Letters: Support for new Colorado wilderness

Will Congress act?

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A view of the Gore Range from the flanks of the Williams Fork Range, at the edge of a new wilderness area proposed by Congressman Jared Polis. @bberwyn photo.

wilderness-map

A map of the areas covered by the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act.

FRISCO — In May, Congressman Jared Polis reintroduced a bill to create about 39,000 acres of new wilderness in Summit and Eagle counties.

According to Polis, the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act will help sustain recreational resources, protect watersheds, preserve important wildfire corridors, and strengthen Colorado’s tourism economy.

Along with new wilderness, the bill would also designate 16,000 acres as special management areas for recreation, and where some other activities, including wildfire mitigation and forest health treatments would be permitted.

Trace the history of Polis’ push for new wilderness in the central Colorado mountains in these Summit Voice stories going back to 2010.

Letters:

Dear Editor,

Congressman Jared Polis’ introduction of the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act should be applauded. This bill, the result of 5 years of local community engagement and consensus, is important not just to the central Rocky Mountains but to Colorado as a whole. Many Coloradans know this area for the endless recreational opportunities, whether it’s hiking, biking, camping, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, or just relaxing. As the owner of Seymour Lodging Corp, Colorado wilderness is of particular importance to me.

Owning a small business is never easy, particularly when your business is dependent on external factors such as weather and consumer discretionary income. Fortunately for myself and many other small business owners across the state, the designation of wilderness, in addition to enhancing quality of life, makes local tourism a little more secure.

The Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act protects many areas in the White River National Forest, which draws more than 9 million visitors annually; these visitors then support local tourism and outdoor recreation businesses.

The outdoor recreation industry in Colorado is a critical part of the state’s economy which generates $13.2 billion annually in consumer spending, and supports 125,000 jobs which pay over $4 billion in wages to Coloradans. Many small mountain towns count on tourism and outdoor recreation to stay afloat. I know personally how difficult this can be, and I would like to thank Congressman Polis for investing in the state of Colorado.

Richard Seymour

***

Dear Editor,

After reading about the recent introduction of the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act, I wanted to publicly thank Representative Jared Polis for his work protecting Colorado. As an avid hiker, I deeply enjoy spending free time in the Central Mountains.

Over the past 5 years Rep. Polis has worked with a plethora of local stakeholders to ensure that this legislation truly helps to support the local community- this hard work has paid off, garnering the support of everyone from mountain bikers and conservationists to hunters and small businessmen.

If passed, the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act would provide important protections for key watersheds in the Central Mountains and safeguard our ever-valuable Colorado water for local communities and the greater Front Range. As well, the Act would protect some of Colorado’s best fishing streams and preserve valuable wildlife habitat; thank you, Representative Polis!

Eddie Welsh

Eddie Welsh is history and political science major at Colorado State University.  He has a special interest in environmental issues here in Colorado, particularly in the Central Mountains where he spend a great deal of  time.

Summit Spring: Volunteers wanted for greenhouse work, tree-planting

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It’s time to get gardening in Summit County.

Get your green thumb on!

Staff Report

FRISCO — Springtime in Summit County means it’s time to start thinking about growing everything from backyard cabbage to new trees, and even with a late season snowstorm taking aim at the high country, there’s work to be done.

The High Country Conservation Center is looking for volunteers to help cover the greenhouse at Nancy’s community garden with new plastic. The work party is scheduled for Saturday, April 18 from 10 a.m. to  2 p.m. This job involves some lifting and holding, so please be prepared for some physical work. Continue reading

Morning photo: Out and about …

Summit sailing … and more!

Sailboats on Dillon Reservoir.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — I’ve often admired the sailboats on Dillon Reservoir from afar, but I’ve rarely had the chance to see them up close. But last weekend, during a day on the water with local guide’s from Big Ed’s Fishing Ventures, we motored right past a line of sailboats preparing for an afternoon race. For a couple of minutes, we were right in the middle of the action, close enough to hear the sails snapping. Continue reading

Summit County: Bristlecone Foundation legacy forest campaign seeking volunteers for June 2 tree-planting

Help grow Summit County's future forest with the Bristlecone Foundation. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

Proceeds benefit local hospice and home care

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with efforts by the U.S. Forest Service to reforest local campgrounds, the Bristlecone Foundation will continue its legacy forest campaign with another round of planting on June 2.

The campaign, now in its third year, benefits the home care and hospice patients of Bristlecone Health Services and helps renew the forests of Summit County. To date, more than 4,000 trees have been planted around the county, with each seedling telling a story of love and compassion. Continue reading

Summit County: Dead kayaker identified as Dillon resident

A kayaker died July 14 in the Blue River, north of Silverthorne, Colorado.

High flows persist; whitewater websites warn of logs and other obstacles in high country streams

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A kayaker who died July 14 in the Blue River has been identified as 50-year-old William Keen, of Dillon.

The accident occurred north of Silverthorne near the Columbine take-out at mile marker 111 along Highway 9.

The coroner’s office is investigating the accident, believed to be a drowning. But since the death was not witnessed an autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

In a followup press release,  coroner Joanne Richardson said Keen leaves behind a wife and four children.

The coroner’s office was called to the scene about 2:20 p.m. after a group of rafters reported seeing a male face-down in the water. The rafters reportedly had seen the decedent kayaking a few minutes earlier, wearing a helmet and life vest.

The rafters started CPR on the man and called 911 at 1:36 p.m.

“We suspect drowning but cannot rule out a medical event. We do not have a positive ID but the decedent is believed to be a Summit County resident. I do not expect to have a name until tomorrow,” Summit County Coroner Joanne Richardson said in a press release.

The Blue River north of Silverthorne has been running high for the past several weeks, with releases from Dillon Reservoir and inflows from tributaries adding to flows of 2,000 cubic feet per second and more.

Summit County Sheriff’s office joins Twitterverse

Many other local jurisdictions already using social media channels

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Summit County Sheriff’s Office is the first countywide entity to start broadcasting via a Twitter channel.  According to Sheriff John Minor, the SCSO is now posting information as @SummitSheriffCO.  Tweets will include emergency alerts, public service announcements and other notifications. Continue reading

Summit County: Lower Blue River edges close to flood stage

Denver Water raises outflow from Dillon Reservoir, cuts diversions through Roberts Tunnel, expects reservoir to fill in about 2 weeks

The Lower Blue is flowing at about 1,750 cubic feet, just below flood stage.

A sign at the base of the dam gives information on the history of the facility.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Lower Blue River is flowing perilously close to its banks, as Denver Water increased the flow to 1,750 cfs Thursday. Flooding issues along the Lower Blue start to become more serious at a flow of about 1,800 cfs, but Denver Water’s Bob Steger said he’s hoping the inflow will soon begin to decrease, as predicted by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center.

Denver Water is also reducing its diversions via the Roberts Tunnel from 250 down to 100 cubic feet per second, as the Front Range reservoirs in the system are nearly full. Continue reading

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