Finding room to roam for Colorado’s iconic wild cats
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY —The U.S. Forest Service has hit the pause button on a number of projects in Summit County while biologists assess how new trails, ski area improvements and a proposed new backcountry hut affect threatened lynx.
Wildlife experts say that, along with a resident population of four lynx, they’re seeing more and more evidence that Summit County is an important crossroads for the wild cats as they move across the state and they want better information on cumulative impacts in all parts of the county south of I-70. And emerging new data may also help the agency shape a pro-active long-term conservation strategy.
“Projects that are already approved are not affected,” said acting Dillon District Ranger Peech Keller, explaining that the cumulative effects analysis is for all projects that are in the planning phase. That includes proposed travel management implementation in the Golden Horseshoe, a proposed backcountry ski hut on Baldy Mountain, a proposal for trail and facility upgrades at Keystone Mountain, a proposed motorized trail on Tenderfoot Mountain, as well as permits for outfitters and guides.
“Essentially, every NEPA project is free to move forward except for the lynx assessment part,” she said, adding that she hopes the assessment will be done sometime in June.
“The information may help us design our projects and ameliorate effects … and help determine design criteria. It may help us look at what parameters of wildlife habitat we should be looking at when we analyze a project; maybe they’re different from what we’re doing now,’ she said. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: endangered species, lynx, lynx conservation, Summit County Colorado, White River National Forest | 2 Comments »