Rangers arrest motorist in Rocky Mountain National Park | SkyHiNews.com

Rangers arrest motorist in Rocky Mountain National Park

Two Rocky Mountain National Park rangers riding snowmobiles near County Road 49 on Sunday arrested a New Mexico man on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle and driving under the influence, according to a Park spokesperson. Ian T. Hoover, 21, of Farmington, N.M., was held in the Grand County Jail overnight Sunday to Monday and then transported to Denver by Park personnel, said Kyle Patterson, Park spokesperson. She confirmed that criminal cases originating in national parks are heard by U.S. magistrates, in this case in federal court in Denver. Patterson said she did not have details of Hoover’s status as of Thursday afternoon.

Sulphur District finalizes full scale beetle kill management plan

Sulphur District Ranger Craig Magwire signed a decision on Friday for the Willow Creek Salvage and Fuels Reduction Project located on National Forest System lands north of Hot Sulphur Springs and northwest of Granby in response to the mountain pine beetle epidemic. Although, multiple decisions will be issued this first decision will implement the following activities and treatments: – Harvest an estimated 2,319 acres to salvage beetle-killed trees. – Treat hazardous fuels on an estimated 109 acres. ∞ Transportation management actions include decommissioning, re-routing, and changing designated uses, and will affect 113.7 miles of routes (roads, trails, and ways) within the analysis area. The miles of transportation routes open to the public will change from 145.6 to 135.1 miles following implementation. The purpose of the Willow Creek project is to remove dead and dying lodgepole pine and hazardous fuel accumulations as part of the ongoing effort to respond to the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) epidemic on the Sulphur Ranger District. Vegetation management activities include commercial timber harvesting, non-mechanical fuels reduction treatments, and use of prescribed and natural fire. Travel management actions, designed to preserve or enhance resources while maintaining recreation and management access, are also part of this project. The decision concludes the analysis, which started in 2007 and balanced many considerations, including reducing hazardous fuel accumulations, providing for public and firefighter safety in the event of a wildfire, maintaining healthy watersheds and effective wildlife habitat, and providing for public and administrative access. To see the decision or the analysis documents, please check online at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf/projects/eaprojects/srd/willowcreek/index.shtml or call Jeff Underhill at 887-4142 for more information.

Park rangers receive scholarships through Grand Lake Rotary

The recipients of the 2013 Glenn Harrington Park Ranger Scholarships, sponsored by Grand Lake Rotary, are Michael Eastman and Kaia Pirazzini. This scholarship program is named in honor of Glenn Harrington, a long time Grand Lake Rotarian and former seasonal park ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage and support National Park Rangers in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado River District, to enhance their careers through additional training. Each scholarship awarded is up to $500 for training courses not funded by the park service. Ranger Eastman is a 14-year veteran park ranger who recently transferred to Rocky Mountain National Park from Mesa Verde National Park. His duties include backcountry winter travel and search and rescue in all seasons. Eastman will be receiving additional training in avalanche search and rescue as well as snow pack analysis. Ranger Pirazzini is seeking recertification as a Wilderness First Responder. Pirazzini wants to enhance her role in visitor safety and preparation to assist in search and rescue situations.

