environment

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.

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.

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.

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