Candidate wants to kick
PARK CITY, Utah Linda Kelsch, 54, is
running for the state Legislature from the district that includes
Summit County. She is affiliated with the Personal Choice
"I believe the state
Legislature is too involved in pushing their morals onto Utah
citizens," she told The Park
She would, she said,
oppose a constitutional amendment barring marriage between people
of the same sex. "I am not threatened by that. I don't need to
control what they do," she said of gay marriages.
She also wants
governments to butt out of the illegal but frequent polygamous
households of Mormon fundamentalists. She reports a positive
experience growing up in a polygamous household in Salt Lake City.
"I had such a loving family," she recalls of her
Mormons at first
embraced polygamous marriages, where a man takes more than one
wife, but after being barred from joining the United States for
about 30 years, church officials decreed a new policy. That was in
1890, six years before statehood.
Forest Service wants lodge torn down
BERTHOUD PASS, Colo. The U.S. Forest
Service continues to want the old ski lodge atop Berthoud Pass
Winter Park Manifest reports that the agency is open to
proposals for a business, such as a convenience store, that would
also take on responsibilities for collecting trash, providing
public toilets and clearing snow from the parking lot at the
11,312-foot pass. The agency also sees the business as a staging
area for travelers on the increasingly well-traveled Continental
The building was erected
in 1939, two years after a ski area began operations there with
Colorado's first chair lift. But business slackened after key
segments of Interstate 70 were completed in the 1970s, making new,
bigger and lower-elevation resorts in Summit County nearly as
Beginning in the 1980s
the ski area lurched, some years open, some years not. Finally, two
years ago, the latest owner announced a closing, and the Forest
Service said enough was enough. The two lifts were disassembled and
shipped to resorts in Missouri and Massachusetts.
The remaining lodge,
says the Forest Service, does not meet the agency's standards for
image, aesthetics and overall quality. It estimates the cost of
necessary upgrades to the roof and other repairs is
I-70 speed limit enacted to stem noise
VAIL, Colo. In Vail's ongoing effort
to control noise pollution, police are being dispatched to
Interstate 70, which bisects the town, to enforce the 65 mph speed
It's the latest in a
broad strategy to quell the growing highway din that, for many Vail
residents, is becoming a quality of life issue. One Town Council
member, Dick Cleveland, reports that his 10-year-old deck has
become basically unusable. Such reports are common in those
neighborhoods located at the same level or higher than the
Trucks are only part of
the problem, but the town did discuss the idea of banning jake
brakes, a move sure to offend truckers. Instead, they have decided
instead to work with truckers. One idea being explored is to set up
truck trailers along the interstate or adjoining frontage roads.
The hope is that this wall of trailers, combined with reduced
speeds, will quell noise by 2 or 3 decibels in residential
Aspen prince adds on to home
ASPEN, Colo. No matter how the common
folk are doing in Saudi Arabia, the aristocracy is living
luxuriously, as is evident from a recent report in
Prince Bandar bin
Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, is expanding his
existing 53,000-square-foot house in Aspen by 15,000 square feet.
He also has 7,500-square-foot house nearby.
Bandar has owned
property in Aspen since the early 1980s, about the time he became
the ambassador. How much time he spends in Aspen is something of a
mystery, reports the Rocky Mountain
News , but the
amount of taxes is not. Last year alone he paid $205,000 in
property taxes. He also gives liberally to local nonprofits and
Whether he wants to or
not, Bandar will also be giving money to energy-efficiency programs
in Aspen and Pitkin County. A program encourages energy
conservation in building designs. Those developers who install
heated pavers, outdoor swimming pools and other things that consume
a great deal of energy are required to contribute to the Renewable
Energy Mitigation Program. To atone for his latest environmental
sins, Bandar is paying $110,000 into the fund.
With this expansion his
base home will have 21 bedrooms, 26 bathrooms, a racquetball court
and a garage large enough to accommodate at least 10
Telluride to get longer runway
TELLURIDE, Colo. Telluride is getting
an airport runway that will be about 250 feet longer, but that
distance not quite a football field won't be easy.
That's because the
airport is located on Deep Creek Mesa, making take-offs and
landings something like operations on an aircraft carrier. To
extend the runway 250 feet requires extending the mesa by 250 feet
and holding in this new land with a retaining wall that is 110 feet
high and 500 feet wide. The cost of this new, longer runway and
retaining wall will be $30 million. Of that, the federal government
will pay 95 percent.
The merits of this
expansion were debated, sometimes heatedly, in the pages of
the Telluride Watch for about a year. Some promoted
it as a matter of improving safety, although observers say the
longer runway increases safety only marginally. Others proclaimed
the improvements as vital for potential commercial flights by a new
generation of smaller jets that can travel about 1,500
Telluride's main air
portal is at Montrose, about 65 miles away, which can easily
accommodate large jets. The Telluride airport is at about 9,000
feet, the highest airport in the United States that accommodates
Bison killed by geothermal gasses
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. Five
bison found dead in early March were probably killed by poisonous
gases emitted from geothermal vents, the National Park Service
Park officials believe
that a cold front created a cap in the basin along the Gibbon
River, and the steam and toxic gases both hydrogen sulfide ad
carbon dioxide remained close to the ground, because they are
denser than air. The former gas is easily identified by people
because of its "rotten egg" odor.
