Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mountain Town News


Carbon-belching from

Mammoth on the wane

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, Calif. -- The emissions of carbon dioxide from Mammoth Mountain have been decreasing.

The carbon dioxide was vented after a flurry of earthquakes in 1989, opening cracks. Both odorless and invisible under normal conditions, the carbon dioxide killed three ski patrollers from Mammoth Mountain last year.

However, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by Mammoth mountain has declined 80 percent since the mid-1990s, reports The Sheet. Scientists with the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab say the cause of the decline is not known: possibly because the size of the underground reservoir of magma is shrinking or possibly because the fissures are resealing themselves.

Alberta grizzly count

finds unexpectedly few

CANMORE, Alberta -- Environmental organizations are calling for protection of grizzly bears to be upgraded from threatened to endangered. A survey now being conducted is expected to show that the region, including Banff National Park, has only 500 grizzly bears, about half previous estimates, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Tracey Henderson, executive director of the Grizzly Bear Alliance, said provincial authorities need to reduce the density of roads and other access in grizzly bear habitat.

"It doesn't mean we have to close down key grizzly bear habitat to people. It doesn't necessarily mean creating new parks. What it means is better controlling access to key grizzly bear habitats," she said.

Big cat just watches, but

trails closed just the same

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. -- Two trails near Crested Butte were closed after a mountain lion was seen in the area. The lion did nothing aggressive, but was simply observing people, a state wildlife manager, J. Wenum, told the Crested Butte News. But even if authorities said trail users had a better chance of winning the lottery than getting attacked by the lion, they decided not to push their luck, and hence closed the trails.

Crested Butte takes up

main street office ban

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. -- The town council is revisiting the idea of making ground-floor locations along the town's main tourist-friendly shopping area off-limits to real estate and other offices. But unlike a year ago, when the law was first passed, the new law would allow existing uses to be grandfathered, reports the Crested Butte News. The new regulations being considered would also allow street frontage to be allocated for personal service.

Aspen's namesake trees

being chewed on by bugs

ASPEN, Colo. -- Aspen's namesake tree is being threatened by a parasite called willow scale. While the parasite is native to the area, the bugs have become more prevalent. The city's forester, Chris Forman, tells the Aspen Times that watering and pruning trees is important to keeping them healthy and less vulnerable to the parasite.

Summit's ban on cyanide

mining ban being appealed

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. -- As expected, Summit County's ban on cyanide-heap-leach mining is being appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court. The ban had been ruled unconstitutional by a district court, but that ruling was overturned by the Colorado Court of Appeals.

As Gunnison and several other counties in Colorado have enacted similar rules, the case is being watched as potentially precedent setting. Appealing the case is the Colorado Mining Association, which argues that state government, not county governments, has authority over mining.

Breckenridge adopts

limits on outdoor lights

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. -- Breckenridge has passed an ordinance that attempts to reduce light pollution and light trespass. The new law creates two zones within the town. The core town area will have more latitude for lighting, and other areas will have stricter standards. In any event, all new lighting fixtures must adhere to the code, while existing fixtures can be continued for a maximum of 15 years, reports the Summit Daily News.

Three bears killed

already in Whistler

WHISTLER, B.C. -- It's already been a bad year for bears in Whistler. Two have been killed for pillaging through cars and houses, and a third was hit by a car. Authorities tell Pique newsmagazine that the substantial alpine snowpack that lingers in the mountains has caused more bears to look for food in the valley. Olympic-related construction and activity in the resort's vaunted mountain bike park has also caused the bruins to head down. Once the bears have discovered human-aided food, be it garbage, bird feed or stuff from recycling containers, they're likely to stick around.

Rancher jailed for

endangering bikers

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. -- After repeated encounters with mountain bikers, skiers, and hikers, rancher Paul DeBoer has been sentenced to jail for six months.

"I confess, I don't understand why these incidents keep happening and why you are always at the center of them, Mr. DeBoer," said the judge, Tim Day.

In this particular case, three bicyclists told authorities that DeBoer passed dangerously close to them in his truck as they rode their road bikes up Game Creek.

DeBoer, 66, lives across the road from the trailhead. In the past, notes the Jackson Hole News&Guide, he has had conflicts with people walking dogs who do not keep them under control, with people who do not clean up after their pets, and also with cyclists who ride fast down the backcountry trails.

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