Road Scholar : Home
Restoring Native Forests and Plants: Service Learning in Rocky Mountain National Park

Program Number: 21043RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/8/2013 - 9/14/2013;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Estes Park, Colorado
Price starting at: $950.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Service Learning; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 16; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    

Comprised of more than 265,000 acres, Rocky Mountain National Park has the distinction of being named both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and World Biosphere Reserve — but it takes work to maintain the park’s ecosystems and natural integrity. Help National Park Rangers in their efforts to protect and restore native plant life and ecosystems as you aid in the tasks of exotic plant removal, the repairing of erosion damage, seed collection and the restoration of pine forests and alpine landscapes.




Highlights

• Improve your plant identification skills as you collect seeds from native plants, a project that helps the park’s greenhouses in future planting of disturbed areas.
• Help in the final stage of ecological restoration of pine forests along Bear Lake Road, and work to remove invasive plant species.
• Join an expert park staff member for a natural history exploration of Trail Ridge Road, a modern engineering marvel that crosses the Continental Divide.



Activity Particulars

Walking and hiking over uneven terrain. Work frequently requires kneeling, lifting, bending, standing and digging for long periods of time. Elevations of 7,500-12,000 feet.



Coordinated by Mountains and Plains Institute.




Estes Park

In a high mountain valley 7,522 feet above sea level is Estes Park, a village once home to members of the Clovis culture that first crossed the Bering Strait land bridge into North America. Named for adventurer Joel Estes, the town is a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, a spectacular wilderness protected for millions to enjoy every year.



Accommodations
Comfortable motel with heated outdoor pool.
Meals and Lodgings
   Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
  Estes Park, CO 6 nights
 Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
Type: Motel
  Description: All 48 rooms are non-smoking, and no pets. They are always exceptionally clean, comfortable, and a great value. We are an older property, recently remodeled and well-maintained. We have a nice heated outdoor pool.
  Contact info: 927 Moraine Avenue, US Hwy 36W
Estes Park, CO 80517 USA
phone: 970-586-4585
web: www.alpinetrailridgeinn.com
  Room amenities: Wireless internet connection, balconies on rooms
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for information Call for availibility and prices
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call for information Call for availibility and prices
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check-in 3-5 pm. Program begins at 5 pm with orientation and dinner. You will be staying at Alpine Trail Ridge Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. Room check-out is 10:00 am. You will be staying at Alpine Trail Ridge Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Acknowledgement of Risk-Liability Waiver Form to be mailed to Mountains and Plains Institute Office
  Parking availability:
No charge
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Estes Park, CO
  Nearest city or town:  Loveland
  Nearest highway: US 34/36
  Nearest airport:  Denver International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Estes Park, CO
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Estes Park

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
See below
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

2.5 

 

Distance:

 

100 miles

   

Denver International Airport (DEN) is closest airport. Commercial shuttle is Estes Park Shuttle, reservations required, 970-586-5151

 
Driving Directions
  I 25 N/S to US 34/36 W Estes Park is located approx. 30 miles west of Interstate 25 on US 34 or 45 miles Northwest of Boulder on US 36.
Elevation Note: Estes Park is at 7,522 ft, work projects will be 8,000-11,000 ft.

Equipment Requirements: Daypack, water bottles, good broken-in hiking boots, rain gear, layers for wind and cold, sunhat, leather work gloves
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome/Safety Orientation/Introductions
(Sunday, September 8)

Note: The three projects we have targeted for completion are detailed in the daily itinerary. Each day we will focus on a particular project but it is possible we may not have time or resources to accomplish all three



   
 Arrive To: Arrival and check-in to hotel 3 to 5 pm. Required orientation at 5:00 pm.
 Dinner: Catered Welcome Dinner at our motel.
 Evening: Following dinner Group and leader Introductions, Introduction lecture to Rocky Mountain National Park.
   
Accommodations: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Training by Rock Mountain National Park Staff and begin Service Work
(Monday, September 9)
   
 Breakfast: Full Service Breakfast at the Restaurant next door to the motel.
 Morning: Participants will be shuttled by van to the Rocky Mountain National Park Visitor Center for orientation and training by National Park Service experts. Participants will have adequate preparation and learn the aspects and importance of the work to be performed. After training-briefing each morning, participants will travel to work sites. Some projects require hikes to begin actual work. All tools will be provided by the National Park as needed. Participants will be working on a variety of Resource Stewardship and Science projects throughout the week. The three projects we have targeted for completion are detailed in the daily itinerary. Each day we will focus on a particular project but it is possible we may not have time or resources to accomplish all three.
 Lunch: Box lunches eaten in the field with individual choice of sandwiches, fruit, chips, and dessert
 Afternoon: After lunch in the field, participants will continue working until late afternoon, returning to the motel by 5 pm.
 Dinner: We will dine tonight at a locally owned restaurant where you will have a variety of entrée choices to satisfy an appetite after a full day's work.
 Evening: Free for reflection, relaxation
   
Accommodations: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Rocky Mountain National Park Service Work Project
(Tuesday, September 10)
   
