|Asthecrowflies: A crow alights from his
perch on a high wire above Durango./Photo by Todd Newcomer.
Blackout sweeps the entire region
Lights went out all over La Plata
County and spread as far as Telluride, Silverton, Mancos and Pagosa
Springs last Tuesday night. The source of the hour-long outage has
been linked to the power supplier Tri-State, but its cause remains
David Waller, spokesman
for the La Plata Electric Association, said that the outage was
from Mancos in the west to the base of Wolf Creek Pass and from the
New Mexico border north to Silverton and Telluride was out," Waller
said. "Pretty much everybody was out for about an hour."
Waller said that 100
percent of LPEA's coverage area was impacted by the outage, but
that the local electrical cooperative was powerless to doing any
"There wasn't really
much we could do about it other than wait for Tri-State to bring it
back it up," Waller said. "It affected our entire service area plus
Waller concluded that
weather may have been the culprit, but that the cause of the outage
will not be know for some time.
Missionary Ridge Road still closed
At least one of the impacts of the
2002 Missionary Ridge fire is still lingering. Two years have
passed since the devastating blaze northeast of Durango, and
Missionary Ridge Road remains closed to hikers, bikers and hunters.
However, the Forest Service is hoping to be able to open the road
by the start of archery season in late August.
"If the road isn't open
by then, it will be because of an act of nature," says Dave Baker,
long-term restoration team leader.A contractor has completed about
half of the hazard tree mitigation needed along the road but is
currently unable to work because of soft ground conditions. The
Forest Service has estimated that the contractor has 45 days of
work left on the project.
"Our plan is to open the
road as soon as the contract is complete and our recreation staff
has a chance to make certain the travel management signs and gates
are all in place," says Baker.
Forest managers also
said that they do not anticipate needing to close the road if
Colorado Wild's lawsuit is resolved and the proposed timber salvage
sale is allowed to proceed.
San Juan boosted for the summer
San Juan River users will benefit from
increased flows this spring and summer. In spite of low levels in
Navajo Reservoir, the Bureau of Reclamation has announced that
releases into the lower San Juan will be raised to a minimum of 350
cubic feet per second this year. The increase of 100 cfs is
particularly good news for anglers.
"When you bump up the
current, it helps the entire fishery," said Steve Linn, president
of the 5 Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited. "More water means more
bugs and oxygen content and easier and better fishing,
Minimum flows had been
set at 250 cfs while the Bureau worked on an Environmental Impact
Statement to address threatened and endangered fish. However, that
level has been raised for the summer to prevent impacts to
nonendangered fish trout.
Pat Page, the chief of
the Bureau's water management group, commented, "Because we've
identified significant impacts to the trout fishery, we have to go
to a higher release."
In spite of the boost to
350 cfs, Page noted that the preferred alternative in the EIS calls
for minimum releases of 250 cfs along with a large spring release
to mimic run-off. This type of flow dynamic should help restore the
endangered razorback suckers and Colorado pike minnows.
Linn said that local
anglers should enjoy a strong river again this summer. "It's always
going to be a world class fishery, but with more water, more people
will go and fish, and more people will be catching fish, and it'll
get back on the map again."
Forest Service taps artists, teachers
The San Juan National Forest has
announced the winners of its 2004 Artist-in-Residence Program at
the Aspen Guard Station. Judges from the Durango Arts Center,
Cortez Cultural Center and Mancos Valley Arts Association selected
the following artists to stay in the historic ranger station near
Mancos: Erica Olson, of San Francisco, for writing; Tom
Bartels/Jennie Dear, of Durango, for virtual reality
photography/oral histories; Deborah Ford, of Prescott, Ariz., for
black-and-white photography; Rick Stoner, a Cortez native now
living in Longmont, for painting; Galina Franz, of Flagstaff,
Ariz., for pine needle basketmaking; Sally Shuffield, of Durango,
The alternates for 2004
are: Chad Colby, of Durango, for painting; Janet Emmons, of
Dolores, for Middle Eastern dance/poetry; Kathleen Steele, of
Basalt, for painting.
for 2004 is: Deb Pavich, Animas Valley Elementary kindergarten
Those selected will stay
at the rustic cabin for one to two weeks in the summer or fall of
2004 and share their talents with local communities through open
houses, workshops and at an art show. Teachers are asked to
integrate their experiences into the classroom. The program's goal
is to enhance awareness of natural and cultural resources on public
lands in creative ways.
compiled by Will