environment

High Country News

The White River National Forest is about to get deluged with summer users. The Forest Service is contemplating a management plan, but it won’t be implemented this year. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason has more.

District Ranger Karen Schroyer says she needs more information from the public before making any decisions on how to curb the overuse in areas like Condundrum Hot Springs or the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness area. She plans to get feedback from recreationalists in Denver this summer.

Auden Schendler – Aspen Skiing Company, Olivia Siegel – ACES, and Naomi Oreskes – filmmaker and historian on this weekend's showing of the film “Merchants of Doubt” at the Wheeler Opera House.

http://www.wheeleroperahouse.com/events/detail/merchants-of-doubt

Today on CrossCurrents - Annie Denver and Karmen Dopslaff on John Denver's Aspenglow Fund, which has been quietly supporting environmental and educational causes in the Roaring Fork Valley and around the world.

http://www.rmi.org/winter_2014_esj_rmi_in_brief_john_denver_aspenglow

Also, Aspen Public Radio is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from The John Denver Aspenglow Fund at the Aspen Community Foundation to support news coverage, outreach, and education on the environment.

Rios to Rivers

Weston Boyles, Executive Director of Rios to Rivers

Ríos to Rivers is uniting young kayakers from Patagonia, Chile and Colorado with kayaking expeditions in Chile on the Río Baker and in the US on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The Chilean kayakers will see for the first time a mega-dam and the resultant impacts on the river. US students will experience the majesty of an undeveloped river flowing through a pristine wilderness. The group will learn about the ecological impacts of dams, explore viable renewable energy sources, and take part in cultural exchange.

This week, the 2014 National Sheepdog Finals will be held on the Strang Ranch above Carbondale. Bridget Strang is the event's host and talks about the history of the event, what to expect, and how you can attend. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to Aspen Valley Land Trust. Martha Cochran is the Executive Director of the land trust and shares why this partnership was a natural fit.

On today's show, Chip Comins, President and CEO of the American Renewable Energy Institute on this year's ARE Day Summit, August 10-13 in Aspen.

And Jackie Francis, Executive Director of the Aspen Science Center on Sunday's ASC Street Fair in Paepcke Park.

Marci Krivonen

The U.S. Wilderness Act turns 50 this year and one challenge facing these lands today is the number of private inholdings inside them. Within the nationwide Wilderness System, about 180,000 acres are privately owned. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Reid Haughey, President of the Wilderness Land Trust, which started in Aspen in 1992.

Reid Haughey is director of the Wilderness Land Trust, a Carbondale-based organization that aims to add private inholdings to the nation’s wilderness system. 

Advocacy Group Looks To Forest Service Solution

Jul 24, 2014
savethethompsondivide.org

Natural Gas drilling in an area near Carbondale known as the Thompson Divide is still a possibility, despite protest from many local residents. The group trying to stop it is hopeful a Forest Service plan, due out later this summer, will prevent future drilling.

50 Years Of Wilderness: The "Maroon Belles"

Jul 17, 2014
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.

High Country News/hcn.org

White River National Forest officials are concerned about overuse at Conundrum Hot Springs, outside Aspen. Forest Service staffers recently pulled more than 35 pounds of trash from the popular recreation area and the number of visitors continues to grow.

Visitors hike from Aspen and Crested Butte to reach the hot springs in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness. The area sees more than 3000 people each summer. Martha Moran with the Forest Service says the numbers are impacting the area’s Wilderness character.

Fracking: Is There a Fix to the Fight?

Jun 30, 2014

Fracking: Is There a Fix to the Fight?

Domestic shale gas has transformed the US energy equation, but its development can have unacceptable impacts on air and water quality, while methane emissions from oil and gas development can undo the climate benefit of burning natural gas instead of other fossil fuels. Colorado has led the way with the nation's strongest air pollution standards for oil and gas development, including the first direct regulation of methane. Governor John Hickenlooper and Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp, who worked closely on the breakthrough rules in Colorado, lead a discussion of the way forward for shale gas.

Fred Krupp, John Hickenlooper, Gillian Tett

Ami Vitale/PBS.org

A natural history film that looks at mankind’s relationship to the planet’s wild places airs on PBS next year and those attending the Aspen Ideas Festival got a sneak-peek over the weekend. Earth: A New Wild was shot in 29 countries on six continents. It’s a five-part series produced in part by National Geographic. It’s hosted by Doctor M. Sanjayan, Senior Scientist at Conservation International. 

PBS is scheduled to air the series Earth: A New Wild  in February of 2015.

Mountain Edition - May 29th, 2014

May 29, 2014

A neighboring county is grappling with a huge mudslide, west of the Roaring Fork Valley.

