About these ads

Woman survives mountain lion attack in Big Bend NP

Two mountain lions rest in a shady spot. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Part of Big Bend National Park closed

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — National Park Service officials say a woman attacked by a mountain lion in Big Bend National Park, Texas, did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Andrea Pinero Cebrian and companions were exploring the Mesa de Anguila, near Lajitas Friday, Nov. 23 when she was attacked. Cebrian was treated by Terlingua Medics.

The Mesa de Anguila has been closed to all visitors while rangers and park biologists investigate and patrol in search of the mountain lion.

“Visitor safety is our main concern here in Big Bend and we will monitor and close the Mesa until we deem it safe for visitors,” said park superintendent Cindy Ott-Jones.

Fatal mountain lion attacks are rare in the U.S. The most recent documented fatality was in June, 2008 in Pinos Altos, New Mexico. In Colorado, the most recent mountain lion fatality was in 1997, when 10-year-old Mark Miedema was killed by an adult female cougar when he hiked ahead of his family on Rocky Mountain National Park.

Wildlife experts say the best course of action if you meet a mountain lion is to stay calm and talk firmly and quietly to the animal while backing away slowly.

Other tips:

  • Do not run.
  • Raise you arms to appear larger.
  • If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches, or whatever you can get your hands on. Do not crouch down or turn your back.
  • Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back.
About these ads

Mountain bikers dispute charges against national park trail

Big Bend National Park. MAP COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

IMBA says trail planning process was started under a national partnership to promote mountain bike opportunities in parks

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A Boulder-based bicycling group is defending its advocacy for a mountain bike trail in Big Bend National Park. Conservation and watchdog groups charge that the National Park Service erred by starting construction of the trail before giving the public a chance to comment on the final decision — as required by federal law.

The International Mountain Biking Association doesn’t dispute what it calls a procedural error on the part of the agency, but says it’s been partnering with the park service since 2005 to expand cycling opportunities in national parks.

The bike group is also challenging other statements made by critics of the trail in a statement on its website. Some of the critics have said the Big Bend trail would be the first in a national park, while IMBA points out that there are trails on other lands administered by the agency, including Golden Gate National Recreation Area, north of San Francisco, seen by some as the birthplace of mountain biking. See a full list of authorized mountain roads and trails in national park units here. Continue reading

Park Service slammed for new bike trail at Big Bend NP

The Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park. PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

Watchdog groups raise conflict of interest issues and fault the park planning process

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A simmering controversy over a new mountain bike trail in Big Bend National Park boiled over again earlier this month, as the park service started work on the trail before publishing a formal Finding of No Significant Impact or issuing required  rule-making.

Conservation groups are stewing over the project, which will create a trail in an area previously identified as potential wilderness. They also see a potential conflict of interest on the part of a former park service official now involved with a local mountain bike advocacy group. Continue reading

Year in review: March – April

Online independent journalism in Colorado

Extensive environmental coverage in Summit Voice included several stories on Antarctica.

SUMMIT COUNTY — One of the biggest stories of last winter was the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that wracked Japan, severely damaging a nuclear power plant. A few weeks later, the EPA reported radioactive rain falling across the USA. While the levels of radioactivity were very low, the entire episode gave pause to the quest to develop new nuclear power plants, as some countries even announced they would close existing facilities: Radioactive rain reported from West Coast to New England.

Some of the fallout was reflected in public hearings on a proposed nuclear power plant near Pueblo: Pueblo hearing on nuclear plant extended to third night.

In March, Summit Voice continued its sustained and often ground-breaking coverage of forest health issues. While lawmakers continued to ask for more federal dollars, we asked whether more money is really the answer, unless you plan to beat the bugs to death with stacks of $100 bills: Forest health: Is more federal money the answer? Continue reading

Mountain bike trail planned in Big Bend National Park

Hiking in Big Bend National Park. PHOTO COURTESY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

Backers and critics are rallying their troops for public comment

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — In a potentially precedent-setting move, Big Bend National Park is pushing to build a single-track trail designed for mountain bikes in its undeveloped backcountry.

The project is a collaboration between the south Texas national park and a private mountain biking group, raising disturbing “pay-to-play” questions about user groups carving out park lands for special purposes, according to comments filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

The environmental assessment for the 10-mile trail and associated parking lot is open for public comment through April 2, 2011. Most of the backcountry trail would be single-track — about the width of a bike, with one-way traffic moving counter clockwise. Horses would be barred from the trail. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,852 other followers