Mountain Town News: Yes to cannabis jerky, but still many worries
May 31, 2016
ASPEN, Colo. – When Colorado legalized sales and use of marijuana for recreational purposes in 2014, Aspen was right there. You can find stores within a block of city hall, with restrictions little different than those imposed on liquor stores.
But in unincorporated Pitkin County, elected officials have been hesitant. Their concerns are rooted in lingering questions about unintended consequences of THC-infused edibles. Their particular worry is about edibles getting into the hands, and mouths, of children and adolescents.
Several months ago, the county commissioners flat-out said no to a local woman who wanted to infuse candy products at a kitchen located just outside the town.
Now, they've said yes to a business that intends to infuse THC into buffalo jerky, selling it under the name Cannabis Queen Jerky. But the entrepreneur will have to take many extra steps, according to reports in the Aspen Daily News and the Aspen Times.
Each piece of jerky must be stamped to show it has been infused and will be limited to 10 milligrams of THC per serving. In addition, the commissioners specified that pesticides cannot not be used in growing the cannabis from which THC is extracted.
Even so, the permission to manufacture the jerky is only provisional. The Valley Marijuana Council is weighing the effect of edibles. One member, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, has said that he opposes products sold locally that mimic candies and snacks that could be attractive to children and other youth.
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A representative of the applicant said the jerky will be spicy, to deter any child who might find it. The target market consists of those aged 18 to 34. And it is being pitched as an alternative to smoking.
Two of our deepest lakes and their issues
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev./Calif. – Have you ever been to Lake Tahoe? How about Crater Lake? They're both very deep, very cold, and very prized for their exceptional clarity. But that clarity continues to be of concern in both places.
Tahoe was formed by earthquakes and is 1,644 feet deep. In 1968, scientists could see white, pie-sized disks in Tahoe to a depth of 102.4 feet. But that clarity receded to 66 feet in the 1990s, provoking national attention. Land-use activities in the Tahoe Basin were blamed, and corrective actions were begun. In 2014, clarity had improved to 78 feet.
That falls well short of clarity in the 1960s. The Tahoe Daily Tribune reports that studies have found 72 percent of fine sediments entering Lake Tahoe originate with runoff from highways, roads, and city streets in South Lake Tahoe. Because of steps already taken, resource managers think they can achieve a goal of 10 percent reduction in sediments this year. The next goal is a 21 percent reduction by 2021.
At 1,946 feet, Oregon's Crater Lake is a few hundred feet deeper than Tahoe. It's the six-mile-wide caldera of a volcano called Mount Mazama that collapsed about 6,580 years ago. Unlike Tahoe, there is no development along the shores of the lake and the water remains stunningly clear and deep blue. That clarity might dull during the 21st century, according to a new report from the US. Geological Survey.
The agency's modeling finds that warmer atmospheric temperatures could disrupt the deep water mixing. Currently, cold water at the surface descends, displacing warm water at the bottom – and replenishing dissolved oxygen near the lake's bottom. A warming climate is likely to disrupt that mixing.
Yellowstone wolverine meets end in N. Dakota
JACKSON, Wyo. – In 2009, a wolverine was captured near Togwottee Pass, located between Jackson and Yellowstone National Park, and was outfitted with a radio collar, so that wildlife biologists could track it.
The 30-pound wolverine proved to be a brazen traveler. It crossed the Red Desert of southern Wyoming and showed up in Colorado at Rocky Mountain National Park. From there, reports The Denver Post, the wolverine — the first known in Colorado in 90 years— snacked on marmots in summer and elk carcasses in winter in the Mosquito Range south of Breckenridge and Leadville. It was believed to be the only wolverine in Colorado.
Then, the signal was lost. In April, the wolverine turned up in North Dakota — dead. Shot "this here critter out tormenting the cows," reported a rancher on Facebook. It was the first confirmed wolverine in North Dakota since before statehood, in 1889.
The Jackson Hole News&Guide talked with wolverine expert Bob Inman, who works for Montana's carnivore and furbearers program.
"Certainly we've seen other wolverines make long-distance dispersal movements, but not quite like this," he said.
While wolverines tend to be solitary, being the only individual in an entire state may have driven the critter to seek female companionship, Inman speculated. Obviously, it made a mistake in going to North Dakota.
