Uptick in beetle-killed trees
JASPER, Alberta – By standards of Colorado, British Columbia, and Idaho, the mountain pine beetle epidemic in Jasper National Park is vanishingly small. Just 2,000 trees have died this year.
The Jasper Fitzhugh notes that what makes the dead trees newsworthy is the near geometric increase. Just a few years ago, park officials expected to see maybe 200 dead trees.
Suppression of all fires that began about 70 years ago resulted in older and more unhealthy trees. Too, the cold snaps of -40 C (also in this case -40 F), which substantially knocked back beetle populations, have become infrequent.
Whistler kills bears
WHISTLER, B.C. – Four bears have been killed this summer in Whistler after committing infractions such as raiding garbage cans, and that’s the maximum loss that the local bear population can sustain, says Sylvia Dolson, director of the Get Bear Smart Society.
“Anything that happens after this is completely not sustainable for our bear population,” she tells Pique.
Get your prostate exam and check out Babe’s car
TELLURIDE, Colo. – It makes sense, if you think about it, although it seems bizarre. A new resident of Telluride is proposing a festival in September, 2015 intended to draw people of great wealth who are in love with cars of distinction.
“We have Babe Ruth’s car, the ambulance and the hearse used to transport JFK (after his assassination), and a Formula One race that car that people can sit in and have their picture taken,” Ray Cody told the Town Council.
In Cody’s envisioned Festival of of Cars and Colors, some customers will be helicoptered in because – well, they will be well heeled. And then walk around Telluride.
Here’s where it gets a bit weird. Cody proposes to offer free prostate tests for men. “This is a sausage fest, a guy thing,” he explained, “So why not focus a little bit of attention on men’s health issues while they are here.”
Aspen eyes major expansion
ASPEN, Colo. – Managers of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport are in the early stages of a major expansion that could cost as much as $132 million.
Airport officials insist that the expansion is not intended to draw more people to Aspen. Rather, technology is changing. The new generation of regional jets has wider wingspans. The existing airport can handle wingspans of 95 feet; it needs to accommodate 115 feet to remain safe.
“The fact, is, the wing spans are growing,” explains Jim Elwood, Airport Manager.
The Aspen Daily News reports that the Pitkin County commissioners allocated $512,000 for community outreach efforts. Eventually, however, the Federal Aviation Administration would pay for the bulk of the costs, about 90 percent, according to its standard formula.
This expansion, if it goes forward, comes after a 1,000-foot runway expansion at a cost of $15.5 million that was completed three years ago, and it allows heavier planes to take off during summer, when the air has less loft.
Visitors buying Colorado pot
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – Non-residents are proving to be the major buyers of marijuana in Colorado.
Writing in the Denver Post, editorial page editor Vincent Carroll cites a new report from the Colorado Department of Revenue that finds 90 percent of retail sales of marijuana in mountain resorts so far have been to out-of-staters. Statewide, it’s running 50 percent.
But Colorado’s heaviest marijuana users appear to be sticking with medical marijuana, which is taxed at a much lower rate.
Tax revenues through April were little more than half of what was projected.