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WineInk: Virtual Wines, Facebook, Instagram and McElmo Canyon

Randy Ullom was supposed to be skiing Aspen Mountain this week.

The winemaster for all the Kendall-Jackson Family Wines around the globe had long planned a spring sojourn with his girlfriend that would have included “T2Bs” on Ajax, perhaps a hike up the Bowl and multiple laps on the Big Burn. Those sunny afternoons would have been followed by celebratory evenings in Aspen restaurants like Elina, where he would have toasted the season with a good bottle of wine and his equally good friend Jill Carnevale, Elina’s proprietor.

But these are different days and Randy, like many members of his Sonoma-based wine team, and the California wine industry in general, found himself inside his Healdsburg, California, home on this spring week instead of on the slopes.

So to help connect Randy with wine lovers in these challenging times, Jackson Family Wines has created a special series of videos that they are releasing on their Facebook and Instagram accounts each Sunday at 5 p.m. MT. There, Randy sits in his living room and conducts “Sunday Night Virtual Tastings with K-J Winemaster Randy Ullom!”

“Everything you smell, you can taste in the glass,” he declares in one as he takes a sip of the Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and talks about the origins of the grapes in the wine. In another, he opens three cabernet sauvignon-based K-J wines, including the Jackson Estate Hawkeye Mountain Cab from the Alexander Valley region that was the site of last October’s fires, explaining the virtues of mountain-grown fruit. The pieces are short (just 5 to 8 minutes), are delivered extemporaneously, and provide both an education into the wines and insight into their maker.

It is just one example of how vintners are using digital technology to try to keep wine drinkers engaged with their products during this time of lockdown. And most are making offers that include discounts for purchases and shipping. Kendall-Jackson encourages those who want the wines shown in the videos to order via kj.com, use a promo code (KJ20) to receive 20% off at checkout and get free shipping on orders of $75 or more.

The virtual tastings have become a growing part of the marketing efforts at wineries as they navigate the new world of how consumers are buying wine. Go to visitnapavalley.com and there you will find a list of over a dozen and a half wineries that have video tastings in various iterations. They range from an hourlong Zoom-based webinar with Frank Family Vineyards (frankfamilyvineyards.com) winemaker Todd Graff to daily 7 p.m. MT Facebook Live virtual happy hour broadcasts with the ever-charming Jean-Charles Boisset of the Boisset Collection (boissetcollection.com) who opens bottles and takes questions from online viewers.

In Santa Barbara the vintners association has created a page titled “Let Us Take Care of You,” which lists a number of wineries offering discounts and online virtual tours and tastings (sbcountywines.com/let-us-take-care-of-you). And online wine retailer Wineaccess.com launched a series of Facebook interviews this week with winemakers including Helen Keplinger of Carte Blanche and Shannon Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyard.

Is this the wave of the future?

While it is too early to tell whether tasting events are drivers or passengers of the exploding online wine sales train, anecdotal evidence suggests that direct sales to consumers from wineries have risen dramatically in the past month. The same is true for major retail wine websites and liquor stores that have been deemed “essential,” even in the hardest hit areas like New York City. Restaurant sales have cratered because of closures, but it seems wineries are still finding ways to get to consumers.

And then there are those who are getting their message out the old-fashioned way. This past week I received a batch email from John Sutcliffe at Sutcliffe Vineyards (sutcliffewines.com) in the McElmo Canyon of southwest Colorado, one of the most remote and unforgiving wine regions on Earth. The Brit with the stiff upper lip who has pioneered and produced some of Colorado’s best wines is known for his magnificently crafted emails that evoke the spirit of his surroundings.

“It seems at such odds with the current gloom that spring is busting into life. Calves and lambs gambling around the farm and the alfalfa and the orchard grass greening up the fields,” he wrote as he extolled the quality of current releases made by his longtime associate and winemaker, Jesus Castillo. “We appreciate and need the support of our already loyal following, now more than ever.”

Sutcliffe is offering 15% off on three or more bottles ordered.

Buy some wine online. It will make a difference for someone like John Sutcliffe.

