Agency considers expansion of downhill bike activity
In the age of instant gratification, it’s probably not surprising that coasting downhill on a mountain bike has become a popular pastime in Summit County. As a result, the U.S. Forest Service is preparing to authorize several ten-year special use permits to different individuals and organizations to serve up to a total of 20,000 downhill cyclists during the summer season.
Policy change enables agency to charge per-person fees
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The White River National Forest has revamped its fee structure for special events using local bike paths that cross national forest lands. Under the changes, organizers of cycling events like the Copper Triangle will pay a graduated per-person fee ranging from $1 per person, up to $2 per person for larger events.
Resorts reporting powder conditions, but road conditions could hamper access, while the backcountry avalanche danger soars
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — March is living up to its reputation as the snowiest month in the Colorado high country, with chilly spring storm snarling roads, intensifying avalanche danger and adding much-needed moisture to the state’s snowpack.
Ski areas around the state are generally reporting up to 12 inches of new snow in the past few days, and moderate to heavy snow continued falling Saturday morning. Some of the heaviest totals are expected east of the Continental Divide, where the California Department of Transportation reported bumper-to-bumper traffic around I-70 and C-470.
East of Denver, I-70 was closed to the Kansas border, and slick conditions on the westbound approach to the mountains prompted CDOT to require chains, snow tires or four-wheel drive for all vehicles in Mt. Vernon Canyon, just west of Denver.
:Chains, snow tires or 4WD required for all vehicles I-70 Mt. Vernon Canyon mile marker 259 – 250.
Research to help conservation and recreation planning efforts
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — A multi-year Forest Service study aimed at better understanding how lynx react to human recreational activities was expanded to new areas in Colorado this year, including Loveland Pass, Leadville and Telluride.
Previous efforts have focused on the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area, where scientists captured lynx and fitted them with collars to transmit GPS data. At the same time, the Forest Service researchers asked skiers and snowmobilers to take GPS transmitters along on their excursions.
A thorough analysis of the data will help land managers make science-based decisions about how to allocate resources as they balance the demand for recreation with a mandate to protect habitat for rare animals like lynx, protected under the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading “Colorado: Lynx study expanded to Loveland Pass”→
Work to take place Sunday-Thursday nights through October
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Road and bridge work along I-70 will require overnight lanes closures between Vail Pass and Chief Hosa the next few weeks, with scheduled for completion in November. Crews will be crack sealing, as well as paving a two-mile segment through Idaho Springs.
Drivers can expect single lane closures on eastbound or westbound I-70, Sunday through Thursday nights, as follows:
Eastbound between Vail Pass and Silverthorne – 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Eastbound through Idaho Springs – 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Westbound through Idaho Springs – 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The speed limit is reduced to 45 mph through the work zone. Lane closures are a maximum of two miles long and work can alternate between eastbound and westbound I-70, depending on how the project is progressing. Traffic slowing is possible due to the single lane configurations.
“Crack sealing is a preemptive strike against road deterioration because it extends the lifespan of the highway – both the surface and sub-surface,” said CDOT resident engineer Russel Cox. “It prevents pot holes from developing and that’s a safety enhancement as well. We see it as a lower cost treatment in the short-term that saves money in the long-term.”
A-1 Chipseal Co. of Denver, CO. is the contractor for the $1.6 million project.
Additional information is available by calling the project hotline at 970-344-4664.
Updated information regarding traffic impacts on this or other CDOT projects is available at www.cotrip.org or by calling 511. To receive project updates via e-mail, visit www.coloradodot.info and click on the cell-phone icon in the upper right-hand corner. The link takes you to a list of items you can subscribe to, including I-70 West, Denver to Glenwood Springs.
Day use passes are $6, season passes available for $40
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY —Fee collection and patrols in the Vail Pass Winter Recreation area will start Nov. 25, with a $6 charge for day use passes and a limited number of $40 season passes available for snowmobiling and crosscountry skiing.
The Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area includes more than 50,000 acres of White River National Forest lands from Copper Mountain on the east to Vail Mountain on the west, Camp Hale on the south, and the I-70 corridor on the north.
The management strategy for this very popular winter recreation area is the result of many years of collaboration between the Vail Pass Task Force (a citizen’s advisory group) and the Forest Service. The user fees pay for visitor maps, signage of motorized and non-motorized trails, trail grooming, parking lot management and snow removal, visitor information services, backcountry monitoring, and enforcement by uniformed Forest Service personnel. Continue reading “Fee collection at Vail Pass winter rec area starts Nov. 25”→
Still a few patches of trees that haven’t been eaten by bugs
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — For the past few years, the focus has been the pine beetle epidemic and the damage those insect have pesky insects have caused across vast stands of lodgepole pines. There been so much talk and discussion (if only every word killed a beetle) about the beetle epidemic that it’s easy to forget that there are still huge stands of healthy spruce and fir, not to mention aspens. Continue reading “Morning photo: Healthy forests”→