Another Rescue on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

At 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20, park rangers were notified that a 27-year-old climber was off route on her descent on a section of The Diamond on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Carolyn Davidson, from Fort Collins, Colo., and her climbing partner, had been climbing the Casual Route and had left the base of the climb at 4:30 a.m. She had climbed this specific route twice last year. While descending, Davidson found herself off the fixed rappel route and was unable to ascend or climb to the correct rappel station. She and her climbing partner tried for roughly two hours to resolve the situation. Davidson was able to set up an anchor and attach herself to the wall. She was well prepared with clothing to help her weather the elements; a heavy rainstorm moved through the area at 5:30 p.m. Her climbing partner rappelled to the base of Mills Glacier to find help. He contacted a park trail crew that was in the area. At 7:15 p.m. four park rangers, who specialize in climbing and mountain rescue, were flown to the 14,259 foot summit of Longs Peak by the interagency United States Forest Service/National Park Service helicopter from Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park. The helicopter was still in the area after assisting Rocky Mountain National Park during the Cow Creek Fire and responding to initial attack on another fire in Colorado. The rangers descended from the summit to Table Ledge on the upper part of The Diamond where they established an anchor system to lower one ranger to Davidson. The ranger reached her at 12:15 a.m. The ranger gave her dry clothes, food and water. The ranger was able to assist the stranded climber up the fixed ropes to the Table Ledge and then climb back up to the Summit of Longs Peak via the upper Kiener’s Route, a vertical gain in altitude of approximately 700 feet and a distance over terrain of approximately 1,200 feet. They reached the summit at 3 a.m. According to Rocky Mountain National Park Chief Ranger Mark Magnuson, “Given the location of Davidson in highly technical terrain at 14,000 feet, with no equipment to self-rescue and the extended weather forecast that predicted low temperatures and heavy rains, we made the decision to perform careful, well planned night operations by a highly skilled team. An unexpected bivouac half way up the Diamond in poor weather is not a good predicament.” Rain continued off and on through the evening and temperatures were 39 degrees. Davidson was rescued without incident, warmed and fed at the summit and then flown out at 8 a.m. this morning. Due to inclement weather, the last ranger and helicopter crew member flew off the summit at 10 a.m. There were roughly 25 people involved in this rescue operation including five members from Rocky Mountain Rescue who were on standby to assist park rangers if a carry-out was necessary. There have been numerous incidents in Rocky Mountain National Park in the last month where rangers and injured visitors have benefited from having an available helicopter and trained helitack crew in the area. After this operation the interagency United States Forest Service/National Park Service helicopter from Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park left Rocky Mountain National Park for other commitments. It is crucial for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park to realize if they are injured in the backcountry, depending on available resources, it could take hours for assistance to arrive. It continues to be vital that backcountry visitors are prepared to help themselves and others in the event of an emergency. Another reminder to backcountry users; seasonal weather patterns appear to be changing bringing monsoonal conditions, which contribute to elevated hazards and challenging conditions in the mountains.

Rangers rescue injured man in Rocky Mountain National Park

A 53-year-old Arizona man with traumatic injuries requiring advanced life support care was evacuated safely from Rocky Mountain National Park on Thursday. A Park trail crew working near Calypso Cascades in the Wild Basin area was notified by a park visitor that the man, from Chandler, Ariz., had fallen near Ouzel Falls. The trail crew reached the man 30 minutes later and found another visitor assisting the injured man, who was not yet identified as of Friday afternoon. A park medic reached the injured man at 5 p.m. A team of 20 rangers and the trail crew assisted by seven Rocky Mountain Rescue volunteers brought the man down through deep snow on a rescue toboggan and then used a wheeled litter for the lower section of the trail. Larimer County Search and Rescue also provided rescuers. The man was taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center. Park officials stress that while the cause of this accident is still under investigation, backcountry users should be aware that unusually deep snow and high water in the backcountry are creating hazards not always present at this time of year.

Rocky Mountain National Park rangers use defibrillator to revive backcountry patient

At 11:15 a.m. Monday morning, Aug. 10, Rocky Mountain National Park dispatch received a call from a family member of a 73-year-old man who was suffering from a possible heart attack on the Flattop Mountain Trail in the Bear Lake area. He had briefly lost consciousness. Although he had no known previous heart conditions, he was exhibiting signs of a heart attack. The patient was about two miles, at an elevation gain of 1,400 feet (10,875 feet), from the trailhead. A team of two rangers reached the trailhead at 11:44 a.m. and were on scene with the patient in less than 30 minutes. The rangers brought an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and provided immediate care, including additional oxygen. A nine-person park litter team reached the patient at 1:06 p.m. At 1:13 p.m. the patient went into cardiac arrest. CPR was initiated and when the patient displayed a shockable rhythm, the AED was activated and the patient’s pulse was restored. The patient soon regained consciousness. A paramedic from Estes Park Medical Center arrived on scene shortly thereafter. The patient was secured in a wheeled litter and the team began bringing him down the trail at 1:26 p.m. He reached the trailhead at 2 p.m. and was placed in an Estes Park Medical Center ambulance, which transported him to a landing zone at Glacier Basin Campground. At 2:26 p.m. North Colorado Med Evac flew the patient to Medical Center of the Rockies. According to Rocky Mountain National Park Chief Ranger, Mark Magnuson, “I’m proud of the incredible response and teamwork from our staff and our partners from Estes Park Medical Center and the North Colorado Med Evac flight crew. This was truly a lifesaving rescue, and particularly impressive, considering it occurred 2 miles from the nearest trailhead parking lot. Most of the AEDs in Rocky Mountain National Park have been donated by the park’s friends’ group, Rocky Mountain Nature Association. We extend our best wishes to the patient for a full recovery.” The patient is from Longmont, Colorado. His name will not be released until other family members are notified.

