Friends of Lory State Park Spring Newsletter 2014

Friends of Lory | P.O. Box 11, Bellvue, CO 80512 | (970) 235-2045 | |
Supporting the natural legacy of Lory State Park

In this Issue

President’s Letter

by Sarah Myers, President – 2013-2015, FoLSP Board of Directors

Dear Friends,

Spring and summer are some of the best times to enjoy Lory State Park. I cherish spring when migratory birds come back through the area, whether briefly or for the long summer stay. I delight in hearing the songs of Western Meadowlarks singing atop trees, bushes, and fences on the West, East, and South Valley Loops. I also hopped for joy upon hearing the first wing trills of the early male scout Broad-tailed Hummingbirds on April 14.  Other birds that come back in the spring are the Turkey Vultures, which soar over the foothills high above Arthur’s Rock.

 Further into summer, it’s a special time when the Yellow-rumped Warbler sings in the cool creek-drainage along Arthur’s Rock trail. Of course, all year round, we can observe the behavior and calls of magpies, flickers, chickadees and Jays and see how they change and adapt to the seasons. Curious about other wildlife sightings in the Park? Stop by the Visitor Center and check the white board for recent reports. Want to know what to watch for while in the Park? The Visitor Center has several checklists that you can use in the field or take home for free, including Birds of Lory and a Wildlife List, in addition to Geology of Lory, and History of the Park. Visitors can also pick up a Checklist of Common Plants and see what’s growing in the Park.

If you appreciate Lory as much as our Board of Directors and I do, we welcome you to join Friends of Lory and volunteer for our numerous Park events and fundraisers to help Lory thrive. We will have several board openings available this summer. Take advantage of this opportunity to get involved with a great group of people, all focused on supporting the Park. By volunteering with Friends, you can really make a difference at the Park and in Northern Colorado. We also welcome volunteers to sign up on our email list by contacting us. Just let us know you’d like to be added to the volunteer list. Volunteers, members, neighbors and community members alike are invited and welcome to attend the Friends of Lory Board Meetings, usually held the 1st Wednesday monthly from 5-6:30 pm at the Lory State Park Visitor Center. Upcoming board meeting dates are July 9, August 6, and September 3. For questions or more information, please email LorySP Friends.

Another way to help support the Park is by joining the Friends of Lory through an annual membership, starting at $25 for Individuals. Membership funds go towards supporting Park projects, supplies, and programs. Our goal for this year is having 50 new members join us. Not yet a member? Pick up a Friends of Lory brochure at the Visitor Center and join or visit our website and download the brochure. Your membership will help us to help the Park.

Park Manager’s Letter

by Larry Butterfield

Dear Friends of Lory State Park,

Spring time here at Lory is a wonderful time of year to get out and enjoy all that the park has to offer.  We are quite busy in numerous ways, coordinating events and maintaining park resources.  We have had our first trail race of the year.  Quad Rock 50 was hosted by local running group Gnar runners on May 10th.  It was a great success and was well attended by runners and supporters to the runners.

XTERRA Lory Triathlon took place on May 31st.  It offered great opportunities for people to swim in Horsetooth’s North Eltuck Cove, ride the valley trails, and finish with a trail run.  Without Limits Production did a wonderful job of ensuring all participants had a safe and fun experience.  We hope you were able to come out and enjoy watching folks take on the various challenges of the triathlon course.

Lory is not all fun and games; there is plenty of hard work carried out by staff and our volunteers.  This year Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) turns 30! The Overlook Trail was first constructed by VOC back in 1984. It was VOC’s first volunteer project after opening their doors as a nonprofit volunteer organization thirty years ago. Since that time, they have provided volunteer leadership and thousands of volunteers in helping maintain and care for Lory State Park. This project is one of nine 30th Anniversary Commemorative Projects we are hosting to highlight VOC’s long-standing history caring for Colorado’s outdoors.  We are very excited to have VOC back to help us get some vital work done to rehabilitate the impacts of the Galena Fire on Overlook Trail.  They worked June 7th and 8th.

