Crested Butte leery about paving road across Kebler |

Crested Butte leery about paving road across Kebler

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CRESTED BUTTE – Crested Butte remains uncertain whether it wants to be more closely connected to the world.That issue showed up several years ago when paving of Cottonwood Pass on the west side was proposed. It is already paved on the east side. That paving would have had the practical repercussion of shortening, by about a half-hour, the time it takes to drive between metropolitan Denver and Crested Butte.The newest issue concerns vehicular access across Kebler Pass, which connects Crested Butte during summer months with Glenwood Springs and Paonia. The 29-mile gravel road is coated at the beginning of each summer with a coat of magnesium chloride, which temporarily eliminates the dust. By late July, however, the dust has returned, as has the washboard, making control difficult on tight corners. And it is, says lawman Brad Phelps, a racetrack for drivers.Gunnison County officials say that instead of applying mag chloride, which last summer cost $131, 000, they want to pave it with a chip-seal mixture.Elected officials in Crested Butte aren’t yet opposing the paving, but are concerned that paving the road may increase traffic on the road. That, in turn, could cause more traffic in the residential neighborhood where the road enters Crested Butte. Local officials think already has plenty of traffic – in summer.In winter, it is closed, and will remain as such. Located at the end of a road then, Crested Butte is one of Colorado’s most remote places with swimming pools and a Thai restaurant.

DURANGO – With most bears in Colorado now removed to their dens for winter, this year’s death toll can now be reckoned. Across the state, 59 bears were “put down,” to use the common euphemism for the killing of bears by state wildlife officials.The death sentence is meted out to bears who have been twice before been found to be comfortable being around people. But bears in the Durango area died in a great many other ways. Wildlife officials tell the Durango Telegraph that an additional 11 bears were killed by cars and trucks, 3 were killed because of threats to livestock, and 2 were electrocuted after climbing utility polls.The issue of trash enticing bears is a problem in Durango, as it is most everywhere else where bears can be found. Last summer, Bear Smart volunteers tagged more than 1,500 “problem” trash cans with reminders to keep trash secure. A new law in Durango requires homes and businesses where trash has attracted bears to adopt bear-proofing measures. Some 100 bear-proof cans have been leased after cans costing $200 each found few takers.

TELLURIDE – A good many of the ski towns were based on minerals, especially gold and silver, being unearthed. But with a massive deposit of molybdenum in the nearby town of Rico, there is fear – but also some excitement – about mining returning there.Forget any such temptation, says Jack Pera, a columnist in The Telluride Watch. “Potable water has now surpassed the ores of metal mining as the most valuable commodity in America,” he claims. He insists that the propsed mining will sully the quality of water.

ASPEN The real-estate market has finally cooled in Aspen. Sales recorded in October – reflecting showings in June and July – were down 37 percent. What this means, says Michael Russo, managing partner at Aspen Sotheby’s International Reality, is that this probably won’t be another record-breaking year, but it’s likely to be second best, based on the torrid performance during the first half.Agents tell The Aspen Times that the national credit crunch is not causing any direct role, as Aspen’s customers pay cash, no matter what the cost, although some potential buyers may be waiting to see how the national story may affect their portfolios.

KETCHUM, Idaho Dick Dorworth has a book out, called “Night Driving: Invention of the Wheel and Other Blues.” The book is a collection of stories about his car trips since he was a ski racer growing up in Reno, Nev. That was a long time ago. In 1963, he established a record as the worlds’ fastest man on skis, setting a record in Portillo, Chile, with a speed of 106.8 mph. He long ago quit skiing competitively, but still skis on the slopes of Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain. He has lived in Ketchum since 1993, but first moved there in 1963.Dorworth says he has no plans to leave. “I’m an old alpine skier, and it’s a great mountain for skiing. Just the nature of Sun Valley has kept it from being overcrowded. The community is coming undone, though. People who work here can’t afford to live here. But the geography and the culture of my friends suit me. I have enough friends here to keep me going.”So far, Dorworth has given readings in Banff and Ketchum, as well as Missoula, Mont., and Shasta, Calif. “I’m gratified and have been surprised at how well it’s been received, and how people relate to what’s in it,” he told the Idaho Mountain Express. “At some point, most people have been wild asses, even the most conservative among us. I did it my way, and that strikes a chord. Reading it aloud has reaffirmed for me that language is to be heard as much as read. We forget that.”

