Funding finalized, CDOT will four-lane more of Hwy. 9

Busy highway to be moved away from Dillon Reservoir

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The new Highway 9 alignment will run where the recpath is now, while the recpath will be moved closer to the shore of Dillon Reservoir.

Some community discussion on this project at this Facebook post.

Staff Report

FRISCO — With Vail Resorts, Breckenridge and Summit County pledging more than $1 million combined toward Highway 9 upgrades, the Colorado Department of Transportation will be able to move ahead with widening the busy highway in the Iron Springs section, between Farmers Korner and Frisco.

CDOT had tabbed the four-laning of the highway as a high priority project that qualifies for accelerated construction and funding as long as there is a 20 percent match from local public and private partners. With that money now on the table, CDOT will be able to put the project up for bid this fall, with construction slated for 2016 and and 2017. Continue reading

Morning photo: View hunting

Can you feel it?

FRISCO —You don’t have to go far in Summit County to find a good view. Sure, it’s great to get out for a long hike deep into the backcountry, but sometimes all you have to do is pull of the road in the right spot to enjoy the beauty of the Colorado high country. All the images in this set were taken within a quarter mile of local highways and byways, including one image that was taken right alongside Interstate 70 from a scenic overlook. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

Letters: Support for new Colorado wilderness

Will Congress act?

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A view of the Gore Range from the flanks of the Williams Fork Range, at the edge of a new wilderness area proposed by Congressman Jared Polis. @bberwyn photo.

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A map of the areas covered by the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act.

FRISCO — In May, Congressman Jared Polis reintroduced a bill to create about 39,000 acres of new wilderness in Summit and Eagle counties.

According to Polis, the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act will help sustain recreational resources, protect watersheds, preserve important wildfire corridors, and strengthen Colorado’s tourism economy.

Along with new wilderness, the bill would also designate 16,000 acres as special management areas for recreation, and where some other activities, including wildfire mitigation and forest health treatments would be permitted.

Trace the history of Polis’ push for new wilderness in the central Colorado mountains in these Summit Voice stories going back to 2010.

Letters:

Dear Editor,

Congressman Jared Polis’ introduction of the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act should be applauded. This bill, the result of 5 years of local community engagement and consensus, is important not just to the central Rocky Mountains but to Colorado as a whole. Many Coloradans know this area for the endless recreational opportunities, whether it’s hiking, biking, camping, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, or just relaxing. As the owner of Seymour Lodging Corp, Colorado wilderness is of particular importance to me.

Owning a small business is never easy, particularly when your business is dependent on external factors such as weather and consumer discretionary income. Fortunately for myself and many other small business owners across the state, the designation of wilderness, in addition to enhancing quality of life, makes local tourism a little more secure.

The Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act protects many areas in the White River National Forest, which draws more than 9 million visitors annually; these visitors then support local tourism and outdoor recreation businesses.

The outdoor recreation industry in Colorado is a critical part of the state’s economy which generates $13.2 billion annually in consumer spending, and supports 125,000 jobs which pay over $4 billion in wages to Coloradans. Many small mountain towns count on tourism and outdoor recreation to stay afloat. I know personally how difficult this can be, and I would like to thank Congressman Polis for investing in the state of Colorado.

Richard Seymour

***

Dear Editor,

After reading about the recent introduction of the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act, I wanted to publicly thank Representative Jared Polis for his work protecting Colorado. As an avid hiker, I deeply enjoy spending free time in the Central Mountains.

Over the past 5 years Rep. Polis has worked with a plethora of local stakeholders to ensure that this legislation truly helps to support the local community- this hard work has paid off, garnering the support of everyone from mountain bikers and conservationists to hunters and small businessmen.

If passed, the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act would provide important protections for key watersheds in the Central Mountains and safeguard our ever-valuable Colorado water for local communities and the greater Front Range. As well, the Act would protect some of Colorado’s best fishing streams and preserve valuable wildlife habitat; thank you, Representative Polis!

Eddie Welsh

Eddie Welsh is history and political science major at Colorado State University.  He has a special interest in environmental issues here in Colorado, particularly in the Central Mountains where he spend a great deal of  time.

Morning photo: Sunday set

Summit spring


FRISCO —Sweet springtime in the Colorado Rockies. Snow on the high peaks, rivers swelling with runoff, fields and aspen groves greening up in the lengthening days and happy bluebirds! What could be better?

Morning photo: Critters!

Spring wildlife in Colorado

FRISCO — A couple of days ago, after dropping my son off at the High School, I noticed what looked like a handful of fluffy white clumps at the Blue River inlet to Dillon Reservoir. As I got closer, I realized that the white clumps were actually pelicans, heads tucked beneath their wings to guard against the chilly morning after an overnight dusting of snow. Seeing these birds seems a bit incongruous, especially in wintry weather, but they are actually common visitors to Colorado.

Just this week, the Boulder Daily Camera reported that white pelicans helped eliminate a pesky population of non-native goldfish in a local lake. I was able to get close enough to snap a few decent images, and decided to post a few other random critter pics I’ve taken during the past few years — a reminder that wildlife is a cherished part of our natural heritage in Colorado and that we need to be mindful of how our plans for water and development affect animals.

For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Hey, mountaineers — Think before you blog!

‘A quality artist, it would seem, should have the capacity to express the beauty of their experience without spelling out its name on a map’

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Ssshhhhhhhhhh!

By David LaGreca

I have the greatest respect for all who venture to experience the appeal and the raw essence that comes with the mountains. The freedom that is held amongst the hills is summoned upon each mission we take, each peak we summit, each line we ski, each meadow we pass through en route to that remote liberty. Our passions are aligned, I assure you, but I fear that many of those places we all cherish are at risk.

What’s at risk is not immediately from development in many of these places, such as in the precious Gore Range and other Summit County spectacles. Instead, what is at risk is serenity itself. That peace we are guaranteed when we strive beyond the limits of the masses to serve out a deeper purpose in the mountains is, I fear, being threatened. That the slow erosion of this peace and silence is marketed wholesale online by its most frequent patrons, the outdoor enthusiasts themselves, is a dangerous irony we cannot ignore. Continue reading

Colorado: Ambitious restoration project in Summit County aims to heal Swan River’s mining scars

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$975,000 state grant will help fund environmental work

Staff Report

FRISCO — An ambitious effort to restore the Swan River got a big boost this month with a $975,000 state grant.

The restoration area includes about 3,500 linear feet of the river along Tiger Road in the Swan River drainage, 11 miles northeast of Breckenridge, on land jointly owned by Summit County and the Town of Breckenridge.

“We’re extremely fortunate and grateful to have received this grant,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “Undoing the damage from Summit County’s mining past is an immense undertaking, but these infusions of funding are critical in accelerating our progress.” Continue reading

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