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Colorado: Forest Service to drop fees at Cataract Lake

Day-use at Green Mountain Reservoir will once again be free after years of wrangling over a federal lands recreation fee program.

Revised plan for Green Mountain Reservoir, Cataract Lake area gets provisional OK from advisory group

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — This land is once again your land for free, at least at the popular Cataract Lake trailhead in northern Summit County, where the U.S. Forest Service has been charging a feee to park and hike since the late 1990s.

But last week, a citizen advisory committee voted to a approve a revised recreation plan for the larger Green Mountain Reservoir area, including Cataract Lake, and the new plan ends the unpopular Cataract Lake parking and hiking fee, as well as day use fees at Green Mountain Reservoir. The new plan also reconfigures camping fees to a basic per-site charge, with extra fees for extra cars.

A couple of caveats: The vote by the Colorado Recreation Resource Advisory Committee apparently was incomplete, with a few members missing, so it’s not altogether clear if the vote will stick, Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest Supervisor Rick Cooksey, the designated federal official on the recreation advisory panel. Cooksey said he will speak with the members who were absent from the meeting to try and get their approval for the Green Mountain-area plan. Continue reading

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Colorado: Forest arson investigated in Breckenridge

With wildfires burning around the West, someone in the Breckenridge area decided to try and set the local forest on fire.

Firefighters manage to extinguish small blaze near Peak 8

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY —Residents of Breckenridge and Summit County are being asked to help find a suspect who is trying to start a forest fire.

Police detectives and fire investigators say several small fires were set intentionally in the forest near Breckenridge may have been started Sunday and smoldered overnight before igniting Monday afternoon as temperatures climbed and the humidity dropped. Continue reading

Morning photo: Cloudscapes

Summery skies

Evening glow.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Last week’s series of intense Front Range thunderstorms built up clouds that towered above the Continental Divide to be illuminated by the sun setting in the west. That was a recipe for some rather nice sunsets and cloudscapes. Continue reading

Colorado: Fire restrictions enacted in High Country

The Little Sand Fire burns through pine forest near Pagosa Springs. PHOTO COURTESY USFS.

White River National Forest, Summit and Garfield counties join other jurisdictions in banning open fires; controlled campfires in developed recreation areas still OK

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Pointing to the acute danger of large and potentially deadly wildfires in the high country and on the West Slope of Colorado, The White River National Forest, as Summit and Garfield counties this week adopted fire restrictions.

By most measures, the current fire danger is rated as high to very high, with dry and windy conditions forecast to persist on and off for the foreseeable future. Continue reading

Morning photo: The break of dawn

Magical moments

Sunrise over Dillon Reservoir.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — There’s a moment, perhaps a few moments, right around sunrise when the light is as good as it’s ever going to get. It’s pure magic, really, and if, as a photographer, you’re in the right place when it happens, then all that you need is the technical know-how, and maybe a few good lenses. Sometimes it doesn’t always come out the way you expected, and other times, when you get home and download the images, all you can say is, “Wow!” Continue reading

Morning photo: Leftovers …

Just a few Summit scenics

Looking toward A-Basin from Loveland Pass on during the eclipse sunset.

SUMMIT COUNTY —Recipe for a good photo: Get up early, climb up high and wait for the light … It helps to have a lake in the foreground to add some reflective qualities. Alternatively, cruise out to your favorite vista point around sunset and linger for a while. Sometimes the light doesn’t come where or when you expect it. No iPhone shots in this set. All taken with the Nikon DSLR.

First light over Dillon Reservoir from Lake Hill.

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Morning photo: Sunset and clearcuts …

Finding beauty in beetle-killed forests

Morning scene along the shore of Dillon Reservoir.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A few images from the daily peregrinations along the shore of the reservoir. I usually try to assiduously avoid the clearcut areas in photos because really, who wants to see pictures of stumps. But every now and then, it’s probably a good reminder, especially with a warming climate that may very well bring additional blight to high country ecosystems. Continue reading

Morning photo: Camera doodles …

Around the neighborhood

Wispy skies over Summit County.

SUMMIT COUNTY — The day started early, with photos down at the wetlands even before making coffee, which is pretty unusual for me, but at least I was wide awake when brewed the first cup. After dropping the kid at school, I took the dogs for the usual early morning walk by the reservoir. Under somewhat murky light, I wasn’t expect much, so I started playing around with the iPhone Photoshop app, a free download with a few basic functions. I think of it as doodling with the camera. Continue reading

Colorado: Summit, Grand counties sign deal with Denver Water

Dillon Reservoir, Denver Water

Denver Water will try to maintain water levels for marina operation on Dillon Reservoir under a historic Colorado water agreement.

Historic agreement hailed as start of a new collaborative era

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A major water agreement aimed at ending decades of feuding and litigation between the Front Range and the West Slope moved one step closer to completion this week, as Denver Water, Summit County and Grand County representatives inked the deal at a ceremony in Hot Sulphur Springs.

Along with being hailed as a model of collaboration by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the deal also gives all the parties some certainties as to the future management and disposition of the state’s most precious resource.

Against a backdrop of an intensifying mountain drought, Hickenlooper said this year’s dry conditions magnify the need for cooperative solutions and highlight the fragility of the state’s rivers in the face of possible climate change impacts and increasing demand from a growing population.

“Some of our watersheds are reporting the driest conditions in our recorded history … this puts Colorado on a better footing, with more secure water sources both for headwaters counties and Denver,” Hickenlooper said. Continue reading

Morning photo: Moonshine

The night before the ‘supermoon’

Moonlight glitters on Dillon Reservoir in a grainy Instagram image.

SUMMIT COUNTY — With a ‘supermoon’ coming tonight, I went out to do some low-light iPhone test shots. Turns out the little camera does some interesting things as the sky transitions from daylight to night. It wants to light up the scene as if it were daylight. I haven’t delved into all the various apps yet, though I’m sure there are some that would help capture a more “real” lightscape, but it was still fun using the Instagram filters to add some effects to the evening show along the shore of Dillon Reservoir. The supermoon, by the way, is when the full moon coincides with our satellite’s closest approach to Earth. Astronomers say the orb can appear 14 percent bigger and 20 percent than a standard full moon. Continue reading

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