According to a report in
the Jackson Hole News &
Guide , the fairly
constant winds in the Yellowstone area dilute and disperse gases so
that it would be "almost unheard of for a park visitor to be
overcome by toxic fumes."
Not so animals. In 1889,
six bears and one elk were found in an area now called Death Gulch.
Seven dead bears were reported in the area in 1899.
Noisy jets may be banned in Teton
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Directors of the
Jackson Hole Airport at their April meeting will consider a ban on
private Stage 2 jets, an older model that is said to create as much
noise as a 747. The issue has been festering for at least four
In its editorial,
the Jackson Hole News &
Guide explains that
especially after Sept. 11, but also because of a burgeoning upper
class in Jackson Hole, the quiet of Grand Teton National Park is
being shattered more often by the din of the noisy jets. The
airport is located within the park.
Initial attempts to
clamp down on the private jets were overruled by the Federal
Aviation Administration, which by virtue of its funding had say-so
in such matters. But Wyoming Sen. Craig Thomas then got a law
passed exempting the airport because of its location within a
national park, from the FAA authority.
The newspaper reports
that the airport board is being lobbied by several anonymous owners
of Stage 2 jets to restrict landing times rather than an outright
ban. For the airport board, says the newspaper, the choice is
clear. "It should choose the public interest of a quiet national
park over the special interest and convenience of a few anonymous
private jet owners."
Owners of these noisy
Stage 2 jets can buy the quieter Stage 3 jets for $6 million. A
less expensive alternative, at $1.3 million, is a noise-muffling
device that can be installed on the Stage 2 jets.
New backcountry hut planned in Kootenay
BANFF, Alberta A new
backcountry hut is to be built by the Alpine Club of Canada in
Kootenay National Park. The hut is to replace the Fay Hut, which
was destroyed by one of the several lightning-caused fires that
chewed through Banff, Kootenay and Yoho national parks last
This new hut will be served by helicopters, which will fly out
sewage collected in outhouse barrels while flying in cords of
firewood, reports the Rocky Mountain
Intrawest lays out a paradoxical formula
Intrawest has issued is vision for a "rustic yet civilized" new
base village at the Winter Park ski area.
It's an ambitious and sometimes amusing 39-page report, called a
storyline, that attempts to define the essence of the Intrawest's
product at Winter Park 10 years from now. In the document,
Intrawest professes a vision that will allow Winter Park locals to
have their cake and eat it too. They want to get the critical mass
necessary to compete with the big resorts without actually becoming
Of course, everything is always relative. Some people left
Winter Park 25 years ago complaining it was getting too big. More
recently in another Colorado town, Silverton, Aaron Brill is
creating a small ski area. To some, he is a brave pioneer returning
skiing to its "soulful" roots, while to others he is just another
In Winter Park, it's a mantra among locals that they don't want
to be no stinkin' Vail. Or, for that matter, Breckenridge, with its
foo-foo ski mountain. Even Steamboat Springs. The goal, then, is to
"make Winter Park more like Winter Park."
Intrawest professes it can do this. It will not, it insists,
create another European-inspired village but will instead create
something that has authentic Colorado roots. There will be a couple
of hotels, lots of residential housing and a museum about trains (a
heavily used railroad runs through the middle of all this).
Visitors into this new village can expected to be surprised by
bakers pulling loaves of bread from ovens in front of windows.
Perhaps a highlight of all this authenticity will be a hot spring
created amid granite-looking rocks.
Intrawest envisions Winter Park and the broader Fraser Valley
becoming more gentrified and tourist-friendly, partly through a
31-mile bike path. At the same time, the surrounding "wilderness"
is a selling point to the rest of the world. Sometimes, this
selling is too blatant. For example, the document suggests creation
of a "Wilderness Culture Club," an organization of merchants,
artists and artisans to coordinate local cultural activities.
Rotten snow, lighting and short sleeves across Rockies
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS Across the Rockies, balmy, extraordinarily
spring-like conditions were reported in the final weeks of
In Vail, lifts were evacuated two days running because of
lightning. Meanwhile, portions of the mountain were closed because
of "rotten" snow that resulted in people breaking through the
surface. While not uncommon in the unpacked backcountry areas, such
rotten snow is almost unheard of on packed and groomed ski
In Steamboat Springs, a couple from Columbia, Georgia, was
spotted shopping in short sleeves. They said they thought it was
about as warm in Steamboat Springs as in Georgia. While that wasn't
actually the case, reported The Steamboat
Pilot , the couple
could be excused for thinking so.
