Art: Credit Leland Hermit
WELCOME to the first Monday in December 2021. There are 19 days till Christmas.
Your Monday Briefing includes a heads up on road construction near South Fork . . . a business opportunity at the Great Sand Dunes National Park . . . and an early look at holiday events this weekend. Read on:
CO 149, near South Fork:
Pothole patching Monday-Thursday
RIO GRANDE COUNTY ― The Colorado Department of Transportation will patch potholes next on CO Highway 149 near South Fork, mile points 0-2. Brief periodic closures are required to allow crews to work and travelers should allow for extra travel time. The four-day maintenance operations will take place Monday through Thursday (Dec. 6-9), from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Traffic Impacts: Drivers will encounter full stops. Flagging personnel will guide traffic through the work zone. Up to 15 minute delays are anticipated. A speed reduction of 40 MPH will be in place and drivers should slow down and use extreme caution when approaching and driving through the work zone. Motorists are urged to be aware of crews and heavy equipment.
to the Great Sand Dunes
GREAT SAND DUNES – The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has announced business opportunities for firewood sales, and incidental visitor services within the Park. Incidental visitor services include the sale of sunscreen, insect repellent, limited camping supplies and vended beverages. This operation is seasonal, beginning mid-May and ending mid-October. Services are to be provided for a minimum of three hours, five evenings a week. The hours of operation may be extended but the schedule of operation must be consistent with the hours that the operator is required to display to the public. The schedule must include Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evenings. Vending machines operate year-round.
A Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) is required to provide these services at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The fee for a CUA is $200. A small building located near the campground may be assigned to the CUA holder. The CUA holder will be charged a building use fee of $100. The holder of the CUA must also provide the Park with proof of commercial general insurance. For the sale of vended beverages, the annual gross receipts over the past three years averaged over $9,000. For the sale of firewood and incidental visitor items, the annual gross receipts over the past three years averaged over $40,000. Based on attention to operational management, the potential may exist for an increase of future revenue.
The National Park Service intends to issue one CUA for vended beverage service and one CUA for the sale of firewood and limited camping supplies. Applications must be returned to the Park no later than 4 p.m. on February 17. For information including proposal package requirements, contact Dale Culver via phone: 719-378-6321 or e-mail: email@example.com, or mail proposal package to: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, 11500 Highway 150, Mosca, CO 81146-9798.
Additional CUA information including approved business opportunities within Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve can be found on the Park’s website, www.nps.gov/grsa.
Gunnision Basin closures
GUNNISON VALLEY – In an effort to protect critical winter ranges for deer, elk, Gunnison sage-grouse and other wildlife, multiple State Wildlife Areas have seasonal closures in place in the Gunnison Basin. Closures went into effect Dec. 1 for the Almont Triangle, Centennial and Gunnison SWAs.
Seasonal closures are imperative for sustaining healthy wildlife populations. As the human footprint continues to grow through the impacts of development and increased recreation, there are fewer areas for wildlife to seek refuge during the harsh winter months when forage is less abundant and lacking in nutritional value.
“Even mild winters take a toll on wildlife, so these closures are in place to protect wildlife and to help get them through,” said Brandon Diamond, area wildlife manager for CPW. “We all value wildlife in the Gunnison Basin, and it’s up to all of us to protect these animals. There are plenty of other areas in the basin for people to recreate during the winter. Please, respect our closures.”
Big-game animals come down from the high country as temperatures turn colder, snow piles up and they seek easier living conditions. Human activity in these areas during the winter could cause animals to unnecessarily expend calories, hurting their chances of survival and producing healthy offspring in the spring season.
Each year, CPW issues citations and fines to people in violation of the seasonal closures. Access points are clearly signed and gated to indicate closures.
The closure at Almont Triangle and Gunnison SWAs runs from Dec. 1 through April 30. The closure at Centennial SWA is in place from Dec. 1 through June 30.
Here is a list of the other state wildlife area closures in the basin:
- Miller Ranch State Wildlife Area, located northwest of Gunnison: closed March 1 through June 30. Exception for youth hunts; call the Gunnison wildlife office for information at 970-641-7060.
- Sapinero State Wildlife Area, located west of Gunnison: snowmobiles allowed only on the main roads – Rainbow Lake and Red Creek roads – through the wildlife area.
- Tomichi Creek State Wildlife Area, located south of Gunnison: open to fishing year around, closed to all public access other than fishing from the end of waterfowl season through June 30.
On all public lands in the Gunnison Basin, collection of shed antlers is prohibited from Jan. 1 through April 30. Additionally, it is illegal to possess antlers or horns on public lands in Game Management Units 54, 55, 551, 66, 67 between legal sunset and 10 a.m. from May 1 through May 15.
Christmas at the Depot in Antonito
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSRR) welcomes an all-new winter event: Christmas at the Depot. This free, holiday-themed gathering is the perfect reason to visit Antonito or Chama to create lasting memories with a festive, small town holiday atmosphere. Christmas at the Depot takes place on December 11th in Chama, N.M., and on December 18th in Antonito. At both locations, guests will have the opportunity to visit and take photos with Santa and enjoy festive treats and holiday lights. There is no cost to attend, but visitors are encouraged to bring an unwrapped new toy which will be collected for local nonprofits. Antonito’s Christmas at the Depot celebration begins at 5 p.m. and features a Christmas tree lighting, pictures and story time with Santa and refreshments. In previous years, C&TSRR offered holiday train rides with Santa. The train is unavailable this winter due to scheduled maintenance.
Adams State Theatre holiday variety show is Friday
Adams State University Theatre’s in-person live holiday performance, Christmastime! Christmastime! continues with a performance at 7:30 p.m. The Adams State Theatre Box Office is open from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and tickets can be reserved by calling 719-587-8499. Masks are required for all audience members.