Public lands: President Obama to move ahead with Browns Canyon national monument designation

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Browns Canyon, in central Colorado, will be designated as a national monument by President Barack Obama.

Central Colorado gorge a key piece of state’s recreation economy

Staff Report

FRISCO — A long campaign by public land advocates and their political allies has paid off, as President Barack Obama will use his executive power under the Antiquities Act to designate Browns Canyon, in Chaffee County, as a national monument.

Along with Browns Canyon, Obama is also designating the Honouliuli Internment Camp in Hawaii and Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood. An official White House announcement is expected Thursday. Continue reading

Colorado: Mapping project shows potential for huge fracking impacts in Arapahoe County

Oil and gas development is ‘not all puppies and flowers’

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Is fracking coming to your Arapahoe County neighborhood?

Staff Report

FRISCO — If the next wave of fracking in Colorado sweeps toward Arapahoe County, residents will be able to better inform themselves about potential drilling sites and impacts to schools and neighborhoods thanks to a new mapping project. The maps identify areas that are leased for fossil fuel exploitation, showing where they overlap with residential areas, and where there’s potential for impacts. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sunrise, sunset …

It doesn’t get any better!


FRISCO —So we don’t have the Aurora Borealis here in Colorado, at least not on a regular basis, though there are rumors that the famed lights can be dimly spotted during some of the most powerful solar storm episodes. But we do have our own version of sky glow that comes when atmospheric conditions are just right and we experienced that a few nights ago when the colors were so vivid that you could feel the vibrations. This set includes two images from Thursday’s sunset, as well as a couple of other shots from the past few months, both at dawn and dusk. All of the highlight the exceptional quality of mountain light. For daily updates follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Morning photo: Sky set

Feeling the light …


FRISCO — I gathered  up a set of images, mostly from autumn, showing how the sky sometimes comes so alive that you can literally feel the energy of the colors. Even though these images were captured a few months ago, I can still remember the bracing, invigorating feeling of being outside on these stunning mornings and evenings, recharging my soul and and renewing my respect for the mountains. For daily updates follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Colorado fracking industry files formal objection to White River National Forest oil and gas plan

Drillers say restrictions will hinder exploitation of new shale plays to the detriment of local communities

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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.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Even though the vast majority of public lands in the West are already open for fossil fuel exploitation, oil and gas companies want more.

In their latest push for more drilling, three fracking industry lobbying groups are challenging the White River National Forest’s oil and gas drilling plan, claiming that the agency’s analysis was marred by politics, as elected officials pushed to have the Thompson Divide area excluded from energy development.

In their formal objection to the plan, the groups ( Western Energy Alliance, West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Public Lands Advocacy) the groups said that, as written, the document could prevent the development of speculative new plays in Mancos and Niobrara shale formations in western Colorado. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sunday set

Rambling …


FRISCO —A handful of shots from Saturday evening and Sunday morning here in Summit County. A short walk on Swan Mountain last night made me realize it’s one of the areas where, from certain vantage points, you can see far south, nearly to Hoosier Pass along the Tenmile Range; to the east, looking at Grays and Torreys, north up the Lower Blue Valley, and west, to the Gore Range. I think that’s what inspired me to revisit a favorite spot along Ute Pass Road, trying to make the best (light-wise) of a murky morning. But dawn patrol is always nice! For daily updates follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Aerial survey shows pine beetles waning, but spruce beetles continue to spread across Colorado forests

Aerial surveys help track forest changes over time

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Nearly every mature spruce has been killed by spruce beetle in this drainage on the Rio Grande National Forest.Photo: Brian Howell.

Spruce beetles are spreading quickly in southwestern Colorado.

Spruce beetles are spreading quickly in southwestern Colorado. Graph courtesy USFS.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — There’s good news and bad news from Colorado’s forests. Mountain pine beetle activity has faded to the lowest level since 1996, but spruce beetles continue to spread in the San Juans and in northwestern Colorado.

The spruce beetle outbreak was detected on 485,000 acres in 2014, compared to 398,000 acres across the state in 2013, according to the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado State Forest Service. The annual aerial survey by the two agencies shows that the spruce beetle outbreak expanded to 253,000 new acres. Continue reading

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