About these ads

Summit Voice: Weekend headlines & most-viewed stories

Climate costs, ski area expansions and poaching

Bumblebee.

Study challenges pesticide link with bee colony collapse

Honeybees may be dying from ingesting remnants of insecticides, but that in itself may nor be causing the widespread colony collapse being observed in many areas, according to new research published in the journal Science.

Study: Many nuclear power plants in tsunami risk zones

The Fukushima disaster might not be the last time a tsunami damages a nuclear facility, according to a team of Spanish researchers who there are a total of 23 nuclear power plants at various stages of operation or construction in high-risk areas.

Colorado biologists planning statewide lynx assessment

Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists say they’re close to finalizing a plan to monitor the state’s lynx population by assessing habitat occupancy. If successful, the strategy would enable researchers to determine whether the population of endangered wild cats is sustaining itself over time.

Climate: Ice-free Arctic ahead?

SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite a steady trend of melting Arctic sea ice, experts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aren’t yet willing to make any predictions as to when the region will be completely ice-free during the summers.

Colorado: Elk poacher hit with $11,500 fine

SUMMIT COUNTY — A West Virginia man will pay an $11,500 fine for poaching Colorado wildlife. The fine includes a $10,000 penalty that applies when trophy-quality wildlife is poached — in this case a 6×6 bull elk taken on Devil’s Thumb Ranch property in Tabernash earlier this month.

World Tourism Day focuses on sustainable energy

SUMMIT COUNTY — In an era when reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been targeted as a critical priority, it’s more challenging than ever to reconcile tourism with environmental concerns.

Climate: El Niño stalls, outlook uncertain

SUMMIT COUNTY — This year’s El Niño is likely to be one of the weaker versions of the event in recent memory, according to experts with the National Climatic Data Center, who discussed the fall outlook and reviewed the long, hot summer at teleconference last week.

Global tourist visits on track to pass 1-billion mark

FRISCO — Travelers from some of the world’s biggest countries helped spur global tourism to a new record level during the first half of 2012, keeping the industry on track to pass the 1-billion mark for the first time this year.

Most-viewed stories

About these ads

Breckenridge: Forest Service OKs Peak 6 expansion

Pending appeals and lawsuits, resort could get two new lifts

A map for the proposed alternative from the USFS Record of Decision outlines the Peak 6 expansion.

By Bob Berwyn

*Read about continuing community concerns in this Summit Voice story.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Pending the outcome of potential appeals and lawsuits, Breckenridge Ski Area will be permitted to add about 550 acres of terrain on Peak 6, served by two new lifts.

White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams Tuesday announced his decision to approve the hotly contested expansion, saying it will help reduce congestion on the busy mountain. Forest Service documents on the expansion are online at the WRNF website. Continue reading

Opinion: USFS stance on Peak 6 a bad deal for lynx

A Colorado lynx kitten, photographed by Tanya Shenk, former leader of the state's lynx recovery team.

Agency justifies support for expansion by saying lynx habitat is already degraded, but why make things worse?

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — With the Breckenridge Town Council set to take another crack at the Peak 6 expansion tonight, I pulled out my notes from the last meeting to review what White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams had to say about the project with regard to lynx, a species that’s still hovering on the brink of survival in Colorado. Even better, I was able to listen to his comments in an audio recording that’s embedded in this Summit Voice story. More discussion of Peak 6 is schedule at about 4 p.m. during the Aug. 9 council meeting. The agenda is online here.

I did this because I remember being annoyed at what I felt was a cavalier dismissal of the concern about the Peak 6 project’s impacts to lynx habitat, and I wanted to go back and make sure that it wasn’t just filtering what I heard through my own pro-lynx, pro-conservation bias.

Essentially, Fitzwilliams said that, regardless of whether the Peak 6 expansion proceeds or not, that particular lynx analysis unit (it’s called the Swan Mountain LAU) has been so degraded from a variety of factors — including pine beetle damage — that it’s only 50 percent functional as lynx habitat.

