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Morning photo: Morning, noon & night …

Friday fotos


Summit County sunrise.

FRISCO —A lot of times, the morning photo set is compiled from different sessions on different days, but today’s all are from a single day. Before dawn on Friday morning, I could see a wave cloud setting up over the Divide, a little higher and farther west than usual, but it still looked like it could catch that morning sunrise glow, so I headed down to the Meadow Creek wetlands to take it in, and to let the dogs romp. In the middle of the day, the same peaks were bathed in bright sunshine — almost too bright for a good picture, and later in the afternoon, I set out to try and get a waterfall shot with a little more light, to try and avoid that blue glow (which can be nice, but it gets old). And the sunset? It was out of this world! Please visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for more Summit County landscapes. Continue reading

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Morning photo: Insta-groovy

More monsoon skies …


Evening view of Frisco, with Buffalo Mountain as a backdrop.

FRISCO — I’m still learning about my iPhone camera, and one thing I’ve noticed is that it’s really quite good at picking up color and highlights in an otherwise shaded foreground, like the top image in this set. The difference between the light and dark areas helps give images a pleasing (to my eyes) depth, and using the built-in HDR means less post-processing, which I needed in the next image in the set to balance out a shot taken with a DSLR. Most of all, the clouds the last few days have been fabulous!


Dillon Reservoir, still in the evening light.

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Morning photo: Independence Day!

Red, white & blue …


A shower of red, white and blue sparks in a classic July 4th fireworks display over the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

FRISCO —Get out and enjoy our national holiday! Continue reading

Colorado craft brewers join fracking fight


Good beer needs clean water.

Letter to Gov. Hickenlooper calls for better balance between energy development and resource protection

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Colorado’s brewers — including two Summit County based operations — are flexing a little political muscle and calling on Gov. John Hickenlooper to strike a better balance between energy development and conservation.

Rick Tork, manager of Frisco’s Backcountry Brewery, and Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse and Brewery owner Annie Holton, signed on to represent Summit County.

In a letter to Hickenlooper, the brewers, 26 in all, cited the importance of Colorado’s image and marketability for craft brewing and the important economic impact of keeping Colorado’s skies and waters clear and clean, saying that the state’s brand and high quality of life “attracts new residents, businesses, entrepreneurs and millions of tourists annually.”

A spokesman at the governor’s office said Hickenlooper recognizes the value of the craft-brewing industry.

“The craft brewing industry is a great economic driver for Colorado and we value our relationship with brewers across the state. We will review the letter and respond appropriately,” said communications director Eric Brown. Continue reading

Morning photo: Morning, noon and night …

Just another day (in paradise)

Suday morning moon set — early!

Sunday morning moon set — early!

FRISCO — Got up early to try and catch a few good shots of the setting moon, but the light ended up being a bit murky first thing — you just never know. But we hiked up to the top of Lake Hill anyway, finding that the expanded Old Dillon Reservoir has not event started to fill. Too bad — it’s peak runoff right now and it could be filled in a few weeks if there were water going into it. But there’s still a bunch of construction equipment around the edges, so it seems like they haven’t quite finished it yet. Building thunderstorms in the afternoon were impressive over the Continental Divide, and the subsequent collapse of those clouds in the evening helped create some divine evening lighting, with the alpenglow reflecting off the bottom of the clouds. And on top of all that, I got to hear a great evening concert of chorus frogs as the light waned. Just another day in Summit County … Continue reading

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

Morning photo: Spring … really!



Buttercups bloomed this week, the first wildflowers after a long winter.

FRISCO — After a few false starts, it appears that spring has truly sprung in the Colorado high country, though it shouldn’t surprise anyone if it snows once (or twice) more before all is said and done. But the past few days, we’ve experienced beneficial moistening rains and the Earth is responding in overdrive. Grass and other plants are growing almost visibly from day to day, the first few wildflowers have popped and streams are swelling in their banks. Even after many years living high in the mountains, the speed always surprises me a little. Our native plants, adapted to a short growing season, seem to know there’s no time to waste.