Rangers airlift injured hiker out of Rocky Mountain National Park

At 1:40 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9, Ranganathan Chitoor Parameswaran was in stable condition and was flown from near the summit of Mount Ida in Rocky Mountain National Park by St. Anthony’s Lifeguard One to St. Anthony Central. The airlift followed the effort by a litter team that began hiking toward the injured Lakewood man and his group, who spent Saturday night below the summit of Mount Ida. The litter team reached the injured man at 9:20 a.m. Sunday The group set up a low-angle technical rescue to bring the patient 200 feet up toward the summit of Mount Ida to a helicopter landing zone. The 32 year old injured man was with a hiking group of 11 people based out of Denver. Their intent was not to summit Mount Ida but to descend into the Gorge Lakes area, which is a steep descent. The accident occurred during the descent. At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, the Grand County Sheriff’s Department received a 9-1-1 call and passed the information on to Rocky Mountain National Park dispatch. A 32-year-old male had a 20 foot tumbling, sliding fall near the summit of Mount Ida. He suffered a broken leg and cuts and bruises. Two rangers reached the patient at 5:25 p.m. He was located a few hundred feet below the ridgeline of Mount Ida in loose rock and scree. Five rangers stayed with the injured man overnight Saturday in addition to a member of the hiking group . Mount Ida (12,880 feet) is about 4.5 miles from the Milner Pass Trailhead off of Trail Ridge Road. The elevation gain from the trailhead is 2,130 feet.

Kristen Lodge: Longtime Rocky Mountain National Park rangers share stories

Jim Caretti and Jeff Hodge have been seasonal park rangers in Rocky Mountain National Park for longer than 30 years. Jeff started his seasonal career as a campground ranger in 1971 until he was told patrolling was more exciting and the following year became a law enforcement ranger. Jim began as backcountry ranger and his duties included patrolling the backcountry for a week at a time. Now, they both do everything from search and rescue to law enforcement. Jeff says that back in the early ’70s it took an entire shift to patrol the park since the park’s boundaries ended as far south as Willow Creek and included all three lakes. After the Yosemite Riots in 1976, park rangers started to receive more law enforcement training; and their jobs changed once again. “We were even deputized in Grand County,” Jeff says. Every summer they would bring their families to the park and their relationship grew. Jim says, “Our friendship developed over the years. We are best friends. I live in Alabama and Jeff lives in Illinois. Some winters we would meet in different places around the country. “We would consult with fellow rangers and talk to college students about what it is really like being a National Park Ranger,” he adds. “I tell my students to find something you love to do and figure out a way to make a living at it.” What keeps Jim motivated to come back each year and make the cross country trek to Rocky Mountain National Park? “I love what I do.” He retired from school teaching in 2001 and now spends six months each summer as a ranger. “I raised my family here. This park has such a family atmosphere. We work, we play and support each other. ” Jeff says, “The mountains are addictive and draw you back.” Get these two men in a room and the stories just keep coming. I want to know if the stories about potluck dinner meals are true. They are known to have dinners with “exotic main dishes.” “The dinners started out small, just rangers and their families,” Jim says. “Then volunteers started attending. Jeff would cook geese or beaver that he trapped in Illinois. At first he didn’t tell anyone what the meat was, but after introducing some “exotic” food to other employees, he had to be more forthcoming. “Jeff has cooked turtle, tongue, and elk liver and tells me the story of how RMNP employee Shannon Olmstead came to one dinner and tried the tongue. … She is a vegetarian now.” Jeff’s exotic meal advice, “The key to cooking geese and squirrel is to cook them in a pressure cooker with lots of barbecue sauce.” The best story they tell is the “Radio Controlled Horse” story. It is 1985 and Jeff is riding a horse named Henry on the East Shore Trail. He must be back for a dinner party his wife Carolyn is hosting. He sees a fisherman and decides to check his license. Jeff ties his horse to a tree and walks up to the guy. The fisherman doesn’t have a license and just as Jeff walks back to the horse to get his ticket book, lightning strikes the tree, the horse takes off – tree attached. Jeff has no ticket book, no radio, and no horse. He tells the guy, “this is your lucky day” and walks back to the coral. The horse does flee back to the corral so he and fellow ranger Mike Brooks walk back to look for the horse. They encounter two women and ask if they saw a horse. “We saw a horse and heard the radios and thought that it was radio controlled horse and he was OK.” Later, they find the horse at the lookout tower, the tree still attached. Jeff missed the dinner party. I want to hear all their stories but run out of time. I can’t wait to read their book.