Photos: Essential Workers in the Roaring Fork Valley

At 6 a.m. on Thursday, March 26, the stay-at-home order issued by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis went into effect. As a photojournalist, I’ve been documenting Pitkin County during the COVID-19 pandemic. I noticed that although there have been many changes – restaurants are open only for carry-out or delivery, only 30 people are allowed inside Aspen’s City Market is at one time and we have to stay 6 feet away from one another – life does continue on. I wanted to document the people deemed “essential workers” within the Roaring Fork Valley that are keeping our communities safe, healthy and functioning, while giving them an opportunity to be recognized and highlighted.

Breckenridge freestyle pioneer Keri Herman talks about career, hockey to X Games

DILLON — After longtime Breckenridge local Keri Herman won the 2007 Aspen Freeskiing Open, the only major freeski competition for women at the time, the mother of Carbondale pro skier Meg Olenick had a question for the Bloomington, Minnesota, native.

“Who are you, and where did you come from?” Olenick’s mother asked Herman, then 24 years old.

“I was like, ‘I don’t know. I’m a hockey player, but I’m skiing today,’” Herman recalled saying.

The truth was, Herman was a Minnesota hockey star turned Breckenridge park rat who shocked the small, tight-knit freeski world on that fateful day at Buttermilk in 2007. Reflecting on how her life evolved from a heart for hockey, to studying to work in pantsuits on Wall Street, to Breckenridge ski bum, Herman said it all really fell into her lap.

After a successful youth hockey career where she played on trailblazing all-girls hockey teams in Minnesota, Herman moved to Denver for college having really skied only on spring break trips. Throughout college, she went from being someone who skied a few days to pay off her pass to someone who fell in love with the sport after she stumbled across a terrain park at Beaver Creek Resort.

“I accidentally went through the park and was like, ‘What is this?’” Herman said. “And there was no turning back.”

Two decades later, Herman is remembered in Summit County and globally as one of the female freeskiers who laid the foundation for the opportunities so many young women have today. The 2014 Olympian won several gold medals at U.S. Grand Prix World Cup events, five silver medals at X Games and four medals at Dew Tour, including her crowning achievement on home snow at the 2014 Dew Tour at Breckenridge Ski Resort when so many told her she was too old to keep competing after losing several sponsors.

Still a Breckenridge local who loves skiing as many days as she can each season, Herman is the freestyle skiing winner of the Summit Daily’s Peak Performers project, which honors the greatest athletes and most influential figures in Summit county ski and snowboard history.

Receiving the highest total of the freestyle fan vote, Herman edged out accomplished Summit County freeski figures such as runner-up Chris Hawks, moguls legend Scott Rawles and slopestyle and big air champion Bobby Brown for the honor. At the strength of Herman’s legacy is a driven attitude and trailblazing path she set for other female freeskiers.

But for Herman, that legacy was supposed to be on the ice — not the snow. The member of a hard-working hockey family, Herman played on all-girls teams that were so good they were kicked out of boys leagues because they won too much.

Her zest for competition and drive to always learn more aided Herman once she stumbled upon that Beaver Creek terrain park. Eventually finding her way to Breckenridge in 2003, Herman took to the slopes the edge control, athleticism and I’ll-prove-you-wrong attitude she had in hockey.

“I was so determined to learn things,” she said. “I could hike a rail all day until I learned it, and it was just no big deal.”

The former finance and marketing major at Denver University said she found her people at Breckenridge’s Freeway terrain park. They were the friends she’d work with in the deli at City Market in Breckenridge, one of many jobs Herman had through the years to make the ski-bum lifestyle work. On most every day before she’d go into her job at City Market or Christy Sports or Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., among other gigs, Herman and the park-rat tribe at Breck would be out there cheering each other on to try to progress their skills, feeling more like camaraderie than competition.

“You know that music video by Blind Melon, ‘No Rain’?” Herman asked. “That bumble bee that felt lonely by herself? That was me in Denver. So moving here, I found all of my bumble bees. … We were living in a house in Warrior’s Mark with 10 people, sharing rooms. People were sleeping on the couches, floors, tables. We just squeezed everybody in to make rent as cheap as possible. We couldn’t afford TV. We could barely afford heat. We all slept in our ski clothes and just survived.”

