Interested in experiencing a nature connection? Start with a “summer intensive” – a one hour interpretive program offered for all ages at the Grand Mesa Visitor Center every Saturday night. Throughout the summer, guest speakers with expertise in specific natural resources provide an engaging presentation on topics from mushrooms, to birds of the Mesa. The August 1 program features Forest Service Hydrologist, Ben Stratton explaining the West Salt Creek Landslide, and monitoring data on the slide to date. Subsequent programs include Smokey’s Birthday Celebration (8/8 from 10 am to 3 pm), Fantastic Fungi (8/15 @ 3:00 pm), wildlife (8/22@ 6:00 pm), birds (8/29 @ 6:00 pm) star gazing (9/5 @ 8:30 pm), Ute Indians and Edible plants (9/12 @ 6:00 pm), culminating with Color Sunday (9/27 from 9:00 am -5:00 pm).
Interested in photography? Grab your camera and experiment with color pallets and scenic backdrops. The mountain passes (Ophir, Imogene, Engineer and Cinnamon) are outstanding routes to get up high and enjoy the lush alpine landscapes contrasted with jagged mountain ridgelines. For the more ambitious and hardier visitor, there are many miles of hiking or biking trails that lead alongside some breathtaking meadows full of columbine, paintbrush, lupine, penstemon, mountain bluebells and more. Check out our popular wildflower viewing areas and suggested hikes. (http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/gmug/wildflower).
Need to escape the heat or enjoy a family gathering? The GMUG National Forest offers 56 campgrounds, eight cabins for rent, day use/picnic sites and many areas for dispersed camping (outside of developed campgrounds). Set up a convenient base camp to enjoy miles of mountain bike, OHV, horseback riding or hiking trails or just stroll down to the lake and throw a line in. There are currently no fire restrictions on the GMUG – so start the campfire and make those tasty s’mores. (http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/gmug/recreation)
Summer is waning quickly - make the time to go outside! Kick back and relax, or challenge yourself to a new physical endeavor– either way your National Forest is the place with opportunities just waiting for you!