Public lands: Grant helps Rocky Mountain National Park boost green transit efforts

Every little bit helps!

A computer-generated split-screen image a split-image simulates the average 20 percent best (left) and 20 percent worst 20 percent (right) visibility at the Long’s Peak vista based on an average of monitored data for years 2000-2004.

A computer-generated split-screen image a split-image simulates the average 20 percent best (left) and 20 percent worst 20 percent (right) visibility at the Long’s Peak vista based on an average of monitored data for years 2000-2004.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A $167,000 grant has helped Rocky Mountain National Park boost environmental efforts.

The 2013 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities National Parks Initiative supports alternative transportation projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and educating park visitors about the environmental benefits of reducing our dependence on petroleum.

Through the partnership, the park purchased two electric sedans and one hybrid pickup truck, installed two electric charging stations, launched an idle reduction campaign and enhanced the parks education and outreach efforts toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing sustainable operations.

Public lands: New Mexico’s Valles Caldera about to get full national park status

Public listening sessions help guide transition

A forested lava dome in the midst of the Valle Grande, the largest meadow in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

A forested lava dome in the midst of the Valle Grande, the largest meadow in the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Photo via Wikipedia.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The National Park Service wants public feedback to help guide the transition in management of Valles Caldera National Preserve from the Valles Caldera Trust to the NPS. The last of three public meetings on the change is set for May 13 in Los Alamos (6-8:30 p.m. MDT, Betty Ehart Senior Center, 1101 Bathtub Row).

In December, Congress designated the preserve as a new unit of the National Park System. The legislation requires that the Valles Caldera Trust be terminated and the management of the area be turned over to the National Park Service. Continue reading

More legal wrangling over uranium mine near Grand Canyon

The confluence of Havasu Creek with the Colorado River (river mile 157) is a popular place for boaters to stop and admire the striking blue-green water of Havasu Creek. The turquoise color is caused by water with a high mineral content. At the point where the blue creek meets the turbid colorado river there often appears a definite break. NPS photo by Erin Whittaker.

The confluence of Havasu Creek with the Colorado River (river mile 157) is a popular place for boaters to stop and admire the striking blue-green water of Havasu Creek. The turquoise color is caused by water with a high mineral content. At the point where the blue creek meets the turbid colorado river there often appears a definite break. NPS photo by Erin Whittaker.

Impacts to water quality, cultural resources at stake, as conservation groups seek new environmental study

Staff Report

FRISCO — A U.S. Forest Service decision to allow uranium mining near the Grand Canyon will be tested in court once again.

Conservation groups last week said they’ll appeal a lower court ruling that affirmed the agency’s decision on the mine, located about six miles from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell last month said conservation groups and the Havasupai Tribe failed to show that the U.S. Forest Service violated environmental laws, but that decision will now be tested in a federal appeals court. Continue reading

Environment: Proposed resort development near Grand Canyon’s South Rim threatens rare species

A rare variety of tiger beetle

A rare variety of tiger beetle is threatened by a proposed development at the Grand Canyon. @bberwyn photo.

Emergency petition filed to prevent extinction

Staff Report

FRISCO — A looming resort development near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon has prompted conservation advocates to seek protection for a pair of rare species that could be pushed toward extinction if the project proceeds.

Last week, the Center for Biological Diversity filed an emergency petition asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to consider endangered species status for the Arizona wetsalts tiger beetle and Macdougal’s yellowtops. Both species rely on groundwater that could disappear if the resort developers are permitted to pump groundwater in the area. Continue reading

Public lands: Proposed resort development seen as big threat to Grand Canyon National Park

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A proposal for a large new resort development near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon threatens public resources.

Forest Service eyes plan for road, infrastructure improvements around Tusayan, Ariz.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Plans for a sprawling real estate development near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon are moving closer to reality. The U.S. Forest Service says it will study a request by the town of Tusayan to provide more access to key parcels of private land surrounded by national forest.

The start of that process spurred conservation advocates to warn that the development adds to the environmental pressure on one of the country’s most cherished natural landmarks. The planned megaresort, with 2,100 residential units and 3 million square feet of retail space along with hotels, a spa and conference center. Continue reading

Federal court OKs Grand Canyon uranium mine

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Havasu Falls, in the Grand Canyon. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.

Havasupai Tribe contemplates appeal

Staff Report

FRISCO — A federal court ruling last week opens the door for new uranium mining just six miles from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and four miles from a sacred Native American site.

U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell said conservation groups and the Havasupai Tribe failed to show that the U.S. Forest Service violated environmental laws in the long-running wrangling over the mine, which was first approved in 1986. Continue reading

BLM updates oil and gas drilling plan for Piceance Basin in northwest Colorado

Master leasing plan aims to protect Dinosaur National Monument

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Can a master leasing protect cherished public resources around Dinosaur National Monument?

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An aerial view of the Dinosaur National Monument entrance road. Photo courtesy EcoFlight.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A new master leasing plan proposed by the Bureau of Land Management for public lands surrounding northwestern Colorado’s Dinosaur National Monument aims to reduce oil and gas drilling impacts to wildlife, archaeological treasures and other resources in the region.

The plan could work if it’s implemented effectively, according to some public land watchdog groups, but doesn’t do much to address the larger issue of trying to move away from fossil fuels.

In fact, the agency expects oil and gas drilling to increase in the area, so the study that forms the basis for the plan evaluated impacts associated with the potential development of more than 15,000 oil and gas wells drilled on 1,100 well pads over the next 20 years. Continue reading

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