Grand County is known for its beautiful vistas, abundant wildlife, and adventurous outdoor recreation opportunities. There is no doubt that tourism is a major driver of our economy. Nevertheless, during times like now, when we are asking our residents to take extra precautions for the safety of our community, we must also ask the same of our guests.
Before responsibly roaming our vast outdoors and quaint mountain towns, we ask that visitors please read the following advisories and expectations: co.grand.co.us/1289/Visitor-Resources.
Cranmer Chapel Dinners continue
After 3 successful dinners in the last few weeks, the popular Cranmer Chapel dinners will be continuing into the new year. Held at the Cranmer Chapel, located in downtown Winter Park at 75 High Country Drive, the dinners will take place every other Friday, beginning January 1, from 5-7 pm (Meals also scheduled 1/15, 1/29, 2/12, 2/26, 3/12 and 3/26).
The menus and sponsors vary with each free dinner, and due to COVID-19 restrictions, only take-out meals are available. All are welcome to stop by and pick up a hot meal to go.
Ride On with The Lift
Winter Lift service is in full swing. However, buses must operate at 50% capacity. Riders are asked to please be patient and courteous. Masks are required for all riders over the age of 10. To help plan your trip, QR codes have been added to all stops along Main Street to track when the next bus is arriving – or download the Lift Rider app to see buses in real-time.
If you don’t feel comfortable riding the bus, there is also a new paid ride service provided on weekends and holidays for Winter Park, Fraser and Meadowridge. Call 833.2RIDE.WP to schedule a ride.
2021 Dog Tags now available
Grand County Animal Shelter issued a friendly reminder that the 2021 County Tags are now available. County tags help with getting the dogs home instead of coming to the shelter in most cases. Also, the county ordinance is that all dogs in the county (even fosters) need to display a current rabies and county tag at all times. The county tag can be purchased at most of the veterinarians’ offices, town halls, Sheriff’s Office and the animal shelter. Fixed dogs are $5 and intact dogs are $10. If you have any questions, call the shelter at (970) 887-2988.
Art Exhibit at Cozens Ranch Museum
Join Grand County Historical Association (GCHA) at Cozens Ranch Museum for an exhibit of Clare Scott’s paintings. Scott is a painter who focuses on capturing the beauty of Western landscapes. All of the work displayed was painted in Grand County! The exhibit will be up through Sunday, January 31.
Free Christmas Tree Drop off
Time to get rid of your Christmas tree. You can drop off your Christmas tree at the designated drop off area anytime at 855 County Road 731 (farmhouse) in Fraser right behind the rodeo grounds. There is no charge to drop off your tree. Please place your tree in the designated area at the drop off location for either “treated trees” purchased at City Market, Safeway, or other locations where the trees have been treated/sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides or “untreated trees” that have not been sprayed by any chemicals. Christmas trees purchased at Murdoch’s are not treated with chemicals. We’d like to give a big “THANK YOU” to the Kotrba Family for providing this service to the Fraser Valley Community and helping to keep Christmas trees out of the landfill!
2021 Health Insurance Open Enrollment
November 1, 2020 – January 15, 2021 is the open enrollment period for Colorado’s Health Care Exchange: Connect for Health Colorado. There is still time to enroll for a February 1, 2021 coverage effective date.
For assistance (mask-to-mask or virtual), call Kim Long, Certified Health Coverage Guide and schedule an appointment: (970) 531-4769.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is seeking applications for wetland and riparian restoration, enhancement, and creation projects to support its Wetlands Program Strategic Plan.
CPW will award up to $2.5 million in funds from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and Colorado waterfowl stamps to projects in Colorado that support the Wetlands Program Strategic Plan’s two main goals: 1. Improve the distribution and abundance of ducks, and opportunities for public waterfowl hunting. 2. Improve the status of declining or at-risk species. The application deadline for this year’s funding is January 27, 2021.
The Wetlands Funding Request for Applications (RFA) is available on CPW’s website: cpw.state.co.us.
I-70 Mountain Corridor Advisory
Crews are working diligently to complete road construction so the new I-70 Express Lane can open as soon as possible, which is estimated for early 2021, depending on the weather and other factors. Once the new Express Lane opens, tolls will be waived until summer or fall of 2021, when the tolling infrastructure is in place and has been tested.
