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Mountain News: Aspen left in the dust

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JACKSON, Wyo. - Teton County had the highest wealth per-capita in the United States during 2007.

That conclusion was reached by Jonathan Schechter, the numbers-based trends analysts for the Jackson Hole News & Guide. He studied the Bureau of Economic Analysis per-capita income measurements and also the Internal Revenue Service, which measures income based on tax returns.

"By both measurements, in 2006, Teton County was, on a per-capita basis, the wealthiest county in America," Schechter writes. He says that for three straight years now, Teton County has bumped Manhattan for that distinction.

"Two decades ago, when I moved to Jackson Hole, the great concern was that we would become another Aspen. Today, we've left Aspen in the dust."

Perhaps surprising, the area around Pinedale, Wyo., the centre of one of the nation's most frenzied drilling booms in recent years, also was one of the wealthiest counties in the nation based on per-capita income. By these criteria, tiny and rough-hewn Pinedale was more affluent than Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge and Vail, not to mention Park City and Sun Valley, Schechter reports.

Union goes to bat for fired patroller

MT. CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. - The union representing ski patrollers at Crested Butte Mountain Resort is going to bat for Billy Rankin, a ski patroller who was fired by the resort company. Grounds for protest were not disclosed, nor did Rankin return a phone call seeking clarification.

Ken Stone, the chief operating officer at the resort, told the Crested Butte News that we will not choose outside vendors or suppliers or employ people "who have a conflict of interest with the company's vision or policies."

Rankin is a member of the Crested Butte Town Council, and in that capacity he voted to send a letter from the town to the Forest Service expressing concerns about the expansion of the ski area onto a new mountain, called Snodgrass. The letter also recommends the Forest Service not allow the expansion.

The handbook signed by employees of the resort stipulates that employees agree not to take action against the company or put themselves into situations where conflicts of interest could arise. Rankin admitted to the newspaper that he had not read the handbook when he signed it.

Grizzly education centre rejected

CANMORE, Alberta - The thin line between education and exploitation was explored in Canmore during recent weeks as the town, which is located at the eastern entrance to Banff National Park, considered a proposal for what was described as a grizzly conservation centre.

The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, located in the gateway community of West Yellowstone, Mont., was presented as the model. Ruth LeBarga, sponsor of the idea for Canmore, said the centre would attract people from around the world who would leave with more respect for the bears and less likely to come across them in the wild.

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