Among the grants we received, (see article “Grant Awards”) we were awarded funding from Great Outdoors for Colorado this year. The funding is for trail construction or maintenance within State Parks.  We feel very fortunate to be able to have a trail crew back this year to help maintain the 26 miles of trail within Lory.  If you see the crew out on the trails during the week, stop and say hello.  We are hopeful to have a trail crew for many years to come.  Being a trails-based park, caring for our trails is absolutely vital.

The entire staff looks forward to seeing you all out in the Park this year!

Thank you,
Larry Butterfield
Park Manager
Lory State Park

Grant Awards

The Friends of Lory State Park has received three grants, and thanks our donors for their support!

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Foundation contributed $8,000 via a grant to assist with completion of the equestrian jumps course which was burned in the Galena fire, March 2013. More funds will be needed for the 50 jump course, but this generous grant has allowed construction of 9 jumps.  Larimer County awarded the Friends group $2,000 on April 24, 2014, for equipment and material supplies to assist with weed management using chemical spray applications.  Volunteers with the Friends of Lory State Park will need to provide approximately 100 total hours of weed control work to match the grant value by end of April, 2015.  A grant for $3,000 recently awarded by REI will provide seed money for the design and eventual reconstruction of the Mountain Bike Skills Course at the Lory Bike Corral. No set completion date as of yet, and additional funds will be needed.

Friends of Lory is seeking volunteers to serve on our grant writing committee. We need a committee of 3-7 individuals to help us actively research, write, and manage our grant projects. The committee will have occasional meetings and will work collaboratively and/or individually through email. To join the grant writing committee, please email us or attend one of our Board meetings, July 9, August 6 or September 3 from 5-6:30 pm at the Lory State Park Visitor Center.

Volunteer Corner

Opportunities & Events

Friends of Lory State Park is grateful for our Volunteers!  We could not survive without you, and the Park itself would have much less to offer the public.  We are seeking volunteer naturalists, citizen scientists, volunteers interested in trail work, equestrian jumps construction, invasive weed management, bike park remodel, office help, event staffing, (see below) and working with our Friends group and Park staff.

Would you like to volunteer in some capacity?  Please attend our Volunteer Training Day on June 21, from 10am to Noon at the Lory State Park Visitor Center. Register by calling the Park office at (970) 493-1623.  Any and all interested volunteers are encouraged to attend.

Unable to attend this training, but interested in signing up on our volunteer email list?  Drop us a note here and let us know you would enjoy volunteering!

Volunteer Opportunities

Friends of Lory State Park is grateful for our volunteers! We could not survive without you. Please contact us if you can help with any of our needs, listed below. Some tasks will need a committee to accomplish our goals.

Public Affairs/Community Affairs Officer Historian
Social Media Coordinator Trail building crew
Photographer Lory Yanks, mechanical weed control
Events Coordinator Naturalists to lead field trips
Fundraiser Coordinator Front desk help
Outreach/Partnerships Coordinator Equestrian jump building
Colorado Day event help

Equine course help, signup Here:


Equestrian Course

Photos by Glen Akins

Did you know that the Galena Fire of March 15, 2013 last year not only burned ten wooden bridges on Lory’s Valley Trails, but also destroyed over 50 equestrian jumps on the eventing course in the South Valley of the Park?

By October 2015, we hope to replace all the jumps.  With thanks to volunteer grant writer Diana Dwyer, The Friends of Lory State Park got the ball rolling last year by applying for and receiving a grant from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Foundation for $8,000.  With that seed money, the Park contracted internationally experienced equestrian events course designer and builder James Atkinson to design and place finished jumps on the course.  With able assistance from Dan Michaels, an eventing enthusiast from our northern Colorado area, James also trained Volunteers this past January to construct several varieties of jumps.  All the jumps, called “questions”, are being built according to specifications defined by USEA, the United States Eventing Association, for four levels of equestrian expertise:  Beginner, Beginner/Novice, Novice, and Training heights.  Yes!  Built by Volunteers from all over the region, partnering with the Friends of Lory State Park!  Tuesday, May 27, 2014, we celebrated a milestone as James and Dan placed and anchored nine completed, two-sided, “portable” jumps of varying heights on the course, ready for you and your horse.  And the work continues….stay tuned for upcoming volunteer work dates!  Attend our upcoming Volunteer Training Day on June 21 to find out more (see above)!

