Mountain Town News
December 7, 2007
Crested Butte, Colo.: Officials leery about paving road across Kebler Pass Crested Butte remains uncertain whether it wants to be more closely connected to the world.That issue showed up several years ago when paving of Cottonwood Pass on the west side was proposed. It is already paved on the east side. That paving would have the practical repercussion of shortening, by about a half-hour, the time it takes to drive between metropolitan Denver and Crested Butte.The newest issue concerns vehicular access across Kebler Pass, which connects Crested Butte during summer months with Glenwood Springs and Paonia. The 29-mile gravel road is coated at the beginning of each summer with magnesium chloride, which temporarily eliminates the dust. By late July, however, the dust has returned, as has the washboard, making control difficult on tight corners. And it is, says lawman Brad Phelps, a racetrack for drivers.Gunnison County officials say that instead of applying mag chloride, which last summer cost $131,000, they want to pave it with a chip-seal mixture.Elected officials in Crested Butte arent yet opposing the paving, but are concerned that paving the road may increase traffic on the road. That, in turn, could cause more summer traffic in the residential neighborhood where the road enters Crested Butte. In winter, Kebler Pass is closed and will remain as such. Located at the end of a road then, Crested Butte is one of Colorados most remote places. Park City, Utah: East West elevates prices in Park City East West Partners, the Colorado-based developer of mountain real estate from Truckee to Canmore to Breckenridge, has another project to sell in Park City, where it has been engaged in development since 2004.At Empire Pass, part of the Deer Valley complex, the company will begin offering 37 condominiums in a project called Flagstaff that are going on the market in January. Sales prices of the condos range from $2 million to $6 million.Were at the highest end of this game, said John Calhoun, the companys vice president of sales and marketing in the Park City operations. This is expensive real estate. They are marketed to very successful people who are rewarding themselves for their successes. Susanville, Colo.: County governments asked to step up on climate change In the last 10 years there have been three different initiatives launched in the United States to get cities to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, while also lobbying for changes by the federal government.The best known is the Mayors Agreement on Climate Change, which has been endorsed by a large number of ski towns.Last summer, a parallel initiative was launched for county governments. Called the U.S. Cool Counties Stabilization Declaration, it so far has limited members confined to the West Coast and to the East. There are none in the Sierra Nevada or Rocky Mountains, according to a map on the website of Kings County, in Washington state.But the commissioners of Californias Lassen County, located northwest of Reno, are at least considering it, as requested by their fellow commissioners in Alameda County, where Oakland is located.The Cool Counties declaration, similar to the Mayors Agreement, calls on local leaders to reduce gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.The Lassen County Times reports some indignation at the local courthouse as droughts, flooding and increased forest fires are ascribed to global warming. Those are new? questioned one county supervisor, Bob Pyle. Weve never seen a drought before? Weve never seen flooding before? How do they know its climate change? Its just the normal. Invermere, Idaho: Plenty of downward thumbs for Jumbo Glacier A nonbinding plebiscite in the Invermere Valley area has shown a strong thumbs down for a proposed ski-based mountain resort called Jumbo Glacier. Some 78 percent of the 816 ballots cast opposed the resort, which would be located in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia, near the Panorama ski resort. This vote echoes similar straw-poll votes, reinforcing the position of opponents that the project must be rejected. However, the provincial government in August approved a master plan, leading to concerns that the province will circumvent local authority.Supporters downplayed the vote, likening it to a hearing, where opponents are most likely to turn out. A Jumbo Glacier official, Grant Costello, told the Invermere Valley Echo that he had urged resort supporters not to participate in the survey. Victoria, B.C.: Will B.C. walk tough talk of climate change? Lawmakers in British Columbia are looking at passing a law governing emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases that would be the toughest of such laws passed in North America. But Premier Gordon Campbell warns that the vision must be long-term.If we try and tell people we can do this in 13 months, were not going to be successful, Campbell said, in a story published by Black Press.What weve said initially is were going to do it in 13 years. And as Bill Gates once said, well accomplish way less in two years than we expect, and way more in 10.But the opposition party said the goals lack the necessary teeth.If I was a cynic, Id say this is just posturing, said Norm Macdonald, a legislator who represents the Revelstoke area.Premier Campbell has a history of making grandiose promises and promises that ultimately amount to nothing, he said. He pointed out that Campbells government transportation strategy for the Vancouver area relies upon more highways, suggesting that the approach to dealing with climate change is still somewhat confused. Canmore, Alberta: Climate change center planned A climate change center is being planned in Canmore, and the group is expected to key in on the idea that no matter what is done to curb greenhouse gases in the immediate future, great changes are on the way because of existing levels in the atmosphere, reports the Banff Crag & Canyon.Climate models prepared by the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative predict average temperature increases of around 5 degrees for Alberta. The extra precipitation will come in the winter as rain, when we dont need it, and well see less rain in the summer, said the groups Dr. Dave Sauchyn.The point were making with this study is that its important to see what the future is like, and not get surprised by it, said Bob Sanford, who heads the Western Watershed Climate Research Collaborative.Sandford further said that the ability to adapt to change is paramount. Ecosystems are disassembling and reassembling in different ways, he said. Allen Best can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.