At issue are how the fee program for access to public lands is being implemented by federal agencies. The hearing is set to start at 10 a.m. EDT and should be available as webcast via the House Committee on Natural Resources website.
FRISCO — Barring legal action, Breckenridge Ski Area could start implementing the controversial Peak 6 expansion as soon as early December after regional Forest Service officials rejected an appeal filed by a coalition of conservation groups, skiers and local residents. Read the appeal here.
Scott Armentrout, Supervisor of the Gunnison, Uncompahgre and Grand Mesa National Forests, the appeal reviewing officer, wrote Nov. 14 that he found that the approval for the project did not violate any federal laws, regulations or policies and recommended upholding White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams’ decision to approve the 550-acre expansion.
The formal decision was made by appeals deciding officer Brian Ferebee, a deputy regional forester for resources. Read the full appeal decision here, and a summary of the appeal decision here.
Meanwhile, Forest Service rangers are asking the community to give the project a chance, claiming that motorized users will police themselves to make sure that impacts don’t spread beyond the trail system that would span about 1,800 acres on the hillsides above Highway 6 between Dillon and Summit Cove.
Land grab seen as a waste of time and money by many state residents
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Arizona may have voted for failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a big way, but a ballot initiative aimed at claiming state control of federally managed public lands in the state didn’t get much of a coattail effect.
Proposition 120, criticized by most as a massively expensive land grab, failed at the polls this week, as voters rejected the amendment to the Arizona Constitution that would have declared the state’s sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state’s boundaries.
Due to surface fuel accumulation, Fourmile Canyon Fire burned more intensely in some treated zones
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY —A report on the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire will probably raise more questions than it answers for firefighters and land managers, concluding that, in some cases, the ferocious fire near Boulder may have burned more intensely in treated areas than in adjacent untreated stands.
That may have been due to the relatively high concentration of surface fuels remaining after treatments, as well as the higher wind speeds that can occur in open forests compared to those with denser canopies, Forest Service researchers concluded in the report published last month.
Grand County hunters to affected by forest closures
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The U.S. Forest Service and local authorities in Grand County will be closing 29,000 acres of Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest lands for several weeks starting in early September to cut beetle-killed hazard trees from along roads and trails in the area. The closure is expected to run from Sept. 4 to Nov. 15, affecting hunters, hikers, cyclists and other forest visitors.
The widepsread restrictions are being implemented after locals and visitors ignored earlier closures for smaller projects in the area, forcing the Forest Service to shut down summer logging operations for safety reasons. In one of the areas hit hardest by pine beetles, the Forest Service wants to remove dead and dying trees from along more than 150 miles of high-use, forest service roads and trails over a several year period.
Along with local community leaders, special interest groups and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials, the agency decided a larger, more enforceable closure area was necessary, both for public safety and to complete the work efficiently.