Parks and Wildlife relocates orphaned bear cubs, and the Dixon Trail remains closed to public 

click to enlarge CPW put the three cubs inside a man-made den. - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • CPW put the three cubs inside a man-made den.
Frank McGee, a district wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, says 2017 was a "really horrific year for bears," citing a warm early spring and then a late frost that wiped out budding flowers, a natural food source for local bears. This led to a lot of conflicts between bears and humans in 2017, not just in the Pikes Peak region, but all over the state.

According to McGee, the biggest cause of human-bear conflicts is the animals looking for food and getting into trash cans. "People are not responsible with their trash," he says. Manitou Springs has had so many problems with bears getting into trash cans that a new ordinance requires that trash be kept in a wildlife resistant container or a wildlife resistant structure, like a garage. 

CPW had to euthanize 27 bears as a result of human-bear conflicts in 2017, and at least nine orphaned bear cubs had to go to a local rehabilitation facility run by volunteers. Last week, CPW relocated seven rehabilitated bear cubs at undisclosed locations on Pikes Peak, putting them into man-made hibernation dens so they would wake up in their natural environment this spring.

Please stay off Cheyenne Mountain State Park's Dixon Trail

The long-awaited Dixon Trail in Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which will provide a route to the summit of Cheyenne Mountain, is still under construction and closed to the public. That, however, hasn't stopped people from using the trail, resulting in tickets being issued to violators, according to park manager Mitch Martin.

While Martin is glad to see that visitors are excited about the new trail, there are hazards. Bug infestations have caused many trees to die, and they can, and do topple over without warning. Martin says since the trail is closed and the park has limited manpower, it's the last place anyone will look if someone gets lost. And, Martin noted that there are some federally protected bird species on the mountain — people wandering through the area can disturb the bird habitats, and possibly attract some unwanted attention from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to Martin, park officials have handed out approximately 20 park violation tickets during the last six months, and the District Attorney has said park officials can issue more serious criminal citations if necessary. Martin says they'd rather just have people stay off the trail until it's competed — hopefully later this year — than issue more tickets.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for more than 25 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.


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