‘Unlike motorcycle riders, the trout has nowhere else to go besides Bear Creek’ — Jack Hunter

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From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

There are only four populations of pure-strain greenback cutthroat trout in the world, and genetic studies suggest the Bear Creek population is unique — an irreplaceable element of Colorado’s natural history. The trout were nearly extirpated from over-fishing by early settlers, and the introduction of non-native trout, as well as numerous water diversions, nearly drove them to extinction.

“Protecting Bear Creek is absolutely critical to saving this unique population of cutthroat trout,” said Jack Hunter, trout enthusiast and former Colorado Springs resident. “Unlike motorcycle riders, the trout has nowhere else to go besides Bear Creek.”

In recent years, the Forest Service has taken action to address the well-recognized impacts of motorcycles in Bear Creek, where steep slopes and fragile soils are a recipe for destruction by the vehicles, including building bridges to keep some crossings out of the stream.

Despite these efforts, a habitat assessment conducted last year by an independent consultant found ongoing problems with motorcycles causing erosion into the creek, which smothers spawning beds and fills pools that provide critical habitat for the vanishing fish. Population surveys show the trout in steep decline in Bear Creek over the past few years.

More endangered/threatened species coverage here.

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