Fishers peak makes an iconic acquisition
On the southern edge of Colorado lies a mountainous wilderness soon to be the next State Park. Previously known as Crazy French Ranch, the vast area surrounding Fishers Peak will provide a space for recreation likely by 2021. Fishers Peak is an iconic landmark for Colorado, as described by Governor Jared Polis. Most people coming from the Southeast or Texas would recognize this area as the first taste of the Rocky Mountains just after crossing the state boundary.
Nestled between Raton, New Mexico and Trinidad, Colorado, this previously volcanic terrain extends east from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Fishers Peak itself is the tallest mountain east of I-25. With a sprawling and majestic terrain, it will likely be a prime location for hiking, horseback riding, and other outdoor recreation. While it might seem a distant journey from Denver, other sites in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico make for an ideal road trip.
Already, biologists discovered an endangered species of mouse on the property, known as the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. Preserving their habitat might provide an obstacle, but also upholds the value of protecting the environment. Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Dan Prenzlow, believes construction in the park will have minimal or no impact on the mice. Native to the Southwestern states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado, these rodents spend about nine months of the year hibernating. Only during the warm months of summer do these critters make their presence known.
Colorado has always been known for having spectacular natural landscapes. As wolves make a return from Wyoming to the north, it remains important for the state to protect the environment on all fronts. Fishers Peak will preserve a wide swath of wilderness for generations to come.
According to Governor Polis, who is largely responsible for the swift acquisition of this property, other places in the state are being considered to become parks in the near future. Visitation to Colorado State Parks continues to increase as more people move to the Front Range. In 2013, Staunton State Park near the town of Conifer joined the growing list of natural areas. Having more parks would likely help to alleviate the strain on some areas, but it also brings people into areas previously unbothered by modern society. Fortunately, this new park around Fishers Peak will provide a massive place to enjoy the outdoors as well as support the local communities.
In other State Park-related news, camping in all Colorado State Parks requires a reservation as of 2020. For those unfamiliar with the process, most parks use the website cpwshop.com for booking a campsite. Reservations can be made as early as six months in advance, or the day before if spots are still available. Before the new system, campers could drive up and use a self-service pay station to claim first-come/first-served sites. While several parks have tested reservations over the last couple years, 2020 is the first year that all State Parks now require it.