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Recreation: Park Service eyes river access issues

Early morning kayaking near Frisco, Colorado.

Early morning kayaking near Frisco, Colorado.

New handbook to help guide management and development of launch sites

Staff Report

FRISCO — Hoping to stay ahead of the growing and diversifying demand for boating opportunities, the National Park Service is partnering with the River Management Society to help develop guidelines for new launch sites and access points.

Under the collaboration, the park service announced publication of Prepare to Launch as a resource to help river managers, planners, boaters and water trail leaders plan for and build access to waterways.

“‘Prepare to Launch!’ will help water resource managers provide safe and sustainable launches that strengthen connections to the nation’s waterways,” said National Park Service river programs manager Joan Harn. “By collaborating with the River Management Society and our state, local and national partners, we can expand everyone’s capacity to access and enjoy America’s rivers and waterways.” Continue reading

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Colorado craft brewers join fracking fight

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Good beer needs clean water.

Letter to Gov. Hickenlooper calls for better balance between energy development and resource protection

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Colorado’s brewers — including two Summit County based operations — are flexing a little political muscle and calling on Gov. John Hickenlooper to strike a better balance between energy development and conservation.

Rick Tork, manager of Frisco’s Backcountry Brewery, and Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse and Brewery owner Annie Holton, signed on to represent Summit County.

In a letter to Hickenlooper, the brewers, 26 in all, cited the importance of Colorado’s image and marketability for craft brewing and the important economic impact of keeping Colorado’s skies and waters clear and clean, saying that the state’s brand and high quality of life “attracts new residents, businesses, entrepreneurs and millions of tourists annually.”

A spokesman at the governor’s office said Hickenlooper recognizes the value of the craft-brewing industry.

“The craft brewing industry is a great economic driver for Colorado and we value our relationship with brewers across the state. We will review the letter and respond appropriately,” said communications director Eric Brown. Continue reading

Colorado: Summit recpath open for the summer

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Summit County’s recpath is open for the summer.

Maintenance set for Dillon to Swan Mountain segment

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Summit County trail managers say the local recpath system is good to go for the summer. Despite some late spring snowfall, crews have been able plow nearly all of the popular trail system with the exception of the Frisco-to-Copper Mountain segment, where there’s a lingering concern about avalanche danger.

“Recent warm weather has helped us open the Recpath ahead of schedule,” said Brad Eckert, a resource specialist with Summit County Open Space and Trails department. “However, there are still wet and icy spots in shady locations and some sandy sites,” Eckert said. Continue reading

Colorado: BLM seeks comments on outfitter permits

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The Blm’s Kremmling field office manages public lands in Grand, Summit and Eagle counties.

Outfitter operations to be evaluated in permitting process

By Summit Voice

The Bureau of Land Management’s Kremmling Field Office is seeking public comment on 29 commercial special recreation permit applications for outfitters offering rafting, fishing, jeep tours and other activities on public lands.

Each year, the BLM issues permits to provide recreation businesses the opportunity to operate on BLM lands and provide specific services to the public while  ensuring a fair return to the public for commercial use of public lands.

To help with its evaluation of these permit applications, the BLM is seeking public comment regarding each applicant’s safety history, conflicts that have been associated with the applicants or their employees while operating on public lands, or any other information that would be useful to the agency as it considers the applications. Continue reading

Colorado: Winter trail changes for forest visitors

Many areas require motorized users to stay on designated routes

Winter travel management rules now in effect on White River National Forest.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — White River National Forest visitors may see new signage this winter, as various changes related to an updated travel management plan start to take effect this weekend

The forest is switching from wheeled travel on the open road system to over-the-snow vehicles (vehicles with a ski and/or tracks) on Nov. 23. Whether gates are open or closed, the roads are closed to wheeled vehicle travel as of Nov. 23. Continue reading

Travel: National parks 2013 fee-free schedule announced

This land is your land …

The U.S. Department of Interior last week announced the 2012 schedule of fee-free days for national parks and other federal public lands. Photo courtesy Leigh Wadden.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — If you’re starting to think about your next trip to a national park, you could plan your visit around one of the fee-free days in 2013, including Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 21), Great Outdoors Day (June 8), or even national parks week (April 22-26), when entry to national parks and other public lands are free (full schedule below). Continue reading

Preserving the Summit: Nominees sought for outstanding conservation work

The Continental Divide from the Meadow Creek wetlands in Frisco, Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.

Continental Divide Land Trust set to pick Great Outdoors awards

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The Continental Divide Land Trust is once again looking to honor a handful of locals for their work in preserving of the community’s natural resources and recreational opportunities, with the Great Outdoors awards to presented Nov. 20 at the Silverthorne Pavilion as part of the Summit’s Great Outdoors Celebration event.

Granted every five years, the awards were previously known as the Open Space Honors Awards. They’ve been presented to people who have worked tirelessly to protect open spaces, water resources, recreation, wildlife, and the natural qualities that make Summit County such an awesome place to live and visit. Continue reading

Health: More couch potatoes than ever in the USA

Backcountry golf, anyone?

Survey says 68 million people are ‘completely inactive’

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — You’d never know it living in in the Colorado high country, but there are more American couch potatoes than ever. According to the latest figures released by the Physical Activity Council, about 19 percent of all Americans don’t participate in any physical activities at all.

The coalition of leisure, spots and fitness trade groups last week released results from its latest national survey showing the number of “inactive” persons in the U.S. grew by 1 million, to 68.2 million in 2011. Inactivity levels are greatest in the South and lowest in the North and West, with a nationwide average of 18.8 percent.

One bright spot is that the number of inactive children (ages six to 12) fell slightly, suggesting that efforts engage youth in sports, recreation and other related physical activities are starting to have a slight impact on America’s youngest generation. Continue reading

BLM wants final OK for Upper Colorado River fee hikes

Agency’s Resource Advisory Council to meet March 6-8 in Montrose

The popular Radium recreation site on the Upper Colorado River. PHOTO COURTESY BLM.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY —A federal plan to raise day use fees at two popular Upper Colorado River recreation sites doesn’t sit well with the state’s river rafting industry, which questions whether planned improvements are really needed, and if any fee hikes are a good idea during tough economic times.

At issue is a Bureau of Land Management proposal to up the daily fees at the Pumphouse and Radium sites from $3 to $5 per vehicle, as well as a small hike for commercial users, who make up the bulk of the use at the sites, from $1 to $1.25 per day.

The Pumphouse and Radium maps, along the Upper Colorado River.

“The river is popular because it’s affordable,” said Dave Costlow, executive director of the Colorado River Outfitters Association, explaining that a half-day run down the relatively gentle waters of the reach costs about $45 per person. “If you have a family of five, it all adds up,” Costlow said, describing it as a 25 percent increase that will be passed on to consumers. The BLM already gets 3 percent of every ticket sold, he added.

“I wonder if we could just manage to the money that we have. It’s a bad time to raise prices. The money people spend on rafting is discretionary spending,” he said. “Maybe they could cut elsewhere to find money for the new boat ramp.”

The increase is one of the agenda items at a March 7-8 meeting of the agency’s regional Resource Advisory Council in Montrose. The statewide Resource Advisory Council will also meet in Montrose (March 6-8) to consider other matters.

Continue reading

Park Service to help plan national water trail system

Water-based recreation seen as restoration and tourism drivers

The Chattahoochee River has been designated as the country's first national water trail.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with recreation icons like the Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails, the federal government is in the process of developing a National Water Trails System, a new network that will increase access to water-based outdoor recreation and encourage community stewardship of local waterways. Continue reading

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