The sun, captured in a raindrop.

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Summit Voice offers a unique Colorado news feed


Ever wondered about mountain pine beetle genetics? Read Summit Voice.

Water, forests and more …

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — In the age of a global economy and a global environment, nearly all news is local. Case in point is last week’s report from the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General. The IG audited the U.S. Forest Service’s oil and gas drilling program, and found that there is quite a bit of room for improvement when it comes to being prepared for potential spills, and even just keeping track of required inspections.

Since the IG’s office documented a total of almost 200 spills on national forest lands in 2010 and 2011, it’s more than just a hypothetical exercise, and with oil and gas activities expected to ramp up on the White River National Forest, there are implications close to home. Read the story here. Continue reading

Colorado: Dillon Reservoir unlikely to fill this year

Denver Water hopes to fill reservoir above 2002 levels


Season to-date snowfall measured in inches, across the Front Range and easternmost Colorado mountain ranges.

As of March 21, statewide snowpack was 77 percent of average.

As of March 21, statewide snowpack was 77 percent of average, according to the NRCS.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Denver Water officials say there’s a glimmer of hope that Dillon Reservoir might come close to filling this summer if there’s above average snowfall for the next few weeks.

With exceptionally wet conditions, the reservoir could reach an elevation of 9,015 feet by July and remain above 9,000 feet through the following spring.

With average spring precipitation, chances of the reservoir filling are less than 50 percent, according to Bob Peters, who released the outlook for Dillon Reservoir operations last Friday (March 22). Under the normal precipitation scenario, Dillon Reservoir would peak at about 9,002 feet in June, about 15 feet below full. All the projections can be affected by variable weather, including spring rain and temperatures.

In both outlooks, the water level would be higher than during the summer of 2002, the last big drought year, when the reservoir peaked at an elevation of 8,993 feet. Peters said the Stage 2 outdoor watering restrictions will help keep water in Dillon Reservoir in the late summer and fall. The utility must also hedge against the possibility, however unlikely, of a third dry year by maintaining as much storage as possible.

Going into the second year of a drought, those forecast water levels are critical for local recreation interests, especially the town-owned Frisco marina, where operations are hampered by low water levels.

Denver Water has been diverting water from Dillon Reservoir via the Roberts Tunnel all winter, and some local residents may be surprised at the water level when the ice melts. By the end of March, the elevation of the reservoir will be about 30 feet below full.


The thick black line represents this year’s snowpack.

The water level should start rising in April when spring runoff starts. Under the average precipitation scenario, Denver Water expects the reservoir level to peak sometime in June at about 9,002 feet, which is still 15 feet below full pool. By the end of summer, the water level would be back where it is now.

Continued drought conditions would have the most dramatic impact on Summit County. Reservoir levels would fall as low as 2002, when dust storms affected surrounding communities and boating access was limited.

With less than average precipitation, Denver Water projects that Dillon Reservoir would only rise about six feet from its current level by June, then start dropping again in July. By the end of the summer, the reservoir could be five feet lower than it is now.

The official spring outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is for warmer and drier than average conditions for the next three months, but so far, March has been delivering average to above-average snowfall and cooler-than-average temperatures.

Morning photo: Mountain dawn

Spring snow in Summit County


Early morning patterns of shadow and light on the shoreline of Dillon Reservoir.


Morning photo is sponsored by Copper Colorado Condos.

FRISCO — More spring snow in Summit County set the scene for a quiet sunrise Friday morning, where only a quick tinge of bright pink touched the sky for less than five minutes before fading into a much subtle palette. But it always pays to stick around for a few minutes after the initial sunup moments, as you never know exactly what’s going to unfold. Friday, well after it all seemed well and done, the sun peeked out to light up the foreground with a warm brilliance that was definitely a harbinger of spring.

Like what you see? Visit our online FineArt America gallery for Summit County nature and landscape photography, available as fine art prints or greeting cards. Continue reading


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