Wolves resurfacing in Colorado
- A decade ago it seemed wolves, after being extirpated in Colorado in the 1940s, would not return
on their own to Colorado for many decades. Now, it seems it will be a matter of a few years. This
prospect has Colorado residents both excited and appalled.
Wolves introduced in the mid-1990s in the Yellowstone
region have trotted down to the Rock Springs, Wyo., area, within 50 miles of Colorado. Meanwhile,
wolves introduced in New Mexico in the late '90s may have entered Colorado to the south.
State wildlife officials remain adamantly opposed to
reintroduction of wolves in Colorado, despite studies that suggest that habitat in the Flat Tops
and San Juans could support up to 1,000 wolves. But with wolves at both front and back doors, so
to speak, the State Wildlife Commission has authorized a study of what to do when the wolves
arrive, if they do and what to do in the meantime, notes The Aspen
regulations, wolves south of I-70 have full protection. That means, unless there is danger to a
person, they cannot be shot, even if attacking livestock. North of I-70, ranchers can harass
wolves on their property but may not shoot to kill unless given permits issued by the state
The outline of the state's response isn't clear, but it's
likely to be sharply divided. Although few ranchers remain, they have strong clout in state
government. Sheep grazers hope for a plan that will give them more authority to shoot wolves
menacing livestock. There is no room for compromise, insists Bonnie Kline, director of the
industry trade group.
seeks OHV compromise
Colo. - The debate about OHVs - the acronym commonly used to describe all-terrain vehicles and
dirt motorcycles - is in full bloom in Telluride.
The high-mountain passes around Telluride are among the
most renowned in the nation among four-wheelers and others. It's considered high sport to cruise
from Silverton to Telluride to Ouray while traversing a trio of above-timberline passes. Ouray
definitely caters to this motorized crowd, and Silverton does, too.
But San Miguel County, where Telluride is located, bans
OHVs on these roads. Enforcing this ban is nearly impossible, however. Plus, there's also the
issue of neighborliness. The Ouray area absorbs some of the workers from Telluride, and Silverton
is among Colorado's poorest, dependent entirely on about 10 weeks of summer business.
Art Goodtimes, a San Miguel County commissioner, wants a
compromise on a regional level, leaving two passes open to OHV use, but keeping one closed. While
some people seemed to concur with the compromise, The Telluride
Watch reported a sourness evident at a
recent meeting. "This is something you don't compromise on," said Telluride Town Councilman Mark
Buchsieb. Telluride, he said, is "not responsible for serving every group. Nationwide the abuse of
these groups is outrageous."
Ski areas favor global warming plan
- Two dozen ski-area operators have expressed support for the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship
Act. The proposed bill seeks to reduce emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from sources in
the United States.
The Aspen Skiing Co. originated this position, and the
National Ski Areas Association agreed to shepherd support more broadly from within the industry.
The NSAA earlier this year had begun fostering awareness of global warming and the ski industry's
Evidence is conclusive that substantial global warming has
been occurring. In the last several years scientists have largely come to agree that people are
causing some of that warming, although there is much that scientists are still unclear
Among the uncertainties are how global warming will effect
localized areas, but models developed by scientists broadly suggest that as warming continues, "we
could experience decreased snowpack, warmer nights, wetter shoulder seasons and reduced weather
predictability," according to the letter signed by the ski areas.
Most vulnerable are those ski areas located at lower
elevations and with shorter winters. But even higher elevation ski areas, according to these
models, could be subject to increasingly erratic storm cycles.
Ski areas for some years rejected the global warming
debate, arguing that ski areas themselves do not contribute significantly to greenhouse gases.
This letter takes much of that attitude. It says, "We are a relatively small source of greenhouse
gas emissions, however, and will need the help of other industries to turn this problem around. We
support the Climate Stewardship Act because it will encourage major industrial emitters to invest
in the most cost-effective means to reduce emissions."
contractor skips town
- Police are at work in the Granby area after a home-building company, Altus Construction, closed
shop and its owner fled town, leaving at least $500,000 in unpaid bills. The owner, who was
interviewed by the Sky-Hi News , said he left because of threats that made him fear for his
The firm was founded with the goal of building affordable homes for local residents. At one time,
there were 30 employees. What went wrong isn't clear, but a concrete contractor blew the whistle
when his bills had mounted to $48,000. After he filed liens, others similarly did so.
Studying the money trail, police report no evidence of hanky-panky. The newspaper reports
unexpected costs, problems with employees, timing issues and then a panic by customers, all of
which contributed to the company's demise.
UnVailed calendar hits the stands
VAIL, Colo. -
For the third year, the Vail area has an UnVailed calendar, in which locals pose for what might be
called posteriorerity, although in fact discrete frontal shots seem to be more common.
It's a mixture of cheesecake and beefcake, grins and bare
it. The theme this year is celebrities and legends. The cover couple is Ryan Sutter, the
ex-football player turned Vail firefighter, and his heartthrob, L.A. gal Trista Rehn, who courted
on a national television show. Another month this year features a women's mountain biking team
called High Maintenance, whose members are posed atop their titanium tools, clad only in
It's not all young and buff, however. Several
silver-haired individuals appear, including octegenarian Earl Eaton, a legend because in 1957 he
showed Vail ski area founder Pete Seibert the mountain that would become Vail.
opens up on river trips
Wyo. - Vice President Dick Cheney is a man who skis in blue jeans at Jackson Hole, wears duct-tape
patched waders when fishing the Snake River and isn't afraid to hear contrary opinions.
That's what the guides who take Cheney fly fishing in
Wyoming, Idaho and Montana tell the Jackson Hole News &
Guide. Some have known Cheney, who has a $3 million
home in Jackson Hole, for 30 years.
Although Cheney has a reputation in the national press for
arrogance, the guides refute that perception. "He values everybody's opinion," said one guide,
Jack Dennis. "He wants to know what people think."
And the guides tell him what the average people are
thinking in Jackson - that they view him as an oil man who cares little about the environment and
that the Bush administration did a lousy job of selling the war in Iraq to the American
They also feel comfortable enough with him to tease him.
During one recent camping trip, they gave him a gag gift: a pair of glasses with missiles glued to
the lenses, so that he can find weapons of mass destruction.
One guide feels strongly that the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge in Alaska should not be touched for oil, but the guide says Cheney is just as forceful in
his defense, arguing that drilling can be done in winter, without damaging the tundra.
All in all, says the newspaper, which apparently tagged
along on a rafting and fly fishing trip, the Dick Cheney around the campfire is "anything but the
stiff, humorless authoritarian he often appears on TV."
- compiled by Allen Best