environment

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Rob St. Mary

The City of Aspen started the Canary Initiative in 2005 with an eye to trimming the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020. The city announced Wednesday it met the goal seven-years early.

“Well, we found out this year, to our great celebration, was that we actually achieved our goal this year. So, the City of Aspen reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 30.7%.  So, that’s a huge accomplishment.”

A key rationale for conservation is protecting wildlife from the impacts of people. Some of those impacts are obvious, like cutting down trees or building a parking lot over a wetland. Some though are harder to understand or see, literally. A recent study from Boise State University caught my attention. In it researchers created a phantom ‘road’ along a mountainside in Idaho by attaching speakers to trees and playing the sounds of a hi-way into an otherwise pristine forest. 

Yield to the Horse

Dec 4, 2013
Roger Adams

As the number of public trails in the Upper Roaring Fork Valley grows, one group of users wants to make sure their voice is heard. Pitkin County is in the process of connecting more trails...and equestrians want to make sure they have access. Aspen Public Radio's Roger Adams reports.

“Its important that we all share the trails and work together.  We’re so lucky that Pitkin County is going to be involved in enhancing these trails.

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