When completed, there will be an Express Lane on westbound I-70 from the Veterans Memorial Tunnels to the Empire Interchange. Similar to the eastbound lane already in use, this 12-mile long managed lane will feature traffic management systems to reduce congestion and provide westbound drivers with a reliable, time-saving option during peak travel periods. The project is also improving the alignment of the road and repaving the surface to improve safety and make for a smoother drive.
Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:
- Road conditions and travel information: COtrip.org
- See scheduled lane closures: codot.gov/travel/scheduled-lane-closures.html
Local effort raises over $65K for Wildfire relief
A local HOA, which consists of 12 homes in the Grand Lake area, has rallied to raise funds and then voted to authorize a 20% match from their HOA operating account. During the East Troublesome Fire, these homeowners feared the worst as everyone watched helplessly as the firestorm thrust through the Grand Lake area. Once it was clear that their homes had been spared, the members desperately wanted to make a real impact for their Grand Lake neighbors and businesses that hadn’t fared as well. With a 100% participation from the 12 homeowners and a 20% matching fund from their HOA, they raised a total of $65,400 for the relief efforts, with approximately two thirds going to homeowners and one third going to support local businesses.
The goal of these homeowners was to help the local community while also trying to inspire other HOA’s to possibly do the same.
The Grand Foundation Wildlife Relief Fund has earmarked these funds for businesses and residents who will suffer long-term effects from the devastating fire. Grand Foundation Wildfire Emergency Fund, if you want it to go to business relief, add that under notes/specifications:
Grand Lake Business Wildfire Emergency at grandfoundation.com.
For more information, contact DiAnn Butler, Director of Grand County Economic Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or Megan Ledin, Executive Director of Grand Foundation at email@example.com.
Wildfire Insurance Workshops
Nonprofit United Policyholders will be presenting virtual workshops in January 2021 for survivors of 2020 wildfires in Colorado.
Survivor to Survivor Q & A: Tuesday, January 5, 2021, 8 pm (online/virtual). Trained, savvy and empathetic UP volunteers from previous wildfires will answer your questions and help you stay connected with info and support.
Roadmap to Recovery Workshop #2: Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 5:30 pm (online/virtual). How to read your policy, calculate max limits available, and arrange temporary housing and debris removal.
Roadmap to Recovery Workshop #3: Saturday, January 16, 2021, 11 am (online/virtual). Accurately calculating dwelling rebuild costs, correcting errors in adjuster estimates.
Post-Workshop Q & A: Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 5:30 pm (online/virtual). UP Staff and CO-based experts will answer your individual questions.
Register for any of these events at: uphelp.org/r2r. This Roadmap to Recovery™ workshop is presented by United Policyholders, a non-profit consumer organization helping disaster survivors for over 29 years. For more information, visit: uphelp.org/Colorado.
Indian Peaks Wilderness permits will move to recreation.gov
To improve customer service for visitors, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests are announcing plans to move Indian Peaks Wilderness backcountry permits online at Recreation.gov. Beginning in mid-March 2021, visitors will be able to view permit availability, book a reservation, pay online, print permits, and manage their reservations from one account.
Indian Peaks Wilderness is a popular destination for recreation opportunities in the Front Range. The area’s proximity to the Denver Metro area makes it one of the most visited Wilderness areas in the country. To preserve the area’s wilderness character, a permit system has been in place for overnight camping since 1985. Until now, however, visitors could only apply for a permit via mail or in person at the Boulder or Granby district offices. This system created challenges and inconveniences for visitors.
This new online system will allow visitors to view backcountry zone availability ahead of time, making it easier for them to plan their itineraries. Furthermore, they will have access to this system 24/7 and can apply for permits on the weekends and evenings, even when the district offices are closed. Lastly, visitors can easily make modifications to an existing permit if circumstances change.
Permits are required for all overnight camping from June 1 to September 15 and are always required for groups of 8-12 people. The new system is expected to come online in mid-March and permits will no longer be issued by mail, phone or in person. Look for more information and details as they become available at fs.usda.gov.
Trails reopen in RMNP
Additional areas within Rocky Mountain National Park have reopened following the East Troublesome Fire.
On the west side of the park, the North Inlet Trail is now open to Cascade Falls. The trail beyond Cascade Falls remains closed. The Lower Tonahutu Trail, a short section of trail from the Kawuneeche Visitor Center to the North Inlet Trail, is now open.
