Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Mountain Town News


Bear jumps from Main Street roof

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. -- People strolling down Steamboat's Lincoln Avenue, the town's main street, were startled Sunday night when a bear jumped down from the roof of a diner.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today explains that the bear had been in an alley when a driver saw it, so the bear scrambled up a stairway to the roof. Before wildlife authorities could be called, the bear figured its own, unorthodox route of escape.

Although the bear caused some excitement a block away, near another restaurant, there were no direct confrontations before the bear climbed a tree.

Lower 48's least roaded county in San Juans

LAKE CITY, Colo. -- Want to get away from it all? If remoteness is defined by the absence of roads, then Hinsdale County, located in Colorado's San Juan Mountains, is the most remote place in the lower 48 states.

This distinction is based on new computer technology developed by the U.S. Geological Survey. Traditional tools for analyzing roadless space have ranked a plot of land one mile from a road the same as one several miles from a road, explains Discovery News. But this method ignores the fact that the farther a place is from a road, the less it is affected,

Using this new technology, the Geological Survey created three-dimensional pictures that finds Hinsdale County, between Gunnison and Silverton, is the nation's most remote. Although heavily mined, it has several wilderness areas, plus five 14,000-foot peaks.

The county is also among the least populated, with a 2002 census of 790 full-time residents, more than half in the county's only town, Lake City.

The county also has one of the highest rates of second-home owners in the nation, a large number of them from Texas. The county is also remembered as the locale for the cannibalism of Alferd Packer, the only man in the United States ever convicted of the deed.

Tourists ask questions about climate change

BANFF, Alberta -- When do deer turn into elk, and elk into moose? Tourists may still ask those questions, but nowadays they're also asking about climate change in the mountains, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

To that end, the Banff Centre held a two-day session entitled "Communicating Climate Change."

"A lot of guides have been getting questions and/or comments form their guests about climate change, both in winter and in summer," explained Dave Verhultz, executive director of the Mountain Parks Heritage Interpretation Association.

"People want to know, either what they (guides) think about climate change, if they think it's affecting the Rockies, and are we worried about it."

Summit County to cap homes in backcountry

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. -- Maps of Summit County show a checkerboard of private and public lands, a legacy of the mining era when prospectors were allowed to stake claims of 10.2 acres. The larger tracts allowed homesteaders were generally along the valley floors.

But in recent years, with the valley floors getting heavily developed, those wanting a house in the nestling pines have been looking at more remote locations—to the great concern of fire departments as well as county officials concerned about environmental impacts.

To that end, Summit County is trying to limit how much building is done on private land in the backcountry. A new plan proposes to rezone 3,615 acres of private land into a new backcountry zone.




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