Ambushed by Police-Car Moths at 10,800′

Last summer I giggled when someone told me that they thought butterflies and moths were going extinct. All you need to do is get outdoors and look around is what I told her. Lo and behold, this summer I’m finding the moths at home, which is at about 6,500′ elevation and in the mountains while at 10,800′!

 Each summer we scout for elk, get the horses in shape, and check to see if trails are clear of downed beetle-kill trees. No matter how many times I’m in the outdoors, be it flowers, bugs, mushrooms, wildlife, I’m always amazed at what I see. On a recent trip to the high country there were thousands of Police-Car Moths (Gnophaela vermiculata).

The moths were huddled all over, eating, the leaves of the the yellow Arrowleaf Balsamroot flowers. The moths would take flight, ambushing us, as our horses or the dogs knocked the plants. It’s an amazing sight; one that is so admired, people actually pay for “farmed” butterflies to release during their wedding ceremonies. If you’ve ever seen that, it’s not nearly as spectacular as the flight of moths or butterflies in nature.

The Police-Car Moth, also known as the green lattice, is black with white patches amid the black veins. They are commonly found throughout most of Canada (from British Colombia to Manitoba), down into the western United States. In these areas the moths prefer damp, open, wooded areas located at mid- to high-elevations. They are slow flyers as they roam from flower to flower taking nectar.

Moths and butterflies are pollinators, but because of their long, thin legs, they’re less efficient than bees.

Differences in moths and butterflies:

  • Moths tend to rest with their wings open, and butterflies rest with their wings closed together .
  • Moths have fuzzy antennae while butterflies have long, thin antennae.
  • Although these moths are actively feeding during the day, most moths feed at night. Butterflies feed during the day.

What moths or butterflies have you spied this summer?

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San Juan National Forest to Re-Open

Here is some good news for those of us that love to be in the mountains of the San Juan National Forest! Please be safe if you head up to the high country.

Most San Juan National Forest and Durango-area BLM-managed lands re-open on Thursday. Stage 2 Fire Restrictions Remain in Effect.

2000px-ForestServiceLogoOfficial.svgDurngo, Colo. — On Thursday, June 21 at 3 p.m., the San Juan National Forest (SJNF) will re-open to the public by rescinding the Stage 3 Closure Order that has been in place since June 12. Lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Durango area that closed last week will also re-open. An area around the active 416 and Burro Fires will remain closed to public entry, including the segments of the Colorado Trail from Molas Pass to the Junction Creek terminus. The BLM land and the rest of the SJNF will remain in Stage 2 fire restrictions.

This allows the campgrounds, roads, and trails to re-open, and operations to resume for those with permits in contracts for doing business on the public lands.

While recent messaging has been that one it rain storm would likely not result in much of a difference in fire danger, the weather event that southwest Colorado experienced this past weekend was not a typical event. The storm brought up to 1.5 inches of rain to some local areas, which is more rain than is received during the whole month of June on average. This was unanticipated relief to the extraordinarily dry and fire prone conditions in the region. Fortunately, the rain was delivered in a steady two-day event which did not produce mudslide or debris flows.

It may seem like a quick turn-around since last Tuesday, but both the decisions to close and reopen the SJNF were based on scientific information and a defined set of ten criteria. The criteria include measurable factors such as fuel moistures, Energy Release Component, Burning Index, and Ignition Component. Going into closure, and ten criteria are met or exceeded. Six or less criteria are projected to be met over the next week. Additionally, many out-of-area firefighting resources remain positioned around the area to respond to any new fires.

According to agency meteorologist and fire behavior analysts, factors which dictate the kind of severe fire behavior that were seen in the last two weeks have been moderated. Even though these factors are likely to rise again as the weather returns to a hot and dry period, they are not likely to reach the previously extreme levels before the monsoon rains are expected

