Saturday, June 23, 2018

Urad Lake - A Successful Reclaimation

Urad Lake, Colorado

With help from the Henderson Mine and some concerned humans, nature has successfully reclaimed the Woods Creek Valley. The centerpiece of this spectacular area is a slender reservoir called Urad Lake.

This new State Wildlife Area is teeming with, well, wildlife. Deer, elk, moose, black bear, red fox, pikas and golden-mantled ground squirrels have all been seen frequenting this high altitude habitat.

At almost 11,000 feet, it’s one of the only places in the world that offers a suitable territory for the critically endangered boreal toad. They eat insects and depend on shallow ponds with warm water in which to breed and underground dens in which to hibernate.

At the far west end, a few streams come rushing in, bringing even more fish into an already well-stocked pond. A fisherman’s paradise, the lake is chock full of small brook trout, pretty rainbows and plenty of cutbows.

As for the lake, it’s pinched into a steep, forested gorge where the water is deep, dark and freezing cold. A rugged trail traces it’s contour allowing one to fully inspect the indigo blue lagoon.

Reaching this subalpine environment requires negotiating a dangerous four-wheel-drive-only road. Off of the radar for most travelers heading to the mountains, Urad Lake is truly a peaceful sanctuary hidden within a realm of high peaks.

Woods Creek Valley has been reclaimed

The centerpiece

A slender reservoir

A high altitude habitat

The west end

Streams come rushing in

A fisherman's paradise

A forested gorge

An indigo blue lagoon

A subalpine environment

A peaceful sanctuary

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