Moose lovers are invited to a free, day-long event to learn more about one of the state’s most beloved wild animals during Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Fourth Annual ‘Grand Mesa Moose Day’. The event will be held Saturday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the US Forest Service Visitor’s Center atop the Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-top mountain located a few miles east of Grand Junction.
Colorado’s wildlife managers began introducing moose to the state beginning in 1979, and to the Grand Mesa in 2005. Since then, the overall success and growth of their population has exceeded expectations. Currently, there are an estimated 1500 animals here, making the transplant project one of the most successful wildlife management efforts in Colorado and the country.
“Similar to many other areas across the state, our local moose population on the Grand Mesa is also doing very well,” said Trina Romero, event organizer and watchable wildlife coordinator.” This gives us an exciting wildlife viewing opportunity but it is very important to do it ethically and safely, and we will show you how.”
Kid-friendly activities include a puppet show and prize giveaways throughout the day. Several presentations are scheduled including moose biology and history, moose viewing tips and information about how biologists transplant and track moose. Kids can earn a prize for going on a hike with a wildlife officer to look for signs of moose activity.
“There are a growing number of places on the Grand Mesa where you can view moose,” continued Romero. “The event is a great way for kids and their families to learn how and where to see one, spend some time outdoors and learn more about these fascinating animals.”
Romero reminds the public that moose should always be viewed from a distance, ideally with a camera, binoculars or a viewing scope and to avoid letting unleashed dogs approach them.
“Moose do not fear humans and instinctively react to a curious dog as if it was a predator and will attack it,” she said. “They are majestic animals that are great to watch, but they can be dangerous if you or your dog get too close.”
In 2001, Grand Valley citizens approached local state wildlife managers with a proposal that would bring Shiras moose to the Grand Mesa. After conducting an extensive feasibility study, Colorado Parks and Wildlife determined that the area offered suitable habitat and could sustain a healthy population of approximately 400 moose.
The transplant effort, funded primarily by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, began in 2005. During the subsequent two years, 91 moose were transplanted to the Grand Mesa, some from the other moose herds throughout Colorado and a significant number coming from Utah. They are thriving in their new habitat and today the Grand Mesa moose population is estimated at 350, and growing.
Grand Mesa Moose Day partners include Colorado Parks and Wildlife, US Forest Service, The Moose 100.7, the Grand Mesa Scenic & Historic Byway, Cabela’s and A-n-G Outfitters.
In addition to moose viewing tips and information, A-n-G Outfitters will offer free fly-fishing casting demonstrations. Fishing and wildlife viewing are two of the most popular activities on the Grand Mesa.
Take Highway 65 from Interstate 70 by Plateau Creek or drive up Highway 50 from nearby Delta and follow it up to the US Forest Visitor’s Center. Anyone heading to the event is reminded to be attentive as it is increasingly likely to catch a glimpse of a moose.
Who: Colorado Parks and Wildlife, US Forest Service, Moose 100.7, the Grand Mesa Scenic & Historic Byway, Cabela’s and A-n-G Outfitters
What: Fourth Annual Grand Mesa Moose Day
When: Saturday, July 27, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Where: US Forest Visitor’s Center – 20090 Baron Lake Drive, Hwy 65 – Top of the Grand Mesa
Contact: Trina Romero at 970-255-6191
For more information about the Fourth Annual Grand Mesa Moose Day and watching wildlife, including moose, visit www.bit.ly/cpwwildlifeviewing.
For more information about the moose transplant effort on the Grand Mesa, visit www.bit.ly/grandmesamoose.
For more information about the event from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest (GMUG), visit www.bit.ly/gmugmooseday.
Logo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife