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The roaring Fork is Roaring

Roaring Fork River streamflow

The Roaring Fork River has certainly been living up to its name this past week, reaching peak flow thanks to a combination of steady warm temperatures, melting snow in the high country, and the suspension of the Twin Lakes diversion near the river’s headwaters (more on that in a minute). As water recreationalists rejoice during this period of high flow, water managers and conservationists have been keeping a close eye on how the annual spring runoff progresses.


Snow and Water in the Roaring Fork Valley

The winter of 2016-17 is off to a great start here in the Roaring Fork Valley! 2017 kicked off with two big storm cycles, each dropping feet of snow on our mountains bringing smiles to the faces of skiers across town. But more importantly, these recent storms have significantly bolstered our snowpack.


Native Flows and the Functions of North Star Nature Preserve

Over the past two weeks temperatures rose, snow in the high country melted, and creeks and rivers hit their high mark for the year in the Upper Roaring Fork Valley. 

We have been very interested in how the shutting down of the Twin Lakes diversion affected Roaring Fork River (RFR) flows into North Star Nature Preserve and Aspen. For more about on the Twin Lakes diversion check out this article from Aspen Journalism.


A Conversation with E.O. Wilson

Naturalists are inspired by anything that draws them further into nature. Often it is the grace of a bird or the smell of a flower that grabs our attention and pulls us in. One of the strongest sources of inspiration for me is ants. I have a deep interest in social evolution, and anyone who spends considerable time thinking about how societies evolve will eventually (and perhaps inevitably) become fascinated with ants.


What Color is the Black Bear?

Summer is in full swing at Hallam Lake and I’m willing to bet most of us are excited for the warm days, green plants, and vivid wildflowers. Black bears, skinny from their lengthy winter slumber, are probably more excited than all of us. It is officially bear season in the Roaring Fork Valley and last week our motion-activated trail cameras snapped pictures of three different bears visiting the Hallam Lake preserve.


First Snowfall up Castle Creek

The first snowfall of the year is always a special occasion.  Having lived at Toklat a couple years, I am starting to notice the changes from year to year.


Summer Bugs!

Insects are some of the most diverse, abundant and ecologically important organisms on the planet.  It may not surprise you that insects can be found just about anywhere, but the quantities in which they appear will probably astound you.


The Eagle Comes to ACES

An August 1982 Jeep adventure to Picnic Point on Richmond Ridge of Aspen Mountain turned into a rescue operation for Jim Hamilton. He discovered a grounded golden eagle, unable even to walk. The eagle’s fierce gaze and sharp, menacing talons gave Jim pause, so he motored to Hallam Lake and reported his discovery. Years of experience with less than exact directions to wild animals in distress compelled me to insist he accompany me back up the mountain. With welder’s gloves for protection I immobilized the broken bird in a heavy blanket and returned to Hallam Lake.


Ashcroft Snowshoe Tour up Castle Creek Valley

Posted in Bulletin Board
Castle Creek in winter

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies ski and snowshoe tours offer the best of the Aspen area. The endless, spectacular views from Aspen Mountain’s Richmond Ridge are some of the best I’ve ever encountered in my short 25 years on this earth. The snowshoe tour on Snowmass Ski Area’s peaceful Rabbit Run Trail allows visitors to escape the crowds and experience their own private winter wonderland. Joining a naturalist to ski down Elk Camp provides a whole new perspective to what one can discover on the slopes, beyond the usual rush of adrenaline and the cold wind kissing your face.


Quack Facts: Dabblers vs. Divers

Ring-necked Duck at Hallam Lake, an Aspen birding hotspot

Back at the end of August, when bear sightings were a daily occurrence and rose hips were beginning to grow plump, I took a pack of 6-year-olds for a walk around Hallam Lake. We stopped by the water to watch ducks -- a group of female Mallards -- swimming in the shallows. Every few seconds, as my class watched intently, one of the ducks would do this: