Editor's note: This is the third in a six-part series highlighting the top stories in the Summit Daily News in 2012.
Summit County entities were granted more than $200,000 by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, covering all four projects submitted for funding. Breckenridge received $80,000 to fund massive trail projects on seven non-motorized trails in the Golden Horseshoe area. Summit and Park counties were awarded $45,000to study the feasibility of a rec path over Hoosier Pass to connect Breckenridge to Alma. Friends of the Dillon Ranger District was awarded $31,565.
Frisco Bay Marina officials made operational adjustments early due to low snowpack and dry spring conditions. Five docks were planned to be relocated east of Summit Middle School, tucked in a cove on the north side.
A series of errors and inconsistencies contained in redone floodplain maps for Summit County created problems for local officials and new insurance requirements for homeowners. There were an estimated half-dozen mistakes in the revamped maps, which were created by contractors for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The contractors erroneously put some homes and structures in floodplains, thus requiring the properties to be covered by flood insurance when they weren't before.
The snowpack, which hit a season high in mid-March that was still well below average, evaporated quickly across the county. The snow-water equivalent - a measurement of the moisture contained in the snowpack in inches of water - fell to 29 percent of average in the Blue River Basin on May 1 - the lowest on the 45-year record. The Colorado River Basin also hit a record low, with a snow-water equivalent falling to 21 percent of average. The basin's total snowpack was also at 21 percent of average.
Summit County joined Breckenridge on an elite list of bike-friendly communities, winning a bronze level recognition this year for its efforts to make the community safe and enjoyable for bikers. The League of American Bicyclists selected Summit County for the first time, determining that the local government had demonstrated the early stages of a strong commitment to cycling and had "room to grow," according to a statement from county officials.
A lease allowing developer Brynn Grey X, LLC to bring a Whole Foods Market to the town-owned interstate parcel was approved on second and final reading at the Frisco Town Council meeting. The lease gave David O'Neil's development company a 50-year lease on the town's 9.4-acre property, located along Interstate 70 behind Safeway and the Summit Stage Transit Center.
Summit County water districts prepared early for possible drought conditions this summer, implementing voluntary water restrictions, while the Summit Board of County Commissioners considered implementing a Stage 1 fire ban. As dry conditions persisted and the last of Summit County's snowpack disappeared, the town of Frisco and the East Dillon Water District put voluntary water restrictions in place.
Local authorities investigated six small wildfires as arson, after pages of a book, matches and a can of highly flammable bug spray were discovered at two of the scenes.The fires broke out close to one another on Peak 8 in Breckenridge along trails near the Breck Nordic center. Firefighters from Red, White and Blue Fire District were able to contain an active blaze quickly. A second fire had burned out when firefighters arrived. Authorities discovered additional ignition sites at nearby locations upon further investigation later in the day. No structures were damaged.
Aiming to set an example during a period of extreme fire danger, the Breckenridge Town Council agreed to cancel the town's July Fourth fireworks display. Fire conditions this year were particularly bad, fire officials said, and the danger of a wildfire being ignited by home pyrotechnics is high.Both Dillon and the Frisco councils unanimously decided to cancel the towns' annual July Fourth fireworks displays.