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Mountain News: Bus ridership surges

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Observers say there has been a geometric increase in use of the pass by snowmobilers in the last several years. In the last century, there were virtually no snowmobilers, and now there are many. Advances in snowmobile technology — including lighter chassis, more powerful engines, and deeper paddles — are allowing them to go where they previously could not go.

The Ouray Watch says that one question from among snowmobilers is that with motorized use exploding, land managers are reducing the areas where motors are allowed. Another question — and one for which the land managers have no real answer — is how the snowmobile ban will be enforced?

Skiers want “historic” use as the template for management. “Historic use? This used to be Indian country. We ran them all out,” said one snowmobiler, with the royal “we” meaning all those who had followed, skiers and snowmobilers. Change, he seemed to be saying, is the norm.

 

Flood watch in Telluride

TELLURIDE, Colo. – Three times in the last century a creek that descends through the middle of Telluride before emptying into the San Miguel River has overflowed its banks, the most recent case being last summer. In certain parts of the country, they call such deluges “frog-stranglers.”

Last summer’s deluge, in which Coronet Creek carried 500 cubic feet per second of water, was tame compared with other summertime cloudbursts in 1969 and 1914 which resulted in floods of 9,000 cfs, and 14,000 cfs respective. Still, last year’s flood was enough to cause town officials to take action.

They have now agreed to spend $1.5 million during the next two years to enlarge culverts, increasing the capacity of the streambed to 500 cfs. That, obviously, won’t handle the bigger floods, but it will require removing 380 dump trucks of material. As well, the creek will have to be cleaned out again every year, as yet more material from the basins continues to erode.

Because of all the houses and other structures built along the creek’s banks, it’s impossible to carve out a channel large enough to accommodate the sort of flood that the past suggests is likely in the future.

 

Giant real estate plan annexed

MINTURN, Colo. – The camel officially is in the tent. Last week the Minturn Town Council approved on second reading the annexation of 4,300 acres of former mining lands planned for high-end real estate development.