Environment News

The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers all things environment in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado. Issues include, but are not limited to, water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development.  APR’s environment reporter Elizabeth Stewart-Severy heads the desk.

Courtesy of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails

Elected officials from Pitkin and Gunnison counties met in Redstone yesterday to reiterate enthusiasm for a trail connecting Crested Butte and Carbondale.

 

The proposed 74-mile trail is in the early stages of a complicated development process, but is seeing some progress. Discussions about such a trail began in the 1990s and finally picked up steam this year when Governor Hickenlooper tagged the area on the “16 in 2016” list that identified the state’s highest priority trails.

Aspen Public Radio News

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails is making it official: protecting biodiversity is more important than recreation. A new policy focuses on preserving natural habitats, even if that means keeping some areas closed to humans.

Aspen Public Radio News

The City of Aspen hosted an open-house discussion last week about its water rights to build reservoirs on Maroon and Castle creeks, but interested locals still have a lot of questions.

Courtesy of Aspen Valley Land Trust

Aspen Valley Land Trust won an award for its creativity and vision in purchasing the land at the iconic Marble Basecamp. Elizabeth Stewart-Severy has the details.

For about 50 years, Aspen Middle School has used property in Marble as a base camp for its flagship eighth grade outdoor education.

Courtesy of Wilderness Workshop

The City of Aspen is holding a public open house today to discuss its conditional water rights on Castle and Maroon Creeks.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

It’s no secret that Conundrum Hot Springs is a popular spot for hikers and campers, so much so that the U.S. Forest Service said it’s losing the wilderness for a different kind of wild. This summer, officials are working on a permit system to try to preserve the fragile area.

Prockter Open Space will be getting some updates this fall, and the City of Aspen is looking for public input today.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio

Eight Air Force Academy cadets, their professor, and about ten U.S. Forest Service workers sweated side by side last week, pouring concrete, hauling 500 pound beams, and battling swarms of black flies about a mile past Maroon Lake in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

Aspen Public Radio News

The Bureau of Land Management released a plan Friday to cancel 25 oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide area near Carbondale. Local groups, including Wilderness Workshop and the Thompson Divide Coalition, said in statements that canceling those leases helps to protect wildlife, land and public water supplies.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio

The City of Aspen is looking to curb emissions, and soon truck drivers could face a $500 fine for excess exhaust smoke.

As part of ongoing efforts to conserve water, the city of Aspen is offering free sprinkler inspections and fixture swaps for homeowners next week.

 

Courtesy of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails will not ask voters for bonding authority in this November’s election.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy, Aspen Public Radio

  Residents of Battlement Mesa want a voice in oil and gas development in their neighborhood. They say so far their concerns have been ignored.

Ken Krehbiel via Facebook

Three mountain lion kittens that had been hanging out on the Rio Grande Trail near Carbondale have moved on - in one way or another.

 

Aspen Public Radio

Those who live near proposed oil and gas wells were given a unique opportunity yesterday to voice their concerns directly to the state agency that oversees the industry.

Courtesy of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails

Pitkin County residents will likely be asked to continue taxing themselves to pay for open space and trails for another twenty years.

The Open Space and Trails Board plans to ask voters in November to extend a mill levy that provides about $10 million of funding a year. Allocation of that money would change slightly to allow for more spending on maintenance and stewardship of current Open Space and Trails properties.

 

Ken Krehbiel via Facebook

Bear activity closed campgrounds, a moose charged a woman and her dog, and three mountain lion kittens were spotted along the Rio Grande trail — all in one day earlier this summer. Perry Will, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), said days like this are becoming the new norm.

Courtesy of White River National Forest

Campers in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness will need to store all food and garbage in bear-resistant containers for the next five years.

Courtesy of City of Aspen

  Black bears looking for food have caused restrictions at Independence Pass campgrounds, and the U.S. Forest Service has no timeline to reopen those sites to tents.

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