group of motivated individuals! EVRPD hosted a volunteer training session on Friday, August 31, 2012, to provide information necessary to monitor parking along Fish Creek Trail near the beaver ponds area, educate and protect the public, monitor and protect the beaver, and convey the safety and regulations set by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Several administrators were on hand to provide training, including: Rick Spowart, District Wildlife Manager, CPW; Gary Miller, Wildlife Biologist, Rocky Mountain National Park; and Skyler Rorabaugh, Executive Director, EVRPD. Rick Spowart provided information on educating the public about wildlife, wildlife regulations, public interactions, and expectations of volunteers from a wildlife management perspective. Gary Miller provided information about the beaver and beaver ecology. Skyler Rorabaugh provided training on the perimeters of the Fish Creek Trail to monitor, courtesy notices for parking violators, preferred volunteer parking areas, volunteer program evaluations, and information regarding future installation of parking blocks to deter parking along the beaver ponds area. Expectations of the volunteers and their authority, parking enforcement, conflict resolution, and best communication methods were also discussed. Volunteers are equipped with an EVRPD wildlife volunteer hat, a safety reflective vest, and beaver information sheets to distribute.

Bob Rising, a local resident who lives near the new extension of the Fish Creek Trail, is serving as the group’s Volunteer Coordinator. EVRPD Executive Director Skyler Rorabaugh noted: “Bob has been a very motivated and dedicated individual from the inception of this volunteer group. Bob took the initiative to form this group of volunteers and will coordinate volunteer scheduling, continued training, and necessary communication for the program”. Volunteers are currently monitoring the trail near the beaver ponds on Fridays through Sundays, from 5 p.m. to dusk. The group includes Bob and his wife, Jane Rising, Bill Cook, Mike Wold, Kathryn Kosman, Bernard and Sandra Lee, Connie Leavitt, Jeff Gamet, Jim Gamet, and Betty Tully. “EVRPD can’t thank Bob and the rest of the volunteers enough, for all of their assistance,” said EVRPD Executive Director Skyler Rorabaugh.

The group welcomes more volunteers onto their team. We would like to staff the trail seven days a week, and continue to monitor the trail as long as weather conditions remain pleasant and the beaver colony remains active. If you or someone you know is interested serving as a volunteer, please feel free to contact Bob Rising at 577-0243 orbob23@q.com; or Skyler Rorabaugh at 970-586-8191 or skyler@evrpd.com.

We hope to see you on the trail!

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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