Morning photo: Late summer

Monsoons and mushrooms …

Summer rolls by fast in the high country, but it’s not over yet. During a building El Niño year like this, subtropical moisture could linger over the southern Rockies late into August, and even early September, extending the monsoon and mushroom season. Already, this season’s abundant moisture has resulted in a bumper crop of fungi, not to mention a slew of glorious cloudscapes and carpets of wildflowers from the valleys up to the highest peaks. This short set includes a few of my favorite shots from the past week in Summit County, Colorado.

U.S. Forest Service approves massive expansion of summer recreational facilities at Breckenridge ski area

Zip lines, canopy tours and other attractions planned

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A slice of the Tenmile Range that already feels the full brunt of industrial level recreation will see even more summer traffic after the U. S. Forest Service approved a huge expansion of new summer activities and facilities.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service is on track to approve a huge expansion of summer activities at Breckenridge Ski Area that will accommodate up to 150,000 additional visitors during the summer season.

The agency this week released a final environmental study for the new installations and programs, along with a draft decision letter from White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, who said he thinks the new facilities — including zip lines, canopy tours and challenge courses — will enhance public appreciation of national forest lands and the outdoors.

The proposal was controversial in Breckenridge, as some residents expressed concerns about drawing more visitors to the already crowded town. Other locals support the plan as a way of increasing tourism revenues and drumming up more business for local restaurants and shops. Continue reading

Morning photo: Back in the mountains

“That’s the sound of sunshine comin’ down …”

FRISCO —Travel is awesome, but it’s easy to come back from even the coolest trip when you live in a place as beautiful as the Colorado mountains, especially when it’s mushroom season and the sky fills with rainbows. I have a Facebook friend, former journalist Theo Stein, who often tags photo’s I’ve posted with the comment, “Tis a privilege to live in Colorado,” and I couldn’t agree more!

Breck, Vail Resorts squabble over parking

Spring season extended at Breckenridge Ski Area. PHOTO COURTESY VAIL RESORTS/JACK AFFLECK.

 Breckenridge Ski Area. PHOTO COURTESY VAIL RESORTS/JACK AFFLECK.

Lift-ticket tax proposal stirs up bad blood

Staff Report

FRISCO — The long-running love-hate soap opera between Breckenridge and Vail Resorts took a nasty turn this week, as town officials vowed to forge ahead with putting an admissions (lift-ticket) tax on the November ballot, while the resort company questioned the town’s legal authority to do so.

At issue, according to Breckenridge, is an urgent need to address parking and transit issues — something the town should have started addressing 15 years ago. Based on community input, town officials say, the best path forward is to build a parking structure on F-Lot and to boost transit options.

To do that, the town wants to establish a new revenue stream by taxing lift tickets and other for-profit attractions. But Breckenridge and Vail Resorts have apparently failed to find common ground. In a press release, Mayor John Warner said ongoing negotiations have failed, leaving the town no option but to pursue voter approval for a new tax in the fall. Continue reading

Poll: Breckenridge residents want a parking structure

BMX biking Breckenridge Colorado

A crowd of tourists watches a BMX bike demo in Breckenridge. Colorado.

Voters support new tax to address parking and congestion

Staff Report

FRISCO — Polling early this summer in Breckenridge appears to confirm what many residents and visitors already know — parking and congestion are serious issues for the Colorado resort town, which in some ways is choking on its own success.

According to the survey, voters want their town leaders to make parking and congestion a top priority, and they think a tax on lift tickets and special events is the way to pay for it. Continue reading

Summit County: Frey Gulch restoration begins

Construction of new dirt bike trails also under way

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The Forest Service and volunteer partners are simultaneously building new dirt bike trails and closing forest roads in the Tenderfoot Mountain area.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service is implementing restoration plans associated with approval of the new off-road motorcycle trail system on Tenderfoot Mountain.

The trail system, long a local point of contention, was approved last year based on a compromise agreement among stakeholders. The Forest Service has already started building part of the trail, with new single-track visible just a few feet above, and running parallel to Straight Creek Road.

This summer, Tenderfoot Mountain Road (#66.2B) in Frey Gulch will be closed and rehabilitated in order to improve water quality and improved habitat for fish and wildlife. The restoration of Frey Gulch was included as a condition the trail system permit. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sunday set

Overview …

FRISCO —I made it out for an early morning photo sesh/dogwalk today, heading to one of my favorite wrinkled areas along the shore of Dillon Reservoir. This particular stretch of shoreline is notched by deep coves, which is good for photography, because you can find different vantage points, in relation to the water and the mountains, to make the most of the reflections, and using the vegetation along the water’s edge to help frame the scenes. Once again, I was struck by how fast our area’s lodgepole pine forests are regrowing after the pine beetle outbreak that move through the north-central Colorado mountains in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In places that were logged early, many of the new trees are already two- to four-feet tall and growing densely, just like the old lodgepole pine forest. This morning’s clouds, fueled with moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Dolores, helped soften the light. Click on the images in this set to choose the full-size option, especially for the pano shot, and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

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