Mountain Town Roundup: Telluride moves toward plastic bag ban
TELLURIDE – Three weeks from now, Telluride could become the first community in Colorado to ban the distribution of plastic bags now ubiquitous with checkout counters after town council on Sept. 14, voted 5-2 to approve the first reading of an ordinance creating the law.If approved on second reading on Oct. 5, the law will prohibit grocers and other retailers located within town limits from distributing most types of disposable plastic bags to customers when the law goes into effect on March 1. Bags excluded from the prohibition include those used within a store such as those for meat, vegetable and bulk items, prescription drug bags, newspaper bags, packaged multiple bags and reusable carryout bags.Penalties for violating the ordinance, if approved on second reading, range from a written warning for the first offense to a $300 fine for the third offense.”As difficult as it may be for some, it’s exciting for others,” said Mayor Stu Fraser after the vote passed following a lengthy council discussion on the details of its implementation and a few statements from members of the public – both supportive and scathing.Beginning a few months prior to the plastic ban on Jan. 1, both Clark’s Market and the Village Market must begin collecting a 10-cent per bag Advance Recovery Fee on the paper bags they give out. Per the ordinance those bags that must contain at least 40 percent recycled content with no old-growth fiber and be 100 percent recyclable.After March 1 retailers exclusive of the town’s two grocery stores must distribute paper bags to their customers in lieu of plastic bags, however they have no recycled content or other requirements and the retailers may choose to collect the ARF or not.- Karen James/The Watch Newspapers
ASPEN – There were 405 additional bear licenses available this fall for the area that includes Aspen as state wildlife officials try to use hunting as a way to manage the bruin population.The Colorado Division of Wildlife made 1,035 bear licenses available, compared to 630 last year, within a “bear analysis unit” that stretches from north of Vail west to Glenwood Springs and south to Aspen, according to wildlife division spokesman Randy Hampton.The additional licenses doesn’t mean there will be that many additional dead bears. History shows bear hunters have a 5 percent success rate in the area. Last year, for example, 33 bears were “harvested” among the 630 available licenses.However, more licenses will be issued for the earliest season, when bear hunting is most successful, Hampton said, so the success rate in the Aspen area is expected to top 5 percent this season. There is an expected harvest of 81 bears through the game unit Aspen is part of, he said.Hampton said the wildlife division is making more of the additional licenses available in the part of the game unit that includes Aspen and the upper Roaring Fork Valley. Hunting activity in that part of the sprawling game unit has dwindled for various reasons.”What we were finding was most of the harvest was up in the northern part of the unit, in the Vail area,” he said.The Aspen area has experienced many bear-human conflicts in recent years, particularly when natural food sources faltered. The pressure eased this year because of abundant natural food sources after the lack of a late frost and a rainy summer.- Scott Condon/The Aspen Times
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIF – Two reality shows that feature the South Shore are in development by producer Michael Koff. “South Lake” will feature five or six friends age 16-25 and their day-to-day lives. “King of the Mountain” is an elimination-style reality show that will feature amateur skiers and snowboarders vying for a professional sponsorship. If the shows move into production, there could be job opportunities for locals. Koff said key hires would come from Los Angeles, but the technical crew would be hired locally. He also plans to use local vendors as much as possible.”South Lake” would offer roughly 40 local jobs, where “King of the Mountain” could have up to 90 openings due to the logistics required for a competition show.Kathleen Dodge, executive director of the El Dorado Lake Tahoe Film & Media Office, said there are several reality shows in development for the region. “It is exciting,” Dodge said. “Some of these can draw a lot of attention to the region. Of course, we want ones that are going to be positive for us. We think it’s all good and we’re very excited.”Koff has not pulled filming permits for the projects, since they are still in development. Dodge said the office has been working with Koff to guide him through the eventual process.”My role will be to help him do business in El Dorado County,” Dodge said. “Should (the shows) get picked up, I will help him use our resources.”Upcoming auditions and information is on the “South Lake” Facebook page. For information on filming in El Dorado County, visit http://www.filmtahoe.com. – Roseann Keegan/Tahoe Daily Tribune
Climbers have for decades wondered whether British national George Mallory did reach the summit of Mount Everest with his partner Sandy Irvine in 1929, almost 25 years before Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing. Now, it seems that the Mount Everest’s biggest mystery has been solved, after U.S. climber Conrad Anker, who discovered Mallory’s body on Mount Everest in 1999, re-traced the doomed explorer’s footsteps on the mountain.With British partner Leo Houlding, 47-year-old Anker used 1920s clothing and equipment to see if, in theory at least, Mallory and Irvine could have beaten Hillary.A documentary film, “The Wildest Dream: Conquest Of Everest” shows they succeeded.”It was harder than I expected, but it’s possible Mallory and Irvine could have done it,” the ‘Sunday Express’ quoted Anker as saying.Mallory and Irvine died on the mountain after being seen 800 feet from the summit.In retracing Mallory’s footsteps Anker was honoring the man he had idolised since childhood and whose immaculately preserved body he had found on the mountain as part of the Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition.It was a discovery, he confesses, that haunted him for some time. “Had I broken some taboo? Had I overstepped something? It was pretty heavy stuff. It weighed on me,” he said.- Hindustan Times
ASHFORD, Wash. – Mountain climbers aren’t happy about a National Park Service proposal to boost the cost of a permit to climb Mount Rainier by two-thirds and for Alaska’s Mount McKinley by 250 percent.The News Tribune reports that Rainier park superintendent Dave Uberuaga plans to propose to the National Park Service that the fee for an annual Rainier climbing pass be increased from $30 to as much as $50.The increase is needed to train climbing rangers and other expenses, Uberuaga said. Future fee increases might be linked to rises in the U.S. Consumer Price Index, he said.Three climbing activist groups wrote to park service director Jon Jarvis recently to protest the increase and a proposal to raise the climbing fee for Mount McKinley in Alaska’s Denali National Park by 250 percent, from $200 to $500.The letter from the Access Fund, American Alpine Club and American Alpine Guides Association says the increases are “unnecessary and unfair.””We fear that these added costs will make the unique mountaineering opportunities available at Denali and Rainier too expensive for many Americans,” the letter said.It also contends that officials at both parks are trying to increase the fees without a period of public comment.Uberuaga says he has always planned to have public meetings after making his proposal to the service.The News Tribune said it obtained a copy of an Aug. 13 e-mail sent to park concessionaires from Mary Wysong, the Rainier park’s concessions management analyst. The e-mail states that “the park does intend to increase the climbing cost recovery fee to $50.00 starting in 2011,” pending regional approval, and that the increase should be finalized “by the end of September at the earliest” but makes no mention of a public-comment period.Uberuaga said the e-mail was sent as a courtesy to concessionaires who need to set their 2011 rates and print promotional material. He also said he asked the director of Mount Rainier’s climbing program to discuss the proposed increase with guide services earlier this month.The activists, he said, have “gotten way in front of us, and we have to dig ourselves out of a hole.”Uberuaga said that when the fee went up from $25 to $30 in 2003, he held three public meetings and a total of 19 people showed up.”But I think it’s important to always have public input,” Uberuaga said.About 10,000 people per year climb Mount Rainier, but permit fees cover only about 80 percent of the program’s expenses, including ranger salaries, he said.The park has a separate fund for search and rescues that does not receive money from climbing fees.- The Associated Press
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