Courtesy National Park Service

Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the top places in the country for search and rescue operations, logging an incident almost every other day last year. That's according to a KUNC analysis, which found that the costs of incidents in National Park Service areas across the country hit a three-year high in 2017. In the same period, visits rose by about 8 percent.

White River National Forest

One Colorado landmark is so popular that fistfights break out in the parking lot and traffic can back up onto I-70 in Glenwood Canyon.

All to make the mile and half trek to Hanging Lake.

Visitation to the iconic lake has doubled in the last five years and visitors frequently flout the rules. They traipse off platforms and into the lake's fragile ecosystem and leave behind trash, graffiti and even human waste. For years some Forest Service officials have said visitation to the area needs to be curtailed to save it from being overrun. A new plan out Tuesday aims to do just that.

White River National Forest

An activewear company will be supporting a public outreach campaign after paying over $300 in fines for breaking the rules at Hanging Lake in Western Colorado.

Jim Hill / KUNC

A new pilot program hopes to address a growing problem at Boulder’s Chautauqua Park:

Too many people and too few places for them to park their cars.

“We’re hearing from some people who live or work in Boulder who say, ‘You know, at certain peak times, I don’t even bother to try to go to Chautauqua anymore,’” said Lisa Smith with the city’s Community Vitality department.

City of Fort Collins

Larimer county officials are hoping to take the sting out of encountering closed trails with a new online map. NoCoTrailReport.org covers trails managed by Larimer County Natural Resources, City of Fort Collins Parks, and City of Fort Collins Natural Areas. The stoplight colors indicate closed, caution and open trails across the county.

Is Social Media Spoiling Colorado's Hanging Lake?

Aug 25, 2016
White River National Forest

Clear mountain water cascades into a greenish blue lake, with pines dangling over the edge. Even for Colorado, it’s unique. Hanging Lake is described as a jewel in the White River National Forest.  For many years, it was an unspoken secret that only Coloradans knew.

But there’s a problem. The secret is out.

Fort Collins Natural Areas

Funded by two quarter cent sales taxes at both the city and county levels, Fort Collins has added four more natural areas to their substantial network. These properties bring the total number of natural areas around the Choice City to 49.

“Our number one priority is to conserve wildlife habitat and our secondary goal is to provide appropriate recreation on those natural areas,” said Mark Sears, a natural areas manager for the city.

“To date, the 49 sites that we own, we intend to have public access on all of those.”

Credit: F Delventhal / Agency: Flickr - Creative Commons

The outdoors are for everyone, but sometimes it may not feel like it. Wheelchair-accessible hiking trails and natural areas can be hard to find, if they’re even available at all. Boulder Open Spaces and Mountain Parks recently stepped up to the plate with the release of their Accessible Trails Guide [.pdf] - but where else can you go in a state built on outdoor recreation?

With your help, we want to compile our own statewide guide to the outdoors for those with disabilities.

Ryan Moehring / USFWS

A greenway to connect Denver with Rocky Mountain National Park would provide greater access to wildlife refuges by foot and by bike, but some say the plan would put nature lovers at risk. That’s because part of the trail will snake through Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, the site of a former nuclear weapons manufacturing facility.

With the deadline for a funding grant looming, several cities have chosen sides -- will they contribute to the effort to secure the federal money or not -- and Arvada is the next in line.

Ann Marie Awad / KUNC

With summer on the horizon, maybe you’re hoping to find some peace and quiet in the great outdoors. Where you find it can be a challenge. Luckily, the National Parks Service has a map tracking noise pollution throughout the United States.

Actually, there’s two maps. One that tracks the current state of sound in the U.S., and another that maps what the country would sound like without humans and all of our racket. While the latter is certainly fascinating, it’s the former that’s meant to be a powerful tool for conserving natural spaces.