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Mountain News: Aspen left in the dust

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"The program is meant to break down fear and provide more knowledge on how bears behave and why," she said.

"If this project can save one human life and one bear life, is it not worth your support?" she asked the municipal councillors.

In Canmore, she found some support for further consideration. But others had heard enough.

"Canmore does not need a 'zoo' with captive bears, five in a miniscule enclose of a mere 5 acres where they cannot get out of sight/sound/ smell of each other," wrote Jean Craven, in letter published in the Rocky Mountain Outlook. "This is not conservation; that is exploitation and the display of an 1800s' mindset that I thought was long dead."

A majority of Canmore's councillors agreed. "It's an affront to the dignity of bears to have tamed, caged bears in a wild area," said André Gareau. "I do not think this is a good fit for Canmore." Others also said Camore already offers sufficient opportunities for education.

Real estate still drab

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. - Real estate numbers across several resort areas in Colorado looked somewhat similar. Sales volume in the first quarter of the year for the Steamboat and Vail/Eagle Valley markets were only 26.9 per cent compared to the same period last year. It was somewhat better, 36 per cent, in Summit County, while in Grand County it was worse, just 18 per cent.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today talked with Dennis Hanlon, a real estate agent in Park City, Utah, and founder and president of the Rocky Mountain Resort Alliance, which tallies these figures.

"The resorts have been affected by the economy, but they're not dead," Hanlon said. "Things seem to be improving." He pointed to small gains in the stock market as evidence, which is what he said will "start restoring consumer confidence."

Climatologist's skepticism is ebbing

GUNNISON, Colo. - Nolan Doesken wears the title of Colorado state climatologist. A meteorologist by training, he tends highs, lows, means and all the other records collected within the last 150 years with the utmost attention to detail.

The massing of detail, he told a water group in Gunnison recently, now leaves him "pretty close to a converted skeptic" in the issue of global warming. "Warming winters have outnumbered cooler ones by a whole lot," he said.

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