Calm waters made for a pleasant morning paddle on Rob Roy Reservoir in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest for Dave Clapsaddle and his dog Pogo on July 31.

Clapsaddle, of Laporte, Colorado, was also joined by his wife Shauna Gray and their other dog Lula. The pair teamed up on a paddleboard for the morning cruise. The family often joins Wyoming friends for camping and paddling excursions on both sides of the Wyoming-Colorado border.

“Rob Roy and the surrounding area is a great place to explore,” Clapsaddle said.

Although forest officials don’t track specific numbers, visitation remains consistently robust, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest Public Affairs Specialist Aaron Voos said. The area is still recovering from the Mullen Fire, which sparked Sept. 27, 2020, and burned some 176,000 acres.

“Visitors to the Rob Roy area will inevitably drive through or see impacts of the Mullen Fire to varying degrees,” Voos said. “The forest is recovering. There’s green underneath the black, so things are starting to come back, as was anticipated.”

So far the region has avoided major erosion problems since the fire, Voos added. After an intense fire, heavy precipitation can wash ash and silt into waterways threatening water quality — a particular concern for the city of Cheyenne, which relies on a complex trans-basin water collection system spread across the national forest for 70% of its water supply. 

There are no fire restrictions in the Rob Roy area of the forest so far this season. However, forest officials remain on alert. “It’s Aug. 11, and we still have a long way to go,” Voos said, “so people still need to be very cautious.”

Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 25 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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