Little did Herman know the skills her friends helped her learn on the big Freeway jumps would seamlessly transition once a representative from Spyder sponsored her and got her contest career rolling. It was a career, Herman said, that culminated after the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Around the time of the Olympics, Herman said people in the ski industry began telling her she was too old to keep competing. By the time the 2014 Dew Tour rolled around, she’d lost sponsors and was doubted. That’s why the win at Dew Tour on the Freeway jumps she was so familiar with and the silver medal a month later at X Games Aspen meant so much.

“I was like, ‘You know what? Screw you,’” Herman said. “You are not here, just because of your insecurities, to tell me I should be insecure about my ability and what I’m doing. And those wins with no backing, hardly, I am most proud of. It’s like, ‘You know what? Stop telling any kind of person that this isn’t for them. Or they are too old to do this, too old to do that.’”

The win at Dew Tour also bookended the journey women’s freeskiing had gone on, how far it’d come since Herman’s first podium at Dew Tour when her winnings consisted of a lunch box with shampoo and conditioner.

Though her competitive career has wound down due to chronic leg injuries, including a partial femur replacement, the 37-year-old is at peace with her ski journey. Her goal, ultimately, is longevity. If she can do switch 540s for the rest of her life, that’d be sweet.

Her larger focus, though, is ensuring women, young and old, are never discouraged from attempting what they know is possible.

“I’m inspired by them because they are paving their own path, trying to do things for themselves,” Herman said. “If you know you can do it, you can do it.”


Tony Vagneur: COVID-19 redefines what’s clean

COVID-19 and all of the virus awareness going on lately takes me back to a world far different than the one we live in today — far different than even a few months ago.

We always had hired hands on the ranch, coming and going, especially at meal time. Working in the hot sun could create a big thirst, and kept in the shade outside the kitchen door, on a bench, sat a 5-gallon bucket of water. Next to it hung a long-handled metal dipper for use in getting a drink. The men would line up, one behind the other, and wait until the man in front of them finished drinking, then slurp their turn with the dipper, one after the other. It didn’t seem unusual, unhealthy, odd, or out of line to anyone. Most ranches and farms had the same traditional setup.

My mom usually filled the water bucket out of the garden hose, for that was the same water that came out of our faucets. And that water came out of the Collins Creek irrigation ditch. Water wells were scarce as hen’s teeth back then. If you didn’t have a spring, you had to get creative. Grandpa’s house had a spring – ours didn’t.

It was probably impossible to buy bottled water in those days, had anyone thought of it, although Henry Stein had a bottled water company for a time in Aspen. Mill Iron Sparkling Water, or some such, billed as fresh and clean, out of a spring on his ranch. Jesse Maddalone, Jesse’s son, was the delivery driver.

Then, after satiating their thirst, the men would move on into the basement, or the back porch, where the sinks were, and wash up for dinner, or lunch. Two men usually would share a sink, lathering up to the elbows with soap and rinsing off.

Then, they’d step over to dry their hands, which for the period, was a truly novel idea. Instead of paper towels, or individual towels as you might expect, these cloths were hung on a wooden rowel, towels without end, like a Mobius loop. When it was your turn to dry off, it was usually exceedingly clear where the used part ended and the clean part began. Just roll the towel around a little and claim your space. Every-once-in-a-while, the shout could be heard, “We need a new towel in here.” Some men were criticized for taking too much clean linen to dry their hands.

Speaking of sharing drinking vessels, there was the snowy, winter night we walked in to a crowded Shooter’s Saloon, owned by Dale and Sharon Dillingham, and before we could get situated, a young guy walks up, introduces himself and asks if we want a beer. Well, yeah, that’s why we came in here. So, I grab a clean glass from the bartender and this seemingly nice guy pours a fine, cold one out of his pitcher.

About done with that one, he’s right there offering my partner and me a refill. This is a good deal, I thought, we’ve got our own personal bartender and we don’t even have to ask, although the second one wasn’t as good as the first.

The third one tasted a little warm and something didn’t seem right. At a distance, I followed him around the bar and while people were out dancing, he was grabbing their beers off the counter along the outside wall and dumping them into his pitcher. Taken for a fool I was, but maybe we got the last laugh as we threw his ass out without apology. Right up the stairs, to the very top. The bouncer liked it. Still kinda makes me gag thinkin’ about it, though.