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. If one contemporary poet were to be singled out for association with mountains, in North America it would likely be Gary Snyder.Commonly classified among the beat poets, and a model for a character in Jack Kerouac’s 1958 book, “The Dharma Bums,” Snyder spent a decade in Japan studying at a Zen monastery. He has issued 18 collections of prose and poems, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Turtle Island.”Now 77, he still lives in the South Yuba River area of the northern Sierra Nevada that he has called home for the last 40 years.Asked by California’s Grass Valley Union which he finds most gratifying, prose or poetry, Snyder said he is gratified by both, but in different ways.”Poetry is not something you can order up – the beginnings of poems come unbidden and then one goes to work on them, always keeping a huge space of mind open around it. The trick is to listen with the inner ear. This is maybe the most rewarding sort of artistic work, but it would be greedy to expect to be able to do it all the time,” he said.”Prose, and the challenge of writing ‘a good sentence,’ is enormously demanding in its own way, and it forces one to be clear. Poetry (and art), as Keats said, will be somewhat in darkness – never mathematically perfect – and yet full of suggestion and significance. Prose can be made clear.”Reflecting on his many hikes up Mt. Tamalpais, the mountain that presides over San Francisco Bay, Snyder told the newspaper he is “more and more struck by the deep value (of walking) to both mind and body, and how much one learns and sees on foot. As the ancient Chinese said (in a time when there was no way to travel but by walking), ‘For a person of vitality and spirit, all of China is your back yard.'”

SUSANVILLE, Colo. In the last 10 years there have been three different initiatives launched in the United States to get cities to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, while also lobbying for changes by the federal government.The best known is the Mayors Agreement on Climate Change, which has been endorsed by a large number of ski towns.Last summer, a parallel initiative was launched for county governments. Called the U.S. Cool Counties Stabilization Declaration, it so far has limited members confined to the West Coast and to the East. There are none in the Sierra Nevada or Rocky Mountains, according to a map on the website of Kings County, in Washington state.But the commissioners of California’s Lassen County, located northwest of Reno, are at least considering it, as requested by their fellow commissioners in Alameda County, where Oakland is located.The Cool Counties declaration, similar to the Mayors Agreement, calls on local leaders to reduce gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.The Lassen County Times reports some indignation at the local courthouse at droughts, flooding, and increased forest fires ascribed to global warming. “Those are new?” questioned one county supervisor, Bob Pyle. “We’ve never seen a drought before? We’ve never seen flooding before? How do they know it’s climate change? It’s just the normal.”

WHISTLER, B.C. Mascots created by organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics are drawing mixed reviews. Kids love them, and so do aboriginals of British Columbia whose legends inspired the mascots.But the mascots are first of all a marketing proposition, a way to make an anticipated $46 million in royalties to defray other costs of hosting the Olympics. A marketing professor, Lindsay Meredith, predicts the mascots will fall flat on their face among adults. “They will resonate with the kids,” he told Pique. “The problem is there is a whole huge market out there of adults who will also respond to mascots, and it is not resonating there.”The legends the mascots are based on are just too obscure for people outside the Pacific Northwest. For example, one of the creatures, called Miga, is a combination of a spirit bear and a killer whale, or orca. But adults, said Lindsey, are likely to see it as a skunk.

VICTORIA, B.C. – Lawmakers in British Columbia are looking at passing a law governing emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases that would be the toughest of such laws passed in North America. But Premier Gordon Campbell warns that the vision must be long term.”If we try and tell people we can do this in 13 months, we’re not going to be successful,” Campbell said, in a story published by Black Press.”What we’ve said initially is we’re going to do it in 13 years. And as Bill Gates once said, we’ll accomplish way less in two years than we expect, and way more in 10.”But the opposition party said the goals lack the necessary teeth.”If I was a cynic, I’d say this is just posturing,” said Norm Macdonald, a legislator who represents the Revelstoke area.”Premier Campbell has a history of making grandiose promise and promises that ultimately amount to nothing,” he said. He pointed out that Campbell’s government transportation strategy for the Vancouver area relies upon more highways, suggesting that the approach to dealing with climate change is still somewhat confused.

CANMORE, Alberta – A climate change centre is being planned in Canmore, and the group is expected to key in on the idea that no matter what is done to curb greenhouse gases in the immediate future, great changes are on the way because of existing levels in the atmosphere, reports the Banff Crag & Canyon.Climate models prepared by the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative predict average temperature increases of around 5 degees for Alberta. “The extra precipitation will come in the winter as rain, when we don’t need it, and we’ll see less rain in the summer,” said the group’s Dr. Dave Sauchyn.”The point we’re making with this study is that it’s important to see what the future is like, and not get surprised by it,” said Bob Sanford, who heads the Western Watershed Climate Research Collaborative.Sandford further said that the ability to adapt to change is paramount. “Ecosystems are disassembling and reassembling in different ways,” he said.

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