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Climate Ranger project: We did it — thanks, everyone!

Check our stretch goals

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Rocky Mountains, here we come!

By Bob Berwyn

Thanks to the Beacon team, smart readers and generous souls, we’ve reached our $5,000 funding goal and we’re starting to plan the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Climate Ranger journey, high into the alpine zone of the Rockies, where melting mountain permafrost is worsening pollution in mountain streams. We’ll post our first story within a week. If you supported the project by pledging toward a subscription, you will receive your login from the Beacon team as soon as this project closes. For now, there’s still time to scoot on over to the project page and get your subscription. We’ll continue to post material from the project here on Summit Voice, but the Beacon news feed will be the freshest!

You can follow the treks on Twitter at a #climaterangers hashtag, and we’ll use a Beacon forum, as well as a Facebook page, as places where you can post questions for us and for all the people we’ll be interviewing along the way. You see, this project isn’t just crowdfunded, we’re hoping to partially crowdsource our stories, and you will be a big part of that!

Meanwhile, our funding period is open for another 36 hours, so we’re aiming for a stretch goal of $1,500 to help us upgrade our video equipment and plan a longer trip segment heading north, to find the biggest remaining glacier in the Rocky Mountains — does anyone know where it is?

So for fun:

Videography Sponsor level - For $750 you can sponsor all the trip videos. You’ll help us upgrade our video capabilities, and you’ll be fostering important life skills in a teenager who already shows talent and interest in environmental journalism.

Glacier-hunting Sponsor level – For $750 you can support our trip to find the biggest remaining glacier in the Rocky Mountains. We’re curious as to where that is?

The Whole Enchilada Sponsor level – For $1,000 you get all the above, plus a free weekend of lodging in a luxury condo at Copper Mountain during the post-trip dinner event in Dillon Colorado.

All higher-level sponsors ($100 or more) are invited to the Harvest Dinner event, featuring local, sustainable food, and presentation from the trip. You’re also eligible to choose a high-quality, large-format fine art print from our online galleries.

Please continue to share this link – http://www.beaconreader.com/projects/rocky-mountain-climate-rangers – for another day or so. Extra funding will enable us to expand the scope and quality of our reporting.

Thanks again, Bob and Beacon

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Morning photo: Got sky?

Twilight scenes

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A moment of brilliance … This is an unedited iPhone shot.

FRISCO — A grab-and-go set, with a few images from recent dusk scenes around Summit County. With monsoonal moisture helping to fuel cloud build-up each day, we’ve enjoyed some amazing evening light in the high country. And for a while, smoke from wildfires in the Pacific Northwest mingled with the evening clouds, adding color, but taking away some of the sharpness of the light.

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Morning photo: Cloudscapes

Look up …

Billowing would be the word!

Billowing would be the word!

FRISCO — Quite the display of cloud power the last few days, as massive thunderstorms loomed up over the Rocky Mountains and then blew eastward, out over the plains. Here are a few shots taken the last few days right here in Frisco, Colorado, most withing walking distance of Summit Voice headquarters. Catch our gallery of Colorado nature and landscape images at Fine Art America. Continue reading

Morning photo: Insta-gallery IV

Bring on summer!

FRISCO — It ain’t over til it’s over, but I do think the only place we’re going to see winter for a while is the rear view mirror. These Instagram-filtered shots were all taken in the past few weeks, showing the slow transition from winter to spring. Continue reading

Colorado: Small wildfire reported north of Silverthorne

Firefighter start containment, investigate cause

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Firefighters work Monday, May 5 to control a small wildfire burning in northern Summit County. Photo courtesy Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.

Staff Report

SILVERTHORNE – Summit County firefighters worked quickly into Monday evening to quash a small wildfire on a private ranch in the Lower Blue Valley.No people or structures were threatened by the five-acre blaze, which was burning in shrubs and dead-standing aspens on a hillside on the Mount Powell Ranch about 10 miles north of Silverthorne along Colorado 9.