It’s so dangerous a search for three missing residents has been called off and another slide could come down.

Construction begins in Carbondale for a decorative new roundabout on highway 133.

We’ll hear different opinions about a federal plan to beef up environmental protection for certain bodies of water.

Some Colorado companies are starting to use the state’s new logo but there have been hiccups for the branding effort.

Finally, we’ll hear from a state representative whose district covers Pitkin County about her busy time at the Statehouse.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition – right now.

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the week’s top news stories in Aspen and beyond.  

Joining us today are Carolyn Sackariason, Editor of the Aspen Daily News and Andy Stone, former editor of and now columnist for the Aspen Times.

This month special taxing districts are holding elections for their boards.  Two are getting a lot of attention because of what happened in their last elections.  Critics are running for seats this time. 

One of those is the Crown Mountain Recreation District. Also facing a shuffle is the Carbondale Fire District.

This week legal wrangling continued over opening files in the Nancy Pfister murder case.

Today we talk with Aspen Times reporter Scott Condon about a squabble in the valley’s environmental activist community.

And, there was more evidence this week that marijuana is getting respectable….The Colorado Symphony Orchestra wants pot smokers to shed the tie-dye and clip on a cumber bun. 

damnationfilm.com

  What happens when an outdoor clothing company makes a film? Fish, dams, and a conservation message are front and center. The movie is titled DamNation, and shows in Carbondale this weekend at the Five Point Film Festival. It’ll be the first showing in Colorado.

www.fs.usda.gov

Colorado’s Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic is subsiding but a new threat is on the rise. The Spruce beetle has killed large swaths of forests in Colorado’s southwest and a new report shows the Roaring Fork watershed is at risk. Drought and climate change are weakening trees, giving this native beetle a larger area to attack. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Jamie Cundiff. She’s the Forest Programs Director for the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.

Mountain Edition - April 3rd, 2014

Apr 3, 2014

Defense attorneys in the Nancy Pfister case are digging through lots of evidence.

Spring snow showers have boosted snowpack to above-average levels and forecasts are calling for high river flows this spring.

A Western Slope lawmaker is proposing Colorado get its own firefighting fleet of airplanes and helicopters.

And, wildfire is on the minds of local officials who are planning ahead after devastating fires in recent years, on the Front Range.

Suicide is getting attention in the Aspen community, after several deaths this winter.

And, we have some fun with what could be the Upper Valley’s first home inspired hybrid.

Local Group to Study Fryingpan River/Ruedi Impact

Mar 27, 2014
http://www.flyfishingconnection.com/

The Roaring Fork Conservancy is taking a look at what a healthy Fryingpan River means to the local economy. The Fryingpan Valley Economic Study is underway and will continue into next year according to the Basalt based organization. The group says the study aims to understand visitor use and spending related to recreational activities on the Lower Fryingpan River and Ruedi Reservoir, and the river’s economic importance. The final result will give people an idea of what a healthy river means to the local economy. The Conservancy believes the report will also aid in helping to keep the river healthy. Colorado State University and Colorado Mountain College are assisting with the study that is funded in part by the town of Basalt, Eagle County, the Aspen Skiing Company Environment Foundation and other private donors. Over a decade ago the Conservancy conducted a similar study and found the Fryingpan Valley's recreational activities contributed an estimated $1.8 million annually in total economic output to Basalt's economy. Updated numbers are expected to be greater.

Mountain Edition - February 27th, 2014

Feb 27, 2014

For Aspen athletes who competed in the Winter Olympics, their season isn’t over yet. Cross country ski sprinter Simi Hamilton says he has several races left.

Weeds are growing more abundantly on the White River National Forest as the agency grapples with budget cuts and fewer staff.

A Colorado Forest Service report shows the state’s forests continue to be hammered by insects and disease, especially at high altitudes.

Most skiers probably don’t realize Aspen Mountain is full of holes...from a history of mining. We’ll take you on a wintry history tour.

Finally, a group of “legally blind” skiers takes to the slopes at Snowmass. For these teenagers, the activity is empowering.

Mountain Edition - December 26th, 2013

Dec 26, 2013

Today we hear from Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron about his vision for the resort town in the coming year. Then we dig through the Aspen Public Radio archives and listen to some of this year’s most interesting and thought-provoking local stories. One Glenwood Springs woman was caught in a dangerous financial trap. And, her problem is somewhat common in Colorado’s immigrant community. As habitat for the Greater Sage Grouse disappears across the West, federal officials are deciding how strong protections should be on some Colorado land. Local stakeholders are watching closely. And a snowboarding veteran is battling a major injury with the Olympic Games a little more than a month away.

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