Top 5 stories on SummitDaily.com, week of May 12
Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com for the past week.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announced last week it will extend its skiing and riding season for at least one weekend, with the possibility of more. After the ski area closes down its seven-day-a-week operations effective June 2, it will reopen for at least one more long weekend from June 7-9. The Legend may open for more weekends after that, conditions permitting. A-Basin spokeswoman Katherine Fuller said in an email Tuesday there is currently no time frame for when a subsequent announcement about staying open past June 9 will be made.
The National Park Service announced the Great Sand Dunes joins three other national park sites in Colorado and about two dozen national parks around the country in being designated International Dark Sky Parks. The designation, by the International Dark-Sky Association, recognizes the park, northeast of Alamosa, for its efforts and commitments to preserving “the exceptional quality of its dark night skies.”
“It’s no surprise that Great Sand Dunes has been building a reputation for good night sky viewing,” said Pamela Rice, park superintendent, in the release. “The dry air, high elevation and lack of light pollution all make the park an ideal dark-sky destination. Story from The Denver Post.
The mood was light at the 26th annual Summit County State of the River conference in Silverthorne Pavilion due to robust snowpack in the mountains and the recent approval of a drought contingency plan in the Lower Colorado River Basin. However, when it comes to water, consistency is preferred over short-term victories, and the West is still in the midst of a long-term water shortage in Lake Powell and Lake Mead, primary reservoirs that serve 40 million people. For that reason, the Upper Basin states — Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico — have to also come up with their own drought contingency plans. Colorado might be heading into choppy waters as one of the requirements of a drought contingency plan — demand management — could pit communities and regions against each other as they fight to retain among the most precious legal rights available in the state — water claims.
When wolf watcher Rick McIntyre retired from his position with the Yellowstone Wolf Project in February 2018, the national park also decided to make some changes. After wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone, some were affixed with high-frequency tracking collars that cast out signals, and McIntyre and his colleagues carried directional antenna-like receivers that zeroed in on the wolves. Find Rick and you found wolves. After his retirement, the Yellowstone Wolf Project chose to no longer routinely share the whereabouts of wolves. The park today has about 80 to 100 wolves, half the number found in the late 1990s, but the odds of seeing one are still pretty good. Word of wolf sightings is still spreading on at least three in four days.
After months of closed-door discussions, a long-term ground lease between the town of Breckenridge and Vail Resorts is finally a reality, paving the way for a long-awaited parking structure to be built on the South Gondola Lot. At one time, few people thought such a deal was possible, as Vail Resorts and the town could not seem to come to an agreement over the resort-owned lot. Council passed the agreement last week, entering a 50-year lease with the company. The lease details a desired timeline, each party’s responsibilities and how they’ll split control and parking revenues. It also comes with options for the town to renew for two additional 10-year terms, giving Breckenridge a 70-year run with the parking structure.
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