Weed Management:  Related to the effects of the Galena Fire of March, 2013, Larimer County awarded the Friends group $2,000 on April 24, 2014, for equipment and material supplies to assist with weed management using chemical spray applications.  Volunteers with the Friends of Lory State Park will need to provide approximately 100 total hours of weed control work to match the grant value by end of April, 2015.

Rebuild the Bike Corral:  A grant for $3,000 recently awarded by REI will provide seed money for the design and eventual reconstruction of the Mountain Bike Skills Course – and whatever additional features deemed appropriate – at the Lory Bike Corral.  No set completion date as of yet, and additional funds will be needed.

Event Staffing:  The Friends of Lory State Park would like to have a crew of volunteers available to assist the Park with temporary staffing needs for targeted events throughout the year.  Scheduling support and participation with the Park Naturalist’s many educational and recreational programs is a priority. We need volunteers for our booth at GOCO-NoCO on June 14 from 8am to 3pm. The Ice Cream Social on August 5, Colorado Day is another event we are seeking volunteers for.

Upcoming Events:  Celebrate the wonder of the great outdoors at NoCo National Get Outdoors Day, Saturday, June 14, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at City Park, in Fort Collins!  It is a fun, free, active festival with loads of activities for people of all ages. Learn to fish, paddle, bike, climb, hike, and more! Friends of Lory andLory State Park will have a booth and an activity educating attendees about Colorado’s butterflies. Enjoy interactive activities in the REI Recreation Adventure Village, UC Health Village, Nature Play Village, Bicycle Village, and the Stewardship Village. Free and open to the public, all ages welcome and no registration required, learn more.

Mark your calendars for August 5, Colorado Day and FoLSP Ice Cream Social! In years past, funds were raised to assist families recovering from the High Park Fire and Galena Fire. This year the funds will be donated to Lory State Park’s Environmental Education program. Come support the cause, or volunteer if you can.

Board Member Vacancies

The Friends of Lory State Park is currently seeking members to serve on the Board of Directors. Please see the job description, application and more information below. Applications are due by July 1st 2014 and can be e-mailed or mailed to:

Friends of Lory
P.O. Box 11
Bellvue, CO 80512
Apply Here

Photo Contest

Calling all Camera-clicking Park Visitors!

Park visitors frequently ask staff for postcards of Lory State Park, but none are available. To remedy this situation and raise funds for the Park, Friends of Lory State Park is sponsoring a photography contest. We are looking for your recent or dated photographs taken within the Park boundaries that would make attractive postcards. Limit is 6 photos per person and entry fee to help with printing costs is $5.00 per photo. Six to ten winning photographs will be selected, printed as postcards, and offered for sale in the Park Visitor’s Center.  Rules of the contest are posted on the FoLSP website.  Send your entries to us. Write “Photo Contest Entry” in the subject line. Entries will be accepted until Midnight, July 31, 2014, and winners announced by the end of August. If there is continued interest, we may hold another contest next year.  We look forward to viewing your submissions, so send them in soon!

Lory State Park Events

Lory State Park Summer 2014 Programs (PDF)

  • June 14: Lory Trails Day
  • June 14: National Get Outdoors Day
  • June 21: Volunteer Training
  • June 28: 40 in the Fort
  • August 5: Colorado Day; Free Park admission; Ice Cream Social Fundraiser
  • August 5,12,19, 26: Lory Mountain Challenge
  • September 3: Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day
  • September 6: Black Squirrel Half Marathon
  • December 13: Holiday Open House at the Lory Visitor Center
  • December TBD: Christmas Bird Count at Lory

More events for 2014 will be added to our Calendar — please check back often!