Most likely, it would be remiss of me to talk about contagion in Aspen without mentioning the venereal disease epidemic of the late 1960s and ’70s. Gonorrhea seemed to be the most popular disease of the time, although syphilis, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, pubic lice, herpes and who knows what else got passed around like cheap wine at a gallery opening. And more people partook than not. A good pickup line was, “I don’t have anything.” Or so the speaker may have thought.

Talk about free love. More than one relationship ended when one or the other of a relationship brought home a case of the crabs. Or worse. Back then it wasn’t so much about washing your hands as it was about keeping your crotch clean. Prophylaxis was hard to spell and hadn’t yet been heard of, at least not by a majority of young souls touring the boudoirs of the opposite sex.

In the meantime, keep washing your hands, cover your mug with a mask and keep practicing social distancing. Play it safe. So far, we’re doing reasonably well in keeping the beast at bay.

Tony Vagneur writes here on Saturdays and welcomes your comments at ajv@sopris.net.

High Country: The best cannabis books to put in your quarantine queue

As we mentally prepare for a full month of COVID-19 quarantine ahead, cannabis and books are two go-to saviors (best enjoyed together) from social media screen time and the barrage of bad news. Whether you’re an industry insider reeling from conference cancellations, an entrepreneur looking to get into the business, or just want to learn more about legalization, I’ve curated a coronavirus cannabis reading list from my own library for these trying times. From two classics authored by pioneering activists to an Emily Post Institute-approved guide on marijuana manners, here are ten texts to take a casual cannabis consumer to an expert-level enthusiast. 

Note: Books are listed alphabetically, not ranked. Now stay home and stay high. 

Courtesy Harper Wave

‘Brave New Weed’

By Joe Dolce, 2016

Joe Dolce, former editor-in-chief of Details and Star, ventures into the “brave new world” of legal cannabis, traveling the globe to trace its history and plot its future. From Amsterdam and Israel to California and Colorado, Brave New Weed shares outlandish stories of murder trials where defendants claimed “insanity due to marijuana consumption” to groundbreaking success stories about the plant’s impressive medicinal benefits and all of the changing attitudes and cultural shifts in between. Since its debut, Dolce has also launched an eponymous podcast with new episodes produced bi-weekly. 

Courtesy Octopus Books

‘The Cannabis Dictionary’

By Alex Halperin, 2020

In this illustrated A-to-Z cannabis compendium, renowned cannabis journalist Alex Halperin guides you through every aspect of the magical marijuana plant. From facts and falsehoods to THC and CBD, hundreds of entries share a practical perspective behind the cannabis revolution and the culture that has unfolded around it. Also the founder and host of WeedWeek, Halperin’s handbook is intelligent, fresh and accessible for both new and experienced cannabis consumers alike.

Courtesy North Atlantic Books

‘The Cannabis Manifesto’

By Steve DeAngelo, 2015

Written by “the father of the legal cannabis industry” — according to the Hon. Willie L Brown, former Speaker of the California Assembly and Mayor of San Francisco — The Cannabis Manifestochronicles the unintended consequences of prohibition while imagining the future of cannabis as a consumer good. As founder and CEO of Harborside, one of the first six licensed dispensaries in the U.S. and now publicly traded, DeAngelo’s account is an essential primer into his life’s work as a warrior for reversing the War on Drugs and an entrepreneur who has shaped the legal cannabis landscape. Plus, he shares his unparalleled knowledge of the cannabis plant itself using science to shed light on its spiritual, biological, and mental effects and benefits.

Courtesy OSU Press

‘Grass Roots: A History of Cannabis in the American West’

By Nick Johnson, 2017

Former freelance journalist Nick Johnson traded news for history to uncover the controversial roots of the cannabis plant in the American West. Applying his environmental eye, Johnson looks at past growing practices in the region and how federal prohibition promoted unsustainable farming techniques, which have carried over into the legal era, making cannabis cultivation anything but green. Unregulated outdoor grows pollute ecosystems, high-powered indoor grows create an excessive carbon footprint, and an unprecedented water crisis is ahead. Grass Roots challenges the current cannabis industry to change its course. 

Courtesy Chronicle Books

‘GREEN: A Field Guide to Marijuana’

By Dan Michaels & Erik Christiansen, 2014

This eye-popping coffee-table textbook is required reading for those dedicated to studying cannabis strains and admiring their intricacies through hyper-detailed photography of individual buds. Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana explores the culture of this complex flower, while explaining the botany that makes each varietal unique through descriptions of lineage, flavor, and type of high.

