Friday, November 23, 2012

Mountain Town News


Colorado 420 friendly, but hold the Goldfish

ASPEN, Colo.—In the wake of the vote legalizing possession of marijuana in Colorado last month, newspapers in the state’s ski towns wondered about the effect on tourism. After all, people go to Costa Rica to get root canals and chip in a round or two of golf on the side. Why not a ski vacation and a few bong hits, too?
But tourism promoters said they doubt easy availability will mean much to most people. “I really don’t see it as a plus or a minus,” said Tom Kern, chief executive of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. “I just see it as fact,” he told Steamboat Today.
Colorado has been edging toward legalization of marijuana for some years. In 2000, state voters authorized use of marijuana for medical purposes, in defiance of federal law prohibiting marijuana. Then, in 2009, the Obama administration signaled it would not prosecute medical marijuana patients and caregivers who were in “clear and unambiguous” compliance with state law. By 2010, Colorado lawmakers had adopted legislation governing the burgeoning medical dispensaries.
“I’ve never before seen so many 21-year-olds with neck pain,” wisecracked John Minor, sheriff of Summit County, shortly after the new laws went into effect.
In fact, some clinics advertised having doctors on call 24 hours a day.
The impact of the vote in ski towns is a moot point in other ways as well. Sheriffs in Aspen, Telluride and Breckenridge have all said at various times that prosecution of marijuana laws was not a high priority.
In fact, marijuana use in Colorado is still restricted to people with doctor’s authorization. State officials expect implementation of the law to take a year.
“Don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper, alluding to the well-known belief that smoking marijuana makes people hungry.

Still Democrats, but ski towns waver a bit

DENVER, Colo.–In mountain valleys of Colorado dominated by ski towns, there was slippage in the vote for President Barack Obama, but they remain more liberal and Democratic than the state or general averages.
Telluride and San Miguel remains the most reliably Democratic enclave in the state, but even so, the support for Obama slipped in this election. The 77 percent majority there from four years ago slipped to 70 percent his year. The margin also slipped in Routt County (Steamboat), from 62 four years ago to 57 percent this year.
In Colorado’s Grand County (Winter Park), Mitt Romney actually won. He also won in Utah’s Summit County, where he owned a home in Park City until just a few years ago

California ski areas to open again next year

MAMMOTH LAKE, Calif.—Strapped for cash and with a $2 million bank loan due, the owner of Mammoth Mountain and June Creek ski areas chose to mothball June Creek for the coming season. If loved by many, commercially it is something of the ugly step-sister.
Many suspected that June Mountain, as a ski area, would go away forever. But Rusty Gregory, manager of Mammoth, has indicated operations will resume in the 2013-2014 ski season. But he hopes to see it marketed differently, as a unique ski experience and not just an extension of Mammoth.
According to The Sheet, he says that many small New England resorts have done well—suggesting that whatever the problems of the past, they need not preclude future commercial success.

Los lobos seem to be a bit more aggressive

JASPER, B.C.—Wolves have killed two dogs and become aggressive toward other dogs, even when those dogs are attached by leashes to their owners. Can humans be next?
The argument for many years was that no, wolves didn’t attack people. A study by Mark McNay, a now retired biologist from Alaska, found only one case among 80 cases of human-wolf encounters between 1900 and 1960 that involved an unprovoked, aggressive behavior of a wolf.
Then, between 1969 and 2000, there were 18 cases documented, including “three cases of serious injury to children since 1996,” according to a story in Jasper’s Fitzhugh by Niki Wilson.
That’s not a big number, but in his 2002 report, McNay said that “increases in wolf protection, human activities in wolf habitat, and [an increase in] wolf numbers occurred concurrently with increases with unprovoked aggressive encounters.”
In other words, it appeared that more wolves, in combination with more people in their habitat and fewer efforts to kill wolves, had resulted in more encounters.
The bottom line: “We find ourselves in a situation that needs active management. Few of us want the destruction of wolves, but cases reviewed by McNay and others tell us that in some instances, wolves, like bears, can be dangerous for people. Denying this is to deny wolves their birthright as a predator, intelligent and opportunistic enough to once rule the continent,” writes Wilson.

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