- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Vail Daily, April 2, on Vail Mountain snowmaking expansion aiding more than terrain:

Some here in the high country have long maintained that skiing is too big a business to leave it to the whims of Mother Nature.

That quip came from the days long ago when resorts started investing in new and better grooming for ski slopes. But even the best grooming can only do so much in scant snow years.

That’s why it’s good news that the U.S. Forest Service recently approved a Vail Resorts proposal to expand its snowmaking capacity on Vail Mountain. When the multi-year project is complete, nearly 25 percent of the mountain’s skiable terrain will be covered by snowmaking. That includes upper parts of the mountain accessible via Gondola One out of Vail Village.

That’s good news for Vail Village business owners, who in some years look longingly west down Meadow Drive toward Lionshead Village, watching early-season skiers flock to the Eagle Bahn Gondola there.

But the expanded snowmaking is good news in other ways.

Perhaps at the top of the list is the diversity of terrain the expansion will make available in the season’s first weeks.

That could provide a big boost to both the resort and the town. Absent abundant snowfall years, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are often a relatively soft spot in the ski season. More available terrain will help bring more people to Vail. That means people working at shops and restaurants have a better chance of putting in more hours during those weeks. More stable paychecks help both individuals and the community at large.

Somewhat hidden in the news of the snowmaking expansion is the foresight shown years ago by resort executives. Snowmaking requires water, of course, and pretty good amounts of it. Company officials say they hold water rights that will allow the full expansion without seeking new supplies.

The western U.S. has been in a drought cycle for roughly 20 years. And ski areas need to investigate ways to adapt to a changing climate.

Boosting snowmaking at Vail is good news in a host of ways. And, given our valley economy, we need to be able to help Mother Nature in any way we can.

Editorial: https://bit.ly/2KdszKy


The Pueblo Chieftain, April 1, on Colorado’s new logo:

The state of Colorado has a new official logo. And if you felt like the old logo really didn’t represent our part of the state very well, you might be pleased with the replacement. Maybe.

Now, the chances are excellent that you don’t even remember what the old logo looked like. We aren’t talking about the state flag here, but the symbol that state government uses on its correspondence, signage and such.

For the record, the old logo depicted a snow-capped green mountain peak, with the abbreviation “CO” inside and the word “Colorado” printed out below. Which is just great if you happen to live in one of the mountainous regions of the Centennial State.

However, Gov. Jared Polis thought we needed a new logo that would be a little more representative of the state’s geographic diversity.

So an in-house team of designers went to work and came up with the new design, which depicts a mountain peak inside a “C” like the one on the state flag, with a pine tree covering part of the letter.

How does that represent Pueblo, you may ask? The answer lies within the new color scheme. The new logo has three colors - red, yellow and blue. The red is meant to depict the parts of the state with red soil and rocks. The yellow, the wheat fields of the eastern plains. (Gov. Polis sees you, La Junta!) And the blue, Colorado’s lakes and rivers.

We’ve got Lake Pueblo and the Arkansas River, so we guess the blue part applies to us.

Whether the new logo looks better is strictly in the eye of the beholder. Of course, if you have to have the meaning of artwork, logos included, explained to you, it loses some of its zing.

Still, you’ve got to admire Polis for sidestepping the controversy that ensnared his predecessor, John Hickenlooper. Under Hickenlooper’s watch, the state spent at least $2 million to come up with the green mountain icon, which some considered to be rather underwhelming. Truth be told, it did look a bit like a Hershey’s Kiss in green wrapping paper.

In any case, it’s fairly safe to say that wasn’t a taxpayer-funded expenditure Hickenlooper is going to talk about a lot during his presidential campaign.

If we were designing a logo here in Pueblo, we’d probably include an icon of the steel mill, a green chile or maybe a winding waterway to symbolize the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo. But that’s just us.

From our view, the new logo doesn’t look too bad. And it could have been a heck of a lot worse.

When it comes to government work, sometimes you have to settle for that.

Editorial: https://bit.ly/2FLnbsW


The Denver Post, March 29, on a second chance to protect crucial Colorado habitats and heritage:

Colorado missed out on an epic opportunity to include four thoroughly vetted public lands protection bills into the omnibus package of conservation projects that were in the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

But do not despair. There is a chance these worthy conservation efforts can still become law. Rep. Joe Neguse and Sen. Michael Bennet, both Democrats from Colorado, have collected them together into the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, was heard Tuesday in the House Natural Resources subcommittee.

On a large scale, this bill will add various levels of protection to 400,000 acres of public land scattered across the state. The bill would create 73,000 acres of wilderness area (the nation’s highest level of protection); 80,000 acres of recreation and conservation areas that preserve existing uses of the land while prohibiting future development; and a first-of-its-kind national historic landscape to protect Camp Hale, home to the legacy of the 10th Mountain Division.

But to truly understand the importance of this bill you must zoom into the landscapes that are being protected.

The Thompson Divide is a pristine forested area once threatened by oil and gas leases. The community rallied in opposition and stopped those leases. Today the area is used by ranchers for their grazing cattle and by outdoors enthusiasts drawn to the natural beauty.

Protecting these lands by placing 206,600 acres under permanent withdrawal from future oil and gas leases or other mineral extraction is critical for those who love the land today, for the animals who call the forests home, and for the rivers that are fed by its headwaters.

Of the areas designated in the bill, the Thompson Divide is the most controversial. Public officials in Mesa County and Delta County opposed the plan, and as such, no land in those counties has been included in the CORE Act.

Support has come from the county commissions in Gunnison County and Pitkin County, but also from the towns of Basalt, Carbondale, and the cities of Glenwood Springs and Ridgway. These local elected officials have worked with the federal government to find a way to protect the Thompson Divide without placing the at-times heavy-handed restrictions on the land associated with wilderness areas.

But it’s not just elected officials or wilderness advocates like those with Trout Unlimited and The Wilderness Society who support the move. Zoom in closer and you’ll find folks like Bill Fales who owns a ranch just outside of Carbondale that would be part of the Thompson Divide mineral withdrawal area.

“It protects existing production, existing uses,” Fales told The Post editorial board on Friday, still upset that a photo of his Cold Mountain Ranch had been used on a mailer urging members of Congress to oppose the bill.

Fales said the legislation is important to him because it will ensure his grazing permits on the land are still worth something in the future.

The Thompson Divide is just one of the areas included in this legislation and stories of similar support can be found for those living and working near the other lands proposed for protection, including the wilderness expansion areas proposed in the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests, the Continental Divide and Camp Hale lands in the White River National Forest, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area surrounding the Blue Mesa Reservoir.

Unfortunately, support for this bill cannot be found in two critical places: the Capitol Hill offices of Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton. Without their crucial support, this bill faces a doomed future.

We would urge them to dig into the proposal, express their concerns and be open to allowing Bennet and Neguse to address them.

Editorial: https://dpo.st/2Vg2Mmn

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