Conservation groups in the San Luis Valley hope to protect Great Sand Dunes National Park and the surrounding areas by buying the underground mineral rights for $9.7 million. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
More protection for Great Sand Dunes NP, the march of the pine beetles continues, and near-record global temperatures in 2009
SUMMIT COUNTY — Looking back at the past week’s Summit Voice headlines, the story about a conservation deal in the San Luis Valley stands out as one that was under-reported around the state. In short, a strong grassroots alliance of citizen groups went to court to block plans for exploratory drilling near Great Sand Dunes National Park, where the surface rights are owned by the people of the United States, but the underground mineral rights are still owned by a private company. After a preliminary ruling by a federal judge, the company has agreed to sell those rights for $9.7 million. Read the Summit Voice story here.
In natural resource news closer to home, state and federal foresters announced that mountain pine beetles are moving across the Continental Divide in a big way. The tree-killing bugs attacked 220,000 acres of pines in Larimer County, and infested more than half a million acres of forests in 2009. There are few signs that the infestation is slowing down, the agencies reported as they released maps from last year’s aerial surveys. Click here for the story.
Locally, real estate experts released preliminary numbers for 2009 real estate sales, showing that the slump continued throughout the year. Sales of single-family homes, and especially condos are down dramatically from the peak numbers of 2007. The decline also hit local government coffers, as revenues from real estate transfer taxes plummeted. Read about real estate sales here, and about the decline in tax revenues here.
Other news from last week included year-end tallies on global surface temperatures showing that 2009 tied as the second-warmest year ever, and endangered lynx won’t get the legal protection they deserve for a few more years. Following are the rest of the top stories from last week; just click on the headline to read the full story.
Filed under: Summit County Colorado | Tagged: county government, endangered species, Environment, Forest health, global warming, public lands, Summit County News, Week in review | 2 Comments »