"As quickly as winter
came on this year, it is showing no intention of lingering," wrote
Ron Matous in the Jackson Hole News
& Guide in a
report about a backcountry excursion.
At Steamboat, Vail and
probably many other resorts, rumors were rife of early closings.
While executives pledged to stay the course, remaining open until
previously scheduled mid-April dates, the disappearing snow was
clearly on everyone's mind. When a small storm went through
Colorado over the weekend, public relations crews were hastily
making the most of the new stuff to trumpet the virtues of spring
Time-out for big-box retailers in Steamboat
The Steamboat Springs City Council has enacted a 90-day moratorium
on new big-box retail development.
The city has been grappling with the issue of big-box retailers
for two years, but the catalyst for this moratorium was the
announced arrival of a Gart Sports store into a 30,000-square-foot
location. Community organizations normally on both sides of growth
issues came together in urging the moratorium.
Existing city regulations have nothing specifically to say about
big-box retailers, except that any building if store signs were
removed, should not be recognized as a franchise by its
In an interview with The Steamboat
Pilot , City
Councilman Paul Strong explained that a day at the city's economic
summit last year was devoted to big boxes.
"There is a great
concern that the proliferation of formula stores across America is
causing cities to lose their individuality," he reported. "By
formula stores, I mean stores that look and operate the same
wherever they are located, causing the places they are in to be the
same as every other place, turning America into Generica,'" he
"Steamboat's feel and
ambiance are key to Steamboat's appeal as a destination tourist
resort," he said. "If our city begins to look like the towns where
our visitors live, we will lose most of what differentiates us from
other resort communities. I feel it is vital to our economy to try
to protect this."
At the same time, he
acknowledged that big boxes do provide goods at generally lower
prices, and as such could be seen as an affordability issue,
alongside affordable housing.
Steamboat is looking at
various ideas from elsewhere. In 1994 Fort Collins began requiring
an economic impact statement before big-box retailers were allowed
and also enacted special architectural and design standards in an
attempt to soften the typical aesthetic harshness of the
Looking at what has
occurred at Montrose-Telluride, City Councilwoman Kathy Connell has
advocated a regional approach. She wants to see big boxes allowed
near the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, abut 20 miles west of
Steamboat. The big boxes would be available to Steamboat residents,
but also to those in Craig and Hayden, two towns that supply many
of the resort's service and construction workers. It is, she said,
similar to the big boxes at Montrose, which is the primary air
portal as well as service center for Telluride.
Another idea is to put
all of the big boxes at a location on the western outskirts of
Steamboat, near the old airport. That would also serve the purpose
of leaving Steamboat's ranching-era main street as a place of
niche, old-timey stores.
More than some other
resort towns, Steamboat has taken a tough stance on the large
retailers. A decade ago, the city stood firm in requiring Wal-Mart
to back off from its business-as-usual building plans. Now,
Wal-Mart and many other national franchises are willing to come
more closely to meet the design and review requirements of mountain
Farm Bureau argues against new wilderness
SUN VALLEY, Idaho
In lobbying for a 5,000-acre designation of wilderness, a group of
Wood River Valley business owners organized a letter-writing
campaign arguing that wilderness brings more commerce. That, says a
representative of the Idaho Farm Bureau, is a hasty conclusion.
John Thompson, the group's director of information, says that
less than 3 percent of people who recreate on national forest land
use wilderness areas, and even most wilderness users spend less
than a day. Even so, they have 4.6 acres close at hand to Sun
Valley to choose from.
"If there was some evidence to suggest that our existing
wilderness areas are helping generate more commerce than other
public lands, there might be an argument here," he concluded. There
is no such evidence, he assets, nor evidence that will change with
designation of additional wilderness.
Avalanche claims one snowmobiler in B.C.
REVELSTOKE, B.C. A recently married man died in an avalanche,
and four other snowmobilers were also partially or totally burried.
They had been snowmobiling near treeline in the mountains near
Empress Lake, 60 kilometers (36 miles) southwest of Revelstoke.
Two of the riders dug themselves out, while another two were
rescued by the others. They were al wearing avalanche beacons. The
fifth person, the only member of the group not wearing an avalanche
beacon, was buried for 30 minutes. The Revelstoke Times Review said the avalanche occurred on a
The Canadian Avalanche
Association had issued a special warning for the area Friday,
because half-a meter of snow fell earlier in the week and the
temperatures were rising. Both factors contribute to unstable snow
packs, which make avalanches more likely, according to the
CyberSpace Avalanche Center.
"It's a difficult time
because the danger ratings are considerable," Ilya Storm, an
avalanche forecaster with the association, said. "What that means
is that natural avalanches are possible, but human-triggered
avalanches are probable."
This is the eighth
avalanche fatality in Western Canada this year and the second
compiled by Allen Best