County may charge for
Utah Officials in Summit County are considering whether to begin
charging people when search-and-rescue crews are summoned. The
Summit County Sheriff allocates $100,000 each year to help pay
expenses for the search team, even though members are
The sheriff, Dave
Edmunds, told The Park Record that he had not made up his mind
whether to charge. If he does, said Edmunds, he'd spare charges for
Charges are already
levied in searches in Grand County, where Moab is located. Search
teams also benefit from a statewide fund collected from a surtax on
boats and off-highway vehicles, but the total amount is relatively
In general, rescue
groups frown deeply on the idea of charging, believing that it
might cause people to not summon help when they really need it.
However, searchers increasingly say they are being called when no
help is really needed, or that friends of those lost in the
backcountry sometimes insist on extra and expensive tools, such as
helicopters to retrieve somebody with a broken ankle. In those
cases, searchers are now inclined to pass on the cost.
Gold medalists denied US entry
KETCHUM, Idaho Enough is enough, says
the Idaho Mountain Express, after Olympic gold-medal ice skaters
Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were denied admission into the
United States. The pair were traveling from British Columbia to
perform at the Sun Valley Resort.
The U.S. immigration
official at the border said the pair lacked proper work papers and
hence could not continue traveling to perform at Sun Valley. The
INS "surely knew the celebrated skaters were regulars on the U.S.
ice show circuit and could have used discretion in allowing them to
continue to Sun Valley to perform while paper shufflers figured out
the error," said the paper.
Colorado College names top ten
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. It's kind of like
one of those "Best Places in America" to live that the various
business and lifestyle magazines put out periodically. This time,
however, the study came out of a college in Colorado.
And when all the numbers
had been crunched, Pitkin County and Aspen were tops in the
recreation category, while Jackson Hole had the highest-quality
public lands. "Positioned as a gateway to Grand Teton National Park
and Yellowstone National Park and at the base of the world-renowned
Jackson Hole ski resort, it is difficult to imagine a better place
for the outdoor enthusiast as second-home owner."
The study, which was
created by Colorado College, had top-10 lists in dozens of
categories, not all of them beauty contests. The underlying premise
was not all that startling: money follows natural beauty and
cultural and other amenities.
Winter Park aims at beginners
WINTER PARK, Colo. In getting the
contract to manage the Winter Park ski area, Intrawest promised to
spend $50 million in the first decade in capital improvements. So
far, it's holding true to that pledge and then a little.
The resort this summer
will be spending $4 million, bringing the two-year total to $11
million. Much of the work this year is intended to better
accommodate beginner skiers. Among other changes, reports the
Winter Park Manifest, a ski jumping hill that had launched several
Olympics is being displaced by a couple of long Magic Carpet
"The big effort in the
skiing industry now is getting more people to try the sport, and to
get a better retention rate," said Gary LaFrange, general manager
at Winter Park. "The competition among resorts for the beginning
skier is fierce."
Intrawest expects to
have initial plans for its new base-area real estate development
ready for public inspection later this year. Using existing
features, the project will be keyed around the themes of water and
Crested Butte ready for big
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. With new owners at
the ski area and the real estate slump over, things are happening
at Crested Butte.
On the mountain, new
owners Tim and Diane Mueller are investing $6.5 million in what is
described as a "cosmetic overhaul" of the mountain. There's one new
lift, servicing a new real estate subdivision, some improved lifts
for access to the mountain's extreme terrain, and a smidgeon of new
intermediate terrain. As well, the paint brushes seem to be
With deeper pockets than
the former owners, the Callaway and Walton families, the Muellers
intend to open the ski area earlier and keep it operating longer.
This year, the ski area will open before Thanksgiving, a sharp
contrast to the last several years, where the ski area either did
not charge for skiing during early season or waited until just
In the longer term,
Crested Butte sees a large part of its salvation being a new ski
area, separated only from the existing ski area by the Town of Mt.
Crested Butte. That ski area, nicknamed Snodgrass Lite, because it
is smaller than what was originally proposed, would give Crested
Butte substantially more intermediate terrain, which the resort
currently lacks in quantity. The idea is that the new terrain will
offer a destination skier enough variety to hold their interest for
more than a couple of days.
Meanwhile, work is
beginning on two major real estate projects that will raise the bar
of cost, size, and quality.
Global warming impacts animals
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. As the
climate warms, vegetation will shift, and in response so will the
mammals that depend upon that vegetation. Scientists report this is
already happening, with species generally moving northward while
breeding and flowering more early in the year.
But what will happen
eventually in the U.S. national parks? That picture was the goal of
a study reported recently in Yale's Journal of the School of
Forestry & Environmental Studies. The researchers chose eight
parks, from Acadia in Maine to Big Bend in Texas, but also
including Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier.
predict an influx of new species. "They're moving northward and
into parks," said Oswald Schmitz, professor of population and
community ecology. "But the species that were in the parks,
especially in the northern parks, aren't leaving those parks and
going even farther north. So this migration crowds species much
more. If you measure things only in terms of biodiversity, yes,
it's going to be fantastic but we don't know what affect the
crowding will have."
Schmitz used the analogy
of human migration during the Great Depression, when waves of
people fled to cities, putting pressure on social services, housing
and jobs. "If we have those same kinds of pressure in the parks,
we're going to see extinctions precipitated by these influxes," he
said. Even though biodiversity goes up for a while, eventually the
pressure gets heavy. Mammals may distribute on the landscape, but
it's the interaction that ensues once these animals have
redistributed that would lead to their ultimate demise.
-compiled by Allen