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Energy: Does fracking threaten national parks?

Conservation report outlines steps to mitigate potential impacts

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Oil and gas drilling near national parks could affect air and water quality in pristine, protected areas. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — After years of watching federal agencies haphazardly issuing leases for oil and gas drilling on public lands near national parks, conservation advocates say it’s time for a more systematic approach.

With the Bureau of Land Management currently updating national guidelines, the National Parks Conservation Association has outlined potential threats to parks in a new report.

“Our national parks are America’s most treasured places, and we need to treat them carefully as we develop the nation’s natural gas and oil,” said NPCA Vice President for the Center for Park Research Jim Nations. “Our research revealed that some national parks are already in peril. Unless we take quick action, air, water, and wildlife will experience permanent harm in other national parks as well.” Continue reading

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Special elk hunt set for Grand Teton National Park

Park Service says hunters are switching to non-lead ammo

Elk in Grand Teton National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — First you feed ‘em, than you shoot ‘em.

That seems to be the theory of game management in Wyoming, where Grand Teton National Park officials announced the Oct. 8 start of the annual elk reduction program mandated by Congress when the park was created in 1950.

The legislation  directs Grand Teton NP to jointly develop this annual program with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and for the Governor of Wyoming and Secretary of the Interior Department to approve the plan.

Biologists and administrators from both agencies have reviewed available biological data and concluded that the 2012 program is necessary to keep the Jackson elk herd at or near objective and maintain a desired summer distribution of elk throughout their natural range.  Continue reading

Mountain news roundup

Snow drought in New Zealand, more on fracking, prairie dogs roaming free, and the Path of the Pronghorn

Summer mountain biking in Crested Butte — Photo by JC Leacock, courtesy Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Crested Butte Bike Week starts June 23

Crested Butte Bike Week, formerly Fat Tire Bike Week, returns for its 31st year with a new name to celebrate the evolution of mountain biking in a town recognized by many as the sport’s birthplace. The 4-day event kicks off June 23 with a Night at the Museum party at the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame to honor past supporters and visionaries who helped discover and further the sport.

Racing begins on Friday, June 24, with the Wildflower Rush, the fifth stop of the 2011 Mountain States Cup tour. This year’s downhill event is part of the Pro-GRT series, bringing the best gravity racers to the slopes of Crested Butte Mountain Resort to test their skills in the Evolution Bike Park.

This year the organizers have added reggae to the mix, hosting Toots and the Maytals and The Melodians on Saturday night, June 25, at the Red Lady Stage at Mt. Crested Butte.

Read more stories after the break …

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