SJNF and BLM Stage 2 fire restrictions PROHIBIT:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending or using and OPEN FLAME, including fire, campfire, stove fire, charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood burning stoves, and devices (stoves, grill or lanterns) using liquid fuel such as white gas or kerosene. This prohibition applies to the entire San Juan National Fores, including Wilderness and developed camping and picnic grounds.
    Except: Devices (stoves, grills or lanterns) using pressurized gas canisters (isobutene or propane) that include shut-off valves, or within an enclosed vehicle, trailer, or building.
    Except: Within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building.
  3. WELDING or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
  4. Operating or using any INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE (e.g. chainsaw, generator, ATV) without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained an in effective working order meeting USDA Forest Service or SAE approval.
  5. Operating a CHAINSAW without an approved spark arresting device, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (8 oz. capacity by weight or larger and kept with the operator) and a round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use, or outside of the “Hoot Owl” restricted hours of 5am – 1pm.
  6. Using and EXPLOSIVE. This includes but is not limited to fuses or blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets, and tracers or incendiary ammunition.
  7. Discharging a FIREARM, air rifle, or gas gun.
  8. Possessing or using a MOTOR VEHICLE OFF ESTABLISHED ROADS, motorized trails or established parking areas, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the vehicle.

These temporary restrictions will remain in place until further notice and may be increased or reduced at any time due to changes in the weather and fire danger. Specifics of what is prohibited or allowed vary depending on the jurisdiction, so check with the appropriate managing agency.

Agency officials wish to emphasize that conditions are still very dry and people should use extreme caution to prevent human-caused fires. Those living near fire burn scars should also be vigilant for potential debris flows and sign up with the CodeRed emergency notification system at

Kara Chadwick, San Juan Forest Supervisor, and Connie Clementson, BLM Tres Rios Field Manager, wish to thank the public, partners, and surrounding communities for their support and cooperation, and for understanding that they are working to balance protection of resources and human safety with the economic impacts to surrounding communities.

For more Forest Service fire restriction and closure information, contact the San Juan National Forest at 970-247-4874, or visit https// You can also follow @SanJuanNF on Twitter and Facebook. For BLM fire information, visit

To report a fire on federal lands, please contact the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch center at (970)385-1324.

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Mentors, Camps and Range Time – POMA

We spent the past week touring around Lincoln, Neb. with our colleagues from the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). I’ve been a member for somewhere around a decade. I first joined as my writing career began to bloom and I wanted to learn more about the “rules.” The organization has filled those needs and beyond.

I met so many people in the industry who’re willing to help me grow, teach me the ins and outs, be sounding boards and help me connect with others. POMA fit the bill then and it keeps giving into the present.

Over a year ago a couple of industry friends nominated me to run for a seat on POMA’s board of directors. I’ll admit, at first I hesitated. Then I paused and thought, “So many people in this organization have helped me. It’s time for me to give back to this venue.”

That’s what we do, right? We have to always give back, and we have to be mentors. I ran and was voted onto the board last year. This year at the annual conference I moved into the treasurer’s seat and continue to attempt to mentor others in the industry as well as the outdoors, hunting, shooting and fishing.

POMA’s annual conference is a time to network, attend breakout sessions, view and get our hands on partner corporation’s products. You can view some of the fun in the photos below.

Companies represented:

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San Juan National Forest – CLOSED #PrayforRain

Due to wildfires, drought, and several other variables, the San Juan National Forest is said to be closed to the public and others beginning June 12th. I’m one who continually encourages others to take care of the wild outdoors. It looks like this summer that will mean staying away from it. –PRAY FOR RAIN!

This area covers nearly 2-million acres and is vital to the rural areas economy. The hit of the 416 fire has been devastating to the forest and to the city of Durango. Additional fires and now Forest closure will add further impact to Southwest Colorado.

San Juan National Forest to Implement Forest-Wide Closure Order

2000px-ForestServiceLogoOfficial.svgDURANGO, CO – The San Juan National Forest (SJNF) is planning to implement forest-wide Stage 3 fire closure this week, which will prohibit most entry into the forest. The purpose of the closure is to protect natural resources and public safety due to the danger of wildland fire. Fire danger on the SJNF remains very high due to exceptional drought and fuel conditions. The closure order is expected to be signed Tuesday, June 12, 2018, and remain in effect until the forest receives sufficient moisture to improve conditions.

The closure order will prohibit entry into the San Juan National Forest, including entry by the general public, most administrative entry by Forest Service employees, and most uses authorized under Forest Service permits and contracts. This means that forest campgrounds, day use areas, roads, and trails will be closed, including wilderness areas and that hiking, dispersed camping, and other recreational activities are prohibited. Exemptions might be granted on a case-by-case basis with a written authorization from the Fores Service, which would include specific requirements for fire prevention. Exemptions must be requested from appropriate District Range (below). Federal, state or local officers conducting specific duties are exempt. The McPhee Recreation Area Complex boat ramp and marina will likely remain open but no shoreline use will be allowed.

