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During Thursday’s Chaffee County Public Health update on Facebook Live, Andrea Carlstrom, public health director and incident command for COVID-19, provided guidelines for recreating while COVID-19 precautions are in place.

With time on my hands, I began to sift through my collection of fly rods, sorting them in order of utility for the spring fishing season, checking the condition of reels, lines and leaders.

Salida Parks and Recreation will begin live-streaming exercise classes starting this week.

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by Cody Olivas

Mail Staff Writer

Derrick Nehrenberg and Salida native Aaron Blondeau recently launched a new trails app called TerraQuest that has some unique features. 

While the app Strava crowns kings and queens of the mountain based on user’s time on a trail, for instance, TerraQuest turns unique miles completed on single-track and other dirt trails into a game.

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by Cody Olivas

Mail Staff Writer

Salida Mountain Trails has decided to cancel its annual membership drive fundraiser and party this year.

“We thought with the extreme circumstances and the state of local businesses, we didn’t feel right asking for money at this point in time,” Mike Smith, SMT president said. “We’ve been blessed with an amazing amount of business support in the past and we’re extremely grateful for all of the support we’ve had.”

Smith said they still hope to have some sort of gathering in the fall, if the situation allows, but they haven’t decided whether that will be a fundraiser or just a fun event.

People who still want to support SMT with a membership, however, can do so online at SalidaMountainTrails.org.

“No pressure,” Smith said.

Canceling the fundraiser, however, will certainly impact SMT.

“This is a huge hit for us, as we have built our fundraising efforts over the past several years and depend upon these funds for future projects to further enhance our systems as needed via our partnerships with the BLM, Forest Service, county and city land managers,” Smith said. “The impact will be felt next year and onward.”   

The group’s monthly shin dig work days have also been canceled for the foreseeable future.

SMT’s trail steward program is helping it continue to maintain the local trails. Individuals rather than groups, however, are now doing the work so Smith said it might go a little slower than normal.

Smith said they’re in the process of putting up signs on the new Dream On trail in the Arkansas Hills.

Last year volunteers, who have always done all of the local trail maintenance, spent 1,330 hours maintaining trails locally.

This year, a new, 2-mile, grant-funded trail is being built that will connect the Rainbow and Double Rainbow trails. A hiking-only trail is also being built on the southern end of North Backbone.

As far as using the trails go, Smith said he feels like most people are following the letter and spirit of the current social distancing rules, which is important.

“We’ve heard about other parts of the country who have imposed stricter standards,” Smith said. “We want to preserve the privilege here.”

In a Facebook post, SMT reminded people to follow the 6-foot rule and find wide areas to pass; not to take risks that could end with a hospital visit; not to congregate at trailheads; not to ride or hike in large groups; and ride, hike and run close to home.

“One of the main things is to maintain social distancing at trail heads and parking lots and be thoughtful in encountering and passing folks,” Smith said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking the public for help in solving a recent poaching case in which a deer was shot and killed with an arrow in a neighborhood on the south side of Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

Wilderness. A word that has been a functional part of our vocabulary for many years. But recent fires and flooding here in the Upper Arkansas Valley have caused me to consider this word with a slightly different view.

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Salida High School junior basketball players Myles Godina and Rachel Pelino both recently received All-State honorable mentions from the Colorado High School Activities Association.

The All-State nod was Godina’s second in a row. Pelino received the honor for the first time.

Salida boys’ head basketball coach Donnie Kaess called Godina “a pretty dominant player,” and his stats certainly backed him up. Godina averaged a team-high 16.8 points per game for a total of 370 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, the second most on the team, totaling 165 boards.


Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve delayed the opening of the Piñon Flats Campground until May 1, officials wrote in an email Wednesday. 

The move is the latest in the park’s efforts to promote social distancing and to prevent groups of 10 or more people from forming, a press release stated. 

A watery sun struggled to compete with the clouds that smothered the Sangres, fingering down their flanks in a darkening gray. With each gust of upslope wind, flurries of graupel swirled about to patter softly against my jacket and expire into the water with a soft hiss.

by Cody Olivas

Mail Staff Writer

The 3A Tri-Peaks League recently honored five basketball players from Salida High School.

Myles Godina, Jonah Ellis and Rachel Pelino all earned All-League honors while Leif Gislason and Raley Patch both scored All-League honorable mentions for their performances on the court this season.

People looking for something to do outside now have another option.


Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Visitor Center, 307 W. Sackett Ave., is open for business as usual for the time being, although AHRA Park Manager Rob White said people are being encouraged to handle purchases by phone or online if possible.

Monarch Mountain is starting a conversation with the U.S. Forest Service about expanding into No Name Basin and opening up new, lift-serviced terrain on the other side of the Continental Divide.

What is euphemistically referred to as the “down time” of angling – those frequent lulls between fishing and catching when questions existential in nature arise, oft involving exploration of themes such as futility, inadequacy, folly, exasperation and the very nature and purpose of creation …


The Cotopaxi High School girls’ basketball team won its final game of the season at the Class 1A state tournament Thursday in Greeley. The No. 7-seeded Lady Pirates led No. 2 Briggsdale from start to finish and eventually took down the Lady Falcons, 45-42, in the state quarterfinals.

Spring sports season, including all official practices and competitions, state speech tournament and student leadership’s advisor U are suspended through April 6 due to COVID-19 pandemic.

A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Great American Outdoors Act, which “permanently” guarantees $900 million in annual funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

One little change has Salida High School track and field athletes spending more time with their teammates who compete in other events.


Thirty girls came out for the team, making it a little tough for everyone to practice on the four courts at Salida Middle School, but giving the team some good depth. 

“It’s a good problem to have,” head coach Josh Bechtel said about the team’s numbers. 

The Salida High School girls’ tennis team enjoys the game. That’s why they play it. 

“It’s fun,” said senior captain Lily Stephens. “I like to play tennis because it’s fun mostly.”

The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association will address composting and show how Elements Mountain Compost is recycling organic waste and creating high-quality soil products in their Thursday Lecture Series, with “All About Composting” on Thursday and a tour of Elements Mountain Compost on Sunday.

Approximately 475 runners will hit the Arkansas Hills Saturday during the largest single-day running event in Salida, the 15th annual Run Through Time.

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The COVID-19 virus was a topic of discussion for several Chaffee County department heads during Monday’s work session with county commissioners.

Josh Hadley, county emergency medical services director, said his department has set up a protocol for how to respond to possible cases. Hadley said if his crew suspects someone may have the virus, they can test for it, then if the situation is not life-threatening, the patient could self-quarantine until results of the test are confirmed.

Salida head baseball coach Lee Lewis tells his team there are two things they can control: their attitude and their effort.

When Zayne Walker saw his first live pitch Monday during a scrimmage against Cotopaxi, it flew by him a little faster than he expected. “I was like, oh dang,” Walker said.

More Salida kids are getting an opportunity to learn how to kayak this year. Kids in Kayaks, a joint venture of the FIBArk Community Paddling Center, Longfellow Elementary School, Salida Montessori Charter School, Crest Academy, Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center and Salida Rec, has expanded to i…


The Chaffee County United U-16 girls and U-13 boys’ soccer teams traveled to New Mexico recently to play some of the region’s top teams – and the girls brought back a first-place trophy.

Approximately 475 runners will hit the Arkansas Hills Saturday during the largest single-day running event in Salida, the 15th annual Run Through Time.

Salida High School girls’ soccer head coach Todd Bright wouldn’t call this season a rebuilding year for his team. While the team did lose several key players from last year’s successful squad, it returns a solid core that should keep the Lady Spartans competitive.

The Salida High School boys’ basketball team took on the No. 5-seeded Centauri Falcons in the first round of the Class 3A state championships Friday. Unfortunately for the Spartans, their shots didn’t start falling until the fourth quarter and No. 28-seeded Salida fell to the Falcons, 65-51.

The application period for big game hunting licenses began Sunday, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges hunters hoping to draw a license to study all the changes in requirements and fees.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds shed hunters that the collection and possession of antlers or horns on all public lands west of I-25 is prohibited between January 1 and April 30 each year.

Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited will host its March membership meeting from 6-8:30 p.m. March 11 at Boathouse Cantina, 228 N. F St.

The Lake County High School ski team, which includes Chaffee County athletes, headed to Vail Valley Thursday and Friday for the 2020 Colorado State High School Ski Championships. Championship alpine races took place at Beaver Creek while Nordic races were at Maloit Park. 

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