Halfmoon Closed Til Further Notice
Two-Way Passing: “Impossible”
The following press release was distributed to media outlets on Friday, Jun 25 at 3:30 p.m.
The Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands Leadville Ranger District will continue the closure of National Forest System Road (NFSR) 110, locally known as Halfmoon Road, for safety and roadwork reasons until further notice.
“The road is closed because there were countless times last year where two-way passing in traffic was impossible and compromised the safety of all visitors and limited emergency services,” said Leadville District Ranger Patrick Mercer. “Keeping that in mind, we cannot responsibly open it again until the sightlines and width of the road are addressed.”
Visitors will still be able to access the Halfmoon East and West Campgrounds because the closure begins just past them. Motorized traffic is not permitted beyond the closure. Unless otherwise posted, parking outside the closure barriers is also permitted along the road shoulders and in the small lot near the closure.
“I recognize that the timing is terrible and this closure impacts locals and visitors alike,” said Mercer. “We are doing what we can to get the road completed as soon as possible and kindly ask for patience in the meantime. In the end, we should have a product that will safely serve everyone for years to come.”
Non-motorized travel is permitted on Halfmoon Road. Visitors should be aware that heavy equipment may be present in the area and are encouraged to be safe when accessing the recreation areas past the closure.
Visitors wanting to hike to the summit of Colorado’s tallest peak, Mt. Elbert, can also access the mountain through two alternate trailheads, South Elbert and Black Cloud. Visitors may also access the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which crosses NFSR 110, at multiple other entry points. For further information about this project, please contact the Leadville Ranger District at 719-486-0749.
Poacher Sought By Wildlife Officials
June 22, 2021 from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking information regarding an elk poached near Beaver Lake Estates outside of Leadville Today, sometime between June 16 and June 19, 2021. Anyone with information of a possible crime against wildlife is asked to call CPW, or report it anonymously to ?Operation Game Thief, or OGT. Reach OGT by calling, toll-free, 1-877-COLO-OGT (or 877-265-6648). Verizon users can dial #OGT. Or email CPW at firstname.lastname@example.org??.
OGT is an anonymous hotline that takes information regarding poached animals in the State of Colorado. If a conviction is reached, any information turned in by an individual to OGT may receive a cash reward.
Volunteers Needed for Pika Monitoring
People who hike in the White River National Forest this summer can be part of an award-winning citizen science effort that helps scientists understand the potential impacts of climate change on the American pika and its alpine habitat.
Entering its fourth summer, the Front Range Pika Project on the White River National Forest has been hugely successful. Rocky Mountain Wild, the non-profit group organizing the work, was awarded the Forest Service’s National 2020 Volunteers and Service Award for Citizen Stewardship and Partnerships in April.
“We couldn’t make this monitoring program effective on a large scale without the help of this team of dedicated volunteers organized and trained by Rocky Mountain Wild and the Denver Zoo,” said Eagle-Holy Cross District Wildlife Biologist Jennifer Prusse. “Last year Rocky Mountain Wild and the Denver Zoo coordinated the work of more than 100 volunteers who contributed 3,700 hours and conducted 142 pika occupancy surveys.”
American pikas are small mammals iconic to the alpine scree fields of Colorado and the West. They are most closely related to rabbits and hares. Recent disappearances of pika populations from parts of the Western U.S. have been linked to changes in temperature, snowpack, and vegetation.
“Pikas face an uncertain future, and we need volunteers to help us keep track of how pika habitat is changing,” said Megan Mueller, Conservation Biologist with Rocky Mountain Wild.
Evidence from the surveys so far suggests that pika are widespread and trends are stable across the White River National Forest.
“Monitoring pika populations across the forest over the long-term will be critical in helping us identify trends as well as give us a deeper understanding of the health of the alpine ecosystem,” Prusse said. “We are encouraging hikers who are interested in the future of the pika to be part of this citizen science effort.”
Rocky Mountain Wild and the Denver Zoo are hosting trainings for people interested in volunteering. Volunteers will learn how to document pika occurrence and look for pika signs, as well as record important environmental variables that influence pika habitat selection.
Volunteer trainings are available at:
- Loveland Pass, June 26
- Rocky Mountain National Park at Trail Ridge Road, June 27 and Grand Lake, July 18
- Independence Pass, July 17
- Meeker/The Flat Tops, July 25
- Vail Pass (co-hosted by Walking Mountains Science Center), July 10, 25 and Aug. 9
Cone Zone: South of Leadville Today
As if the extended work schedule on Halfmoon Road (now Closed Until Further Notice!) wasn’t enough for roadways south of Leadville Today, add a couple more to your cone zone list.
The Colorado Department of Transportation and APC Southern Construction continue with their improvements to US Highway 24 and Colorado Highway 300 in Lake County. The project is part of CDOT Rural Paving Program and will improve approximately 17 miles of US 24. The plan begins south of Leadville at Mile Point 176 and continuing west to MP 194. Work will take place on CO 300 from MP 0–4.4. Motorists should anticipate one lane of alternating traffic and plan for travel delays of up to 15 minutes.
Work on both roadways includes resurfacing a total of approximately 21.4 miles with deck milling, sealing, and repaving at bridge structures; erosion control; guardrail replacement; signing and final striping. Shoulder widening on US 24 will take place between MP 178 and MP 181. The project is expected to be completed in October 2021.
This project will enhance safety for motorists traveling along the two-lane highway. Once the resurfacing work is completed, drivers will find a smoother roadway surface with new guardrail, new signage, high visibility markings and stabilized shoulders. These enhancements will make the highway safer for residents, visitors and commercial truck traffic.