The SJNF covers 1.8 million acres with the Dolores Ranger District, the Columbine Ranger District, and the Pagosa Ranger District across nine counties in southwestern Colorado. County and state roads and U.S. highways that cross Forest Service lands will not be affected by this order. On-going road closures due to the 416 Fire will continue to be managed by the La Plata County Sherriff. Businesses in local communities will remain open for business during the Forest closure at their discretion.

SanJuanNF FB

San Juan National Forest Supervisor, Kara Chadwich, wants concerned citizens to know that instituting a forest closure is an extremely difficult decision, and she is aware that the closure will affect a great many people, businesses, partner agencies, forest management activities, and the public. Forest managers use several criteria to determine when to implement restrictions and closures, including fuel monsters, current and predicted weather, values at risk from wildfire, fire activity levels, and available firefighting resources. The SJNF implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions on May 1, then Stage 2 fire restrictions on June 1, but conditions continued to worsed. “The indices our fire team uses to predict fire danger are at historic levels well before we can expect any significant moisture from the seasonal monsoons,” SJNF Forest Fire Staff Officer, Richard Bustamante said. “Under current condidtions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life and property.

Violating Stage 3 fire restrictions or going into a closed area carries a mandatory appearance in federal court, and is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for and organization, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

The signed closure order will be posted on the San Juan National Forest website at . This release was found on, and you can follow @SanJuanNF on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact:
San Juan National Forest Supervisor’s Office – 970-247-4874
Dolores Ranger District – 970-882-7296
Columbine Ranger District – 970-884-2512
Pagosa Ranger District – 970-264-2268

To report a fire on federal lands, please contact the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 970-385-1324.

This press release was provided by @SanJuanNF on their Facebook page.

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Outdoor-Skills Weekend for Women – Colorado

If you or a lady you know would like to learn a variety of outdoor skills, there is a weekend planned for you in Western Colorado. I volunteer to help with a similar event in my area and I must admit it’s a great place to learn, socialize and get outdoors. Try to sign up for one in your area.

Women only outdoor-skills weekend planned for Western Colorado

Womens-outdoor-clinic-CPW-792ce026-65b6-46d7-952b-6c7af213504dMONTROSE, Colo. – Women who want to gain valuable outdoor skills, learn about wildlife and receive an introduction to hunting and fishing are invited to attend a “Cast and Blast” weekend workshop, July 13-15, sponsored by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The event is limited to 15-20 women and those interested must submit an application.

At the event, women will learn the basics of fly fishing, shotgun shooting, archery, wildlife watching and camping. Participants will also learn about the basics of wildlife management.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife will supply all sporting equipment — shotguns, ammunition, bows and arrows, and fly rods and tackle. Those who have a 20-gauge shotgun, fishing or archery gear can bring their own.

“This program is designed for women and provides a very supportive atmosphere for those who want to learn about fishing, hunting and wildlife,” said Kelly Crane, district wildlife manager in Ouray. “We especially invite women who have little or no experience to join us.”

Participants must have a current Colorado fishing license.

The event will be held at the Jim Olterman/Lone Cone State Wildlife Area, located about 25 miles south of Norwood. Participants will need to bring their own camping gear; they can camp in their own tents or sleep in a cabin. All food will be provided. Those with dietary restrictions, however, should bring their own supplies. A $40 deposit will be required from those chosen to participate.

To obtain an application for the workshop, please contact Dawn Bresett at 970-252-6000, or via email at


CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.

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Wildlife and the Trip to Jackson Wyoming

Although I live in a very beautiful area that is abundant with wildlife, I’m still like a tourist when I see wild animals so you bet I was excited to see a few moose in Wyoming.

I sit on the Board of Directors for our local Safari Club International chapter, and this year we agreed that a few of us needed to attend Chapter Leadership training. The course is hosted at the American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) just south of Jackson, Wyoming so I chose to drive up and enjoy the views.

I drove the little Nissan Rogue that takes me all over the country and I’ve even used it on a few hunting treks. As I headed up the dirt road toward the lodge I encountered a few washed out roads and nearly high-centered the little scooter a few times. I’m glad I grew up on this type of terrain and knew how to manage my way up to the gorgeous location.

As soon as I got settled and said hello to friends we saw a young moose, along with a mule deer, eating at a mineral lick. Of course, tourist mode kicked in and I had to try to share the fun with you.