Colorado had considered reintroducing wolverines. The species was never common but studies early in the 20th century make mention of it. Inman blamed efforts by conservation groups to enlist protection of the Endangered Species Act. That snarled Colorado's conversation about reintroduction. Had the Endangered Species Act not been introduced, he argued, the wolverine shot in North Dakota might have found some company closer to its new home.
Wolf takes a romp outside of Banff
BANFF, Alberta – This canine did some trotting. The Rocky Mountain Outlook tells of a male wolf from the Banff area whose radio collar showed that he did a two-week walkabout around and outside Banff National Park, traveling 37 kilometers (22 miles) a day.
It was a risky trip. Outside the park, he could have been trapped or shot.
Parks Canada wildlife biologist Jesse Whittington tells the newspaper that a wolf may leave a pack in search of food. If it's a subordinate wolf, it may choose to leave in search of another pack in which it might have a better chance of scoring with another wolf.
This latest jaunt pales in comparison with a wolf from Banff whose radio-collar showed her trotting across the Continental Divide into British Columbia, then across the international border to Montana's Glacier National Park and then west to Idaho and Washington state before finally returning home.
Leaving a national park isn't a good idea for wolves, though. This wolf was later shot along with her mate and three pups in British Columbia.
Burton gives 50k to climate action group
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Burton Snowboards has given $50,000 to Protect Our Winters, the group set up to unite winter sports users in advocacy about the need for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Burton has worked with POW since 2011, with POW leveraging Burton's roster of high-profile professional athletes.
"Through POW, we can help advocate for policies that focus on protecting our winters and reducing the impact of climate change," said Donna Carpenter, the chief executive of Burton and a director of POW, in a press release.
Not-so-sexy LED lights instead of solar panels
BASALT, Colo. – What's this, a town saying no to solar panels? That's the case in Basalt, located near Aspen, where elected officials had planned to purchase $363,000 worth of panels in a community solar project.
But partly based on advice from one of its own members, Auden Schendler, the vice president of community sustainability for the Aspen Skiing Co., the town council has agreed that the money can better reduce greenhouse gas emissions with steps to reduce demand.
Instead of solar panels, Basalt will invest in LED street lights and improved energy efficiency improvements in town buildings, including those of the local school districts. With limited funds, the best return on investment for municipal efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is in efficiency.
Too, Schendler told Mountain Town News, "the PR and sex appeal of the solar farms is gone, meaning that even if it's a good thing, you lose the educational and promotional benefits."
Composting soon to arrive in Vail area
VAIL, Colo. – Those businesses wanting to compost in Vail and outlying areas currently have to haul it to Steamboat Springs or Summit County. But by sometime next year, a community composting facility is expected to be in place at the local landfill, the Vail Daily reports. The work is being advanced by a grant from Eagle County as part of its effort to divert waste from the landfill.
Just in case, keep gas in the car at all times
JASPER, Alberta – After the fire in Fort McMurray, many people in Alberta are asking about whether it could happen there.
The answer, of course, is yes. And one received lesson in Jasper is to keep gas in your vehicle.
"In Jasper, there are three gas station and 5,000 residents and potentially 20,000 tourists," said Greg Van Tighem, the local fire chief. "It's logistically not possible for everybody to get gas (on short notice). It's just not going to happen."
The roads from Fort McMurray were littered with cars that ran out of gas as the city's 88,000 residents were forced to flee on short notice.
In Banff, town officials were trying to reassure local residents that potential fire scenarios had been studied in detail. Unlike Fort McMurray, with its dense and uninterrupted stands of boreal forest, Banff and Banff National Park have natural fire breaks.
Forests around the town have been thinned, but Ted Christensen, a town councilor, wonders if some remaining tall trees should also be toppled. "I know one community in B.C. (British Columbia) went on a logging boom and logged off a lot of their big trees," he told the Rocky Mountain Outlook.
Minimum wage to start rising in B.C.
WHISTLER, B.C. – Come September, the minimum wage in British Columbia will rise from $10.45 per hour to $10.85 per hour (US dollars, at current exchange rate: $8.07 to $8.38) with another increase to $11.25 ($8.69 US) in 2017.
While chamber groups typically complain loudly about minimum wage increases, the Whistler chamber isn't kicking, reports Pique Newsmagazine. "We know Whistler isn't always the cheapest place to live," said Val Litwin, the chief executive.
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