More than 30 firefighters and other personnel responded from as far as Copper Mountain, along with law enforcement and state transportation workers, according to Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Lipsher. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Lipsher said.

The fire in the still-damp northern mountains came as much of southern Colorado was under a red flag fire danger warning. The south-central plains are also facing critical fire danger, with persistent drought and the spring windy season at hand.

“Even though it’s early in the season, we take an all-hands-on-deck approach,” said Summit County Sheriff John Minor. “We aren’t taking any chances.”

The fire was reported about 4:15 p.m., and by 7 p.m. firefighters had it about 20 percent contained and were optimistic going into nightfall that they would keep it at its current size. Light winds allowed firefighters to work on containment, but they faced some hazards such as potential falling trees and occasional torching of trees amid the single-digit relative humidity.

Although early in the season, the blaze at about 8,100 feet was not unprecedented for the area at this time of year.

“Fire season is here,” said Lake Dillon Fire Chief Dave Parmley. “We all need to begin that mindset of preparation and awareness, and don’t let the heavy snow of this past winter mislead you into thinking it’s going to be an uneventful summer when it comes to wildfire.”

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Summit County snowfall near average through December

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January snowfall in Summit County, Colorado.

2013 ended up as 2d-wettest on record for Dillon weather station

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A quarter of the way through the 2014 water year (which started Oct. 1, 2013), snowfall and precipitation in Summit County are just about average, according to data from the two official National Weather Service observation sites.

In Breckenridge, long-time weather watcher Rick Bly measured 27.3 inches of snow in December, just a bit more than the long-term average of 22.4 inches. But the water equivalent in that snow was just 1.43 inches, slightly below the average 1.51 inches, Bly said. Continue reading

Summit County snowfall near average in November

Temps run above average, especially nighttime lows

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Winter took hold of Summit County in November.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — After going gangbusters in October, snowfall tapered off to near average in November, with about 20.1 inches if the white stuff piling up in downtown Breckenridge, where observer Rick Bly tracks daily totals for the National Weather Service. For the weather year to-date (starting Oct. 1), Bly has measured 40.6 inches of snow, about 19 percent above average.

Looking ahead, thee long-term historic average for December is 22.4 inches, and the snowiest December on record for Breckenridge wasn’t all that long ago — in 1983, Bly said he tallied 86.9 inches of snow, which remains the all-time record going back more than 100 years. Continue reading

Colorado: Reindeer lost, reindeer found

Tracking effort pays off, as police officers corral escaped critter

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Runaway no more … Photo courtesy Dillon Police Department.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Rudolf may be the most famous reindeer of all, but another one of Santa’s sled-pulling critters may become a local legend in Dillon after escaping from his corral during the town’s tree-lighting ceremony Thursday evening. Continue reading

Morning photo: Peak of summer …

July in Summit County

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Summer skies in Summit County, Colorado.

FRISCO —The deep, rich colors of summer dominate in July, when the sky seems to be fully saturated from the very early dawn right through dusk. With Dillon Reservoir brim-full during the month, I used the water as a reflective foil for the sky. I can’t decide which of these images I want to use in the 2014 Summit Voice calendar, so if you have strong feelings one way or another, feel free to leave a comment. If you like our daily snapshots, visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for more Summit County landscape and nature images. Continue reading

Morning photo: Exquisite April

Springtime in the Rockies

An April sunrise casts brilliant rays over the Continental Divide and Dillon Reservoir.

An April sunrise casts brilliant rays over the Continental Divide and Dillon Reservoir.

FRISCO —The next edition of our calendar selection set features images shot in Summit County during April. I pulled some shots from both 2012 and 2013 from the archives — what a difference! In 2012, nearly all the snow was gone by April 1 after one of the most stunning meltdowns on record. But this year, near-record snow piled up and it looked more like mid-winter than spring. But that’s the mountains for you, and we’ll take it when we can get it. One of these images will be featured in out 2014 calendar. If you like our daily snapshots, visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for more Summit County landscape and nature images. Continue reading

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