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Colorado: Skier donations build forest conservation legacy

National Forest Foundation awards $650,000 for stewardship work

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Ski area visitors leave behind a year-round stewardship legacy when they contribute to the Ski Conservation Fund. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Thanks to voluntary contributions from ski resort visitors, the the U.S. Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation will partner to invest about $650,000 in forest restoration and recreation projects. The donations are collected in a voluntary add-on to ticket and lodging sales, a dollar or two at a time.

The grants were awarded recently to organizations like the Blue River Watershed Group, the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, the Colorado Mountain Club and the Colorado Natural Heritage Program for projects like trail improvements, wildlife habitat enhancement, tree planting and stream restoration. Continue reading

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Summit Voice: Week in review and most-viewed stories

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Will the federal government tolerate marijuana legalization?

FRISCO — Cycling and wrangling over marijuana legalization are both popular topics in Colorado these days, which is reflected by this week’s list of most-viewed stories. Third on the list, surprisingly to me, was a somewhat wonk-oriented story about a conservation bill introduced in Congress — but maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise, since anything that involves bipartisan compromise in Washington, D.C. these days is truly newsworthy.

Two of the Summit Voice photo essays also managed to crack the top-10 list, including some sweet shots of our big spring snowstorm, and, of course, a pair of stories about the deadly Loveland Pass slide were also in the mix. Click “Read More” to see the list, as well as a roundup of headlines. Continue reading

Summit Voice offers a unique Colorado news feed

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Ever wondered about mountain pine beetle genetics? Read Summit Voice.

Water, forests and more …

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — In the age of a global economy and a global environment, nearly all news is local. Case in point is last week’s report from the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General. The IG audited the U.S. Forest Service’s oil and gas drilling program, and found that there is quite a bit of room for improvement when it comes to being prepared for potential spills, and even just keeping track of required inspections.

Since the IG’s office documented a total of almost 200 spills on national forest lands in 2010 and 2011, it’s more than just a hypothetical exercise, and with oil and gas activities expected to ramp up on the White River National Forest, there are implications close to home. Read the story here. Continue reading

Summit County: Forest Service starts new comment period on proposed sale of Dillon work compound

Agency may someday build new facilities along Dillon Dam Road

The White River National Forest is once again taking public comments on a proposal to sell an 11-acre parcel of national forest land near Dillon.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The ongoing process of selling an 11-acre parcel of  national forest land in Dillon got a temporary setback a few months ago when a federal court ruling in California required the Forest Service to reset public comment periods on some projects — including the Dillon conveyance.

Forest Service land specialist Kevin Warner said the agency only received a handful of comments during the initial comment period back in February. He emphasized that anyone interested in having standing in the ongoing process needs to comment again in the new comment period, which ends

As a result of the decision, the White River National Forest is once again taking comments on the proposed sale of the Dillon property, which includes warehouse and storage buildings as well as a few residences for long term and seasonal staff and volunteers. Details on the conveyance are online at this Forest Service website.

The Forest Service has also floated the idea of developing new compound on national forest lands on what’s known as the Lake Hill property, along Dillon Dam Road near Heaton Bay campground, but that proposal depends on first selling the Dillon land. Continue reading

Summit Voice: Most-viewed & week in review

Smoke from the High Park Fire as seen from Bellvue. PHOTO COURTESY INCIWEB.

Wildfire and weather

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —Updates on the rapidly growing High Park Fire quickly jumped to the top of the most-viewed list, along with several other stories related to Colorado weather and the building drought. Click on the headline to read the story and

Summit Voice: Most-viewed and other tidbits

Reef shark populations are declining at a fast pace near inhabited U.S. islands.

Oceans, drought, wildfire and climate …

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A quick snapshot of page views from the past week shows readers tuning in both to national environmental stories and local and state coverage. An article on the stunning decline of reef shark populations near inhabited U.S. islands zoomed up to the top spot with a listing in the main Google News feed, while the Corn Harvest story was helped by word-of-mouth and social media. Click on the headlines to read the story and share with your own social media networks via the handy little link buttons at the end of each story.

Summit Voice: Most-viewed and week in review

Climate, avalanches and … cattle genetics?

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By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Global warming stayed at the top of the charts, but just barely. By late Sunday night, a science story on the genetic origins of domestic cattle was within a few page views and steadily climbing, thanks to a link from Fark.com. Stories on a pair of unfortunate backcountry skier deaths during the weekend, and coverage of the Lower North Fork Fire in Jefferson County rounded out this week’s most-viewed list. Click the headlines to read the stories and pass them along on your own favorite network with the share buttons at the end of each story.

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