FRISCO — Some National Park Service officials have long expressed concern that the country’s changing demographics could affect park visitation. Currently, only 9 percent of the nation’s approximately 54 million Latinos visit the country’s national parks each year, according the American Latino Heritage Fund.
One of biggest barriers to entry is awareness, according to the Hispanic Access Foundation, which is sponsoring a “Four Stops” tour starting this week boost turnout and protect parks from oil and gas development for future generations.
‘Plan to control ‘trespass’ livestock in the works
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Increasing incursions by so-called trespass cattle at Mesa Verde National Park have prompted the National Park Service to solicit public input on a plan to curb the damage to public resources.
According to Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer’s Jan. 17 scoping letter, there about 100 to 150 trespass horses in an on the border of the park, with trespass cattle numbering about 10 to 20 per year.Park scientists have documented what they’re calling severe impacts to archeological sites, native vegetation, and soils.
Parcels near Dinosaur National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park won’t be auctioned next week
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Bureau of Land Management this week said it will defer another eight contested oil- and gas-drilling parcels from a Feb. 14 lease sale that will be the biggest so far in Colorado under the Obama administration, at 68,692 acres.
The deferrals announced Feb. 8 include 10,839 acres near Mesa Verde National Park, and about 2,600 acres near Dinosaur National Monument. With leasing and drilling widespread around western Colorado, conservation groups say they want to makse sure that land with high recreation and conservation values are protected from drilling impacts. Continue reading “Colorado: BLM defers more drilling leases”→
New pollution controls at coal-fired plant near the Four Corners will benefit public health and reduce regional haze; Utility company says it will appeal the federal decision
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Residents of the Four Corners region and tourists in the famed national parks in the area will be able to breathe a bit easier after the EPA this week issued a final rule that will help cut harmful nitrogen oxide emissions from the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico by 80 percent. The coal plant also emits more than 5,500 tons of sulfur dioxide per year.
The EPA’s decision is part of a larger effort to implement Clean Air Act provisions that have long been ignored by state and and federal regulators. The rules require a reduction in regional haze that clouds views in more than 150 national parks and wilderness areas.
According to a Clean Air Task Force report, San Juan Generating Station is responsible for more than 80 percent of the air pollution at Mesa Verde National Park, just across the border in Colorado. It also contributes to air pollution at the Grand Canyon and many other nationally protected landscapes. Parks in the region support thousands of jobs and the millions of people who visit them each year contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to local economies.
I don’t know if minor car repairs count as a relationship test. But when our car battery dies in front of the Great Sand Dunes National Park visitor center, we aren’t too worried. Well-stocked for a week-long swing through the Southwest, Leigh and I decide to let the car “rest” while we stroll around the nature center, watching evening shadows play on the dunes. We snack on salami, cheese and chocolate. Our cooler is full of goodies, and we team up with a no-worry, we’ll-make-it vibe — not to mention a hefty boost from AAA — to handle the glitch smoothly.
We reach Alamosa just before AutoZone closes and replace the battery with the help of a few loaner tools, shoving them back through the door as the manager locks up and waves goodnight. The Nissan starts no problem, so we fill the tank and U-turn back to the highway, munching cheesy popcorn, trying to catch the Rockies on AM, then blasting Neil Young as we veer through Crestone to our national forest campsite tucked up against the base of the Sangre de Cristos.
“Somewhere on a desert highway, She rides a Harley Davidson …”
New visitor center planned at Mesa Verde, wolf woes in Wyoming and more
Caddyshack in Telluride?
Prairie dogs are the talk of the town in Telluride, as a colony living in the town’s prized 570-acre Valley Floor open space parcel has outgrown its habitat and is spreading out. But town officials said they don’t want the critters expanding into new habitat, so they’ve hired a wildlife expert to live-trap the animals and bring them back to their home stomping grounds, according to the Telluride Daily Planet.
The town’s management plan for the parcel calls for the mammals to be restricted to their original 23-acre colony. The fate of the prairie dogs apparently was a controversial topic as the plan for the open space parcel was being put together last year. And based on the number of comments on the Daily Planet story, it still is, as many residents weighed in with their thoughts on the subject.
Town officials, meanwhile, must be aware that they’re taking on a Sisyphean task. What they’re hoping for long-term is that some predators move into the neighborhood to keep the population in check. Read the story and the comments here.