South Park Ranger District
P.O. Box 219, 320 Hwy 285
Fairplay, CO 80440
Phone (719) 836-2031
Fax (719) 836-3875
Located on the northwest corner of US Highway 285 and Colorado Highway 9, at the only stoplight in Fairplay.
Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The South Park Ranger District manages 456,599 acres ranging in elevation from 7,100 to 14,285 ft mostly in Park and Teller counties. The district office is in Fairplay, Colorado. The main highways through the district include Highway 285 south of Kenosha Pass to Trout Creek Pass, and Highway 24 from Florissant, Colorado, to the intersection with Highway 285 at Trout Creek Pass.
**SEASONAL RESTRICTIONS TO START JANUARY 1, 2022 TO PROTECT NESTING BIRDS OF PREY**
To protect nesting birds of prey, the Forest Service will be implementing annual area closures around the areas of the west side of LaSalle Pass, near the entrance to Elevenmile Canyon, Observatory Rock, and Eagle Rock. The closures comprise all activities in the area including hiking, rock climbing, and drone use. See the maps and Forest Orders at Pike-San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands - Alerts & Notices (usda.gov) (Forest Orders PSICC-2021-04 and PSICC-2021-05). The climbing locations upcanyon from the Riverside Campground in Elevenmile Canyon will remain open year-round. The closure areas will remain closed for a period from January 1st and July 31st annually.
Bald and golden eagles are sensitive to disturbance from people during their nesting season and excessive disturbance may cause frequent nest abandonment and resulting nest failure. These closures will protect long-established eagle nesting areas, allowing birds to settle into their nest site without human disturbance.
Federal and state law prohibit disturbing any nesting birds of prey. Visitors can help protect wildlife by respecting closures and locations that are signed for other raptor nesting areas. Signs will be posted at key access points into the closed areas. Please contact the South Park Ranger District with questions at 719-836-2031.
** ALL SOUTH PARK RANGER DISTRICT CAMPGROUNDS ARE CLOSED FOR THE SEASON**
**Personal Use Fuelwood Sales on Pike National Forest**
South Park Ranger District sells fuelwood year-round. First time buyers must come into the office. Please call South Park Ranger District at (719) 836-2031 for details to obtain firewood permits or download the form HERE.
**Transplant permits now available year-round**
First-time buyers must come into the office. After your first purchase, you can use our form that can be downloaded HERE.
Traditionally the USFS has conducted two transplant programs per year. The dates were weather dependent, but generally run from mid-March through the end of May and again through the month of October when transplants have the highest likelihood of success. However, to provide the best customer service possible, the South Park Ranger District will be selling transplant permits year-round. We encourage people to transplant their trees and shrubs either in the spring before buds begin to open, or in the fall after the plant has gone dormant. This will increase the plant’s chances of survival and reduce the amount of work it takes to keep them alive.
The allowable species to be transplanted during this time will be:
SHRUBS: Cinquefoil, Kinnikinick, Buffalo Berry, Woods Rose, Gooseberry and Common Juniper.
TREES: All tree species.
The transplant program provides an excellent opportunity for you to plant trees and shrubs on your property as well as adding an aesthetic value to your community. A tree’s chance of survival is greatly increased if its new home is similar to its old home. By digging transplants on the national forest you can stay close to home for your planting stock.
• Permits are non-refundable.
• NO MACHINE DIGGING ALLOWED.
• Maximum allowable height is eight feet.
• All holes dug shall be filled in.
• Trees removed must come from the South Park Ranger District.
• PROHIBITED AREAS: Bristlecone Pine Scenic Area, Jefferson Lake Recreation Area, Eleven Mile Canyon, Campgrounds, Picnic Areas, Lost Creek Wilderness, and Buffalo Peaks Wilderness.
• There is a maximum of 10 transplants allowed per adult individual. (Transplants are for personal use only and are not for resale; we do not sell commercial transplant permits.)
• Each transplant removed from the forest must be marked with a signed and numbered tree removal permit.
