The Pueblo West View

A NEW YEAR

As the year comes to a close we are all wrapping up the holidays and vacation and thinking about starting a new year.

The colder weather and shorter days can make us forget about getting outdoors and enjoying nature, but Lake Pueblo has some events to get you back outside.

On Jan. 1, Lake Pueblo in partnership with the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo, is hosting its First Annual, First Hike.

First Hike America is a national campaign designed to get families to start the year off by getting outside.

Our event will start below the dam in the Cottonwood day use area of Lake Pueblo and end 3 miles later at the yurt of the Nature Center.

It is no ordinary walk however, there will a scavenger hunt on the first mile, education centers along the way to stop and learn about local wildlife, warming stations to refill your water bottle and take a break with a granola bar, a geocache and the big reward at the end is drinking hot chocolate and viewing the birds from the Raptor Center at the yurt.

If 3 miles is more than you want to commit to, a 1-mile family loop will be offered.

The walk is on the paved bike path so strollers are welcome.

Water bottles will be given out to the first 60 participants.

A shuttle will be provided for those who do not want to walk the 3 miles back to their car.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., certain education stations are weather permitted activities.

If your New Year resolution list includes volunteering, consider attending our volunteer orientation from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Lake Pueblo Visitors Center.

Find out about the numerous options available from wildlife transport, kids fishing events and festival s, raptor monitoring and many others.

If you have taken a picture of wildlife or landscapes in south east Colorado, enter our annual Eagle Day Photo Contest.

Rules and information can be found at www.eagleday.org.

Deadline for photo entries is Jan. 24.

Our annual eagle day festival is the first weekend of February and includes birds from the Raptor Center, animals from the Pueblo Zoo, Air Force Academy falcon flights and many other activities.

The winter months have started off beautiful and the park stays busy.

We recently had a Trumpeter Swan spend a few days at Lake Pueblo.

We had never had a documented sighting before, so we were excited to see it.

The Trumpeter swan is the largest waterfowl in North America, and was nearly driven to extinction due to hunting.

The feathers were considered the best for writing quills and highly coveted.

Today their population is strong and we hope they make future stops at Lake Pueblo.

The bald eagles have returned and are seen daily fishing along the river and sitting on the ice at the west end of the lake.

A pair of golden eagles is using the power lines along the railroad tracks to hunt prairie dogs and rabbits and are easily seen from the road on the north side of the park.

If you want information on any of the events, contact Ranger Darcy Mount at darcy.mount@state.co.us.

Don’t let the winter keep you inside!

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