Comanche National Grassland, Timpas Unit

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1 Comanche National Grassland, Timpas Unit Heritage Resources More than 540 sites are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) by Forest Service staff and/or the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office. Three heritage resources listed as significant at the national and state levels. 1. The Santa Fe Trail designed by Congress as a National Historic Trail in (Photos: Santa Fe Trail Caravan on the Comanche NG with the National Park Service, Bents Fort in May 2006). 2. Rourke Ranch Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places in [Photos: the main ranch residence in about 1908 (left) and 2005 (right)]. 3. Vogel Canyon Historic District listed on Colorado s State Historic Register in 1995 (Photo: Prehistoric rock shelters with extensive rock art). High interpretative, educational and recreational values of many additional heritage resources improve Americans understanding their past at the local, state and national levels and can enhance recreational experiences.

2 Recreation Many developed recreation opportunities. 1. Picnic areas at Timpas and Vogel Canyon (below). 2. Ten interpreted heritage, paleontology, and wildlife viewing sites (Iron Springs, Timpas, Sierra Vista, Vogel Canyon (above right), Picket Wire Corrals, Withers Canyon Overlook, the Picket Wire Dinosaur Tracksite, and Rourke Ranch. 3. Trailheads at Vogel Canyon, Withers Canyon, Iron Springs, Timpas and Sierra Vista access 44 miles of trail. All the trails are non-motorized and open for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Guided auto tours into Picket Wire Canyonlands highlight the largest dinosaur tracksite in North America (left), Native American rock art (center), Rourke Ranch National Historic site, and an early 1900s Hispanic church and cemetery (right). In 2006, 627 visitors toured the canyon this way. Numerous dispersed recreation opportunities allow visitors a sense of solitude and selfreliance including hiking (left), horseback riding (right), mountain biking, hunting, wildlife viewing, and scenic drives.

3 Wildlife Common game animals include elk (left), mule deer (right), pronghorn antelope, dove, quail, and turkey. Over 235 bird species present on the Grassland provide excellent bird watching opportunities. Comanche NG is sanctuary to many threatened and sensitive species: burrowing owl, massasauga, northern harrier, ferruginous hawk, mountain plover, long-billed curlew (right), loggerhead shrike, grasshopper sparrow, swift fox, black-tailed prairie dog, plains leopard frog. Also, the grasslands are in the migratory route for the threatened bald eagle and endangered whooping crane. The Comanche NG is currently monitoring population trends of these species. Vegetative Management Eradicated roughly half the tamarisk located along the Purgatoire River corridor within the Comanche NG with a continued target of 500 acres every year. On going riparian restoration projects include planting cottonwood seedlings, sand bluestem grass, and switch grass to replace tamarisk and cheat grass.

4 Vegetative Management (Continued) Grassland habitat helps ensure the sustainability of sensitive plant species including Andean prairie clover, Colorado Springs evening-primrose, Colorado frasera, Raven Ridge false goldenweed, sandhill goosefoot, and wheel milkweed. The Comanche NG provides desired native plant communities adapted to withstand prolonged drought, insect infestations, wildfire, herbivory, and other disturbances. Livestock Grazing Livestock grazing on the Comanche NG helps to promote a shifting mosaic of heterogeneous plant communities and structural stages across the landscape. The Timpas Grazing District has 23 allotments with 20 grazing district members. Livestock grazing provides 26,494 animal months for a grazing value of $50, (2005 value). Of this amount, 75% is spent on range improvements (fences, water developments, wildlife habitat improvements) and administrative costs. Livestock grazing costs support the local economy and help maintain a traditional lifestyle in the area.

5 Paleontological Resources The Comanche NG contains a wealth of fossil remains from plants, shelled animals, sharks, bony fishes, marine reptiles, and dinosaurs. 1. The Purgatoire River dinosaur tracksite, the largest assemblage of dinosaur trackways in North America. Naturally exposed over the last several centuries by the erosive action of the river, this site preserves evidence of social and other forms of behavior in dinosaurs 150 million years ago. (Photo: aerial view of site). 2. The Last Chance dinosaur quarry contains the partial remains of at least three long necked brontosaurs, large plant eaters of the Jurassic Period. The 30 huge bones so far recovered are being conserved and interpreted in partnership with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. [Photo: lying alongside a 7 ft shoulder blade (left), unearthing a series of tail vertebrae (center), removing a large leg bone in plaster jacket (right)].

6 Volunteers The Comanche National Grassland s management of the Timpas Unit is enhanced by numerous volunteers who have contributed over 16,000 person hours over the past five years, an estimated value of almost $180,000! This volunteer commitment to managing the natural and cultural resources on the Timpas Unit emphasizes not only the value of the resources but also the public s high regard for them. Resource Category Total Accumulated Volunteer Hours ( ) Appraised Value Total Value Heritage Resources $ 43, Paleontology $ 78, Recreation $ 35, Wildlife $ 21, TOTAL $ 179, Total volunteer hours on the Timpas Unit by resource category. The appraised value equivalent to the 2006 hourly rate of a GS-3, step 1 employee.

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