Nature Notes

by Park Naturalist Alicia Goddard

Have you ever seen an Abert’s squirrel?  The long tufts of fur on its ears gave this critter the common name  “tassel-eared squirrel.” In Lory State Park the Abert’s fur coloration is black, although in other areas it can have brown or reddish fur. It has a very bushy tail sometimes showing a bit of white on the underside

Climbing and leaping among tree branches, Abert’s squirrel uses its long rear paws and strong hind legs. Its nest sits up to 40 feet above the ground, made with twigs and insulated with grasses, leaves, feathers, moss and pieces of bark.

Abert’s squirrels are a favorite food of hawks and owls. These squirrels are very sensitive to being captured or handled, often dying as a result.  They are also vulnerable to human encroachment.  They need mature ponderosa pine stands to survive.  Food shortage and injuries (such as broken teeth) also lead to mortality.

Ever heard of a squirrel that doesn’t store its food?  That would be this unique North American squirrel.  Imagine a winter afternoon when the solar rays are strong, an Abert’s squirrel is basking in the sun’s warmth.  The ponderosa pine in which it lays provides its food. Mycorrhizal fungi is a major food source in the summer months along with ponderosa pine cone seeds, tree buds, and needles.  In the winter months inner bark of ponderosa pine provides its sustenance.  Yummy and nutritionally desirable tree choices for this squirrel are ponderosas that have significantly higher levels of sodium and carbohydrate in their inner bark. Abert’s squirrels avoid trees containing harmful levels of substances such as iron and mercury.

Other undesirable ponderosas also have higher flow rates of oleoresin (a naturally occurring mixture of oil and a resin) and two particular monoterpenes (organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers) that are repellent to the squirrels.  These monoterpenes also give the Ponderosa trees that lovely butterscotch or vanilla smell.  This scent discourages the squirrel’s appetite, while pleasant to humans.  Next time you are hiking in Lory State Park make sure to sniff some Ponderosa bark, it smells great!

Feeding habits of Abert’s squirrels slow the growth rate of Ponderosas. Trees in areas outside Abert’s squirrel habitat produce lower levels of harmful chemicals.  Simply put, pines vary in the quantity of toxins made, and the squirrels choose trees that are better for their health.   A pine growing in Abert’s squirrels’ range may lose some of its vigor as a result of having its stems, buds, and seeds eaten by squirrels, or by having its growth rate slowed because it is producing more toxins. However, Abert’s squirrels provide an important benefit to the pines by distributing mycorrhizal fungal spores (through their feces).  The mature fungi are essential to the pines’ health. This connection between pine and squirrel is a complex and interesting symbiotic relationship.

When you next visit Lory State Park, quietly look up in the ponderosa pine branches.  A shy, well-camouflaged squirrel may be watching you.  Enjoy!

Butterfly Monitoring Project

Friends of Lory State Park help the Butterfly Pavilion with monitoring project

Did you know that the Monarch butterfly population has been rapidly declining for the past 20 years? Monarchs numbered around 1 billion in 1994, compared to the latest annual count of 33 million. Scientists are studying this trend for 3 reasons: 1.) Butterflies are major pollinators.  2.) Butterflies are regarded as biomarkers; a decline in butterfly populations is a sign that other populations are at risk.  3.) Chemicals used in industrialized agriculture are a concern to humans, and may be partially responsible for the decline in pollinator populations.

Five FoLSP volunteers, along with the Park Naturalist attended spring training at The Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster.  These volunteers agreed to observe and record butterfly types and numbers along a set transect in Lory State Park at least six times between May 15 and September 30, 2014. Combined observations throughout the state will help land managers understand and evaluate the health of our ecosystems.

While you are hiking at Lory State Park, you may see the rare Celastrina Saison, or Hops Blue. It’s a tiny blue butterfly found living on wild hop plants along the Front Range of Colorado. Our local Brewery, Odells brewed a beer called Celestrina honoring this butterfly! Find out more here.

Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy

The Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy in partnership with Front Range Community College maintains seven wildlife cameras in Lory State Park. We will post occasional photos captured at those sites on our facebook page, and invite you to join us on camera check hikes through the summer. The next outing is Thursday, June 12, at 10a.m., meeting at the visitor center. Please message us on facebook or e-mail us if you’d like to come along. The first hike in June will cover the lower four cameras in the park.

Fresh New Look at an Old Trail

Written and Photographed by Bob Johnson

Shoreline Trail at Lory State Park has seen better days since its creation. The trail was built to provide a scenic avenue to the shore of Horsetooth Reservoir. Shoreline Trailhead starts at the lower Arthur’s Rock parking lot and heads east towards the reservoir. This trail is just less than one mile one-way and crosses over three hogbacks and two valleys.Something had to be done with the deteriorating trail conditions to make a visitor’s experience safe and enjoyable. Earlier last year, the Friends of Lory State Park took action at the lower portion of the trail near the reservoir. Installing stone steps stabilized the trail and slowed trail erosion from rain and snowmelt. Volunteers worked four hours April 27th 2013 and made a small dent in the work that was needed.

Unfortunately, trail maintenance crews are not allowed to deviate from the original placement of the existing trail due to habitat issues concerning the Preble Jumping Mouse. So maintenance groups have to be creative when fixing problems and dealing with water drainage. At the same time, needs of various user groups must be kept in mind. Stone steps and water diversions seemed to be the answer.

Last year, CATS – Colorado Addicted Trail-builders Society adopted the Shoreline Trail and continued the repairs. At the first hogback, east of Arthurs Rock lower parking lot, the group made minor repairs to the existing drainages and steps in the trail.

The second hogback in the direction of the reservoir area required extensive planning and repairs to stop the erosive trail braiding, cupping, and widening. Some of the water damage to the trail included deep ditches that will continue to destroy the trail. CATS trail teams filled most of the ditches with rip-rap  (busted up rock) to slow the water down and re-establish the trail definition. Filling in these ditches helped make the trail safe and reduced the risk of tripping by all users – including horses. Rip-rap placed in certain areas also prevents the trail bench from expanding.

CATS has big plans to finish the third hogback area trail repairs this spring and ensure the trail is safe for all users. A grand re-opening will be announced!

CATS put in 12 team trips to do the trail repairs,

  • 62 ½ hours as a whole group
  • 890’ +/- feet of trail repaired in 2013.

Any comments or questions – please contact Bob Johnson, FoLSP board member and CATS coordinator by E-Mail.

We welcome volunteers to come out and join us!

What’s New at Lory State Park?

Photos by Karen Wheeler

Alice and Terry Owens have joined the park volunteer staff as park Hosts for the 2014 summer season. Park Host volunteers are responsible for park care, helping to create a clean, welcoming environment for visitors. Hosts live on park premises in their own RV units or 5th wheels, and are committed for a minimum period of 8 weeks.

The Owens are pretty familiar with these responsibilities since they’ve served as park hosts every summer since 2008, leaving their home in Tucson, Ariz., in May and not returning until after Labor Day.

“We just thought it would be a great way to see the country as more than just a tourist,” Alice explained. “We’ve had some wonderful experiences and met some terrific people. We are really looking forward to enjoying northern Colorado this season.”

LSP Trail and Maintenance Crew

JJ Wilson

New seasonal ranger James “JJ” Wilson was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, but moved to Colorado in 1999. He graduated from CSU with a degree in Natural Resources Management and thinks being a park ranger is a great job. “Why pay to hike when you can get paid to hike” is his motto. When not working, JJ is an accomplished flyfisherman whose favorite spots include the North Fork of the North Platte River.

Karen Wheeler

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Karen Wheeler recently accepted the position of Park Technician at Lory. You will see her smiling face at the visitor’s center office and around the Park. A recent resident of Bellvue, but a longtime resident of northern Colorado, Karen has enjoyed the wonders of Lory for several years. Now we are fortunate to have her many skills at our service: naturalist, writer, editor, and all around park and outdoors promoter.  In her limited spare time, Karen enjoys reading, writing, gardening, exploring nature and caring for her many animal friends.