Mind you, where I live the views are very similar, but it doesn’t take much time in the outdoors, viewing God’s creations to get me excited. Check it out. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Get Outdoors for Memorial Day

Below you will find this month’s newsletter Memorial Day Newsletter, which gives you some outdoor fun ideas. If you haven’t already signed up, CLICK HERE and get on the list to receive updates, news, tips, recipes, gear reviews and more. Are you ready? Let’s go! 


Memorial Day Weekend

As we enjoy Memorial Day and the holiday weekend that markedly indicates summertime is coming I want you to stow your devices and get outside. If you cannot pry yourself away from these electronics, maybe you’ll like to learn about some that can come in handy for you while you’re outdoors.

Mia from the Mountains

Here in So.CO (Southern Colorado) we’ve been busy. I traveled to the NRA Annual meetings in Dallas, Texas. I enjoyed participating in a mentorship meeting with some of the NRA Women I look up to and have a fabulous time at the Women’s Leadership Luncheon where Tucker Carlson chatted and inspired us. Yep! There is hope for our country — If we all do our part.

Just prior to, and shortly thereafter, the NRA event, I’d been guiding turkey hunters and then made a trek up to visit my college girl. We moved her into her first “Own Place” then zipped back home to work frantically on getting our irrigation system installed and running. Now it’s off to the mountains for pack trips, then more travels and board meetings.  It’s been hectic but satisfying.

MAC Outdoors Podcast

Since we hope you’ll get outdoors as much as we do, Lea and I shared a few apps that will help you find your way around in the woods. Be it for hiking or hunting, these programs that you can download right to your phone will help you know where to go. Learn more here –


We’ve also been out on the lake fishing — Where do we find the time? — We caught several Small-Mouth Bass and landed some Northern Pike. Thanks to a friend, the next time I catch a pike, I’ll have a delicious recipe.

Find it here –


Find Your Food

I love finding deliciousness in the outdoors. Wild asparagus is a fave because it is not as bitter as that which you buy in the store. Keep an eye out for it and tell me what other goodies you like to find this time of year.
More edible plants –




Bear Cautions to Memorial Day Campers

I hope many of you are going to be out camping as you also remember the fallen this Memorial Day weekend. While you’re out remember to be safe and bear aware.

Department cautions campers to be aware of increased bear activity in the Jemez Mountains

nmdgf-logo-color_originalJEMEZ – Due to multiple sightings of bear cubs by campers in the area of Forest Road 376 in the Jemez Mountains, recreationists are reminded to keep a clean camp and be bear aware during the long weekend.

According to Tristanna Bickford, communications director, “some may view this as a unique opportunity to view young wildlife; however, it is very important for people to not attempt to approach these bears for any reason and to maintain a safe distance.”

Also read: Bear Adventures

The department strongly urges you to avoid getting between the mother and her cubs. Bickford continues, “Always be aware that the mother is likely in the area. Approaching wildlife is dangerous and getting into the personal space of any wild animal is a bad idea.” The department will have extra staff in the area to ensure safety of the public and wellbeing of the bears.

bear-cubs-5806_crop-NMDGFThe state has experienced less than average precipitation for this time of the year, which means that bears may be in search of other food sources, said Rick Winslow, cougar and bear biologist with the department.

“Droughts historically have led to a lot of bear conflicts, not only at camping and picnic sites, but also in more populated areas,” said Winslow.

Due to the recent increased bear activity, people should be even more diligent about keeping campsites clean and paying attention to their surroundings when visiting bear country.

The department offers the following suggestions if you plan on spending the long weekend camping in this area and other areas where bears may be present:

  • Keep your camp clean, and store food and garbage properly at all times. Use bear-proof containers when available. If not, suspend food, toiletries, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 6 feet out from the tree trunk.
  • Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.
  • Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site, 100 yards is recommended.
  • Never feed bears.

If you encounter a bear:

  • Make yourself appear large by holding out your jacket. If you have small children, pick them up so they don’t run.
  • Give the bear plenty of room to escape, so it doesn’t feel threatened or trapped. If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.
  • If the bear has not seen you, stay calm and slowly move away, making noise so the bear knows you are there. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.

If you are experiencing a persistent problem with bears, please contact your regional Game & Fish office or contact your local law enforcement for immediate assistance. Visit the department’s website to find contact information: for more information about living with bears in New Mexico please consult Keeping Bears Alive and Yourself Safe.

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