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Winter on the GMUG!

image of an owl sitting in a tree during a snow storm

A Northern Pygmy-Owl  (Glaucidium gnoma) spies a potential meal
scurrying below. Photo Credit: Dennis Garrison.


image of a herd of bull ealk in meadow infront of raggeds

A herd of bull elk (Cervus canadensis) moving through snow covered 
fields near Paonia. Photo Credit: Dennis Garrison.


image of bald eagle perched on tree branch

Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucophalus) are frequent visitors to our area
during the winter months and are most often observed perched in cottonwoods
along the rivers. Photo Credit: Heidi Sellers.


buck in snow

A mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is distracted from nosing through the
snow in search of tasty forbes.


group of white partridge in snow

A covey of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura). As with all ptarmigan,
legs and feet are feathered, and plumage is molted (changed) three times a year
matching seasonal changes in habitats. In winter, this bird is pure white except
for a black beak and eyes. White-tailed ptarmigan are the smallest bird in the
grouse family and are so named because they are the only ptarmigan with no
black on the tail. They are common in rocky alpine slopes and meadows. 
The White-tailed Ptarmigan leads a very sedentary lifestyle in winter, conserving
precious energy by avoiding flight and often roosting in snow banks. 
Photo Credit: Kathryn Sevier.


image ofice climber helping child with ropes on ice wall

An ice climber shows a young girl  "the ropes" at the annual Ouray Ice Climbing
Festival. Photo Credit: Dave Armlovich.


FS speaking with snowmobilers

Forest Service OHV Coordinator discusses the benefits of "tread lightly " during
the annual snowmobile registration day on the Gunnison National Forest.


image of dogs in kennels looking out

Baxter and Stella can't wait to get harnessed up and "let loose of their pent up
energy" at the annual sled dog races sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Sled
Dog Club on the Grand Mesa. Photo Credit: Cindi Range.



These dogs spent all their energy and now have their eyes on the prize
(dog chow). Photo Credit: Cindi Range.


image of aspen stand in winter

Acres of bare aspen trees on the Paonia Ranger District.
Photo Credit: Dennis Garrison.


image of a peak in winter

The Raggeds near Paonia Ranger District. Photo Credit: Dave Armlovich.


child in tube at Crested Butte

It isn't hard to find something fun to do on the GMUG during the winter.
Photo Credit: Alex Fenlon.


distance image of skier on fresh powder

First run on a powder day at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. 
Photo Credit: Nathan Bilow.


 image of snowy road near norwood

Aftermath of a winter storm near Norwood, Colorado. Photo Credit: D. Closson.


Image of closer look of Mt Sneffles

A closer look at Mount Sneffels in winter. Photo Credit: Dave Armlovich.


 snowboarder grooming slope

Snowboarder grooming the runs at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
Photo Credit:Tom Stillo.


 iamges of man in snow pit taking snow samples

Chris Landry, director of the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies sets up his
instruments in a 6 foot deep snow pit to measures the effects of dust on snow. 
The study conducted in cooperation with the Forest Service on Red Mountain Pass,
is the only one in the world researching this phenomena. Prevailing winds carry
dust from western lands where soils have been exposed through wildfire or
other natural and man-related disturbances. Dust particles accumulate on
the snow creating a darker surface.  Darker particles increase heat absorption
from the sun and cause snowmelt to occur earlier than usual. 
Photo Credit: Anne Janik

image of youngman measuring snow in cylinder

Landry’s assistant weighs the snow in the cylinder to determine density of snow
and water content. Heat absorption causes earlier melt affecting the timing
of runoff, as well as the emergence of alpine plants.  Predicting the timing
and amount of snowmelt is a big concern for reservoir managers who need
to capture and store as much water as possible for irrigation releases later
in the growing season. Photo Credit: Anne Janik.


image of FS employees in storm

A day working in the field is better than any day in the office regardless
of the weather!