Lion takes on mountain
WHISTLER, B.C. Mountain lions, also
called cougars and pumas, are rare in Whistler, but a couple
of mountain bikers recently got home with a story that should
remain riveting at campfires for a good many years to come.
Tyler Comeau, taking his
first mountain bike ride, was riding at what he estimates was 30
kilometers an hour (19 mph) when the cougar appeared. "It was
keeping up with me for about 15 seconds, and for about 10 seconds
of that it was maybe about 2 feet from me," Comeau told Pique newsmagazine. "I could hear it
breathing and its feet hitting the path. It was totally stretched
out, in a full run."Meanwhile, a companion, Scott Robinson, had
pulled over to wait. He was amazed when Comeau came around a
corner, slammed on the brakes, and flew over his bars. As he did
this, he yelled, "mountain lion."
Comeau landed on the ground facing the lion. He said he was
amazed by the lion's tail, which was about 4 feet long and bushy,
and sticking straight up in the air as the big cat dug its paws
into the ground and skidded to a halt. He also remembers the cat's
big, blue eyes. "It looked surprised more than anything. It think
it thought I was a deer or something, and it didn't know what to
think when I wiped out in front of it.
"At that point I was about 2 feet away from it, and its ears
were right back. It looked like it was just about to leap forward,
and it had its paw up, and I just went crazy I picked up my bike
over my head and just started screaming at it like it was a bear or
A local conservation officer said that the 6-foot-1, 180-pound
Comeau did exactly what he should have done. "You never want to
show a cougar your back," said Chris Doyle.
The biker backed off, the cougar backed off, and both went their
separate ways. As for Robinson, the only experienced biker in the
group, he figures he got off lucky. If his novice biker hadn't
spilled at that corner, he would have been a sitting duck for the
lion. "It's pretty amazing it worked out the way it did."
Population to impact
ASPEN The U.S. population is expected
to double during this century, with large implications for the
nation's wilderness reserves. Forest Service rangers recently met
in Aspen to sort through some of those changes, and The Aspen Times was there to hear the
Currently, about 17 percent of the nation's population lives
within 25 miles of wilderness, according to Ken Cordell, a
researcher with the Forest Service, and 70 percent live within 100
miles of designated wilderness. Assuming continued growth in these
existing areas, the expected population boom might tax the trails
and resources of the fringes of wilderness areas, a phenomenon that
has already been experienced in wilderness areas adjacent to
Frisco, Vail and other places west of Denver.
But this growing population may well tame wilderness areas with
increased light at night, noise and roads.
Designation of wilderness has lagged the increase in use,
Cordell said, even though more than half of U.S. residents polled
say more is needed. A recent survey also showed that wilderness
areas are more prized for their value in protecting air quality and
water quality. Next down the list are their value in providing
wildlife habitat and protection of endangered species.
Scientists study how
FRONT RANGE, Colo. Scientists this
summer will be taking readings in the forests of the Colorado
Rockies in an attempt to better understand how these "lungs" work
in scrubbing carbon and other gases from the atmosphere.
taken near timberline along the Front Range, between Boulder and
the mountain town of Granby, have found that the appetite of a
forest for carbon shifts with age. Scientists also know that
forests in the Pacific Northwest absorb more carbon monoxide than
do the high-elevation forests of Colorado.
But this new study by
the National Center for Atmospheric Research will attempt to
broaden the understanding of how much forests absorb carbon
dioxide, a key global warming gas. Scientists, reports The Denver Post , will also fly over the massive
Hayman burn area from two years ago to measure carbon exchange in a
forested region razed by fire. They also hope to define how the
forests operate in different seasons, during a soggy spring versus
a dry July.
Telluride council chooses
TELLURIDE It wasn't gender. Both of
the applicants were women. Nor was it environmental philosophy.
Both candidates to the vacant Telluride Town Council spot had
impeccable "green" qualifications.
Rather, the issue seemed
to be age. One candidate, Linda Miller, in her 70s or so, has lived
in Telluride for 27 years and has served on a variety of
environmental boards. The other candidate, Mallory Dimmit, holds a
bachelor's degree in natural resources and is 27 years old. At
first deadlocked, the council finally gave the nod to the younger
One of Dimmit's
supporters, Councilwoman Andrea Benda, noted Dimmit's membership in
"that demographic we all pay a lot of lip service to people in
their 20s and 30s." Dimmit said she wants to represent those of her
generation who are steadily moving down-valley from Telluride (as
well as other resort towns) and then leaving altogether.
But some in the losing
camp alleged that the younger woman's discernible comeliness may
have swung votes from the men on the council.
As for Miller, she
seemed devastated, the next day submitting her resignation to four
different town task forces and commissions. "This will enable you
to appoint someone younger and more energetic to those positions,"
she said. "I will retain my seat on the Open Space Commission,
because I truly believe I can still manage to make my way from my
rocking chair to Rebekah Hall once a month for those meetings.
Besides, I have read that it is important for elderly people to
have a hobby."
Canmore may ban lawn herbicides
CANMORE, Alberta The Canmore Town
Council is considering a proposal to eliminate cosmetic herbicides
within the town by the year 2014.
Cosmetic herbicides are
used to rid lawns of dandelions and other nuisance weeds. Recent
studies have linked herbicides with harmful effects to both pets
Dr. Melanie Watt,
executive director of the Biosphere Institute, told the Rocky Mountain Outlook that people overuse cosmetic
pesticides with the mistaken assumption that they become more
effective if used in larger quantities. In fact, they can make pets
violently ill, and they can be very bad for children.
Canmore Mayor Glen Craig said he supports the concept, but would
like to see a ban sooner, as 10 years is more than what is
necessary to educate people.
Summit County fears new
SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah Two sophomores at
South Summit High School were suspended for the remainder of the
school year after police found materials in their lockers that were
described as "very violent" and had "neo-Nazi overtones
Most disturbing, said
police, was a 1999 magazine article about the shootings at
Columbine High School in Colorado. However, they found no weapons,
either at the school or at the homes of the two boys.
"Had we not intercepted
this I believe that the potential for school violence was extremely
high," Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds told The Park Record .
Some students thought the case overblown, others said they were
scared. One student said the two boys in question had a lot of
hatred for everybody.
Kobe Bryant commutes to
EAGLE Eagle is a commuting town. For
many, it's 30 miles to Vail. But for basketball player Kobe Bryant,
who has spent scattered days in court facing charges that he raped
a local woman last year, it's about a two-hour commute by private
jet to Los Angeles, where he lives and performs for the Los Angeles
The New York Times reports that during one series of
three days in Eagle this spring, Bryant commuted to Los Angeles
daily. On the final day of the series, he had a game that evening
in Los Angeles. Although deeply tired by then, he told reporters he
meditated, fearing that if he slept he would go into the basketball
Bryant has had superlative games after each court