 Breakfast: Full Service Breakfast at the Restaurant next door to the motel.
 Morning: Each day will vary between three selected work projects. This description is for possible Exotic Plant Control: One of the biggest threats to the ecosystems of RMNP is the encroachment of invasive exotic plants. Aggressive noxious weeds may be carried into the park on the soles of visitors' boots, in the treads of tires, or from the waste of pack animals. Invasive exotics outcompete with the park's natives, reducing the amount of moisture, nutrients and space available, degrading habitat for wildlife such as elk, black bears, and bighorn sheep, and reducing the biodiversity of the park. Volunteers may help NPS staff manually control exotic plant infestations with hand tools by digging, cutting, pulling, and bagging for incineration these plant offenders. Expect easy to moderate trekking on and off trail and exposure to elements such as intense sun and heat or sudden winter like conditions. Maximum hiking up to 3 miles per day.
 Lunch: Box lunches eaten in the field with individual choice of sandwiches, fruit, chips, and dessert
 Afternoon: Continue morning work project returning to motel by 5 pm.
 Dinner: We will dine tonight at a locally owned restaurant where you will have a variety of entrée choices to satisfy an appetite after a full day's work.
 Evening: Return to Rocky Mountain National Park for Ranger talk on varying topics as scheduled by the Park.
   
Accommodations: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Rocky Mountain National Park Service Work Project
(Wednesday, September 11)
   
 Breakfast: Full Service Breakfast at the Restaurant next door to the motel.
 Morning: Each day will vary between three selected work projects. This description is for possible Seed Collection: Rocky Mountain National Park strives to preserve the genetic integrity of its plant communities through the use of locally collected native plants for re-vegetation of disturbed lands within the park. Seeds collected from native plants close to areas proposed for future disturbance are propagated in the park's greenhouse in the winter to produce site specific and genetically pure plant material for restoration efforts. Volunteers can improve their plant identification skills and enjoy some easy to moderate trekking on and off trail while helping the park to hand collect a variety of native seeds. Maximum hiking up to 3 miles per day.
 Lunch: Box lunches eaten in the field with individual choice of sandwiches, fruit, chips, and dessert
 Afternoon: Continue morning work project returning to motel by 5 pm.
 Dinner: Dinner on own to enjoy the downtown and varied restaurants of Estes Park.
 Evening: Free for reflection, relaxation
   
Accommodations: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Rocky Mountain National Park Service Work Project
(Thursday, September 12)
   
 Breakfast: Full Service Breakfast at the Restaurant next door to the motel.
 Morning: Each day will vary between three selected work projects. This description is for possible Bear Lake Road Phase II Restoration: Bear Lake Road was completed in 1928. It provides a year round scenic drive into Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and access to some of the best hiking in the park. No major road work had been performed on the lower sections of Bear Lake Road in over 80 years. The road did not conform to modern Federal Highway Administration standards and did not easily accommodate large buses and RVs. As the park moved toward encouraging more mass transit on BLR and as funds became available, initial phases of improvements to this historic road began in 2003. The final stages of this work are in progress. Road Scholar volunteers will participate in the ecological restoration of approximately 1,306,800 square feet of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa ssp. scopulorum) forest that have been disturbed by the Bear Lake Road Phase II Federal Highways Project. Out planting of native species salvaged from Bear Lake Road or grown in the park's greenhouse, seeding, erosion control, irrigation, and exotic plant removal will all be important components of the work needed to reconstruct self-sustaining plant communities along the disturbed sections of the Bear Lake Road corridor. Strenuous work along roadsides may be required using hand tools such as shovels, loppers, pry bars, etc.
 Lunch: Box lunches eaten in the field with individual choice of sandwiches, fruit, chips, and dessert
 Afternoon: Continue morning work project returning to motel by 5 pm.
 Dinner: We will dine tonight at a locally owned restaurant where you will have a variety of entrée choices to satisfy an appetite after a full day's work.
 Evening: Presentation in motel meeting room on Forest Ecology and Management of Wildfires
   
Accommodations: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Field Trip in Rocky Mountain National Park
(Friday, September 13)
   
 Breakfast: Full Service Breakfast at the Restaurant next door to the motel.
 Morning: Today will be spent traveling with National Park experts to other parts of Rocky Mountain National Park to view the spectacular scenery and learn about the various aspects that encompass this National Treasure. Discover why it has been named both a UNESCO World Heritage Park and the rarer designation of World Biosphere Reserve. We will travel over spectacular and engineering marvel "Trail Ridge Road" the highest Federal Highway in the United States. Our expert instructors will add the finishing touches in interpreting the wonders being viewed.
 Lunch: Box lunches eaten in the field with individual choice of sandwiches, fruit, chips, and dessert
 Afternoon: Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved highway in North America, travels through the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park from Estes Park to Grand Lake. The road generally opens by Memorial Day and closes again for the winter when heavy snowfalls make the route impractical to keep clear, usually sometime between late-September and late-October. Traveling this route has always intrigued and thrilled National Park visitors. With 11 miles of pavement above treeline the road climbs from about 7,800 feet at the National Park headquarters on US Highway 36 to more than 12,000 feet at the summit. On this trip, travelers can view alpine tundra, which blankets a full third of the Park. At this altitude one finds a fragile environment of animals and aged, including dwarfed plants that have adapted to the arctic-like winter conditions. The road crosses the Continental Divide and the western portion of the Park is the headwaters of the mighty Colorado River.
 Dinner: We will dine tonight at a locally owned restaurant celebrating our week.
 Evening: Free for reflection and packing
   
Accommodations: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Departures after breakfast; Motel Check-out by 10 am.
(Saturday, September 14)
   
 Breakfast: Full Service Breakfast at the Restaurant next door to the motel.
 Morning: Independent departures after breakfast, end of program. Room check-out is 10:00 am.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.


As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


© Road Scholar 2014 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768