It is the permittee’s responsibility to make sure they are within the boundary of the South Park Ranger District. Forest service personnel can answer questions regarding district boundaries.
Some roads on the South Park Ranger District are closed during the spring months to prevent resource damage. It is the responsibility of the permittee to know which roads are and are not accessible during the transplant season. Please stay on the road even if it is muddy, or if it is causing damage to the road to use it find another area to look for transplants. Driving around muddy spots widens the road and can cause significant resource damage.
MOTORIZED TRAVEL ON CLOSED ROADS FOR ANY PURPOSE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.
Forest Service Travel Management
There has been an increased number of seasonal gate closures across the Pike-San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands in the past couple of years. These closures are in place for several reasons:
- Seasonal closures are temporary and normally effective from January 1 to June 15.
- Seasonal closures offer protection for big game species during the times of year when they are expecting the most stress for example over the winter and during calving season.
- Seasonal closures protect roads from damage during the mud season and spring runoff.
- Many seasonal closures have been in place for years but may not have had proper signs posted or were properly gated in the past.
- Many seasonal closures were forced because of a lawsuit settlement in which the Forest Service was sued.
- Additional information regarding Forest Service Travel Managment and Seasonal Closures.
**Forest Service Road 659 in Beaver Creek and 669 in Crooked Creek are closed to all Off Highway Vehicles including ATV’s, UTV’s, and motorcycles that do not have a state license plate. This closure has been in effect since 2010.**
Prescribed Fire on the South Park Ranger District
The South Park Ranger District regularly post Tweets about our prescribed fires. Follow us on Twitter: @PSICC_NF for updates.
Fall 2021 Broadcast Burn Projects
WILSON RX: Five units, totaling approximately 400 acres, are targeted for this fall. Some or all units may be burned depending on conditions. They are located along the east side of the Blue Mountain road (County Road 61) just south of Lake George. Most of the project area has been thinned with the slash chipped and removed from the site. Vegetation is primarily open ponderosa pine, grass, and shrubs. The objectives are to reduce surface fuel loading and ladder fuels while regenerating grasses and shrubs. The overall goal is to reduce potential for high intensity fires and lower the risk to adjacent private lands and homes. A secondary objective is to improve wildlife habitat. Use the Twitter Hashtag: #LakeGeoRX
O’BRIEN RX: One unit of approximately 200 acres is planned here. It is located approximately three miles southwest of Lake George between Rocky and O’Brien Gulches and Eleven Mile Canyon; south of Forest Road 251.1B. Ponderosa pine is the most common vegetation but it includes meadows, aspen and Douglas fir. The steeper south facing slopes, such as in O’Brien Gulch, are mostly grass and shrubs. There are pockets of heavier down and dead material. The objectives are to reduce surface fuel loading and ladder fuels with secondary objectives of regenerating grasses and shrubs to improve wildlife habitat. The overall goal here too is reducing potential for high intensity fires and lower the risk to adjacent private lands and homes. Use the Twitter Hashtag: #LakeGeoRX.
BEAVER RX: Three units totaling approximately 200 acres are planned here. They are located approximately eight miles southwest of Lake George off County Road 100 near the Beaver Valley subdivision. Ponderosa pine and aspen with grass are the most common vegetation, but it also includes pockets of Douglas fir/mixed conifer. Areas of these units were thinned, piled, and burned. There are pockets of heavier down and dead material. The objectives are to reduce surface fuel loading and ladder fuels with secondary objectives of regenerating grasses and shrubs to improve wildlife habitat. The overall goal here is to reduce potential for high intensity fires and lower the risk to adjacent private lands and homes. Use the Twitter Hashtag: #LakeGeoRX.
Click here for the South Park Ranger District - Fall 2021 Prescribed Fire Map
For all burns use the Twitter hashtag: #LkGeoRx
What To Expect (Broadcast Burns)
Very detailed burn plans are prepared well ahead of time, which are used to guide the implementation of these burns. A GO/NO GO checklist is performed prior to ignition to make sure all requirements to burn are in place before the final decision to burn is made. Weather and fuel conditions are critical to making the decision to burn and can result in last minute cancellations.
