Battle over Colorado coal mine heats up

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More coal mining in Colorado?

Environmental activists want Forest Service to drop expansion plan for West Elk mine

Staff Report

FRISCO — A U.S. Forest Service coal-mining plan that could result in dozens of miles of new roads in a pristine Colorado forest is drawing fire from conservation groups and citizens around the country.

Expanding Arch Coal’s West Elk coal mine in Gunnison County would be a lose-lose — bad for the state’s environment, and bad for the global climate, according to the environmental groups, who recently rallied their members to flood the agency with letters and emails. Continue reading

Alaska, far West face biggest wildfire threats this summer

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The biggest threat of wildfires in early summer is in Alaska and northwestern Canada.

Year-to-date wildfire activity is well below the average of the last 10 years

Staff Report

FRISCO — While the wildfire season is off to a relatively slow start — at least compared to blistering pace of the past 10 years, Forest Service fire experts are still expecting an above-average season, and there is concern once again that the agency might have to use money and personnel from other programs to address the threat.

So far this year, wildfires have burned across about 390,000 acres through the end of May. The average for the pst 10 years is about 1.2 million acres. But the agency won’t let down its guard, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told Congress during a recent budget hearing. Continue reading

Global warming to speed up forest die-offs

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Taller trees, like this California redwood, are most susceptible to global warming impacts, a new study says. @bberwyn photo.

‘The warming climate is creating a threat to global forests unlike any in recorded history’

Staff Report

*More Summit Voice stories on forests and climate change here

FRISCO — Forest researchers have been seeing the warning signs for decades — global warming is speeding up tree deaths around the world.

The pace of those changes is likely to speed up, according to scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“The warming climate is creating a threat to global forests unlike any in recorded history,” said Nathan McDowell, of Los Alamos’ Earth and Environmental Sciences Division. “Forests store the majority of terrestrial carbon and their loss may have significant and sustained impacts on the global carbon cycle.” Continue reading

How do changing forests affect bees?

Changes in southeastern forests may be contributing to the decline of bee populations, @bberwyn photo.

Changes in southeastern forests may be contributing to the decline of bee populations, @bberwyn photo.

Forest Service study helps unravel pollinator decline mystery Staff Report FRISCO — U.S. Forest Service scientists say they’ve solved another part of the biological puzzle surrounding the alarming decline of bee populations. Changes in forest structure from open to closed canopies are likely contributing to the decline, especially of native bees, at least in some regions. “Bees prefer open forests,” said Jim Hanula, a research entomologist at the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station. “We found that total tree basal area was the best predictor for how many bees would be present.” Continue reading

New push for Colorado wilderness expansion

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New wilderness is in the works for Eagle and Summit counties, in the mountains of Colorado.

Congress Jared Polis introduces land protection measure

Staff Report

FRISCO — A proposal for new Colorado wilderness areas is back on the political table in Washington, where Congressman Jared Polis introduced a new bill that ‚ if passed, would add more than 39,000 acres of land to the wilderness roster.

“The areas that stretch along the Continental Divide in Summit and Eagle counties are the iconic playground of our state,”  Polis said. “They are where Coloradans and out-of-state tourists alike go to ski, hike, mountain bike, hunt, and fish … and this bill will ensure they are preserved for future generations to enjoy,” he added. Continue reading

Colorado camping season begins!

Spring snow delays campground openings in a few areas

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Camping at Green Mountain Reservoir is a great way to kick off the summer outdoor season. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The wet and chilly spring weather may not exactly be perfect for camping, but Coloradans are hearty, and a few showers, or even snowflakes, won’t deter outdoor enthusiasts from taking their first trip of the season.

On the White River National Forest, most campgrounds are open, including the key concessionaire-operated sites in Summit County, mostly clustered around Dillon Reservoir. You’ll find the full scoop on WRNF campgrounds below, right after these outdoor safety tips from the U.S. Forest Service. You can also reserve a campsite in online at Recreation.gov.

  • Motorized travel is permitted on roads only, off road travel is always prohibited (do not drive around snow drift/muddy spots through meadow/forest – turn around!)
  • Please do not cause resource damage- if you get to an area that is muddy and would create ruts or road damage, turn around.
  • Snow patches occur at higher elevations.  While they may not look deep there is thick ice crust- which does break and on which it is easy to get stuck
  • Use caution: some areas on the Forest are experiencing high water crossings and muddy conditions that make travel unsafe and hazardous.

Aspen-Sopris Ranger District

All campgrounds for Aspen – Sopris managed by White River Recreation are open for except for Lost Man and Chapman-South loop Camp Ground. All three of Maroon Bells Scenic Area campgrounds will be open by Ma. 22.

Blanco Ranger District

Snow at higher elevations will keep some roads closed for a couple of weeks ago. Some of the Buford Newcastle Road is open and the road to Trappers Lake is open but not the Campground.

  • Main Marvine  Campground is open and has water
  • East Marvine Campground is open
  • Hines Peak Campground is open
  • North Fork Campground is open and has water
  • South Fork Campground is open

Dillon Ranger District

All 6 concession-managed campgrounds on and around Dillon Reservoir will be open for the Memorial Day weekend: Heaton Bay, Peak One, Pine Cove, Prospector, Lowry, and the Windy Point Group CG.

At Green Mountain Reservoir, four of the six campgrounds will be open: Cow Creek South, Prairie Point, Elliot Creek, and McDonald Flats. The Willows and Cow Creek North Camp Ground will remain closed due to wet “native surface” roads.

Cataract Lake campground and Blue River campground will also be open by Thursday, May 21,

Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District

We aspire to have the following campgrounds open. Fees are listed. All are first come first serve:

  • Sweetwater Campground $8/night
  • Fulford Cave $8/night
  • Loop B Yeoman Park $8/night
  • Loop A will remain closed due to wet/snowy conditions

Concession Managed:

Rifle Ranger District

  • Spruce Picnic Area will be open
  • Meadow Creek Lake Campground will not be open. You cannot drive to Meadow Lake as there is too much snow. A sign will be installed on Buford New Castle Road indicating snow drift ahead.  If recent weather continues, it will take another week or two for the road to cleared to Meadow Lake.

Morning photo: Mountain mix

Rocky Mountain eyecandy


FRISCO —A quick Saturday set from the vault featuring some Rocky Mountain wildlife, mountain panoramas and forests, including an exceedingly friendly and curious marmot that absolutely wanted to pose for the camera. The first three shots were all taken in Summit County along Ute Pass Road; the bristlecones and the marmot were photographed last summer along Mt. Evans road, just on the other side of the Continental Divide. For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

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