Monday November 24, 2014

The Public Lands Partnership (PLP) is seeking individuals to work together as the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest continues its efforts on an environmental impact statement focused on a spruce beetle epidemic and aspen decline management response.
The PLP is committed to a rich dialogue and concentrated efforts to increase public awareness and outreach, to better define and understand potential issues and concerns, and to clearly articulate objectives and process for public participation during implementation of the adaptive management approach to a landscape scale issue.

The Thunder Mountain Wheelers (TMW) ATV Club of Delta County, in partnership with Kevin Anderson, owner of Grand Mesa Motor Sports of Delta, last year applied for and received a $3,776 grant from the Yamaha corporation’s OHV Access Initiative Program. The grant funds were used to purchase two rolls of EZ roll (EZRG) grass paver.

Yampa Valley Cranes

Cranes, cranes, cranes. It seems that my life is filled with cranes, especially sandhill cranes. The Rocky Mountain population of Greater Sandhill Cranes lands at Fruitgrowers Reservoir/Hart’s Basin on its spring migration to nesting grounds to our north. And since Allen and I have lived in Delta County we’ve marveled at their presence each spring. Of course, I’ve come to understand that there are other cranes — in fact there are cranes on every continent except for South America and Antarctica. And of course, I wanted to see them all! So I made the trip to the International Crane Foundation near Baraboo, Wis., where I could see all 15 species of the world’s cranes.

So it’s with great anticipation that I’m going to Steamboat Springs for the third annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival where the keynote speaker is Richard Beifuss, president and CEO of the International Crane Foundation. His topic is “Cranes, Ambassadors for Conservation” and I know how impressive some of those ambassadors are! There are the crowned cranes of Africa, the photogenic Japanese cranes, the six-feet-tall Sarus crane of Southeast Asia, and of course our own whooping crane.

At 1:45 p.m. in the Steamboat Springs Library Hall I’ll be presenting the exciting Operation Migration video entitled “Hope Takes Wing” that portrays ultra-light aircraft (called “trikes”) leading fledgling whooping cranes from Wisconsin to Florida. It renews my inspiration for cranes every time I see it.

Ted Floyd is the editor of Birding, the publication of the American Birding Association, and author of the Smithsonian “Guide to Birding in North America.” On Friday, Sept. 12, at 3 p.m., he’ll lead a birding walk concentrating on the birds of the Steamboat area and then on Sunday, Sept. 14, Floyd will have a book signing and will speak on learning about birds in this digital age.

Van Graham, a wildlife biologist and environmental consultant, will present “Everything you ever wanted to know about Rocky Mountain Sandhill Cranes.” This is a “must see” for me — I really don’t know everything about our cranes! Van’s presentation is at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Besides these main events being held at the Library Hall, there is a gondola ride to the top of Thunderhead Mountain, a pontoon boating/birding excursion, a horse-drawn wagon tour of a crane-friendly ranch near Hayden, drawing and photography workshops, meal events, crane-oriented merchandise, and art exhibits. Guided crane viewing is available mornings and evenings but you can just drive around the countryside to see the birds. 

Now we have the Yampa Valley Festival, our own Eckert Crane Days and the Monte Vista festival, all in celebration of our sandhill cranes!

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