Summit County forest management the focus of public discussion Thursday |

Summit County forest management the focus of public discussion Thursday

The Forest Health Task Force will host a public panel discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of active and passive forest management on Thursday, Nov. 20.

The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Summit County Community and Senior Center in the County Commons in Frisco.

Panelists will include Scott Fitzwilliams, supervisor of the White River National Forest; Mike Lester, Colorado State Forest Service; Cary Green, White River National Forest timber management administrator; Chuck Rhoades, Forest Service watershed biogeochemistry researcher; Kristen Pelz, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute research associate; and Brad Piehl, Forest Health Task Force member.

Panelists will talk about changing Forest Service strategies, desired outcomes, where clear-cutting and thinning could be appropriate or inappropriate, alternative management practices and how local citizens can play a role in forest management.

Forest regeneration rates and wildfire risk in both logged and unlogged areas will be considered, and a Q&A will follow the panel discussion.

The Forest Health Task Force, a collaborative program that explores forest management issues in Summit County, is a program of The Greenlands Reserve, a statewide nonprofit trust. Recently, the task force created a citizen-monitoring program to track local forest conditions.

FracTracker Alliance releases app to monitor drilling activities

Want to track and share information about oil and gas drilling? There’s an app for that.

FracTracker Alliance recently announced the release of its free iPhone app, designed to collect and share experiences related to oil and gas drilling across the U.S.

As hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, intensifies, so too do the innovative ways in which citizens can track, monitor and report potential issues from their smartphones.

The app allows users to submit photos or reports. Users can also view a map of wells drilled near them and other user-submitted reports. The map shows wells that have been drilled both unconventionally and conventionally.

“FracTracker’s app contributes to the collective understanding of oil and gas impacts and provides a new opportunity for public engagement,” said Brook Lenker, executive director of the FracTracker Alliance.

Several organizations and community groups helped to test and improve the app during its development.

To address questions about the impacts of oil and gas development across landscapes, FracTracker joined with the National Parks Conservation Association to create a crowd-sourced map with photos detailing the scale of oil and gas development near North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park using the app.

“FracTracker’s new app allows us to tell a visual story about fracking’s impacts to national parks and their local communities,” said Nick Lund, the association’s landscape conservation program manager. “We hope this information will lead to strong protections for our national parks, our forests and our drinking water.”

Beta testing and reviews of the app were also conducted by Mountain Watershed Association, Responsible Drilling Alliance, Audubon PA, PA Forest Coalition, Southwest PA Environmental Health Project, and Save Our Streams PA.

The free app is available for download from the iTunes store; an Android platform is due out later this year. Visit to learn more.

Local shooting range receives grant for improvements

The Summit County Shooting Range in Dillon recently was awarded a $77,400 grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife for disability access improvements, new shooting benches, cover structures and drainage improvements.

The range was one of 11 similar projects across the state that received $500,000 total through the Shooting Range Development Grant. The Summit range received the third most funding, behind ranges in Colorado Springs and Estes Park.

Safety and access are the common thread among the grant recipients.

CPW Shooting Range program coordinator Jim Guthrie said, “The awards support improvements and expansions at six existing shooting ranges, address safety issues at two ranges, start development of two entirely new ranges, and repair one range heavily damaged by the September 2013 floods.”

CPW anticipates the improvements and updates will result in a wider diversity of recreational shooting opportunities, help introduce more people to the sport and provide a different avenue for local youths and new participants to become involved in rifle, archery or other shooting disciplines.

“There is tremendous demand for new and expanded ranges in all parts of the state,” Guthrie said. “The Leadville and Sterling projects will open up safe, new, public ranges in areas that currently do not have good options.”

Local support must be strong for these projects, which require at least 25 percent of the cost to be provided by grantees with matching funds or in-kind donations.

CPW’s shooting range grant program is funded with revenue from license sales and federal Hunter Education Program funds generated from the sale of hunting and shooting equipment. No taxpayer dollars are involved.

The CPW shooting range program is the largest of its kind in the nation. CPW has awarded funds to more than 40 projects in 27 of Colorado’s counties over the last five years.

Send environment news to reporter Alli Langley at

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