So why make it even worse by impacting an area that’s acknowledged to be some of the best remaining habitat within the degraded LAU? I guess we all know that Vail Resorts is driving this process, and that the Forest Service is merely the enabler, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. Continue reading

Letter: Breckenridge is big enough; say no to Peak 6

Quality of life being compromised

Participants in a recent site visit to Peak 6 stop for lunch near the location of the proposed top terminal of a new six-seat chairlift.

Dear Mr. Fitzwilliams and staff,

I write in opposition to the Peak 6 expansion. As a 20 year resident and business owner, I have watched Breckenridge evolve from a charming ski town to a  “ski city” stumbling to keep on its feet. The towns infrastructure can barely handle the existing traffic, and  I believe more thought should be put in to this proposal because of this. I live here for the superb quality of life, but this too is slowly becoming compromised.

As a business owner I can appreciate the town wanting to increase revenue, but at what cost? Bigger is not always better … but Vail’s marketing plan is a good one. They certainly have the most to  gain from this, as do their shareholders. More terrain to advertise is by far the best option for them.

The beetle kill has had a devastating effect on both the  landscape and wildlife here. More time needs to be spent understanding the long term repercussions of this. Coupled with the town’s unbridled growth and development, we can’t be sure of the impact if we rush in to action for those precious dollars.

Enough is enough. The ski area is huge and on this trajectory it will never end. When will we be able to say no?

Thank you for your consideration and taking the time to read this.

Cassidy Brush, LEED AP

phone 970.262.6684

cassidy@wildsageinteriors

www.wildsageinteriors.com

 

 

Breckenridge Town Council weighs Peak 6 pros and cons

Citizens learn about the proposed Breckenridge Peak 6 expansion during a mid-July site visit.

Ski area expansion hearing fills town hall

By Bob Berwyn

BRECKENRIDGE — The proposed Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge Ski Area is turning into a high country version of Goldilocks, with the new lift and trails being either too big, too small or just right, depending on who you listen to.

For White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, who started a town council session on Peak 6 with a brief outline of the plan, the resort’s proposal to add 550 acres and a six-seat lift best meets the need to disperse crowds across the busy ski area — that’s why he chose it as the preferred alternative mid-way through an exhaustive environmental review process.

Fitzwilliams intro:

Public comment:

Continue reading

Breckenridge town council to take a hard look at Peak 6 plan

A crowd of people turned out recently for site visit to the proposed Peak 6 expansion area.

Public input wanted at July 26 work session as town formulates comments

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Breckenridge Town Council this week will consider a host of issues related to a proposed expansion on Peak 6, including impacts to forest and wildlife, plans for a proposed restaurant as part of the expansion and the cumulative impacts of the expansion. Get more background on the proposal and read past stories at the Summit Voice Peak 6 page.

At issue is a contentious plan to add several hundred acres of new lift-served terrain and expanding the resort’s footprint by another couple of miles across the Tenmile Range. The town is in the process of developing its formal comment letter on the plan. More details and all the public project documents are online at http://breckenridgepeak6.com/.

The Forest Service draft study for the proposal includes three options. The no-action alternative provides a baseline for comparison, alternative 2 is the preferred option of the Forest Service and the resort, while alternative 3 is a scaled-back version of the plan that is seen my many residents as a viable compromise that meets some of the resort’s objectives while leaving a smaller footprint on the land. Continue reading

Breckenridge: Spots still open for Peak 6 site visit

Forest Service taking comments on Breckenridge ski area expansion through Aug. 9

Does Breckenridge Ski Area need more terrain? Visit the proposed Peak 6 expansion area July 14 and learn more about the proposal to build a new lift and cut trails through healthy spruce and fir forests in an alpine zone considered to be important habitat for rare lynx.

SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s not too late to sign up for the July 14 site visit to the proposed Peak 6 expansion area at Breckenridge.

U.S. Forest Service winter sports ranger Shelly Grail said that, after keeping an eye on the snowpack in the area, it appears that the site visit will able to proceed as planned. The general idea is to hike to the proposed project area to get a sense of what the area looks like in the summer.

After a well-attended winter site visit, some people asked the Forest Service to do a similar tour in the summer. The group will meet at the base of the Colorado Superchair at 9 a.m. and hike out to Peak 6. Grail said there is still some snow on the ground, so people should be prepared to hike on snow. Also, be prepared to spend most of the day outside. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,491 other followers