Courtesy Ten Speed Press

‘Higher Etiquette’

By Lizzie Post, 2019

Amid the “post-prohibition” era, the stigma surrounding smoking pot is fading, and the conversation about how and why we get high is changing. In Higher Etiquette, Lizzie Post — great-great granddaughter of the Emily Post and current co-president of the institute bearing her name — celebrates cannabis culture’s long-established norms while exploring exactly what modern marijuana etiquette entails. This party-friendly guide asks and answers questions including: how to bring it to a dinner party or give it as a gift; why eating it is different from inhaling it; how to respectfully use it as a guest; how to be behave at a dispensary and more.

Courtesy Plume

‘How to Smoke Pot (Properly)’

By David Bienenstock, 2016

Veteran cannabis journalist David Bienenstock charts a course from cannabis culture’s transformation from a once demonized to a now celebrated place in society. In How to Smoke Pot (Properly), the author instructs just that with pro-tips from his friends in “high places” paired with historical anecdotes and a lively Q&A section including common queries like: “How can I land a legal pot job”? and “Should I eat a weed cookie before boarding the plane?” This all-encompassing guide to the green life also maps out the marijuana plant’s natural lifecycle from farm to pipe, explores cannabis customs, culture and travel, and shares how to best utilize and appreciate the herbal remedy as a life-changing medicine and a useful industrial crop and renewable energy source.

Courtesy High Times

‘It’s NORML to Smoke Pot’

By Keith Stroup, 2013

Keith Strop has been fighting for marijuana legalization for four decades through NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), the pioneering nonprofit organization he founded in 1970. In the first-ever personal account of its tumultuous-turned-victorious history, It’s NORML to Smoke Pot will introduce you to the colorful cast of characters like Hunter S. Thompson and Willie Nelson who helped along the way and give you behind-the-scenes insight into how prohibition shaped political policy today. 

Courtesy Mariner Books

‘Reefer Madness’

By Eric Schlosser, 2003

This is a pre-legalization look at the illicit market in the U.S., which then was much larger than most realized, and how it affected Americans’ lives whether they smoked pot or not. Journalist and author Eric Schlosser takes his award-winning, exacting eye into the underbelly of capitalism and examines the far-reaching influence of marijuana, porn, and immigrants on society. Reefer Madness also draws compelling comparisons between underground and overground: the rise and fall of tycoons and gangsters; how new technology shaped the market, why government intervention reinvigorated illegal activity; and how big business learned — and profited.

Courtesy Quarto Publishing Group

‘The Ultimate Guide to CBD’

By Jamie Evans, 2020

In a sea of misinformation in the evolving CBD wellness space, it’s refreshing to read an in-depth companion compiled by a true expert. Jamie Evans not only has pioneered the intersection of wine, gourmet cuisine, and cannabis, but has also experienced the healing benefits of the plant firsthand. First breaking down the history and science of cannabinoids, The Ultimate Guide to CBD is the perfect introduction to live an all-encompassing CBD lifestyle at every age. It’s also packed with pro tips for self-care along with recipes for infused oils, refreshing drinks, and light bites thanks to her extensive network of industry leaders.

Mountain Mayhem: Virtual Shortsfest

The show must go on and what a show it will be! Adapting to today’s #stayathome restrictions, Aspen Film is offering its annual festival, Shortsfest, online as an alternative to in theater. The virtual rendition is underway through April 5, which means you still have time to turn on, tune in and take a seat in the comfort of your own home (see related story, page 19).

Personally, I’m thrilled the festival is proceeding as such, having long been a Shortsfest-goer. It’s been a spring tradition to see the assortment of stories from all over the world. I’ve also come to love how Shortsfest gives way to connect with the filmmakers, as many travel here to present their work. I first discovered this way back when a friend of mine named Michelle Silver from Los Angeles came to town with the short “Talk to You Later” (2000), which she wrote and starred in, and we spent the week together with her posse who loved the festival and their time in Aspen.

As this element, understandably, won’t be a part of this year’s event, Anderson connected me with a few of the filmmakers over email, whom I would have loved the opportunity to meet in person. He posed several questions, the first one being, “In light of the cancellation of the festival’s physical incarnation, what benefits do you see in still being able to present the film in the virtual version?”

