Imagining Fishers Peak – A Monthly Journal – Issue II

Never-before-seen moths, a hunter's 'sneak peak,' construction of visitor parking, picnic areas and trails highlight recent progress.
photographing Fishers Peak
The iconic Fishers Peak.
Crystal Dreiling
Park Manager Crystal Dreiling stands with the iconic Fishers Peak in the background.

Discovery of rare moths, a “sneak peak” opportunity for a few lucky hunters, progress toward picnic areas and new trails are highlights of the activities and progress we made in recent weeks toward the opening of Fishers Peak State Park.

As summer sizzles into fall in Trinidad, we have continued our efforts to learn about the flora and fauna of the property. Why collect data about plants and animals? To inform our master planning and ensure we protect rare species and build where it will have the least negative impact.

1,400 Insect Photos

Toward that goal, moth researchers spent three days and three nights on the property and left with nearly 1,400 photos of insects to sift through. While we wait for the full report, we suspect at least four moth species not previously reported in Colorado were observed at Fishers Peak State Park.

A team of botanists representing Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, University of Colorado and individual volunteers also visited recently to resume their inventory of various plants across the landscape, and to confirm the presence and abundance of the rare Capulin Goldenrod – a flowering perennial. I had the pleasure of going out with this team and I learned quite a lot about this and other sensitive species growing quietly on the park.

Most recently, we hosted two bat researchers on the property – daring ladies who climb cliff faces and spy into deep crevices with an endoscope camera searching for bats, guano and rare plants. They also record bat sounds at night. 

One of them also happens to be a French artist who sketches beautiful scenes from the landscape when she’s not clinging to the sides of mountains. I felt extremely lucky to spend a day with this unique duo at the base of Fishers Peak as they explored that area. The findings of that visit are still to come.

First Public Parking Area

new parking area
A rock wall outlines the main parking lot at Fishers Peak State Park. The boulders were donated by the Las Animas County Commissioners. Two new vault toilets stand on opposite ends of a dirt area where a bulldozer is carving out a parking lot awaiting the first visitors to Fishers Peak State Park.

While research continued, dust was flying as construction crews pushed ahead on several projects. I’m happy to report our first public parking area is nearly complete with the help of a very generous donation of literally tons of boulders from our Las Animas County Commissioners Felix Lopez, Luis Lopez and Tony Hass. 

The boulders will be used for a retaining wall at our main parking lot. Our Commissioners’ donation will save us thousands of dollars that can now be spent elsewhere on this project.

Also, we have broken ground on what will be a few limited – but meaningful – trail and picnic opportunities coming soon to the public. 

As a part of this effort, we are planning a volunteer trail-building event this month. We are still firming up the dates and details, but I look forward to writing about the success of this event in next month’s column. We hope to see a healthy volunteer turnout from locals and around the state.

Unique Hunting Opportunities

bull elk
Picture Provided by: The Nature Conservancy

One opportunity that has been generations in the making has also just been announced: Five lucky hunters will have access to hunt on Fishers Peak State Park during the 2020 season. A drawing will be held this month for five hunting opportunities (3 elk, 1 deer and 1 mountain lion).

Note: You must hold a valid DE140O3R deer license, EE085O1R elk license, over-the-counter 2nd rifle bull elk license, EE085O4R elk license, or a valid mountain lion license to be eligible for this opportunity. Only one entry is allowed per person. The deadline for entry is 5:00 pm Mountain Time on September 17, 2020.

Apply Now! Fishers Peak 2020 Hunting Opportunities Application

For more information, please check out the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

Fishers Peak State Park Website

Finally, I am so happy to also announce the launching of a website our partnership has created for all things Fishers Peak State Park. Please explore www.fisherspeakstatepark.com. This website will help us tell the story of this property, our partnership and our progress. In the future, you will also find information about public meetings and input opportunities on this site. Now it’s time for me to get back to work on your park. Thank you all for your continued support and enthusiasm for Colorado’s 42nd state park.

As always, you can sign up to receive CPW eNews emails or visit cpw.state.co.us to stay informed on the continuing progress of the park.


Written by Crystal Dreiling. Crystal Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Fishers Peak/Trinidad Lake Park Manager. Editor’s Note: This is a regular monthly column from Colorado Parks and Wildlife about the creation of Fishers Peak State Park near Trinidad by a career park manager. 

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