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.

Jared Polis to serve on House Resources Committee

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Congressman Jared Polis.

Colorado lawmaker expected to be a pro-environment voice on a panel led conservative Republicans who often undermine federal efforts to manage public lands on the behalf of all Americans

Staff Report

FRISCO — A languishing proposal to create new wilderness areas in the Colorado mountains may get a boost in Congress this year, as U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (CO-02) joins the House Natural Resources Committee.

In the last two years, the committee has been a bastion of anti-government rhetoric, in some cases considering bills that would significantly weaken protection for natural resources and public lands. As a member of the minority, Polis won’t be able to get any meaningful legislation passed on his own, but his pro-environmental voice will be a welcome addition for public lands advocates. Continue reading

Copper Mountain set to build new Tucker Mountain lift

Copper wants to build the Tucker Mountain lift this summer.

Copper wants to build the Tucker Mountain lift this summer.

Forest Service taking comments on ski area proposals at Copper, Breckenridge

Staff Report

FRISCO — At long last, Copper Mountain Resort is set to move ahead with installation of a new lift on the north side of Tucker Mountain. The lift was originally approved in 2006, but according to the January 5 scoping notice from the U.S. Forest Service, the exact path of the lift has changed slightly.

The agency will take comments on the proposal through Jan. 30 via email at wrnf_scoping_comments@fs.fed.us. Continue reading

Colorado: Feds eye fee increase for Vail Pass winter use

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Snowmobiling at Vail Pass.

Season pass would increase to $100

Staff Report

FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service wants to increase winter day use recreation fees at Vail Pass by a whopping 30 percent, from $6 to $9, while the price of a season pass would rise from $40 to $100.

The current fees have been in place for more than 10 years and the agency says it’s facing increased management costs in the heavily used recreation area. Continue reading

Skiing: Forest Service taking input on proposed Snowmass Ski Area improvements

Glading, lift upgrades eyed in draft environmental study

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Snowmass to upgrade the High Alpine lift, add new snowmaking and expand gladed terrain.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service is looking for public input on a slate of proposed improvements at Snowmass Ski Area, including replacement/realignment of the High Alpine Chairlift, additional snowmaking coverage, and trail and glade projects. Continue reading

White River National Forest updates oil and gas plan

74,000 acres in roadless areas still open to fossil fuel development with a no surface occupation stipulation

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Most oil and gas development on the White River National Forest is limited to the far western zones in areas where drilling is already common.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The White River National Forest wants to open up nearly 200,000 acres for oil and gas drilling leases, including 74,000 acres in designated roadless areas where there would be restrictions on surface activities.

The long-awaited update to the forest’s oil and gas leasing map were released this week by the agency in a final environmental impact study and a draft record of decision, subject to a 60-day objection period. The final EIS is online here.

WRNF supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said he chose a “conservation-minded” option that prioritizes recreational and natural resources values over energy development across most of the forest. Most of the lands open for leasing follow the pattern of recent energy development in areas with high potential for fossil fuel development.

“Over one million acres of the White River National Forest are not geologically conducive for natural gas production, and another 800,000 acres are legally withdrawn. In addition, I have decided to close 213,000 acres of the White River National Forest to leasing in order to protect and maintain the natural character of these areas and protect important wildlife habitat,” Fitzwilliams said. Continue reading

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