Tom Hardiman, director of “Pitch Black Panacea,” who lives in the UK, replied, “When you lock yourself away to work on something with no real idea if people will wanna watch it, getting selected for Aspen is like a magical thumbs-up. The weeks, months, years were worth it! Especially when you’re from a small place across the pond and anyone watching in any foreign land is obviously extra special. I was over the moon to be selected.”

Animated by Chris Cornwell, who’s based in Los Angeles, “Pitch Black Panacea” is a short film about characters Amy and Carl who both have lazy eyes. In an effort to find a DIY cure, they’ve signed up for an unusual treatment.

“We wish everyone affected by the virus a speedy recovery,” he continued. “There’s a strange kinship between how (our film) was made and how it might now be viewed — as Chris and I worked on the animation for months, communicating across a wide divide with him being an LA resident and me being a Londoner. The virtual world made ‘Pitch Black Panacea’ possible, and its importance to all our lives (and psychological states!) is now being emphasized by this strange moment we’re enduring.”

Ashley Brandon, director of “Día de la Madre,” described her film about a group of young mariachis who journey across Connecticut conducting a covert operation. The mission: awake the neighborhood with a Mexican tradition unpracticed within the U.S. and make their mothers cry.

“I’m so happy that the festival is able to still proceed in some form,” she said. “This isn’t just for the filmmakers’ benefit, but for the audiences.”

For Kaveh Tehrani, who wrote and directed the film “The Manchador,” this will be the U.S. premiere of his short. A feminist, subversive comedy, it tells the story of Mina who is trying to come to terms with the strict rules for female headdress in Iran. One day her husband Saeed invents a chador (a religious garment for women) for men and this turns their lives upside down.

Tehrani is grateful, “thrilled, happy and excited about screening in Aspen and for ‘The Manchador’ to be presented to a US audience.”

He added, of course, “we would love to be there! But the situation not allowing, we are very grateful that the festival is moving forward. Health first!”

Visit www.AspenFilm.org for further details and purchase screening codes online at AspenShowTix.com or by calling 970-920-5770.

Gear review: A Zoom-friendly smartphone cradle

It seemed frivolous, back in December, when I was shopping for a smartphone cradle for hands-free video chats.

But in our current stay-at-home reality — when most of our social, professional, spiritual and home exercise lives rely on Zoom and FaceTime and the like — it’s all but essential.

Back then, I was looking for a stand for my dad to use during our regular FaceTime hangouts (during which, generally, my wife and I chase our daughter around with our phone and dad watches the action from home back east).

After much research, I settled on the Nulaxy T Stand, which is affordable ($12 or so at most online retailers) and has all the features I wanted: it works for iPhone, Android and any smartphone between 4 and 8 inches, can work in portrait or landscape mode, it’s easily adjustable for height and angle, it has a projective silicone pad (so it won’t scratch up your device or table and won’t break anything if, say, your 2-year-old throws it across the room).

Nulaxy makes tons of variations of stands for home and car mounts, some with more bells and whistles like wireless chargers, made for laptops, tablets, smartphones and smart watches. My experience, with the two I’ve tried out, is that adjustable is better and the T model does everything we need it to and well worth the price.

Aspen History: April Fools Day in the 1890s

“Practical jokers and joked have a splendid time,” announced the Aspen Tribune on April 2, 1896. “All Fool’s Day was generally observed in this city and the small boy and practical joker had what is termed a barrel of fun. No one was exempt from their pranks. There were no really new jokes, but the time worn and bewhiskered ones did splendid service. The soap caramel and sawdust chocolate were numerous. Colored water in whiskey bottles fooled many a toper. The heated silver coin was in evidence and the pocket book and string was worked. An inveterate policy player was rich and happy for an hour, the returns having been fixed for him. Then for the remainder of the day he was angry. Constables Combs and Trainor were put in motion by telephone messages announcing that a free-for-all fight was in progress in a certain saloon, and so it went. Everybody had fun, the fooled and the foolers.” This image shows Hyman Avenue and Galena Street, circa 1900.

