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Old Dillon Reservoir completion delayed again

Crews working to replace mile-long pipeline after testing reveals wrong type of pipe was used in construction last summer

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The Old Dillon Reservoir in mid-construction, summer, 2012. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Local water officials say there’s still enough runoff coming down from the mountains to fill the newly enlarged Old Dillon Reservoir by Aug. 1 — even after an unexpected setback delayed the start of fill.

As engineers started to pressure-test the diversion pipeline late last summer, they discovered that the contractor used the wrong kind of pipe for the job, preventing completion of the project.

“Some of the gaskets would not seal,” said Dillon utilities superintendent Trevor Giles, explaining that crews are currently in the process of replacing the 24-inch-diameter pipe, which runs about 5,000 from the lower Salt Lick Gulch area in Wildernest, beneath I-70  and into the reservoir. Continue reading

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Outdoors: Forest Service adds ‘new’ trails in Summit County

Some of the "new" trails on national forest lands in Summit County lead to hidden coves along the shore of Dillon Reservoir.

Some of the “new” trails on national forest lands in Summit County lead to hidden coves along the shore of Dillon Reservoir.

Travel management plan update results in some user-created trails becoming an official part of the trail network

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — If you’ve never heard of the Hippo Trail or the Bodhi Trail, don’t feel too bad. Both are newly named trail segments in Summit County that have just recently been formally added to the national forest trail system managed by the U.S. Forest Service’s Dillon Ranger District.

Many of the user-created have been popular with locals for years, but now they’re officially on the map, said Ken Waugh, recreation staff officer for the district.

“Many of these have never been maintained and have not been on District maps,” Waugh said, adding that the Forest Service is making an outreach effort to let hikers and cyclists know about the new trails.

As part of that effort, the Dillon District is preparing Recreation Opportunity Guides for these new trails. The one-page sheets  have a map on one side and information about the trails on the other. When they’re done, they’ll be posted online at this White River National Forest website. Some of the guides are already posted at www.dillonrangerdistrict.com. The guides include directions to the trailhead, mileage, range in elevation, difficulty, and trail highlights. They’re also avaiable at the USFS visitor center in Silverthorne. Continue reading

Summit snow well below average in January

Drought continues in the Colorado River Basin

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Strings of goose eggs on the weather scorecard for Dillon.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — January 2012 will go down as one of the driest Januaries on record at the official National Weather Service site in town, where long-time observer Rick Bly measured just 6.55 inches of snow for the month.

Bly said that total was one of the five lowest January readings in the books. Going back more than 100 years, the average January snowfall in town is nearly two feet. The little bit of snow that did fall during the month was also excruciatingly dry. Bly said the snow-water equivalent was just 0.11 inches, compared to the historic average of 1.53 inches.

That means precipitation for the water year to-date (starting Oct. 1) is just 60 percent of average. Snowfall for the year to-date is also lagging well behind last year, at 43.85 inches. Normal for this time of year is 78 inches. Last winter, Bly had tallied 62 inches by this time of year. Continue reading

Morning photo: Marvelous moon

Last full moon of 2012

December's full moon sets over the Gore Range in Summit County, Colorado.

December’s full moon sets over the Gore Range in Summit County, Colorado.

FRISCO —Even though I got skunked on the full moon rise this month, I did make it out early Saturday to watch it set over the Gore Range. With temps well below zero, it wasn’t easy to work the camera controls and I had a hard time changing exposure settings while trying to keep up with the changing light, because the Earth and moon never stop their graceful dance. When you see a picture of the orb hanging in the sky, it looks static, but things certainly seem to speed up when you’re trying to capture it with a camera. And there are only a few minutes when the background and foreground light, and the moonlight, are balanced enough to get details in the entire exposure. I’m also amazed at how much the light changes in a short time. The images in this set were all taken in a half-hour span.

Many of the images in Summit Voice photo essays are available in our Fine Art America online gallery, and there’s also Summit County gallery at our ImageKind website. You can also order images by contacting me directly at bberwyn@comcast.net. It’s a great way to support independent online journalism! Continue reading

Summit County: Forest Service says, ‘Give us a chance’ on proposed Tenderfoot Mountain motorized trail system

County officials feel slighted by federal bureaucrats

Motorized riders enjoy cruising a road near the Summit County landfill on lower Tenderfoot Mountain. Bob Berwyn photo.

Related stories

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A plan by the U.S. Forest Service to build 13 miles of new trails for motorized use on Tenderfoot Mountain has put the agency on a collision course with local residents who have fought the plan from its earliest stages. Despite some changes from the original proposal, most residents of the affected area remain adamantly opposed.

Meanwhile, Forest Service rangers are asking the community to give the project a chance, claiming that motorized users will police themselves to make sure that impacts don’t spread beyond the trail system that would span about 1,800 acres on the hillsides above Highway 6 between Dillon and Summit Cove.

The Forest Service released an environmental assessment for the project in mid-November, triggering a 30-day public comment period. Based on the final round of feedback, agency officials will release a final decision on the trail system sometime this winter. All the Forest Service documents relating to the proposal, including comment information, are at this WRNF web page. Continue reading

Morning photo: Light hunting

Dawn to dusk

Morning light slants through an aspen grove on the northwest flank of Tenderfoot Mountain in Dillon, Colorado.

FRISCO — I’m still on a mission to document the ice formations of all the major creeks and streams in Summit County, so this morning, I headed over to Dillon to try and get some shots of Straight Creek, below the town’s water intake. The landscape has changed quite dramatically around the intake in the last 12 months, with heavy duty logging, earth moving and a new culvert. The restoration work around the work site went well, though, and in a couple of years, when new vegetation takes hold it’s going to look good. Just below the intake and culvert, a maze of fallen trees partially dams the creek and sets up a series of small cascades and pools that freezing into fantastic icy sculptures, and before I even got to the creek, I stopped to watch the sunrise slant through an aspen grove on the hillside above. Continue reading

Summit County:Forest Service releases Tenderfoot trail plan

Controversial proposal includes 13 miles of new single-track in an area generally zoned for non-motorized use

The Forest Service wants to build 13 miles of new trails on Tenderfoot Mountain for motorized use in an area already laced with trails and roads.

Related stories:

Summit County: Forest Service doing sound tests for proposed motorized recreation trail on Tenderfoot Mountain

Summit County: U.S. Forest Service hits pause button on several projects to assess the cumulative impacts to lynx

Summit County: Tenderfoot trail showdown looming

Summit County: Motorized trails proposed for Tenderfoot

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Forest Service has released a scaled-back version of a controversial plan for a new motorized trail system on Tenderfoot Mountain. Under the proposed plan, about 13 miles of new trails on a project area spanning about 1,800 acres already laced by a spaghetti network of roads and trails, including many renegade user-created trails.

In all, the system would encompass about 27 miles of trails (21 miles of single-track). About eight miles existing routes would be rehabilitated, while some other unsustainable routes would be decommissioned. According to the Forest Service, the net result is a multi-use trail system “that would be managed for non-motorized uses (hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding) as well as for single-track motorcycle use.” Continue reading

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