Craig briefs: Elks Lodge to host annual hoop shoot

The Elks Lodge will host its annual hoop shoot at 9 a.m. Saturday at Sandrock Elementary School. Kids ages 8 to 13 are welcome to participate in the event hosted by members of the Elks Lodge. For more information, call Frank Sadvar at 970-620-0874.

Last day to vote in Hunter Photo Contest

Today is the last day to vote for your favorite photo in the The Craig Daily Press Hunter Photo Contest. Go to the Craig Daily Press’ Facebook page to view the photos. The photo with the most likes by 5 p.m. will win the contest and receive a $250 gift card to Murdoch’s. For more information, call 970-875-1790 or 970-875-1788.

Rotary Club is taking reservations for event

The Rotary Club of Craig once again will host its annual Diamonds and Spurs event the evening of Jan. 25 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. The black tie event features delicious food, drinks, a silent auction, dancing and music. Tickets cost $65 per individual, $480 for an eight-person table and $600 for a 10-person table. All proceeds help fund Craig Rotary. To purchase a ticket, or for more information, call Randy Looper at 970-826-4444.

Expect traffic diversions on I-70 in Grand Valley

The Diverging Diamond Interchange Project at exit 26 on Interstate 70 will go into a winter shutdown effective today. Project officials had planned on switching traffic to the new DDI configuration Tuesday, however, the traffic switch also has been postponed until better weather returns to the Grand Valley, according to a press release from the Colorado Department of Transportation.  

The work requires several continuous weeks of warmer weather to complete. Rather than risk inferior work, further inconvenience to the traveling public by having construction workers on site and to minimize safety concerns for the public and the workers, CDOT has agreed to suspend work until the weather improves. 

Big game threatened by development

Local wildlife officials think that threats to winter range for elk and other big game species are negatively impacting the prized herds in north central Colorado, according to a press release from the forest service.

As big-game winter range on private land becomes developed, public lands become more important for wintering elk and deer herds. Thus, the Routt National Forest is asking recreational users to stay out of designated elk and deer winter range areas through April 15.

Courtesy closure signage has been posted at trailheads where conflicts between wildlife and people are inevitable. If respected, these closure areas provide pockets of habitat where deer and elk find security and food during the harsh winter months without being disturbed by human activities.

According to the United States Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials, as big game herds are forced out of native winter range due to human disturbance, the animals move to town and into inferior habitat where conflict occurs with the public, vehicles and the agriculture industry. This is neither good for the animals nor the public, and necessitates seasonal winter range closures. Even in years with heavy snow, if left undisturbed the big game herds will stay on their historic winter range.

The current closure areas include:

■ Spring Creek Trail (Trail 1160)

■ Swamp Park Trail (known as the Mad Creek Trail — NFST 1100)

■ Red Dirt trail (Trail 1171)

■ Hot Springs Trail (Trail 1169)

■ Lower Bear Trail (Trail 1206)

■ Area between Steamboat Ski Area and Alpine Mountain Ranch

■ Greenville Mine area (Road 440)

■ Coulton Creek area (Road 429)

■ Sarvis Creek Trailhead

■ Silver Creek Trailhead

■ South of Long Park on Forest Road 225

■ North of Toponas on Forest Road 285

■ Areas adjacent to the Radium and Indian Run State Wildlife Areas

For more information about these or other areas to recreate outside of winter range, please stop in or call the Hahns Peak-Bears Ranger District office at 970-870-2299, the Yampa Ranger District office at 970-638-4516. Information may also be found on this website at http://fs.usda.gov/mbr.

CDOT offers tips for safe winter driving

It’s time to get prepared for winter driving. Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance crews are on standby for winter storm patrols starting today at midnight. That means the maintenance area crews out on 24-hour operation — at least half out at any given time on rotating eight- or 12-hour shifts — until they reach dry road conditions. Below are winter travel tips from CDOT:

■ Always keep the top half of your gas tank full. It can give you better traction and gives you a bigger margin of error if you get stuck and have to keep the engine running periodically to keep warm.

■ If you are stuck in a serious storm, do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help.

■ Carry blankets, water, a flashlight, a shovel, some nutrition bars or other food for sustenance. Winterize your vehicle’s safety kit by including extra blankets, sand to help gain traction in the event you become stuck on ice or snow, jumper cables, an ice scraper and lock de-icer.

■ Remember that four-wheel drive does not mean four-wheel stop. A four-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions, especially if you have inadequate snow tires.

■ Be sure of your route. Don’t go exploring in the backcountry without some local knowledge, especially during a storm or when one is bearing down anywhere near your location.

■ Be sure you have good tires. The Colorado State Patrol recommends at least one-eighth of an inch tread depth.

■ In poor visibility or even whiteout conditions, don’t drive faster than you can see ahead. High speeds in poor or no visibility can lead to large chain-reaction crashes. Remember you can’t see around mountain curves and corners, either. 

■ Always buckle up.

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