Local News

Latest Local News

Access road to Quandary Peak at the center of bitter Summit County controversy

SDN, December 24, 2014

About 7 miles south of Breckenridge stands one of Colorado's most famous 14ers.

Most hikers and skiers headed toward the 14,265-foot Quandary Peak to enjoy a backcountry adventure have no idea about a problem intensifying not far from the mountain's trailhead.

The argument centers on...

State’s new fire detection aircraft to speed response to wildfires

Fox31 Denver

The state of Colorado becomes the first in the nation to unveil its new, state-of-the-art fire detection aircraft.

The two planes use infrared cameras and on-board computer systems. They're based at Centennial Airport and can be anywhere in the state in an hour to provide critical real-time data about wildfire behavior, size and spread to crews on the ground.

The sophisticated software system allows...


Forest Service seeks input on clear-cutting projects around Keystone

SDN, Aug 26, 2014

The Forest Service hosted a meeting Wednesday, Aug. 20, to give Summit County residents a chance to provide input before the agency designs a vegetation management plan, mostly clear-cutting, for specific areas around Keystone.

"It's easier if people come to the table earlier on," said Brett Crary, silviculturalist with the White River National Forest, rather than a couple of years into the planning process.

About 10 residents...


Cacace: Ophir Mountain clear-cutting is unnecessary surgery

The patient has survived the disease, but surgery will go on ... " This unnecessary surgery is not being performed at Summit Medical Center but on Ophir Mountain between Breckenridge and Frisco by large, mechanized, "Avatar"-like tree cutters funded by the U.S. Forest Service....READ MORE (SDN,4/16/14)

Summit County forest health group pines to streamline its tree-centric mission

A local nonprofit that started with a mission to educate the public about the mountain pine beetle epidemic in Summit County nearly a decade ago is joining forces with others to define its role in modern forest management. The Forest Health Task Force (FHTF) conducted the second in a series of meetings intended to coordinate the efforts of the various groups working on forest health, wildfire and emergency preparedness issues throughout the county and state. "The Forest Health Task Force wants to be more effective in getting the job done, and part of that is understanding what other people are doing and not being redundant or butting heads," said task force director Howard Hallman. (SDN Oct16, 2013) READ COMPLETE ARTICLEhallmansdnphoto10162013

Summit County forest management the focus of public discussion Thursday

SDN, November 13, 2014

The Forest Health Task Force will host a public panel discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of active and passive forest management on Thursday, Nov. 20.

The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Summit County Community and Senior Center in the County Commons in Frisco.

Panelists will include Scott Fitzwilliams, supervisor of the White River National Forest; Mike Lester, Colorado State Forest Service; Cary Green, White River National Forest timber management administrator; Chuck Rhoades, Forest Service watershed biogeochemistry researcher; Kristen Pelz, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute research associate; and Brad Piehl, Forest Health Task Force member.

Panelists will talk about...

The Hot and Dry West is killing our forests

High Country News, Sept 28, 2014

Severe fires, unprecedented bark beetle infestations, heat and drought — all exacerbated by climate change — are killing trees throughout the Rocky Mountains. So whether you're a fan of New Mexico's piñon pines, Colorado's aspens or Montana's whitebark pines, the West's forests could look radically different in 50 to 100 years. That's the message of a report released last week by the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists and the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Climate Organization.

The authors want people to see dead trees as a...


Summit County’s workforce housing bill heads to White House for president’s signature

The Lake Hill Administrative Site Affordable Housing Act is on its way to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature. Late Wednesday, July 9, the bill to convey 40 acres of U.S. Forest Service land in the White River National Forest to Summit County for affordable workforce housing passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate by a voice vote. Once the bill is signed by the president, local officials can begin working with the Forest Service to purchase the land. READ MORE

Forest Health Task Force looks to expand monitoring program in Summit County

The Forest Health Task Force in Summit County is working to plant the seeds for a larger program this year. At a meeting last Thursday, Jan. 16, the Forest Health Task Force continued to work on planning expansion for the 2014 volunteer forest-monitoring program. The program currently has 20 volunteers, and is looking for about 30 more to help work on upcoming forest research and data collection. Task force president Howard Hallman said the mission of the organization in is to educate the public on forest health and wildfire issues and to monitor long-term forest conditions. As the group plans for 2014, Hallman said it wants to expand the volunteer monitoring program to include all of Summit County, where volunteers will be trained to follow U.S. Forest Service protocol to document forest change, providing detailed data on growth and climate. (SDN, Jan 21, 2013) READ MORE

Summit County fall needle drop a natural turn of events, not an epidemic

With autumn just around the corner, the changing leaves in the valleys and on mountainsides are beginning to provide vibrant color displays for outdoors lovers. Thousands of evergreens are also undergoing a less-attractive transformation. The trees are exhibiting dying orange and brown needles.READ MORE (SDN 9/21/13)