Mountain Town News |

Mountain Town News

Some 900 city streetlights in Durango are being changed out in an effort to reduce light pollution. The fixtures are being replaced over a seven-year time frame, says the Durango Telegraph, with the newest fixtures using full cutoff lenses to reduce light broadcast to the sky and into unintended areas.

Telluride recorded a record number of skiers last winter, 426,000, but may be hard put to match that feat next winter, no matter how much it snows.A number of projects promise to make Mountain Village, where most of the hotel beds are located for the ski area, into a construction zone. The ski area operator, Telluride Ski and Golf Co., is pushing group sales as a hedge in the reduction in bed base.Ken Stone, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, cautioned that record skier days don’t necessarily mean record profits. “You can also have more skier days and lose money if your yield isn’t good,” he explains. “Our job is to improve yield.”

The town of Sun Valley in January joined the Mayors’ Agreement on Climate Change. But how does it honor its pledge to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions for which the town is responsible?Town officials are searching for an answer. One pitch the Town Council heard recently came from a firm called Intrepid Technology and Research. The firm, reports the Idaho Mountain Express, proposes to put cow manure into an anaerobic digest, which produces both a fertilizer similar to peat moss but also carbon that could be burned in lieu of natural gas to heat homes and businesses. The dung would be collected at a dairy farm along the Snake River Valley, and the gas would be shipped north to Sun Valley.

Banff town officials are moving their composting program into high gear. The town has been using the food waste from one of the major hotels, but it hopes to expand the program to include all major businesses as well as homes.Surveys have shown that food makes up to 45 percent of municipal food waste, and at some hotels and restaurants, it’s more like 75 percent, said Chad Townsend, environmental services coordinator for the town.The Rocky Mountain Outlook reports that collection bins for organic waste will be set up at two drop-off points in Banff, and the town will also offer under-sink containers so that people can store food waste at home for several days before taking it to the collection sites.

BC Hydro is pushing energy conservation as an alternative to expanding energy supplies. Already, British Columbia imports electricity, and demand is expected to increase 25 to 45 percent during the next two decades. British Columbia’s Energy Plan hopes to meet half of that demand through more efficient use of electricity, in effect by conserving it.

Concerned about the vast amounts of dead and dying lodgepole pine trees, county commissioners in Grand County are considering regulations that would more tightly limit the kinds of outdoor fires that would be allowed. Excluded from the ban would be fires in pits or enclosed charcoal grills, or burning of water ditches for agriculture purposes.

Eagle County commissioners have adopted a law that takes a hard-nosed approach to potential sale or exchange of federal lands. The new rules governing lands would limit residential development to one unit per 80 acres, among other restrictions. The Vail Daily reports some heartburn on the part of federal officials, most notably the U.S. Forest Service. The Eagle Valley has been the subject of many proposed land exchanges during the last 20 years. As well, the Bush administration last year identified several Forest Service parcels surrounded by private lands that it proposed to sell.

George Gillett’s family continues to make the case for a major real estate addition to the Grand Targhee Resort. The family’s representative, Geordie Gillett, has told the planning commissioner in Teton County that the Gillett family cannot continue running the ski area with financial losses.”If Alta, Idaho, or Teton County, Wyo., doesn’t want us to succeed, if it wants to legislate us into mediocrity and ensure a second-tier resort, that’s fine,” he said. “There is more than greed at work. There is survival, competitiveness and economic realities.”The Gilletts want to expand the amount of real estate, currently 96 units, to 725. This is part of a push begun about 20 years ago by the ski area’s prior owners, Morey and Carol Bergmeyer.While Grand Targhee is in Wyoming, it is located in the valley that is primarily in Idaho’s Teton Valley, one of the West’s fastest-growing places. Towns include Driggs and Alta.Geordie Gillett says the ski area was not responsible for that growth. “I’m sure we’re going to be hearing a lot more about how we are going to ruin Alta,” he said. “Alta is going to grow with or without Grand Targhee. Alta is growing while skier days have stayed the same.” Allen Best compiles Mountain Town News. He can be reached at

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