High Country Conservation Center hosts events Saturday | SummitDaily.com

High Country Conservation Center hosts events Saturday

This Saturday, March 28, people all over the world will turn off their lights for an hour to raise awareness about energy consumption, conservation and global climate change.

Earth Hour started in Australia and has since spread to more than 152 countries, said Jessie Burley, High Country Conservation Center.

The Summit County nonprofit will host an event Saturday during Earth Hour, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., for those who want to enjoy the dark at an outdoor bonfire.

The fire will be lit between HC3’s location, at 518 Main St. in Frisco, and its neighboring candy store, Foote’s Rest.

The bonfire is free to attend, Burley said, and the store will have s’mores and libations for sale.

Those who want to participate in Earth Hour at home can simply turn off their lights and electronics and enjoy activities by candlelight.

Visit A-Basin for ‘Save Our Snow’ environment party

Before the bonfire, the HC3 folks will be at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area for Save Our Snow, an event to promote sustainability and raise funds for the nonprofit.

A tent village in the base area will feature Summit County and Colorado businesses and organizations — including Summit Soap Co., Patagonia, Clif Bar, Earthspun Apparel and Leave No Trace — showcasing their products and environmental initiatives.

Snowriders International will talk about their mission and efforts to protect the environment, and Never Summer, Meier, Faction, Skilogik, Albritton and Unity will demo their skis and boards for free or for a small donation to HC3.

The Big Onions will play live music from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the ticket office steps, and The Jaredd Reed Band will be perform in the base area from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The event will feature a silent auction and raffle drawing at 2 p.m., and A-Basin will offer discounted $69 adult lift tickets for the day, with $20 of that going to HC3.

All proceeds from the event will benefit HC3, and last year the nonprofit received about $7,000 from Save Our Snow.

Celebrate with the Continental Divide Land Trust

The Continental Divide Land Trust’s eighth annual Phantom Ranch Ball takes place Wednesday, April 1. The local nonprofit preserves open space through land preservation agreements, stewardship and public education.

Each ticket to the event is a chance to win this year’s door prize drawing of the original framed watercolor painting “Giberson Ranch View — August” by Sandi Bruns. The piece was created for the event on one of CDLT’s conserved properties.

Proceeds from the event fund CDLT’s land conservation programs. Tickets are $25 and will be available until Wednesday. To buy tickets, call CDLT at (970) 453-3875 or order online at http://www.CDLT.org. Be sure to put “PRB Tickets” in the memo line.

CDLT will also be celebrating this week the retirement of its executive director, Leigh Girvin, who led the nonprofit for 13 years.

She welcomes friends and supporters to her retirement party Monday, March 30, at The Baker’s Brewery, at 531 Silverthorne Lane in Silverthorne (in the old Village Inn, turn right behind Wendy’s). People can drop by the event between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and enjoy free snacks and a cash bar.

Summit County receives $975K for Swan River restoration

The Colorado Water Conservation Board and Colorado Basin Roundtable awarded a $975,000 Water Supply Reserve Account Grant to Summit County to support a large-scale stream restoration project on the Swan River.

The restoration area includes about 3,500 linear feet of the river along Tiger Road in the Swan River drainage, 11 miles northeast of Breckenridge, on land jointly managed by Summit County and the town of Breckenridge.

As an abandoned dredge mine site, the Swan River provides little in the way of ecological, recreational or aesthetic value. Much of the valley floor is covered with barren cobble. What remains of the stream channel follows Tiger Road, and flows occur only in periods of high water and remain subsurface for much of the year.

“Undoing the damage from Summit County’s mining past is an immense undertaking, but these infusions of funding are critical in accelerating our progress,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said.

The 19-mile stream and riparian restoration project is expected to cost about $2 million, and besides the town and county, three government agencies and four nonprofits have partnered on initial phases.

Polis’ Grand County conservation bill passes committee

Rep. Jared Polis’ (CO-2) bill to protect a wedge of land between Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho National Forest swiftly passed the House Natural Resources Committee by unanimous consent Thursday. Polis is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

The Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2015, would incorporate 10 parcels of land into the Arapaho National Forest, enabling the Forest Service to protect an area that serves millions annually as they travel west along the Trail Ridge scenic byway from the 13,000-foot apex of the Rocky Mountains to the town of Grand Lake.

“The Wedge is among one of Colorado’s most unique and beautiful open spaces — serving not only locals and visitors to the area, but an impressive array of plants, animals and water resources,” Polis said. “Developing it would be detrimental to the health and economic value of protected lands on both sides. The WEDGE Act will ensure the area is protected from such development while addressing repeated community requests that we correct this boundary oversight and preserve the wedge for future generations.”

The Forest Service owns seven of the 10 lots that comprise the “wedge,” but the national forest boundary has never been adjusted to include these parcels, as doing so requires legislative action. A full House vote on the legislation is expected soon.

This bill was supported by the Grand County, the town of Grand Lake, the Headwaters Trails Alliance, Conservation Colorado and the affected private landowners.

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