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Morning photo: The edge

Freezing up …

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Hazy morning light on an early December morning.

FRISCO —A quick gallery on the cusp of seasons as we head toward the solstice and the official start of winter in Summit County and the final freeze-up of Dillon Reservoir. The slow start to snowfall in December may not be the best for skiers and local resorts, but it’s been interesting to watch the slow weather transitions from a photography standpoint. This year, the first big snow came BEFORE the ice; now, the snow is starting to melt again (at least in the valleys), which kind of makes it feel like the seasons went into reverse a little bit! Continue reading

White River National Forest updates oil and gas plan

74,000 acres in roadless areas still open to fossil fuel development with a no surface occupation stipulation

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Most oil and gas development on the White River National Forest is limited to the far western zones in areas where drilling is already common.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The White River National Forest wants to open up nearly 200,000 acres for oil and gas drilling leases, including 74,000 acres in designated roadless areas where there would be restrictions on surface activities.

The long-awaited update to the forest’s oil and gas leasing map were released this week by the agency in a final environmental impact study and a draft record of decision, subject to a 60-day objection period. The final EIS is online here.

WRNF supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said he chose a “conservation-minded” option that prioritizes recreational and natural resources values over energy development across most of the forest. Most of the lands open for leasing follow the pattern of recent energy development in areas with high potential for fossil fuel development.

“Over one million acres of the White River National Forest are not geologically conducive for natural gas production, and another 800,000 acres are legally withdrawn. In addition, I have decided to close 213,000 acres of the White River National Forest to leasing in order to protect and maintain the natural character of these areas and protect important wildlife habitat,” Fitzwilliams said. Continue reading

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Morning Photo: December light

Subtle …

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The low sun angle highlights every grain of snow covering this scruffy meadow in Frisco.

FRISCO — Exceptional light rules in mid-December. The sun has dropped to nearly its lowest point in its path across the sky, so that, even a couple of hours after sunrise, it lingers, barely above the southeastern horizon. Often, layers of thin low- and mid-level clouds diffuse the light even more, creating a wintry glow in the snowy landscapes of Colorado. Check out our daily photo feed on Instagram and visit our Fine Art America online gallery for more landscape shots from Colorado. Continue reading

Breckenridge voters reject Main Street marijuana sales

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No buds on Main Street, Breckenridge.

Status quo in Colorado resort town, as voters say no to Main Street pot sales by 2-1 margin

Staff Report

FRISCO — Breckenridge locals and tourists won’t be able to refresh their stash of legal weed on Main Street. Town voters decided in a special mail-in ballot election this week that they’d rather see retail marijuana sales limited to outskirts of town.

The non-binding vote will guide the town council in developing any new retail marijuana ordinances. And even though it was only an advisory vote, turnout was big. More than 1,300 voters (44 percent) cast ballots, more than in the last town council election. In a release, the town said 925 people voted against allowing retail pot sales on Main Street, with 400 people voting yes. Continue reading

U.S. November temps well below average

Snow cover extent largest on record for any November

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A year-to-date temperature ranking map shows the split between east and west.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Last month was the chilliest November across the U.S. since 2000, federal climate trackers said today in the latest monthly update from the National Climatic Data Center.

The average temperature across the lower 48 states was 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit below the 20th century average, making it 16th-coldest November on record. Numerous states, from North Dakota southeast all the way to Georgia, reported near-record cold readings. No state was record cold, but Alabama and Mississippi each had their second coldest November.

Average temperatures in New England and across the Intermountain West, with California, Nevada and Arizona tallying above-average readings, along with Alaska, which reported its fifth-warmest November on record. Continue reading

Morning photo: Frozen!

Winter glory

Frozen fountain.

Frozen fountain.

FRISCO — OK, so it hasn’t exactly been hardcore winter around here the past few days. After that big mid-November snow, things warmed up pretty dramatically, which means I had to reach back into the archives to compile this set of winter images, a reminder of different each year can be when it comes to weather. But I wanted to highlight a few shots that speak to the season in all its frozen glory. Check out our daily photo feed on Instagram and visit our Fine Art America online gallery for more landscape shots from Colorado. Continue reading

Morning photo: Divine daybreak

November scenes …

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Light frost on the grass and an exceptional morning glow in early November.

FRISCO — I’ve often said November is the best month for sunrise photos in Summit County and this year was no exception. The atmospheric conditions — with frequent formation of wave clouds over the Rockies — seem to combine with a good sun angle to create almost unbelievably brilliant scenes, especially with still unfrozen waters of Dillon Reservoir as a mirror, and best of all, you don’t have to get up all that early to catch it, with the best colors peaking between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Check out our daily photo feed on Instagram and visit our Fine Art America online gallery for more landscape shots from Colorado. Continue reading

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