Winter motorized travel prohibited at Ski Cooper |

Winter motorized travel prohibited at Ski Cooper

Alli Langley

The U.S. Forest Service recently prohibited over-snow vehicle travel within a portion of Lake County.

All operation of over-snow vehicles, including snowmobiles, will not be allowed within the Ski Cooper permitted area in Lake County and within 500 feet of designated ski and snowshoe trails maintained by the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center.

Forest Service officials said the new rule aims to protect the skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing public and ski area property from unnecessary safety risks and facility property damage. The ban will be in effect until February 3, 2016.

Additionally, the portion of the Ski Cooper permitted area that falls within Eagle County has been closed to over-snow vehicles by the White River National Forest to enable consistent management for all portions of the Ski Cooper operating area.

For more information, contact the Leadville Ranger District at (719) 486-0749.

HC3 hosts two green events

High Country Conservation Center will host the 26 annual Tim McClure Memorial Benefit this Saturday, March 7, and all proceeds will go to the Summit County nonprofit that specializes in waste reduction, energy efficiency and sustainable foods.

The benefit will be at the Village at Breckenridge on Saturday, March 7, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 in advance and $30 at the door and includes food, beer, live entertainment and silent auction. Children under 12 years old are free.

Advanced tickets can be purchased online through Friday, March 6, at

The organization will also hold an energy efficiency informational session for local homeowners in partnership with the Summit Combined Housing Authority on Tuesday, March 10.

The free class will be from noon to 1 p.m. in the Buffalo Mountain Room at the County Commons in Frisco and include lunch.

To register for the class, call Michelle at 970-423-7040 or email

Colorado changes auto emissions rules

Significant changes to the auto emissions inspection program in the Denver metro area and Northern Front Range debuted in January.

The changes, approved by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission in 2012, were designed to increase customer convenience while protecting air quality.

The inspection program reduces ozone-forming pollutants from motor vehicles by about 25 tons per day.

Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, including chest pain, coughing and throat irritation. It can worsen bronchitis, emphysema and asthma, and reduce lung function.

Among the changes is an extension of the initial exemption period for new vehicles from four years to seven years, reflecting improvements in vehicle technology. Vehicles 8 to 11 years old no longer will be placed on treadmill-like dynamometers, and instead, they will be evaluated using their On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) computers.

“The use of OBD is encouraged by the EPA,” said Will Allison, director of the Air Pollution Control Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “OBD can detect problems that lead to higher emissions, poor fuel economy and poor performance.”

For the first time, hybrid vehicles 8 years old and older will be inspected using OBD. As hybrids age and deteriorate, they rely more on their gasoline engines. Their emissions can begin to mirror those of vehicles powered exclusively by gasoline.

Inspection cost for motorists will remains $25 every two years for 1982-and-newer vehicles and $15 annually for 1981-and-older vehicles.

To learn more about the changes, visit the Air Care Colorado website at or the division’s webpage at

Women encouraged to learn to hunt

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is now accepting applications for a chance to participate in a turkey hunt designed for women who are novice hunters and want to learn from experienced mentors.

The two-day clinic is offered in partnership with Encana and the Western Slope chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the hunt will take place on private property donated by Encana, near Parachute.

Applications are due by 5 p.m., March 20, and can be found on Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s website at

Only novice women 18 and over will be selected. No experience or equipment is required; however, all applicants must have valid Hunter Education cardS.

Five successful participants will spend two days practicing a variety of skills, including firearms safety and turkey calling. Other topics include habitat, biology and turkey behavior.

“We’ll take everyone out the night before the hunt to scout the area and watch the birds in their natural environment,” said Kathleen Tadvick, CPW education coordinator.

For more information about the hunt, contact Tadvick at 970-255-6181.

USGS says more studies need on fracking

More research is necessary to understand the potential risks to water quality associated with oil and gas development, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study.

“We mined the national water-quality databases from 1970 to 2010 and were able to assess long-term trends in only 16 percent of the watersheds with unconventional oil and gas resources,” said Zack Bowen, USGS scientist and principal author of the article that appears in American Geophysical Union’s Water Resources Research. “There are not enough data available to be able to assess potential effects of oil and gas development over large geographic areas.”

There is not a national water-quality monitoring program that focuses on oil and gas development, so existing national water-quality databases and data on hydraulic fracturing were used to assess water-quality trends in oil and gas areas.

The study found no widespread and consistent trends in water quality, such as chloride and specific conductance, in areas where unconventional oil and gas wells are prevalent. The amount of water-quality samples, where they are located and the varying constituents that are measured are limiting factors in existing national databases.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is now the primary stimulation technique for oil and gas production in low-permeability, unconventional resource reservoirs. Comprehensive, published and publicly available information regarding the extent, location and character of fracking and its effects on regional or national water quality is scarce.

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