Tourism office director named
After several months without
leadership, the Durango Area Tourism Office once again has a
director. Kim Cobb has been promoted to the position of tourism
director for DATO. Cobb has served as DATO marketing manager for
the past two years and fills the position vacated last December by
"I am delighted to
accept the position," Cobb said. "I love Durango and truly enjoy
working with our tourism industry representatives. Summer 2004 is
going to be terrific."
Bob Kunkel, DATO board
chairman, commented, "Her experience in both tourism and in the
DATO office made her the ideal candidate for the position. We have
been very impressed with Kim's outgoing personality and high level
of enthusiasm for promoting the Durango area."
A Colorado native and
business/marketing graduate of the University of Denver, Cobb
previously served as sponsorship manager for the Vail Valley
Tourism and Convention Bureau and marketing coordinator for Meeting
Professionals International in Dallas.
While working at the
Durango Area Tourism Office, Cobb has represented the area at trade
shows and handled group travel inquiries. She also was responsible
for implementing a tracking mechanism for both DATO marketing
efforts and Central Reservations.
In 2002, the Durango
Area Chamber Resort Association was split into the Durango Chamber
of Commerce and the new Durango Area Tourism Office.
Environmentalists take on McInnis
Last week, 88 conservation groups,
including Durango-based Colorado Wild, banded together and
challenged assertions made in the Healthy Forest Restoration Act.
In a four page letter to the Chairman of the Council on
Environmental Quality, the groups yesterday challenged what they
claimed were false assertions by Congressman Scott McInnis about
the act. In particular, they cited assertions made about the
Missionary Ridge post-fire timber sale proposed just northwest of
Jeff Berman, executive
director of Colorado Wild, charged that on Feb. 12 , McInnis wrote
to Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman regarding the timber sale.
He said that McInnis misrepresented the timber sale as a
fuels-reduction project and falsely took issue with a legal claim
made by Colorado Wild in their lawsuit over the project.
inflammatory contention that conservation groups seek to end all
land management projects' is simply unfounded and does a disservice
to sensible discourse of public policy issues," Berman
On Jan. 30, a federal
judge in Denver granted Colorado Wild a preliminary injunction of
the Missionary Ridge timber sale. As Colorado Wild had a
substantial likelihood in the end to win its lawsuit, the judge
chose to defer ruling on other issues including water-quality
impacts and road building until the final decision.
Berman concluded that
McInnis' claim that the timber sale is a fuels-reduction project is
ludicrous given that the fuel burned during the Missionary Ridge
fire of 2002.
evidence to the contrary, McInnis still likens this harmful timber
sale to a fuels-reduction project," he said.
Local forest gets thinning
The local Forest Service has been
allocated additional funding to conduct forest thinning in the
wildland-urban interface. The San Juan National Forest is one of
six forests in the Rocky Mountain Region that will receive
additional money over the next three years to accelerate
implementation of the National Fire Plan.
Two factors contributed
to the local forest being chosen to receive the additional monies.
First, there are thousands of dead or dying pi`F1on and ponderosa
pine trees in the area because of the recent beetle epidemic.
Second, community fire plans were completed in 2002 and they
identified areas in the interface needing fuels-reduction
Public meetings will be
held during 2004 to verify the high-priority areas. The Forest
Service and BLM are especially interested in treating public lands
adjacent to private lands that have already been treated. Land
managers have typically tried to treat about 70 percent of the
forest's fuels-reduction acres with prescribed burning and 30
percent with mechanical methods. They would like to increase the
amount of cutting.
burning is still a very viable treatment method, it can't be relied
upon as heavily because it is so weather dependent," said Mark
Stiles, Forest Supervisor/Center Manager.
In 2004, fire managers
expect to complete approximately 15,000 acres of hazardous-fuels
reduction work.That number could increase to 20,000 acres in
2005 and 30,000 acres by 2011.
Lynx reintroduction ready to resume
The effort to reintroduce lynx into
the San Juan Mountains will continue this week. The Colorado
Division of Wildlife will begin its 2004 lynx releases on Saturday,
April 10. The agency will release four lynx north of Wolf Creek
Pass in its long-term effort to restore the native cat to
The releases will
continue through the month with a total of 37 lynx captured in
Canada to be released locally.
"These lynx will go into
the core reintroduction area where previous releases have
occurred," said Rick Kahn, coordinator of the agency's lynx
reintroduction program. "The lynx released this year will find
habitat that's already occupied by animals we released in previous
years, increasing the likelihood that they'll adapt and establish
program began in 1999 with the release of 41 lynx, followed by 55
more in 2000 and 33 in 2003. Up to 50 more lynx will be released in
2005, and another 15 may be released in 2006 and 2007. DOW tracking
crews confirmed the birth of at least 16 kittens to six lynx
mothers last spring, the first time reproduction has been
documented during the effort. This winter, crews confirmed that at
least six of the kittens survived the winter and are already
hunting on their own.
Snow traps doctor in the La Platas
Last weekend's storms caught a
Farmington man by serious surprise when he found himself trapped in
the La Plata Mountains for several days.
Dr. Russell Hill, who
works at San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, drove
toLa Plata Canyon Thursday, April 1, parked his car and rode
hissnowmobile approximately 8 miles up the canyon to his cabin.
The cabin is situated at around 11,000 feet in an area called
Columbine Basin, near Kennebec Pass.After Hill arrived Friday
evening, a major snowstorm moved into the area.By Saturday
morning, more than 4 feet of snow had fallen at the cabin, and
Hill's snowmobile could not move through the wet, heavy
At that time, Hill
decidedto skidown the canyon but continued to struggle and
lost track of the road at least three times.He spent the next 24
hours trying to ski out but covered only 4 miles.
Hill's wife contacted
the La Plata County Sheriff's Officeon Saturday evening to say
her husband wasoverdue andhad missed his Saturday evening
shift at the hospital. However, rescuers were unable to respond
because of poor visibility in the continuing storm and the threat
After the weather broke
on the morning of Sunday, April 4, six members of La Plata County
Search & Rescue and seven members of San Juan Sledders started
up the canyon with six snowmobiles and a snowcat. Their longer-
tracked snowmobiles also began to bog down in the snow and even the
tracks on the larger snowcat began to slip. Four miles up the
canyon, the rescuers eventually made contact with Hill as he
continued to struggle through the snow.
After 24 hours of
skiing, Hill had only traversed about half the distance he needed
to go to get out of the canyon.It was estimated that a total of
6 feet of new snow fell in the La Platas between the time Hill
arrived at his cabin and when he was rescued.
compiled by Will