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News in Brief

It’s not a nordic trail, but the Aspen Cross Country Center was warning hikers Monday to avoid the steep Ute Trail up the side of Aspen Mountain, given the unstable snow conditions.

After the weekend storm, steep areas are best avoided. Fractures and slides have even been reported on the ski slopes.

A bull moose that has been hanging around the Canyon Creek area apparently has some female company.

Members of a hunting party spotted two cows and a bull up Possum Creek on the north side of Storm King Mountain in early November, New Castle resident Jim Slappey said. The bull was about a half-mile from the cows, he said.

Slappey didn’t see the moose himself, but is confident of the story told by those who did.

“The people that saw them were all old, experienced hunters, and fortunately they know the difference between an elk and a moose,” he said.

Pat Tucker, area manager in Glenwood Springs for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, was encouraged to hear that the bull moose spotted in Canyon Creek in early October appeared to have been surviving the hunting season, which ended Nov. 10. Tucker had worried that hunters would mistake the moose for an elk and shoot it. He said the DOW had been working to inform hunters that a moose had been seen in the area to ensure they didn’t confuse it for another animal.

Garfield County doesn’t have a permanent moose population. Some of the biggest populations in Colorado are around Walden and Lake City, but Tucker said satellite populations exist in the Homestake Reservoir and Piney Lake areas in Eagle and Pitkin counties.

He said it’s not uncommon for young bulls to take trips far from home.

The presence of bull and cow moose near each other in the Glenwood Springs area raises the prospect of the animals breeding locally.

Should that happen, it could provide the true test of whether the moose stay around, Tucker said. Moose calves have specific habitat needs, which could dictate whether they can survive in the Canyon Creek area, perhaps can find good terrain in the Flat Tops, or choose to return to familiar stomping grounds.

A new voice for the environment in western Colorado will be affiliated with one of America’s oldest conservation organizations.

Spurred by issues ranging from natural gas drilling to wilderness protection, a Glenwood Springs man is working to form a local group of the Sierra Club. Bob Millette said he hopes to take advantage of the fact that nearly 600 people from Aspen to Rifle already belong to the Sierra Club.

“It’s a huge resource of people. We wanted to get them organized into a new group,” he said.

About 40 people attended a recent organizational meeting in Glenwood Springs, and another meeting is planned for Jan. 19.

“These people are excited about getting a group going. We’re off to a great start,” Millette said.

A Sierra Club group operated in the area years ago, under the name of the Mount Sopris Group of the Sierra Club. Millette said the new organization will be called the Roaring Fork Group.

It will be part of an organization with a total of about 700,000 members. The Sierra Club calls itself the oldest and largest environmental organization in the United States. Conservationist and naturalist John Muir helped found the Sierra Club in 1892, serving as its first president.

Its first accomplishment was to help defeat a proposal to reduce the size of Yosemite National Park. Later it successfully helped protect Dinosaur National Monument and the Grand Canyon from proposed dams.


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