Summit County: Frey Gulch restoration begins

Construction of new dirt bike trails also under way

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The Forest Service and volunteer partners are simultaneously building new dirt bike trails and closing forest roads in the Tenderfoot Mountain area.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service is implementing restoration plans associated with approval of the new off-road motorcycle trail system on Tenderfoot Mountain.

The trail system, long a local point of contention, was approved last year based on a compromise agreement among stakeholders. The Forest Service has already started building part of the trail, with new single-track visible just a few feet above, and running parallel to Straight Creek Road.

This summer, Tenderfoot Mountain Road (#66.2B) in Frey Gulch will be closed and rehabilitated in order to improve water quality and improved habitat for fish and wildlife. The restoration of Frey Gulch was included as a condition the trail system permit. Continue reading

Summit County fire safety efforts pay off

Improved ratings could lower insurance rates

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Firefighters responding to a June, 2011 wildfire in Keystone Gulch. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Ongoing efforts to improve fire safety in Summit County have paid off, as local communities saw their fire-insurance ratings improve, according to the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District.

Firefighter training, fire-prevention efforts and community outreach and education all helped improve the scores from the Insurance Services Office, an industry data-collection group that assigns a public-protection classification from 1 to 10 for more than 48,000 communities nationwide.

The improvements in the ISO ratings, which officially take effect Sept. 1 and are recognized by most major insurance companies, potentially mean reductions in insurance rates for property owners. Continue reading

Summit County: Dillon Reservoir expected to fill within a week

Denver Water juggling inflow, outflow

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After peaking later than average, the sremaining nowpack in the Blue River Basin is melting fast. Graph courtesy Denver Water.

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Flows in Blue River tributaries like Straight Creek are near their seasonal peak.

*Story corrected at 2 p.m. Dillon Reservoir outflow to the Blue River increased to 1,600 cfs Monday, July 15.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dillon Reservoir should be full within a week, according to the latest update from Denver Water, which just bumped up the outflow to the Lower Blue to make room for more runoff the next few days.

As of June 15, Denver Water was releasing about 1.600 cubic feet per second from Dillon Reservoir, with about 2,200 cfs flowing in from the Blue River and its tributaries. And Denver Water is expecting more high inflows for the foreseeable future, according to a recent email update:

“A fresh look at the estimated level of snowpack above Dillon Reservoir … tells us there is still eight inches of snow in some places, meaning high flows can be expected for the foreseeable future. The good news is that inflows to Dillon Reservoir – which have ranged from 2,206 to 2,623 over the past several days – appear to be trending downward.” Continue reading

Colorado: Annual State of the River sessions include vital information on snowpack, stream flows and reservoirs

Colorado River Basin snowpack and streamflow forecasts now similar to 1977, 2002 and 2012 drought years

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Statewide snowpack is just half of average going into the crucial phase of runoff season.

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Don’t miss this year’s State of the River.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Continued drought in the Far West, along with Colorado’s push to develop a first-ever statewide water plan, should be reason enough for Coloradans to take an interest in the state of the Colorado River.

One of the best chances to get a user-friendly update is at the annual State of River meeting, sponsored by the Blue River Watershed Group.

Hands-on water experts will explain how this year’s snowmelt will play out and how that affects operations of Dillon Reservoir and Green Mountain Reservoir — both for water deliveries downstream and for onsite recreational use.

To accommodate a bigger turnout, the State of the River presentation has been moved to the Silverthorne Pavilion (Tuesday, May 5, 6-8 p.m.) Continue reading

Summit County firefighters battle blaze in Silverthorne

One injured in house fire

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Firefighters in Silverthorne, Colorado, work to extinguish a house fire on Jan. 2,2015. Photo courtesy LDFR.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Firefighters rescued an unconscious person from a burning home in Silverthorne Friday afternoon while battling a severe house fire. The blaze was reported at 12:57 p.m. by neighbors who alerted firefighters that there might be someone in the house.

Firefighters from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue had to work their way through deep snow around the house to gain entry, finding an unresponsive man inside.

As flames engulfed the structure, firefighters started resuscitation efforts before handing care of the man over to a Summit County Ambulance crew, who took him to the St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center in Frisco. His condition was not made available immediately.

Joined shortly by firefighters from Copper Mountain Fire and Red, White & Blue Fire based in Breckenridge as well as two officers from the High Country Training Center, the firefighters then worked to douse the fire.

Twenty firefighters, backed by four chief officers and several volunteer members of the civilian Lake Dillon Fire Corps, took more than an hour to extinguish the blaze. Silverthorne Police and deputies from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office also were present to secure the scene, and a worker from Xcel Energy cut the power and gas to the home.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Environment: Ongoing cleanup tackles toxic Peru Creek

July 30 site visit gives public a chance to see progress in $3 million remediation project at abandoned mine in Summit County

November snow and ice along the Snake River, in Summit County, Colorado.

Heavy metal pollution from upstream sources has killed most aquatic life in the Snake River, near Keystone, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

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Staff Report

FRISCO — With recent increases in levels of toxic metals in Peru Creek, the ongoing remediation work at the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine, near Keystone, Colo., takes on an even greater importance in the context of water quality in the Blue River Basin and the Upper Colorado.

The mine, which produced huge amounts of silver 100 years ago, has been pinpointed as one of the main sources of acid mine drainage. Water seeping through the rocky ground trickles into the old mine workings, picks up contaminants along the way, then percolates back into Peru Creek near the head of the beautiful alpine valley.

During the last couple of summers, scientists and engineers have been working to reduce the pollution, and this coming week (July 30) there will be a public field trip to the site, led by Jeff Graves of the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety, as well as other members of the Snake River Task Force. Continue reading

Opinion: Lake Hill development should be carbon-neutral

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Bob Berwyn.

Smart up-front planning can minimize our carbon footprint

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Passage of the Lake Hill land conveyance bill by the U.S. Senate last week is good news for Summit County’s efforts to try and keep up with the demand for affordable housing in the pricey mountain resort region, and will also help the U.S. Forest Service by funding a new administrative and maintenance facility. Now that the deal is done, it’s time to start thinking about making sure that the Lake Hill neighborhood becomes a model of sustainable development. Continue reading

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