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A tiny squirrel helps shape the forest

January 29, 2023

A pine squirrel on alert. OST photo

Fresh snow muffles my footsteps on the less-traveled paths of Smuggler Mountain Open Space. It’s a place of quiet winter reverie. That is, until the silence is shattered by a burst of staccato chatter that could, as they say, wake the dead.


All in a day’s work for open space rangers

January 2, 2023

Ranger Megan Ballard (right) chats with a familiar dog walker on the Rio Grande Trail. The dog owner said she has leashed her dogs on the trail ever since a conversation about it with Ballard two years ago.

Educator. Ambassador. Enforcement officer. Rescuer. Trash collector. Pitkin County’s Open Space and Trails rangers wear many hats, usually simultaneously. And they’ve got the stats to prove it.


Martens in our midst, and under study

November 28, 2022

A pine marten, captured by a wildlife camera, bounds across the snow.

There’s a killer in the woods, but only small mammals need worry.