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Colorado Parks & Wildlife Offer Winter Events & Tips

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Mike Porras with the Colorado Parks & Wildlife wants to remind you to get out and enjoy Western Colorado, safely!

If you’re still looking for something to do on New Years Day why not check out one of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s guided hikes!

With one in 15 state parks on New Year’s Day you’re sure to find one near you! This First Day Hike offers an opportunity to begin the New Year by rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors with a healthy hike.

When: Jan. 1, 2013 at a state park near you

How Much: The hikes themselves are free, but park visitors must have either a daily parks pass or a valid annual pass

Where: Here in Mesa County the hike will begin at Vega State Park

Click here to find one near you

When: 10 a.m. (Meet at snowmobile staging area)

What: Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes. This is a moderate 2-mile hike through an aspen forest with a return trip on a groomed snowmobile trail so there is varying terrain. There can be deep snow so bring snowshoes and trekking poles, water, sun protection and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. Other recommended items, depending on the weather conditions and terrain, include snow shoes, strap-on ice cleats, snacks, trekking poles, cameras, binoculars and wildlife guide books.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife also wants you to be prepared if you’re participating in any activities like ice fishing, ice skating, ice sailing and other winter activities. Here’s a few basic safety rules to follow.

Remember ice conditions vary, and that ice thickness varies from place to place, always assume that the ice is unsafe.

  • Four inches will provide a margin of safety and is generally considered safe for ice fishing and ice skating.
  • Snowmobiles and ATVs need at least five inches of ice thickness.

The best advice is stay off the ice when there is any question about thickness and conditions.

When venturing onto the ice, remember the following ice safety tips:

  • Never go onto the ice alone. A buddy may be able to call for help if you fall in. Also, never attempt to walk out onto the ice to rescue a friend because you will risk falling through the ice as well.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages while on the ice. Alcohol increases your chances for hypothermia, which is the rapid loss of body temperature.
  • Always wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) over winter clothing. Life jackets can provide excellent flotation and protection from hypothermia.
  • Assemble a personal safety kit. Always wear a safety kit on your body when going out onto the ice. Safety kits should include an ice pick, rope and a whistle to call for help.
  • Always keep your pets on a leash. Never allow your dog to run out onto the ice and never walk your dog near a frozen lake or pond without a leash. If your dog falls through the ice, do not attempt a rescue. Go for help.
  • Reach-Throw-Go. If you can’t reach the person from shore, throw them a flotation device or a rope. If you still can’t help the person quickly—go for help.

If you do fall through the ice, remember these tips:

  • Do not panic. Try to remain calm to conserve as much energy as possible. Try to get your arms onto the ice and kick as hard as you can with your feet to help lift you onto the ice, and then roll to safety. If you can’t get out of the cold water by yourself, take appropriate actions to extend your survival time while waiting to be rescued.
  • Do not swim. Swimming will cause your body to lose heat much faster than if you stay as still as possible.
  • Act slowly and deliberately to conserve heat. Expect a progressive decrease in your strength and ability to move. Make the harder maneuvers at the beginning, while you can.
  • Keep your upper body above water. Keep your head and upper body as far out of the water as reasonably possible to conserve body heat.

There is lots of ways to enjoy all of the outdoor fun at any area Colorado Park, just make sure you do it safely!

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