Mountain town roundup: Vail attracts thousands for Fourth
VAIL – There’s no sign of an economic downturn in Vail this weekend – the town was swarming with locals and tourists from all over the state and the country.Mountain bikers were loading their bikes onto the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead as restaurants all over town were packed at lunchtime Saturday with visitors from Michigan to Florida.Some Vail visitors came specifically for the Fourth of July festivities, while others just happened to pass through for the day.Steve Carroll surprised his wife, Diane, and three children – Jake, Emily and Wade – with a getaway to Vail for the holiday weekend. The family lives in San Diego and had no idea they’d be in Vail for the Fourth of July weekend. They strolled through Lionshead Village Saturday afternoon taking pictures, and said they’re all looking forward to the outdoor activities in Vail.Steve Carroll said he was doing some photography over the weekend as he and his family hike, swim, ice-skate and watch the fireworks show in Vail Sunday night.Phillip and Paula Natonek, from Stevensville, Mich., came to visit their son’s girlfriend’s family in Denver over the weekend. Everyone came up to Vail to watch the Sunday parade and fireworks, sit by the pool at their hotel and do a little shopping.Mark Gordon, of West Vail, was walking through Vail Village around 12:30 p.m. and said it was so great to see so many people in town.Both parking structures were packed, but not yet full, as of about 1 p.m. Saturday. The line to get on the gondola looked more like a line on a powder day in the middle of February.- Vail Daily
ASPEN – Two people were hurt and one was taken to the hospital after the unloading platform at the top of the Lift 1A chair on Aspen Mountain apparently collapsed during Sunday night’s fireworks show.The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office released a terse statement, and an emergency dispatcher said no other information was available last night.Someone called 911 around 9:30 p.m., saying “a balcony with six people on it (had) collapsed,” the statement says. “Pitkin County deputies, Aspen volunteer firefighters and Aspen EMS responded to the scene at the top of ‘Lift 1A’ on the face of Aspen Mountain,” the statement says.Two people “were injured, and one was transported to Aspen Valley Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” the statement said. “It was determined that the ‘balcony’ was actually the unloading platform of the top of the chairlift.”- The Aspen Times
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Federal agents wiped out a wolf pack and part of a second, including 10 pups, in parts of Wyoming last week, drawing criticism from an environmental group.The killing of the pups, along with adult wolves, took place near Kemmerer and Cody, federal wildlife officials said in a weekly report posted on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site. Members of the packs had killed livestock in areas where wolves have been a chronic problem in the past, federal wolf coordinator for Wyoming Mike Jimenez said Tuesday.In all, 16 wolves were killed after they killed three calves on private property near Cody and a lamb near Dempsey Creek, northwest of Kemmerer.Killing of the pups brought a protest from Suzanne Asha Stone of Defenders of Wildlife in Boise, Idaho.”Simply killing wolves and their young, whether or not they’ve been implicated in conflicts, does very little to resolve the problem,” she said in a letter to the editor this week. “Instead, state wildlife agencies should work with ranchers to reduce the risks of depredations via effective nonlethal solutions.”Loss of the wolves will mean nothing to the Wyoming population, Jimenez said. Such killings were contemplated when wolves were brought back to Yellowstone National Park from Canada in 1995.Because the effort to restore the predator to the world’s first national park and surrounding areas has been so successful, they are now spreading out to colonize areas with marginal wildlife prey, he said. Data collected by biologists indicates that wolves in such areas are likely to continue to run into trouble for killing stock, he said.- Jackson Hole News & Guide
REDSTONE – Arguably one of the most unusual properties among Pitkin County’s open space landholdings opened to the public on July 1 – seven years after the final purchase in a series of acquisitions that has preserved a stunning stretch of the Crystal River Valley.Visitors to the Filoha Meadows Nature Preserve can take in spectacular vistas and the verdant meadows from a one-time wagon road/railroad grade that traverses the property, east of the Crystal River and 2 miles north of Redstone, but the county’s management plan for the area restricts public access to that trail alone. And it is open just three months a year, during daylight hours. The trail is closed from a half-hour before sunset to a half-hour after sunrise to protect wildlife.For the season, Filoha Meadows will be open through September, and closed Oct. 1 to June 30.”As far as I know, that’s the longest seasonal closure of any publicly owned land in the Roaring Fork Valley,” said Dale Will, county Open Space and Trails director.What visitors may not notice from the old rail bed, now devoid of rails and covered with non-native, yellow clover, are attributes that were discovered when the county began assessing the area’s plant and animal communities.”There are so many surprises on this property,” said Sarah Johnson, a naturalist with the Roaring Fork Conservancy, who led a tour of the open space Friday morning, offering an authorized opportunity to stray off the trail.- The Aspen Times
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