environment

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.

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.

Get to Know Your Tree Salesman

Nov 29, 2013
Rob St. Mary

Based on historical evidence, evergreens livening up the Christmas celebrations date back to the 1400 or 1500s in Germany and Eastern Europe. Now, Joey Sissom hasn’t been selling Christmas trees in Aspen that long. But, he’s been doing it since 1978. While his tree lot has moved around a bit since he started 35 years ago, I caught him setting up in front of Clark’s Market in Aspen.

With over three-decades in the Christmas tree business, Sissom has a few things to share about what to consider if you are looking for the perfect "tannenbaum" for your celebrations.

Mountain Edition - November 21st, 2013

Nov 21, 2013

Federal agents on the Front Range today are raiding medical marijuana dispensaries and grow operations with the help of local authorities. We’ll have the latest.

A new method for handling criminals is ramping up in Pitkin County. Instead of incarceration, a new wellness program is being tried for people who fit the bill.

As the Greater Sage Grouse’s habitat disappears across the West, federal officials are deciding how strongly to protect some of its Colorado habitat. Local stakeholders are watching closely.

College students around the country are getting an inside glimpse into the social workings of the Roaring Fork Valley...through a book called “The Slums of Aspen.”

A Wall Street Journal reporter explores the early movers and shakers in developing fracking - one of them is a former Aspen resident.

Finally, the fastest distance Nordic skier in the U-S grew up in Aspen. We profile Noah Hoffman in the Road to Sochi series.

Rocky Mountain Institute

A new report on non-profit organizations shows charities in the Mountain West have the among the lowest pay for high level staff among nonprofits across the country.   The survey by Charity Navigator found one standout here.  The top official at the environmental non-profit, Rocky Mountain Institute, was recently paid much more than counterparts at other non-profits, in fact, many times more.  (You can read the entire Charity Navigator report here.)

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