Actual ignition of the units will take approximately two to five hours depending on conditions and unit size. Typical flames will range from less than a foot to three feet. It is during this time and just after that the most smoke will be produced. A smoke “column” will be highly visible for a long distance away, but especially from Lake George to Woodland Park and Highway 24 corridor. This smoke column will diminish over the hours following ignition, but smoke will be visible till dark. The next day smoke will still be visible from the burn, but much less (if no other units are ignited). Often, a general light haze over the Lake George area will be present the morning after ignition due to overnight inversions. Smoke will diminish each day but may be visible until rain or snow occurs.
Burn units will be patrolled until they are out. Conditions will dictate patrol frequency, time, and duration as well as the number of firefighters and equipment.
Most of the area along County Road 61 and 98 have been burned in the past. A large number of smaller trees that carry fires into the tops of large trees and which will also grow into an overly dense future forest were killed in previous Wilson prescribed burns. Lower limbs of the larger trees were killed too which is a natural process to reduce the likelihood of fires moving into the crowns. The dead limbs and needles fall off over several years.
Surface fuels such as the forest duff and down dead are also reduced throughout the burn. Grass and shrubs were regenerated and green up in the spring faster and more robust than adjacent unburned areas.
Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, please visit: https://www.colorado.gov/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
2021/22 Pile Burn Projects
Pile burning requires enough snow cover to prevent any spread from the piles for sufficient time for the piles to go out or be mopped up. No burning will be considered until there is sufficient snow cover. If that requirement doesn’t occur, no pile burning will be implemented.
Road Gulch Future Prescribed Fire Project: Located approximately six miles southwest of Lake George, off County Road 98 to the north and 3/4 mile south of Wagon Tongue subdivision. It is hand piled thinning slash of trees less than 6 inches in diameter, cut to reduce the risk for implementing a future prescribed burn here. Many of the hand piles were burned the winter of 2018/19, but more thinning has occurred during the summer of 2019. However, not all piles will be dry enough to burn, many will have to be burned in the winter of 2021-22.
County Road 98 Thinning: Located about six to eight miles south-southwest of Lake George along County Road 98 from south of Wagon Tongue subdivision to Beaver Valley subdivision. Piles are made up of tops and limbs, as well as smaller boles. Thinning is this area was mostly done in the summer/fall of 2020 to reduce risk to structures and create a potential control feature.
Lake George East – Forest Service Station 10 Mitigation Project: Located in Lake George on the north and east side of the fire station facilities. It’s made up of tops and limbs, as well as some smaller boles, from thinning to reduce the risk to the station.
For all pile burns use the Twitter hashtag: #LkGeoRx
What To Expect (Pile Burns)
Detailed burn plans are also prepared for pile burning which are used to guide the implementation of these burns. A GO/NO GO checklist is performed prior to ignition to make sure all requirements to burn are in place before the final decision to burn is made. Piles are burned with snow cover.
Piles are typically ignited mid to late morning. Hand piles will burn actively for approximately an hour; the most smoke is produced during this time. Afterwards, crews will go back and “chunk” any unburned material back into the pile to improve consumption. There will be a short burst of higher activity and smoke. The piles will then burn down over the next several hours. The majority of piles will be out by evening or overnight. Smoke production after the first day is very limited to none.
The large “landing” piles will burn actively for several hours and will take longer to burn down then the hand piles described above. Most smoke production will be done by evening, but they may continue to smolder through the night. They typically will take a few days to go out.
Burn units will be patrolled daily unless snow covered or out. Conditions will dictate patrol time and duration as well as the number of firefighters and equipment. Piles will be mopped up if needed.
Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information, please visit: https://www.colorado.gov/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
For further information, feel free to contact Chris Rokosh at 719-748-8505.