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Events Newsletter

In Case You Hadn’t Heard…We Have a New State Park in Our Watershed!

Fishers Peak – The Purgatoire River Watershed will soon be home to not one but two state parks! The Crazy French Ranch, once a privately owned large ranch near Trinidad, has been purchased and named as Colorado’s 42nd state park.

The ranch contains the iconic Fisher’s Peak that can be seen for miles away outside the watershed. At least a portion of the property is slated to be open to the public by January 2021, although there is still much work to be done in terms of assessing restoration and recreational enhancement needs for the property, and then conducting the associated on-the-ground work.

Additionally, local community members have already and will continue to be closely engaged in providing input on developing the plan for the property that ensures the preservation of the cultural heritage of the property, and ensures that community members are on board with future proposed recreational enhancements and allowed activities.

Many community members are incredibly excited about the new recreational and economic opportunities that this new state park will bring, but other long-time residents in this largely agricultural watershed understandably lament that this historic private working ranch has shifted into public hands, and worry about how this change in ownership will affect historic activities conducted on the land as well as impacts on wildlife and adjacent private lands. 

The Purgatoire Watershed Partnership – along with the 5 primary organizations involved in the development of this new state park including City of Trinidad, The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) – is listening closely to community members in the watershed to make sure all input and concerns are considered.

If you would like to provide input on the development of this park, please contact me (Julie Knudson) at 970-420-1915 or jknudson@purgatoirepartners.org and I will make sure that you are connected to any upcoming public meetings and can pass on your comments directly to the key planners.
For more information: Denver Post ArticleThe Trust for Public Land Article
PS. The other amazing state park in our watershed is Trinidad Lake State Park – come check it out if you haven’t already! 

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Conservation Events Newsletter Training

Patagonia Youth Education & Restoration Work Day

On Nov 4th, 2019 we held a special youth and young adult river restoration and education day sponsored by Patagonia. More than 15 participants were involved in this event, where educational speakers including Shelly Simmons and Donna Albertson with the Purgatoire Watershed Weed Management Collaborative provided education on noxious weed identification and best management and restoration practices. All attendees received a free Purgatoire River t-shirt and a Las Animas County Noxious Weed Guide as well as a pizza party lunch in between all the hard work clearing woody invasives like Russian olive and tamarisk out of the Purgatoire River! Thanks to all who participated! 
 
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Conservation Events Fish Newsletter

Fish and More Fish Oh My!

On November 13 2019, Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) spearheaded an assessment of the fish populations in the Purgatoire River near Trinidad to document the success of fish stocking events conducted this year and in previous years by CPW and Trout Unlimited local chapter. The assessment was conducted by CPW with help from Trout Unlimited and Purgatoire Watershed Partnership volunteers. Fish were captured through electro-fishing, which temporarily stuns the fish in a given sampling area but does not injure them. Fish are then scooped up by net and measurements are taken promptly, then the fish are immediately released back to the river. The numbers are still being crunched but it looks like some exciting results and that we have some pretty healthy fish in the river – see below for some exciting photos! 
  
  
 Photos Above: Colorado Parks & Wildlife personnel holding a very nice brown trout doing well in the Purgatoire River – approximately 26.5 inches and 7 pounds (top left); electrofishing team in action (top right); a young central stoneroller (bottom left); and a young longnose dace (bottom right). 
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Conservation Events Newsletter Training

Another Successful Purgatoire River Fall Cleanup!

On Saturday October 5th 2019 we held our annual fall Purgatoire River Cleanup event and were joined by 46 enthusiastic volunteers cleaning up everything from tires and basketballs to a variety of plastic trash out of our river. Together we cleaned up more than 120 bags worth of trash along approximately one mile of river! What a difference a community can make! And we had a bunch of new volunteers this year that got so excited about keeping our river clean that we will be initiating a monthly river cleanup event in the new year.
Thanks to all of you who came out for this event – the river looks great!  
  
  
 We kicked off the day with river experts giving educational presentations on multiple topics including birds of the Purgatoire River as well as upcoming river restoration and recreation enhancement efforts and economic development in the works tied into the river and the Trinidad River Walk. All attendees received Purgatoire River t-shirts and a full lunch! Sponsors of the event included the Trinidad Community Foundation, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), Trout Unlimited local chapter, City of Trinidad, Twin Enviro, Creek Week Campaign, Purgatoire Watershed Weed Management Collaborative, Spanish Peaks-Purgatoire River Conservation District, Purgatoire River Water Conservancy District, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Fountain Creek Watershed District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Thank you! 
  
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