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Clear Creek Ranger District History

Gold and silver spurred on the pioneers' hopes and dreams flooding the lands inhabited by the Ute and Arapaho tribes with folks of different races and ethnicity seeking fortune. First arriving in wagons, followed thereafter by the railroad, now Interstate 70 transports the many automobiles carrying travelers through the heart of Clear Creek Ranger District. The land has been used in multiple ways for many years. It has been the summer hunting grounds of Native Americans, fame and fortune by miners, and most recently used by people seeking out its Rocky Mountain beauty for recreation and relaxation. We recognize the area's rich history and celebrate its diverse visitation throughout the year.


  • 1859 - Gold is discovered in Idaho Springs by George Jackson and silver is discovered in Georgetown by George Griffith
  • 1861 - Colorado becomes a territory of the United States of America
  • 1870s - Lower Beaver Meadow Fire burned 200 plus acres started by John Evans on a camping trip as a young boy
  • 1876 - Colorado admitted into statehood during the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and is nicknamed the Centennial State
  • 1891 - Upper Beaver Meadows Fire burned 100 acres unknown cause
  • 1892 - Vance Creek Fire burned 300 plus acres caused by campers to the area
  • 1893 - Economic depression forced Congress to repeal the silver-purchasing act of 1890 turning the mining camps into ghost towns
  • 1905 - The United States Forest Service is established
  • 1907 - Arapaho National Forest established by Theodore Roosevelt. William B. Kelso becomes first District Ranger of Clear Creek Ranger District
  • 1908 - Scott Gomer Creek Fire burned 350 acres and nearly burned over three firefighters unknown cause
  • 1913 - Denver Mountain Parks System established to provide visitors automotive access to beautiful views and recreational activities
  • 1916 - Deer Creek Fire burned 600 acres unknown cause
  • 1923 - Construction of Mount Evans Road begins as a multi-agency project by federal, state, county, and city groups
  • 1920s - Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout is built by City of Denver and staffed for spotting wildfires
  • 1930 - Construction of Mount Evans Road is completed
  • 193s - Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps and projects on Clear Creek Ranger District include the district's maintenance building, picnic areas, and observation decks
  • 1937 - Berthoud and Loveland Ski Areas begin operating
  • 1940 - CCC rebuilds Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout after a wind storm destroys the original structure
  • 1944 - Mount Evans Road closed to public use for military operations by the Army Air Corps Training Division
  • 1945 - Military operations cease and Mount Evans Road re-opens to public
  • 1950s - Porcupine Fire burned a small area north of Lincoln Lake
  • 1960s - New technology makes staffing Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout obsolete
  • 1962 - Lincoln Lake Fire burned 700 acres near the junction of Lincoln Lake and Resthouse Meadow Trails unknown cause
  • 1964 - Resthouse Meadow Fire burned 1076 acres including the Resthouse structure caused by humans
  • 1973 - Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests merged with Pawnee National Grasslands
  • 1978 - Reservoir Fire burned 400 acres from Chicago Lakes to the Idaho Springs Reservoir human caused
  • 1980 - Mount Evans Wilderness Area established
  • 1996 - Mount Evans Scenic Byway becomes a Fee Use area
  • 1998 - Beartracks and Whitesides Fires burned 485 and 200 acres respectively on two different sides of the Mount Evans Wilderness both were human caused
  • 2000 - Present: Daniel A. Lovato District Ranger


Fire history researched by Ralph Bradt and Chris Hiney