Posted on October 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Feds finalizing oil and gas development plan for 100,000 acres of public land
FRISCO — If it sometimes feels like fracking is closing in wherever you look, it’s because it is. One of the latest arenas for fossil fuel exploitation is on the Pawnee National Grasslands, in northeastern Colorado, described by the U.S. Forest Service as the country’s last remaining shortgrass prairie. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, fracking, oil and gas drilling, Pawnee National Grasslands, public lands, split estate, U.S. Forest Service | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Sunrise in the Eagles Nest Wilderness, Gore Range, Colorado.
Forest Service chief clarifies proposed directive on commercial permits
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —After a few days of scathing news reports and commentaries, the U.S. Forest Service made it clear that a new policy on wilderness photography and filming won’t apply to journalists or visitors taking snapshots for their own use.
The update came from Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, who said in a prepared statement that the agency is committed to the First Amendment.
“To be clear, provisions in the draft directive do not apply to news gathering or activities,” Tidwell said, going on to describe the agency’s effort standardize permitting and to ensure that the public gets fair value for commercial activities in wilderness areas. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: forest service permits, Tom Tidwell, U.S. Forest Service, wilderness, wilderness photography, wilderness photography permits | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 21, 2014 by 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
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, global warming, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: carbon footprint, Environment, Lake Hill, Summit County News, sustainable development, U.S. Forest Service | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA satellite image shows smoke plumes from the massive wildfires in Alberta.
Numerous Colorado projects delayed as feds juggle budgets in era of monster wildfires
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — U.S. Forest Service officials said they’ve had to defer reviews of ski area projects, delay trail improvements and forest restoration work because of the high cost of fighting wildfires. This year, the agency projects a $470 million gap that ripples through the entire Forest Service budget.
More than a dozen important projects in Colorado were on the hit list, according to a new report released this week by the Department of Agriculture. Some of the projects were canceled altogether because their funding has been diverted to fighting wildfires. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests | Tagged: fire borrowing, Forest health, U.S. Forest Service, Wildfires | 3 Comments »
Posted on May 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Firefighters teamed up in March 2012 to quell an early season wildfire near Keystone Resort, in Summit County, Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.
Funding shortfall has ripple effect in other public lands programs
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — With a dangerous fire season forecast for parts of the country, especially the drought-stricken far West and Southern Plains, federal firefighting agencies will likely once again face a huge budget shortfall. That could require the Forest Service to divert funds from other programs, according to top administration officials who presented the report to Congress.
The report projects firefighting costs of about $1.8 billion, with only $1.4 billion budgeted. The Obama administration is advocating for a budget that would close the gap by giving firefighting agencies the ability to use emergency funds separate from their discretionary budgets to fight fires.
Similar legislation is pending in Congress, where the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act is cosponsored by Sen.Michal Bennet (D-CO) and Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests, public lands, US Forest Service, wildfires | Tagged: climate change, federal budget, U.S. Forest Service, Wildfires | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Proposal includes zip lines, high alpine 4WD tours and summer operations of the Imperial Chair
Vail Resorts wants to ramp up summer recreation at Breckenridge Ski Area.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Vail Resorts wants to significantly expand the scope of summer activities at Breckenridge Ski Resort on lands used under permit from the U.S. Forest Service. That means more chairlifts could soon be humming all year long at what is already one of the busiest ski mountains in the world.
The proposal includes zip lines, tree canopy tours and even four-wheel drive tours to remote sections of the Tenmile Range — along with plenty of new construction at the summit of Peak 8 and around the Peak 7 warming hut.
According to the proposal, the resort currently lacks “adventure or thrill-based experiences,” and “interpretive programs that offer an educational experience for users seeking to learn more about the environment.”
The summer improvements plan also includes restoration activities at the ski area that would be incorporated into the plan after the public has had a chance to offer initial comments during a formal scoping phase for the project, the first step in an in-depth Environmental Impact Study that will evaluate impacts. Continue reading
Filed under: Breckenridge, Colorado, Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Breckenridge Ski Area, public lands, summer recreation, U.S. Forest Service, zip lines Breckenridge | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 23, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Cultivation, possession and use still illegal on federal lands in Colorado
A U.S. Forest Service workers uproots marijuana plants from an illegal grow site on the White River National Forest, near Redstone, Colorado. Photo courtesy USFS.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Forest Service law enforcement rangers say they have finished eradicating an illegal marijuana plantation on the White River National Forest near Redstone, Colorado, but they are still actively investigating the site to try and track down the growers.
According to the Forest Service, there were more than 3,300 plants growing at the site. The plants were probably just a few weeks away from being harvested, said agency spokesman Chris Strebig. The Forest Service estimated the value of the plants at about $8.3 million, based on an average value of $2,500 per pound. Each plant is estimated to yield 1 pound of processed marijuana. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, US Forest Service, White River National Forest | Tagged: Cannabis cultivation, Colorado, marijuana growing, U.S. Forest Service, White River National Forest | Leave a comment »