Foreign workers finally finding some places to crash in Aspen
ASPEN – One way or another, the foreign workers who flooded into Aspen this winter are finding places to sleep.Unlike during the last several years, the town’s seasonal housing quarters filled up rapidly this year. Housing officials then called upon residents of the Roaring Fork Valley to make their spare rooms available, reports The Aspen Times. Many did.Others are couch-surfing or floor-crashing, although they are certainly not the first to do so. Aspen’s director of housing, Tom McCabe, recalls many nights at the ground-floor level during his first winter in Aspen.Eyes are being cast on the Aspen Skiing Co. to expand its housing for seasonal employees. The company adds 2,000 workers each winter, but has housing for only 200. Aspen takes aim at ski industry programASPEN – In the wake of increasing criticism of the ski industry by environmentalists during the 1990s, the National Ski Areas Association several years ago created its Sustainable Slopes program.Sustainable Slopes encourages member ski areas to take actions that lessen the impact of skiing on the environment. But critics say its voluntary nature allows members to brag of accomplishments without taking meaningful action. The usual description is “greenwash.”Two academics last year concluded that the critics were right. Jorge Rivera of George Washington University and Peter De Leon of the University of Colorado at Denver labeled the program a “symbolic self-regulatory scheme that does not appear to effectively improve industry-wide environmental protection.” They said the industry needed third-party audits to be credible.That’s what two ski area operators, The Aspen Skiing Co. and British Columbia’s Sun Peaks, have done. Both have earned certification through the International Organization for Standardization. Activists push for a better river baselineBANFF, Alberta – Activists are pushing for a more in-depth investigation on the health of the Upper Bow River.The river’s tributaries are dammed, while both transcontinental highway and railroads have created impacts, as have the various towns along its banks, including Banff and Canmore.”We need an analysis of how cumulative impacts play a role in its health and how that health is affecting the ecosystem as a whole,” Dan Bell, a flyfisherman, told the Rocky Mountain Outlook.Vibrancy of the valley’s human settlements is dependent on health of the river ecosystem, Bell said. “We cannot afford to be so arrogant, or naïve, as to assume or hope to have a healthy, vibrant Bow River Valley until we have a healthy Bow River.”
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