Now that Summer has arrived, my annual effort to photograph moose has started.
I’ve made a few brief scouting trips in Northern Colorado and around the village of Red Feather Lakes and I’ve seen a few moose scattered about, so the Cameron Peak fire from last summer doesn’t appear to have wiped them out. But, the moose habitat in Northern Colorado has been impacted and so has my ability to photograph them.
There are moose hanging out in and around Red Feather Lakes. My wife Trudy has been up there this past week and has sent me video of a large bull in our front yard. I too have seen a few cows and calves and a younger bull in the area, without doing an exhaustive search.
I’ll be making my first real trip out into the wilderness next week to scout the main moose habitats. Here’s what I already know.
Much of the National Forest in Mooseville will be closed as a result of the Cameron Peak Fire. Here’s the latest closure map. You can view it online by clicking here.
From what I can see, it looks like the Comanche Peak Wilderness and areas south of Highway 14 between NW Fort Collins and west to Long Draw Road will be closed to access. The latest report has the opening of Long Draw delayed. It normally opens around July 4th each year, but the fire burned along the east side of the road last year, so I’m guessing they’ll be doing some cleanup along that road until such time as they feel it is safe for vehicular traffic. The good news is that a lot of the habitat on Long Draw wasn’t burned, and that’s encouraging.
Chambers Lake and north along Laramie River Road and south of Deadman Road all the way east to Manhattan road is closed. This is a major moose habitat area and doing any meaningful work in there is probably not going to occur this year. We’re talking about Ground Zero of the fire and where it burned to the east from there.
I’ll be concentrating my scouting in the areas west of Long Draw Road over Cameron Pass all the way to Rabbit Ears Pass along highway 14. I’ll also be scouting the Walden area, Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge, Rand & Gould, and south towards Granby along highway 125. I know from previous experience that all of these areas are good moose habitat. I’ll just have to dial in where the moose can be consistently found.
It will require a lot of extra miles, but it has to be done. A lot of the easy stuff will be off limits this year.
Stay tuned. I’ll have further updates as I complete my scouting trips.