Couple examines grazing's benefits
Idaho - A couple from San Francisco four years ago set out in an attempt to prove that livestock
gazing is compatible with public lands. Buying several sheep outfits, they formed a company and
hired a staff of biologists and other consultants to monitor operations on the 24,000 acres of
private land and 730,000 acres of public lands at their disposal.
The guiding belief, as expressed by Mike Stevens, the
chief operating officer of Lava Lake Land and Livestock, is that long-term protection of public
and private range lands requires that they be economically useful. If not, the private lands will
inevitably be subdivided and hence become more difficult to manage. If land isn't ranched, there
will be more roads, more spread of noxious weeds and less winter habitat for wildlife.
Can grazing be light on the land and profitable? That's
the million-dollar question. The company has reduced the size of its bands and promised to keep
the sheep moving and away from water sources. Sheepmen pride themselves on the latter - cattle
tend to congregate in riparian areas.
As for making money, the plan is to market the lamb as
"all natural," meaning no antibiotics and growth hormones, and organic, meaning no use of
pesticides or herbicides.
John Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds
Project, applauds the goal, but told the Idaho Mountain
Express that only those who can afford to write off
the cost of the land can afford to do what Lava Lakes is doing. But he thinks the large lesson
that is being demonstrated is reducing grazing impacts requires substantial reduction in herd
developer offers home swap
Colo. - Wintergreen Homes has a different sort of marketing approach. Buy one of our houses, says
the developer, and we'll buy yours.
Art Kleinstein, the Avon-based firm's managing partner,
says he has used that marketing pitch successfully in Steamboat Springs and Avon. Now, he's using
it again at Cerise Ranch, a 68-lot subdivision downstream from Aspen.
It's designed to appeal to somebody wanting a newer house
and a larger lot, but who doesn't want to go through the hassle of selling an existing house.
Kleinstein told The Aspen Times he'd rather discount the price of a $400,000 house that he acquires
than a $600,000 home he's now trying to sell. Just the same, he doesn't want his offer to be too
successful. "I don't need 50 of them. I just need a few of them," he said.
Utah - Somebody's lying here. Shortly after he was fired from his $60,000-a-year job as director
of housekeeping at Park City Mountain Resort, Mario Escobar filed a lawsuit against the resort,
alleging things that were illegal, unethical, or both.
For example, Escobar accused the company of knowingly
recruiting undocumented immigrants so that it could pay lower wages. Also, he said the resort's
Hispanic employees were asked to clean the homes of senior managers, they were required to eat in
a separate basement lunchroom, and they did not receive the same privileges afforded non-Hispanic
Wrong, says the resort in a countersuit. The legal counsel
for the American Skiing Co., which owns the resort, told The Park
Record that "for the most part the facts are
different than he alleged, and in some cases they are the exact opposite." For example, Escobar
had the employees cleaning his home, says the company. As for the separate lunchroom, there is a
lunchroom that serves discounted meals, and it's close to the headquarters for housekeepers, but
it's not a segregated lunchroom.
hall-of-famer overcomes sexism
Calif. - Jerry Nunn had to surmount sexism in the ski industry and the U.S. Forest Service to get
where she is today, the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame.
Born and raised in Berkeley, Calif., she began skiing in
the Sierra Nevada at age 14, and by age 18 she was assisting an emergency physician in the ski
patrol room. It made sense that she would join the ski patrol, but she ran into problems in 1954
upon applying at Squaw Valley.
"It was very difficult for me to get on the ski patrol
because the man who was in charge of the patrol at Squaw Valley felt that a woman should be
barefoot, pregnant and locked in the kitchen," Nunn told the Sierra Sun .
Nunn got her job after demonstrating that she could
control a toboggan solo. Soon after, she breached another threshold when, using her name "Jerry,"
she applied to become a snow ranger for the U.S. Forest Service.
An official in Utah, however, was going to have nothing of
it when he encountered a woman behind the name. "Never, ever in the history of the Forest Service
have we accepted a woman, and we won't now." She said she'd get an attorney, and did - and got
into the course, becoming the first female Forest Service snow ranger. In that capacity she helped
develop the first Avalauncher. After ironing out several design problems, the gas-powered gun is
sued today to launch explosives to set off avalanches in hard-to-reach terrain.
Asked about her induction in the Hall of Fame, Nunn said
it was "very exciting."
"I never thought it would happen to me. I'm a girl, and
boys don't like girls who step on what they think of as their rights," she said.
Colo. - At Nederland, located west of Boulder and a few miles from the Eldora Ski Resort, an
attempt is being made to nail two birds with one stone. The forest there is ripe for fire, and so
the U.S. Forest Service had the forest thinned.
But what to do with all the wood?
Denver's Rocky Mountain
News reports that a small portion of the thinned
forest is fed into a chip-fired, steam-powered microturbine. When fully operational, the burner
will consume a ton of wood chips a day and generate 30 kilowatts of electricity. Meanwhile, steam
from the boiler heats the 30,000-square-foot community center. Electricity and gas bills for the
community center and adjacent buildings have been running around $50,000 annually.
Still, it's just an experiment. The EPA wants to assess
the emissions produced by the burner to see if air quality is substantially impaired. "It looks to
be burning clean, but we won't know how clean until we run all the tests," said a project manager
for the testing company.
offers Olympics warning
B.C. - Although it's still six years away, Whistler is preoccupied with hosting the 2010 Winter
Olympics. But Park City, which has been there, is warning Whistler against expecting too
Bill Malone, manager of Park City's chamber and resort
associations, reported that landlords who evicted tenants in hopes of quick profits got burnt. He
tells of one property management firm that wanted $130,000 in rent for a large home, spurned an
offer of $65,000 and got neither - the property sat empty.
Business fell about 8 percent in Park City during the
Olympics, but Park City has been much stronger than other resorts in destination tourism in the
two years since the Olympics.
Is Whistler different than Park City? That's part of the
discussion, reports the Vancouver Sun . Development at Whistler is capped, while at Park City it continued
to resort town life
COUNTY, Colo. - A new religious tradition is entering Summit County, where about 120 natives of
Mauritania, a county in West Africa, are now living. All are Muslims.
This influx is making for new understandings, explains the
Summit Daily News. For example, during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, Muslims
are to fast during daylight hours. So, when a manager at a 7-Eleven in Silverthorne told Outmar
Niang to take a 15-minute break and get something to eat, he didn't quite understand when he
desisted. Another problem for the mostly Muslim Africans in Summit County is finding places to
pray six times a day, as their religion requires.
This year, a post-Ramadan potluck dinner was held in
mid-November. A speaker from Denver, Mohammad A. Jodeh, spoke about the common nature of Islam,
Judaism and Christianity. The event was sponsored by an outreach program from a Lutheran church.
The team has also sponsored picnics, furniture distribution and English classes.
- compiled by