Rocky Mountain National Park rangers locate Trail Ridge Road ‘hiker’

Jay Starr Jr., 34, of Cohoes, N.Y., led Rocky Mountain National Park rangers and other searchers on a multi-day goose chase along Trail Ridge Road, which the man told park officials he intended to hike from east to west beginning Monday, according to a prepared statement from the park. After days of searching, they found him late Thursday afternoon near Ute Crossing. He was airlifted to Medical Center of the Rockies. His status was not available at press time. On Monday, Jan. 26, park rangers contacted Starr after he entered Rocky Mountain National Park on foot and indicated he was planning to walk westbound over Trail Ridge Road. Rangers advised him against this based on his behavior and his lack of preparedness for winter alpine conditions. Starr was wearing tennis shoes, jeans or tan canvas pants, a black/blue jacket, no hat or gloves and was carrying a plastic grocery bag. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, with its highest point reaching 12,183 feet. Over 10 miles of the road are above 11,500 feet. Conditions on the road range from bare wind-blown asphalt to deep snow drifts. On Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 27, park rangers on skis contacted Starr above Many Parks Curve on Trail Ridge Road. Rangers were concerned for his welfare and were attempting to assist him. Starr fled from rangers up a dry section of the road and continued to elude rangers until darkness fell. Beginning early on Wednesday, Jan. 28, two teams of rangers attempted to locate Starr again on Trail Ridge Road. Rangers faced wind gusts of 50 to 60 miles per hour. These high winds and blowing snow hampered following Starr's footprints. Aerial operations were not possible due to high winds. The entire road corridor was checked. Starr was not located. On Thursday, Jan. 29, rangers were again attempting to locate Starr in areas around Trail Ridge Road. Aerial operations were to be used if conditions allow. Park rangers have been assisted by a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer with an ATV equipped with snow tracks. Thursday's operations were also aided by an over-snow tracked vehicle and operator from Estes Park Power and Light. The motorized equipment was only used on Trail Ridge Road.

Rocky Mountain National Park reports fifth fatality

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK – A climber fell to his death on Saturday in Rocky Mountain National Park. James Charles Patrick, 54, of Littleton, was climbing with two friends when he took more than a 1,000-foot tumbling fall on Taylor Glacier in Rocky Mountain National Park. Contacted via cell phone, Park rangers reached Patrick’s body at 4:45 p.m. The man’s body was flown out of the backcountry on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. A helicopter crew flew in supplies to two park rangers who remained in the area of the man’s body overnight. The man who fell had the group’s rope, according to Park statements released on Sunday, leaving the other two climbers stranded near the top of Taylor Glacier just below the ridgeline between Taylor Peak and Powell Peak. Those two climbers were able to anchor themselves in place until help arrived. Two rangers reached the ridgeline above the climbers at around 4:15 p.m. and were able to belay the two men between 50 to 100 feet up to their location. The rangers provided assistance to the climbers and hiked out with them on Sunday evening. The area is steep and treacherous in a talus area with loose rocks, ice and snow. Taylor Glacier is above Sky Pond and sits between Taylor Peak and Powell Peak. Sky Pond is approximately 5 miles from the Bear Lake Trailhead. This is the fifth falling fatality in Rocky Mountain National Park this year. Park rangers have been assisted by Larimer County Search and Rescue and Rocky Mountain Rescue. The cause of the accident is under investigation, according to Park statements.