CPW: Fishing, hunting seasons are not canceled despite rumors, coronavirus

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Over the past few days, Colorado Parks and Wildlife have been alerted to fraudulent calls and false social media posts claiming that hunting and fishing seasons are canceled. Other claims included licenses not being valid or required. Whether these claims were centered around April Fools or not, they are false.

CPW hasn’t canceled or altered anything relating to hunting or fishing seasons.

“It’s funny because some people said, ‘Oh it’s just April Fools stuff, and there’s probably some element of that, but the interesting thing is it’s been happening in other states for several weeks,” said Randy Hampton, public information officer for the Northwest Region of CPW.

Hampton said there have been a few theories about why someone would try to convince others the seasons are canceled, such as a selfish individual hoping to deter other anglers and have more open space for themselves.

Some callers were more serious, looking to acquire personal information. CPW encourages people to never share personal information with anyone claiming to provide CPW refunds.

Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order still allows people to get outside and recreate, including hunting and fishing. Coloradans still need a fishing or hunting license, which can be purchased at CPW’s website.

“It’s kind of hard to get too close to people when you’re fishing. You don’t want to hook any of your buddies,” Hampton said. “Fishing has always been better socially distanced. Fishing is a good, healthy, outdoor activity. People should continue to stay healthy.”

The deadline to apply for a big game license is 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 7. No changes to the process have been made.

“That’s moving ahead,” Hampton said. “We have no intention of delaying that at this point. We encourage people to apply early.”

Hunters and anglers shouldn’t travel far, though. Travel means people will be going to gas stations and stores elsewhere around the state, which is not advised. Travel should be limited, even if it is in regards to approved recreation.

With that in mind, if turkey license holders got a license for a unit relatively far from where they are sheltered in place, they can return it with no processing fee for a full refund.

“We have had some concern raised by eastern, plains counties saying, ‘Well are people going to be coming in here? What does that mean if they’re in the gas station, if they’re in the store?’” Hampton said.

CPW is waiving the four-day minimum requirement for hunters to return their licenses. Also, CPW will issue a restoration of turkey preference points used to draw a license upon return, as long as they are postmarked before the start of the season April 11.

If there are any changes made to its operations, CPW will use social media and its official website to alert the public. All COVID-19 related information has been consolidated to one page. While offices are closed, staff members are still answering the phone during altered business hours to answer questions and address concerns.


Basalt council candidate: Glenn Drummond ready to address corona aftermath

April 7, you will have the opportunity to vote for Basalt’s mayor and three council members. I am running for Basalt Town Council and I am asking for your vote.

I love our community and I want it to flourish in the decades ahead. I realized how much I enjoy the process of working with others toward a common goal when I volunteered on Basalt’s Parks Open Space and Trails Committee. I appreciate the rewarding feeling of being involved and giving back to the community.

I understand the time commitment that comes with this position and will put forth the effort required. I would be honored to have the privilege of representing the citizens of our great town. That is my motivation.

As a community, we need to evaluate the impact of our current unprecedented situation due to COVID-19. We will need to come together to mitigate the impacts on the employees and small businesses of our community. This should be our No. 1 priority. The new Town Council will need to do everything we can to help the businesses and employees that have been impacted by the current situation.

Businesses have been ordered to close their doors and employees have been furloughed or let go due to the efforts to contain the spread of the virus. These community members did the right thing and abided by the order of their government and ceased operation. These actions will prove to have saved lives in the long haul. They should not be penalized.

Recovering from this situation is going to require a great amount of cooperation and support from all of us.

When I decided to run for council, I had other goals in mind for the town of Basalt. I realize these goals should be put on the back burner for now. The most important thing we can do as a community is to help each other get through the times ahead.

Figuring out how to navigate this uncharted territory can be scary when thinking about going it alone. We all have a partnership in success: banks, landowners, business owners, tenants and employees. We have rallied behind each other to get through dire times before.

That is part of what makes Basalt the small-town community that we all know and love. Basalt is the community that will set the example of how supporting each other and working together can be the solution. If elected, addressing the impact of COVID-19 on the community will be my number one priority.

My name is Glenn Drummond and I am asking for your vote on April 7.

Editor’s note: Leading up to the Basalt election April 7, The Aspen Times is publishing one guest commentary from each candidate. He can be found on Facebook at @GlennDrummond4BasaltCouncil. He can be reached at gdrumbasalt@gmail.com.