Park visitors are advised not to stop or park along the roadside from the Grand Lake Entrance to the Onahu Trail due to hazard trees along the road from the East Troublesome Fire. There is no access to trails, picnic areas or parking areas along that section of the road, including the Harbison Picnic Area, the Green Mountain Trail and the Onahu Trail.
The Bowen-Baker Trail is open inside the park and is closed at the US Forest Service boundary. The Colorado River Trail has reopened to the park boundary. The Sun Valley Trail remains closed.
Additional areas that remain closed include the North Boundary Trail, the North Fork Trail, and Mummy Pass, Stormy Pass, Comanche Peak and Mirror Lake Trails.
For complete details on the new conditions, visit: nps.gov.
Forest Service makes plans for slash pile burns
As winter conditions settle in across Colorado’s northern Front Range, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests will work to burn slash piles resulting from fuels reduction and hazardous tree removal projects across the area. This season’s pile burning could begin as soon as January 5, 2021, and will continue through the spring, depending on weather and fuels conditions.
Fuels reduction programs involve mechanical or hand thinning projects, removing trees to reduce forest density and improve forest health. While larger logs are removed for use, unmarketable limbs, saplings, and brush are piled up for burning. Hand piles result from crews using chainsaws to thin the forest and then piling the sawn material; machine piles result from using logging equipment and primarily consist of tree limbs left behind after marketable material is removed.
Piles are only ignited when fuels managers are confident that the project can be undertaken safely and successfully. Snow cover, fuel moisture, precipitation, wind, temperature, and available firefighter staffing are all considered before beginning a pile burn. Piles which are ready for burning are prioritized based on elevation, aspect, access, and proximity to homes. Smoke, flames, and glowing embers are often visible, and are a normal part of pile burning operations. Snow helps contain the piles and firefighters monitor the area during and after the burn. Public and firefighter safety is always the number-one priority in burning operations.
Areas on the Sulphur Ranger District (Grand County) with hand and machine piles ready for burning:
- Winter Park Fuels/Upper Fraser: 2,500 hand piles General Location: Southwest of Fraser and Winter Park.
- Keyser Creek Fuels: 100 machine piles General location: north and south of Keyser Creek
- Shadow Mtn Fuels: 30 hand piles General location: CR 66 and Hwy 34
- Blue Ridge 10,000 hand piles General location: South of CR 55 along Blue Ridge
- St Louis Creek 20 Machine Piles General location: Fraser Experimental Forest Rd 160 and 164
- High Lonesome 75 hand Piles General location: FSR 129, W of Meadow Creek Reservoir
Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health; for more information see colorado.gov.
To receive updates, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the general area you are interested in (i.e. Boulder, Gilpin, Clear Creek, Grand).
New Service connecting Craig and Denver launches Friday
The Colorado Department of Transportation, in partnership with Greyhound, will begin providing service between Craig and Denver on Jan. 1, 2021.
In addition to Craig, regularly scheduled stops include Hayden, Steamboat Springs, Kremmling, Hot Sulphur Springs, Granby, Tabernash, Fraser, Winter Park, Idaho Springs, the Denver Federal Center and Denver’s Union Station. Temporary blue and white Bustang Outrider signs will identify the bus stop location in each city or town along Highway 40.
The route will operate daily, including weekends and holidays. Fares are priced at 17 cents per mile:
- Craig-Union Station ($34)
- Steamboat Springs-Union Station ($27)
- Granby-Union Station ($13)
Tickets are half price for those 65 years and older, 11 years or younger or disabled. Additional information on purchasing tickets is available at: ridebustang.com.
“The route will be transitioning to Bustang Outrider sometime early in 2021,” said CDOT’s Division of Transit and Rail Director David Krutsinger. “And because we wanted to get this line up and running and serving northwestern Colorado as soon as possible, we decided it’s best to partner with Greyhound Lines in the interim while we continue making our final preparations to implement our latest Outrider route.”
In response to COVID-19 and in accordance with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) regulations, Outrider operators will take increased precautions to keep drivers and passengers safe. Precautions include, but are not limited to: daily enhanced cleaning and sanitizing on all buses, required face masks for drivers and passengers, supplied face masks (for personal use), latex gloves and personal hand sanitizers on all buses, and blocked seats onboard to ensure proper social distancing.