Baca National Wildlife Refuge are guided for the first time by monumental new signs along County Road T culminating in a three-panel display that also invites hikers to Crestone’s mountain trails.
The turnoff identified by the historic iron crossbar at the gate of the former Baca cattle ranch is a five-minute drive from town. The lobby of the new territorial-style administration building presents a spectacular view of the Crestone mountains above a green meadow. Visitors are welcome to walk around the grounds, with their unusual local species of narrow-leaf cottonwood trees, but visitors are warned not to enter the buildings of the 150-year-old ranch center. (They await historic preservation.)
Volunteers of Outdoor Colorado are completing a trail through the meadow and along meandering Crestone Creek to the Colorado College satellite campus, which also has a trail. (Eventually hikers will be able to walk on a trail network from the Crestone Charter School to the Refuge headquarters.)
In the visitors’ lobby, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prefers to call a “contact center,” is a display of Native American projectile points collected by Bob Bunker during his long cowboy career on the ranch. Educational wildlife displays are in the works, but will not be completed until probably next year.
Assistant manager Dean Lee of the Refuge said the immediate surroundings make for “phenomenal bird watching,” plus the possibility of seeing the resident bobcat. And along the entry road is a booming settlement of rare Gunnison prairie dogs.
Otherwise the 80,000-acre refuge, with its wetlands and former irrigated pastures with some 2,000 elk, will continue to be closed to casual visitors, except for guided tours on a half dozen Thursday evenings this summer. The tour schedule will be released later, Lee said.
Under Interior Department orders last year, public hunting is now allowed on wildlife refuges, subject to state licensing. But the general elk season is not until fall.
The first of our Baca Refuge Summer Tour/Talk Series will take place during the month of June. Changes for the 2019 Series include a change in time. The 2019 Summer talks/tours will be taking place during evening hours (beginning at 5pm) rather than during the work day hour of 9am. We’re hoping this will allow more people to participate. In addition, we’re also bringing in more outside expertise and incorporating more talks/presentations.
Although not completely solidified, the Summer Series is quite diverse and will include: night sky presentations/viewing; native bees and pollinators presentation and identification; National Wildlife Refuge System History and Evolution Presentation, as well as a Baca Refuge and Surrounding Area Geology Tour by our very own and well-respected Dr. Jim McCalpin. In addition, the always-popular Baca Refuge/Ranch History tour featuring local favorite Bob Bunker will be on the calendar for later in the summer.
A full list of available Tours/Talks will be advertised in The
Eagle’s July issue as well as on the Baca Refuge’s website at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/baca.
Following are the Tours/Talks slated for the month of June:
(5:00pm) Geology of the Baca Refuge and Surrounding Area; Dr. James McCalpin, Founder/President GEO-HAZ Consulting, Inc.
• Morning Aarati, Haidakhandi Universal Ashram, 7-8am, 256-4108, www.babajiashram.org.
• Jyorei, Shumei Sanctuary, please be seated by 7:50am and 5:50pm, 256-5248
• Tours, gallery & Jyorei, Shumei, 9am-5pm, 256-5284
• Open meditation & prayers 9-10am in Vajra Vidya Retreat Center Shrine Room. All are welcome. 256-5539. www.vajravidya.com
• Tours, Temple & Gift Shop – Haidakhandi Universal Ashram, 256-4108, email@example.com, www.babajiashram.org.
• Evening Aarati, Haidakhandi Universal Ashram, 6-7pm. Chanting in Sanskirt and Hindi. All are welcome. 256-4108, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.babajiashram.org
• Sunday masses at Nada Hermitage 9-10am, 256-4778
• Sunday Service Crestone Baptist Church, 10am-noon
• AA meeting (open, discussion), Crestone Town Hall, Alder St. north of Galena Ave.
• Al-Anon meeting, Little Shepherd Church, Alder St. north of Galena Ave., 1pm
• Continuing Ashtanga Yoga, Mysore Style Shakti Sharanam, 5-6:45pm by donation, shaktisharanam.com, 256-5668
• NA meeting (open), Little Shepherd Church, Alder St. north of Galena Ave., 7:30pm
• Yoga Fundamentals & Refinments, Shakti Sharanam, 8:30- 10am by donation, shaktisharanam.com, 256-5668
• AA meeting (open, Book Study) Crestone Baptist Church, Rd. T west of the kiosk, noon
• Continuing Ashtanga Yoga, Mysore Style Shakti Sharanam, 5pm-6:45pm, by donation, shaktisharanam.com, 256-5668
• NA meeting (open, Step Study), Little Shepherd Church, Alder St. north of Galena Ave., 9am
• Feel Free Ministries free meal, noon-4pm, Little Shepherd Community Center