The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is enduring a game of hot potato.
Last spring, new legislation shifted the country's first avalanche forecasting program to the Colorado School of Mines as part of a transfer of the Colorado Geological Survey.
The transfer was scheduled to take effect on Jan. 31, but new legislation could separate the CAIC from the geological survey and transfer it to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.
Freshman state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, proposed the new legislation that would reverse last year's bill and return responsibility of the CAIC to the executive director of the Department of Natural Resources.
As the university studied the avalanche center, it became evident that the CAIC's daily avalanche forecasting, avalanche incident review and avalanche education programs fit better with the state department than with a research-oriented institution, Mitsch Bush said.
"The CAIC does research into how avalanches form and what makes a slab but their most important research is for us as consumers, with that report they put up every day," said Mitsch Bush, an avid backcountry skier who hails CAIC as "the best avalanche center in the country" and brought her avalanche beacon and shovel to a House agriculture committee hearing on Monday.
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