About these ads

Public lands: Advocacy group looks to boost Latino visitation and engagement at national parks

‘Four Stops’ tour features social media coverage

Pueblo del Arroyo, Chaco

Pueblo del Arroyo, Chaco Culture National Park in New Mexico, one of the stops on a tour aimed at boosting Hispanic engagement with national parks. Photo courtesy NPS.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Some National Park Service officials have long expressed concern that the country’s changing demographics could affect park visitation. Currently, only 9 percent of the nation’s approximately 54 million Latinos visit the country’s national parks each year, according the American Latino Heritage Fund.

One of biggest barriers to entry is awareness, according to the Hispanic Access Foundation, which is sponsoring a “Four Stops” tour starting this week boost turnout and  protect parks from oil and gas development for future generations.

Foundation president Maite Arce and her family will complete the 950-mile tour with stops at Dinosaur National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, Arches National Park and Chaco Culture National Park in New Mexico. You can follow the Arce family on Facebook and Twitter. Continue reading

About these ads

Mesa Verde NP seeks to cut damage from stray cattle

‘Plan to control ‘trespass’ livestock in the works

sdfg

Spruce House at Mesa Verde National Park. Photo courtesy NPS.

By Summit  Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Increasing incursions by so-called trespass cattle at Mesa Verde National Park have prompted the National Park Service to solicit public input on a plan to curb the damage to public resources.

According to Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer’s Jan. 17 scoping letter, there about 100 to 150 trespass horses in an on the border of the park, with trespass cattle numbering about 10 to 20 per year.Park scientists have documented what they’re calling severe impacts to archeological sites, native vegetation, and soils.

Trespass livestock has also been documented out-competing native wildlife for water sources, and damaging park facilities. There have also been dangerous confrontations reported between trespass livestock and park staff and visitors. Continue reading

Colorado: BLM defers more drilling leases

asdf

Roads and drill pads dot vast stretches of western Colorado.

Parcels near Dinosaur National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park won’t be auctioned next week

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Bureau of Land Management this week said it will defer another eight contested oil- and gas-drilling parcels from a Feb. 14 lease sale that will be the biggest so far in Colorado under the Obama administration, at 68,692 acres.

The deferrals announced Feb. 8 include 10,839 acres near Mesa Verde National Park, and about 2,600 acres near Dinosaur National Monument. With leasing and drilling widespread around western Colorado, conservation groups say they want to makse sure that land with high recreation and conservation values are protected from drilling impacts. Continue reading

EPA requires cleanup at NM coal-powered plant

The San Juan Generating Station. PHOTO COURTESY GRAND CANYON TRUST.

New pollution controls at coal-fired plant near the Four Corners will benefit public health and reduce regional haze; Utility company says it will appeal the federal decision

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Residents of the Four Corners region and tourists in the famed national parks in the area will be able to breathe a bit easier after the EPA this week issued a final rule that will help cut harmful nitrogen oxide emissions from the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico by 80 percent. The coal plant also emits more than 5,500 tons of sulfur dioxide per year.

The EPA’s decision is part of a larger effort to implement Clean Air Act provisions that have long been ignored by state and and federal regulators. The rules require a reduction in regional haze that clouds views in more than 150 national parks and wilderness areas.

According to a Clean Air Task Force report, San Juan Generating Station is responsible for more than 80 percent of the air pollution at Mesa Verde National Park, just across the border in Colorado. It also contributes to air pollution at the Grand Canyon and many other nationally protected landscapes. Parks in the region support thousands of jobs and the millions of people who visit them each year contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to local economies.

The plant’s operator, Public Service Company of New Mexico, said it will appeal the ruling and warned in a prepared statement that the cost of retrofitting the plany with up-to-date pollution controls will increase energy prices for consumers. Continue reading

Travel: free entrance day in the National Parks

Celebrate the first day of summer by visiting a national park

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.

Story and photos by Jenney Coberly

SUMMIT COUNTY — June 21, the first day of summer, is one of the National Park Service’s free-entry days for more than 100 parks that usually charge entrance fees.

Arches National Park in Utah preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the stunning and world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as many other unusual rock formations. Continue reading

Travel: Karma and climate change in the Southwest

Classic landscapes, classic roadtrip …

A double rainbow over Monument Valley was a good omen for our Southwestern road trip.

By Bob Berwyn

I don’t know if minor car repairs count as a relationship test. But when our car battery dies in front of the Great Sand Dunes National Park visitor center, we aren’t too worried. Well-stocked for a week-long swing through the Southwest, Leigh and I decide to let the car “rest” while we stroll around the nature center, watching evening shadows play on the dunes. We snack on salami, cheese and chocolate. Our cooler is full of goodies, and we team up with a no-worry, we’ll-make-it vibe — not to mention a hefty boost from AAA — to handle the glitch smoothly.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado.

We reach Alamosa just before AutoZone closes and replace the battery with the help of a few loaner tools, shoving them back through the door as the manager locks up and waves goodnight. The Nissan starts no problem, so we fill the tank and U-turn back to the highway, munching cheesy popcorn, trying to catch the Rockies on AM, then blasting Neil Young as we veer through Crestone to our national forest campsite tucked up against the base of the Sangre de Cristos.

“Somewhere on a desert highway, She rides a Harley Davidson …”

It’s all good, we decide, crawling into sleeping bags within earshot of North Crestone Creek. Comet curls up at our feet. The wind rustles through lush aspens, whispering a sweet lullaby in the night air. Continue reading

Mountain News roundup: ‘Caddyshack’ in Telluride?

Town officials in Telluride are battling a prairie dog colony that's expanding out from its native territory in the Valley Floor open space parcel.

New visitor center planned at Mesa Verde, wolf woes in Wyoming and more

Caddyshack in Telluride?
Prairie dogs are the talk of the town in Telluride, as a colony living in the town’s prized 570-acre Valley Floor open space parcel has outgrown its habitat and is spreading out. But town officials said they don’t want the critters expanding into new habitat, so they’ve hired a wildlife expert to live-trap the animals and bring them back to their home stomping grounds, according to the Telluride Daily Planet.

The town’s management plan for the parcel calls for the mammals to be restricted to their original 23-acre colony. The fate of the prairie dogs apparently was a controversial topic as the plan for the open space parcel was being put together last year. And based on the number of comments on the Daily Planet story, it still is, as many residents weighed in with their thoughts on the subject.

Town officials, meanwhile, must be aware that they’re taking on a Sisyphean task. What they’re hoping for long-term is that some predators move into the neighborhood to keep the population in check. Read the story and the comments here.

More the roundup after the break … Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,253 other followers