Posted on July 12, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘Four Stops’ tour features social media coverage
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. (more…)
Filed under: national parks, public lands | Tagged: Arches National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Hispanic and Latino Americans, Latinos, Mesa Verde National Park, national park, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 24, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette introduces far-reaching conservation bill
A wilderness bill pending in Congress would protect about 750,000 acres in Colorado.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Facing an uphill battle in Congress, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-1) this week launched a new push for more wilderness in Colorado. The Colorado Wilderness Act of 2013 would protect 31 wilderness areas and two potential wilderness areas, totaling about 750,000 acres, across the state. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, Environment, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: Colorado, Diana DeGette, National Wilderness Preservation System, public lands, wilderness, Wilderness Act | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Greater sage-grouse, courtesy USFWS.
Survey of studies provides regional context for conservation efforts
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal scientists hope that a new report with extensive data on greater sage-grouse will help land managers develop more effective conservation strategies. The Baseline Environmental Report was released by the U.S. Geological Survey last month.
“This report summarizes several decades of work on sage-grouse populations and sagebrush habitat. It will serve as a useful tool for land and wildlife managers and provides a needed range-wide perspective,” said Suzette Kimball, acting director of the USGS. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species act, Greater sage-grouse, public lands, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 20, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Public lands advocates hopeful that bipartisan support will help move some measures through the House
The peaks of the Eagles Nest Wilderness in Colorado’s Gore Range. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Public lands advocates are hopeful that Congress will advance at least some of the public lands wilderness bills that have been bottled up by a partisan divide the past couple of years.
The 112th Congress was the first in in almost 50 years that didn’t add to the National Wilderness Preservation System, but several pending bills that have already gained approval from a key U.S. Senate committee have bipartisan backing and solid local support.
This week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee cleared measures to safeguard public land in Colorado, Oregon and Nevada. These join five measures approved earlier. The eight bills together would safeguard nearly 300,000 acres, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts public lands program. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, public lands | Tagged: 113th Congress, Congress, National Wilderness Preservation System, Pew Charitable Trusts, public lands, wilderness, Wilderness Act | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Congress will take input on the controversial federal pay-to-play program this week.
Critics say loopholes enable federal agencies to charge illegal fees
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The federal pay-to-play program will get a once-over in Congress this week, as a House subcommittee hears from agency officials and citizens before the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act expires next year.
At issue are how the fee program for access to public lands is being implemented by federal agencies. The hearing is set to start at 10 a.m. EDT and should be available as webcast via the House Committee on Natural Resources website.
The access fees started in the late 1990s as the so-called fee demo program, enabling federal land agencies to charge fees as long the money was used to improve the area where it was collected. (more…)
Filed under: biking, camping, Colorado, federal government, hiking, recreation, US Forest Service | Tagged: Bureau of Land management, Congress, Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, FLREA, pay-to-play, public lands, United States Forest Service, US Forest Service | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 2, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Get out on and play on public lands this coming Saturday, June 8, because it’s fee-free day.
Public land agencies promote outdoor activities
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Four times a year, the U.S. Forest Service “gives” you something that’s already yours — free access to public lands that you own.
The next fee-free day is coming up in just a week (June 8), when you won’t have to pay to park and hike in areas that were funded by taxpayers in the first place. The other days are Sept. 28 for National Public Lands Day and Nov. 9-11 for Veterans Day Weekend.
“The country’s forests and grasslands beckon people from coast to coast to come hike, bike, fish and camp this weekend,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “A tank of gas can give you memories with family and friends that will last a lifetime. It’s worth the trip.” (more…)
Filed under: Environment, hiking, public lands, recreation, Summit County news, US Forest Service, White River National Forest | Tagged: national forests, outdoor recreation, public land access, public lands, U.S. Forest Service | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
BLM wants to update 30-year-old fracking regs.
Common sense steps address some environmental and health concerns
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — An updated set of draft rules for fracking on public and Indian lands includes several common-sense safeguards that will help protect the human health and safety, as well as the environment. For starters, the rule requires disclosure of the chemicals used for fracking, a key measure that ensures transparency and gives the public some assurance.
The proposed rule beefs up standards meant to insure well bore-integrity, which will help verify that fluids used during fracturing operations are not contaminating groundwater. Operators must also have a plan in place for handling fluids that flow back to the surface.
About 90 percent of wells drilled on Federal and Indian lands use hydraulic fracturing, but the Bureau of Land Management’s current regulations governing hydraulic fracturing operations on public lands are more than 30 years old and were not written to address modern hydraulic fracturing activities. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Bureau of Land management, energy, Environment, fossil fuels, fracking, hydraulic fracturing, Indian reservation, Interior Department, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Fossil fuel industry frustrated by federal delays
The BLM, conservation groups and the fossil fuel industry are grappling with a development plan for the Roan Plateau in northwest Colorado.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The fossil fuel industry continues to battle over energy development in court, most recently by asking a federal appeals court to overturn a previous lower court ruling that spurred the Bureau of Land Management to reconsider its plan for northwest Colorado’s Roan Plateau.
Conservation groups joined the battle in late April, filing their response to the latest legal challenge, which would “turn back the clock” to Bush-era energy development policies, according to Earthjustice, which is representing community and environmental groups in the case.
At issue is how many wells will be drilled atop the plateau, which is billed by conservation advocates to have high natural resource values. The fight dates back to a development plan approved by the BLM under the Bush administration. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: Bill Barrett Corporation, BLM, Colorado, Earthjustice, energy, Environment, public lands, Roan Plateau | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Retired park rangers call on the BLM to fully adopt national leasing reforms
Mesa Verde National Park could be at risk from oil and gas drilling. NPS photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — As oil and gas drilling rigs creep closer and closer to the borders of popular national parks around the country, a passel of retired park rangers has formed a new organization to try and protect cherished resources, including view sheds, air quality and wildlife habitat.
The idea is not to stop drilling. The ex-rangers acknowledge that energy development is needed. Rather, the group wants to hold other federal agencies — primarily the BLM — accountable to national guidance that requires smart, up-front planning when it comes to drilling around parks.
“We’re really concerned about the impacts if the drilling isn’t properly planned,” said Ellis Richard, a National Park Service veteran who ended his career as acting superintendent of Dinosaur National Monument, one of the park units potentially threatened by drilling. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Dinosaur National Monument, fracking, National Park Service, oil and gas drilling, public lands | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
National Park Service touts expanded parking, better visitor service
The Bright Angel trailhead at the Grand Canyon has had a big makeover, with more parking and an expanded seating area.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — One of the most storied trails in the country has seen a partial makeover, and the National Park Service will celebrate the new look of Grand Canyon National Park’s Bright Angel Trail with a May 18 ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The renovation encompasses a 3.5 acre area at and surrounding the Bright Angel Trailhead. The work focused on creating an accessible and comfortable area for visitors that complements existing historic buildings including the Bright Angel Lodge and Rim Cabins designed by Grand Canyon architect Mary E. J. Colter.
With little work on the trailhead in the past 100 years, the National Park Service said visitors were having a hard time finding the trailhead, and there was no convenient or comfortable place for people to sit to either enjoy the view or prepare for hikes. The renovation will greatly improve conditions at and around the trailhead, providing a much better experience for park visitors. (more…)
Filed under: hiking, national parks, public lands, recreation, tourism, Travel | Tagged: Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, National Park Service, public lands, Tourism, Travel | Leave a Comment »