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Contact: Larry Frederick, 970-586-1220
Entrance fees will be waived to Rocky Mountain National Park and all National Park Service sites through Sunday, April 24, as part of National Park Week. In addition, Friday marks Earth Day and Saturday has been designated as National Junior Ranger Day.
Rocky Mountain National Park's Green Team is sponsoring an Earth Day Open House at the park's greenhouse on Friday, April 22, from a 9 a.m. to 12 noon. This is the best time of year to tour the greenhouse because it is packed with native plants being grown for restoration projects in the park. Park experts will on be hand to give greenhouse tours and answer questions about how the staff are keeping the park "green." Parking is available at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on Highway 36 just west of Estes Park. Center staff will direct visitors to the nearby greenhouse.
The park's vegetation program works to restore disturbed areas in the park with native vegetation while controlling invasive exotic plant species. 25,000 trees, shrubs, forbs, grasses, and wetland species are currently in the greenhouse that was constructed in 1995 through a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Nature Association. All of the plants will be planted later this year to support park projects including campground restoration, Bear Lake and Trail Ridge Road work, and the new Grand Lake Entrance Station.
This is the fifth year that National Junior Ranger Day is being celebrated nationwide on Saturday, April 23, as a part of National Park Week. A special 30-minute program oriented toward children ages 4 to 12 will be offered at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. Rangers will present "Skins and Skulls" to teach children about the lives of park animals and the wildlife-friendly way to watch animals. In addition, the regularly-scheduled family-friendly park movie will be shown throughout the day.
On the west side of the park, at Kawuneeche Visitor Center just north of Grand Lake, staff will have a touch table with "skins and things" set up from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Rangers can assist children with completing their Junior Ranger activities.
As with any Junior Ranger program, participating in the day's activities will not only allow children and their families to explore and learn about how National Park rangers protect parks and their resources, it will also provide them with the opportunity to earn a commemorative National Junior Ranger Day patch to add to their collection.
Saturday morning the Rocky Mountain Nature Association, the park's official nonprofit partner, is conducting their "Spring Clearance Sale" at the Masonic Lodge on Highway 7 just south of Estes Park. The sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., will feature great sales on books, plush toys, prints, posters, apparel and more.
Each Saturday evening through mid-May at 7 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center the park offers a speaker series focusing on the theme, "Trying to See the Forest for the Trees: Forest Health in the Rocky Mountains." The program on April 23 titled "Impacts of Mountain Pine Beetles on Ponderosa Pine in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Front Range" will be offered by Dr. Jenny Briggs, a Research Ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center in Denver. These programs are free and open to the public.
For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park visit nps.gov/romo or call 970-586-1206.