Aspen Public Radio's Environmental Desk

“It’s about time we begin it, to turn the world around.
It’s about time we start to make it, the dream we’ve always known.
It’s about time we start to live it, the family of man.
It’s about time, it’s about changes and it’s about time.”

– John Denver, “It’s About Time"

"Major support for Aspen Public Radio's Environmental Desk reporting comes from John Denver's Aspenglow Fund, promoting responsible stewardship of the lands and wilderness of Aspen & the Roaring Fork Valley.”

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Environment
9:29 am
Fri July 18, 2014

50 Years of Wilderness: The State Of Wild Places Today

Forest Service staff hikes through the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness. The area is seeing more visitors, especially at four "hot spots."
Credit United States Forest Service

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the challenges facing wild places today are different than they were in 1964. Some say it’s increasingly difficult to keep these areas wild and to get protection for new wilderness. The White River National Forest manages eight wilderness areas, including the popular Maroon Bells/Snowmass region near Aspen. In part two of our series, Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen examines the challenges facing the wilderness in our backyard.

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Environment
6:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

50 Years Of Wilderness: The "Maroon Belles"

Joy Caudill, Dottie Fox and Connie Harvey were known as the "Maroon Belles." They helped expand protection in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
Credit Meredith Ogilby/Wilderness Workshop

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and, in special series, we're focusing on one protected area in our backyard, the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

It took the work of three tireless women to expand protection in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness near Aspen. In 1964, just the high mountain peaks became wilderness. So, the women, called the “Maroon Belles,” worked to more than double the size of the preserved area. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen tells their story.

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Business
6:36 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Seeing Drilling, Fracking Up Close

Driller Dave Duke controls the drilling string while monitoring pressures, torque, weight, distance, speed, and many more parameters from the “dog house.”
Roger Adams

The word “fracking” has come to mean drilling in general for oil and gas-- and a major concern for communities and environmentalists in Colorado and elsewhere.In reality the process of hydraulic fracturing is a specialized procedure used to create cracks in shale deposits thousands of feet underground which in turn releases trapped natural gas.  There are hundreds of fracked wells in Garfield County. Often you can see them from the highway.  Recently Aspen Public Radio got a tour of a fracking operation run by WPX Energy near Parachute.  Hear the story by APR's Elise Thatcher below.  See a slideshow of photographs of the rig by APR's Roger Adams HERE.

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Oil & Gas
10:32 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Paonia Nonprofit Starts Unusual Oil & Gas Air Pollution Study

Alison Gannett examines part of her air sampling equipment.
Elise Thatcher

There’s a small army of citizen scientists just over the mountains from Carbondale. Residents in the Paonia area are donning special backpacks for twenty-four hours at a time, to collect real time data for scientific study of air pollution.  The aim is to measure what might be getting into the air from nearby oil and gas wells.

Editor's note: Below is a transcript of reporter Elise Thatcher's story. 

Alison Gannett: “Bluebell!”

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Environment
10:02 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Sex and the Greater Sage Grouse

Greater Sage Grouse
US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Greater Sage Grouse is in trouble. The bird looks like a large chicken and has an elaborate mating dance… and it's habitat across the West has been under siege for several decades. There’s been big effort to help the bird. Now, Garfield County officials are watching closely as the federal government decides how closely to protect a big chunk of its Colorado habitat. There’s disagreement about how to do that... and huge restrictions on private and public land are at stake if officials get it wrong. The BLM is taking comments on its habitat plan for the Greater Sage Grouse.

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