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Mountain News: Colorado summer business expanding



TELLURIDE, Colo.— It was another big summer in ski towns of Colorado. Telluride, along with Aspen, Breckenridge and Vail, gathered record retail sales-tax revenues, according to The Denver Post. Winter Park and Steamboat Springs had their best summers in revenue collection since 2007 and 2008.

The broader story is that business activity, as reflected in sales tax collections, remains more or less flat during winter months. The big gains have been in summer, beginning about three years ago. Shoulder seasons have also grown.

"We are going to try to continue to push people into our shoulder seasons," explained John Warner, mayor of Breckenridge. Breckenridge has done that on a formerly torpid weekend in early October by hosting a new event that drew 800 people to sip the products of various distilleries.

Telluride had a 10 per cent gain this summer, but still had only 50 per cent lodging occupancy, a 2.7 per cent increase over last year.

The Telluride Daily Planet notes that town officials estimate that a 2.7 per cent occupancy increase equals about $685,000 in spending.

Lodging represents about 34 per cent of what people spend on a trip to Telluride, restaurants 40 per cent, and retail and other is 26 per cent.

Hunters take aim

JACKSON, Wyo. — Wolves have been much in the news in Wyoming recently, as they have taken bullets from hunters.

Hunters killed five wolves northwest of Cody that had probably come from the celebrated pack in Yellowstone National Park's Lamar Valley. Others were killed after crossing into Montana.

The wolves had become familiar to a great many of the clan of people called wolf-watchers. In spring and fall, but even during winter, the valley's narrow two-lane highway is often clotted with people, sometimes scores of them, both young and old, men and women. For many, trying to catch sight of the wolves has become part of their annual calendar.

This went down hard enough among wolf lovers. But then came a story from Jackson about a hunter who had parked his SUV outside the Cowboy Bar, a dead wolf strapped to its roof. The hunter insisted that he wasn't trying to show off his kill. His wife just happened to need to go shopping in the stores along the town square, he said.

The hunter further said that he had shot the female black wolf south of Jackson Hole, at Bondurant. Although the wolf retains protected status in some locations of the United States, in Wyoming the wolf can be shot during about half the year in 85 per cent of the state.

Individuals were outraged. The famed wildlife photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen had a column in the The Jackson Hole News&Guide the next week. He called the town square showing a "cowardly display," and added: "We must gather those from all constituencies who will no longer tolerate such hate and arrogance on the streets of Jackson or anywhere else."

He also noted that the guide for the hunter — who had alerted the News&Guide to the parked SUV in the town square — had had his outfitting license revoked some years back for poaching a bald eagle because it was eating trout in his pond.

Columnist Todd Wilkinson used even sharper language while examining what he described as loutish bragging on the part of wolf killers. For example in a Facebook posting, some had donned white sheets that looked ominously similar to the sheets of the racist group KKK as they posed with a dead wolf and clutched an American flag.

"Bragging on social media, they attracted swarms of kindred hate- and expletive-filled rants (punctuated by poor grammar), directed threateningly at the federal government, environmentalists and wolf-loving tourists," he writes. "Implicit were vows that more wolves would be killed by vigilantes."

Wilkinson cited other instances of thuggishness of wolf haters, and added: "Let's be clear: this is not how real sportsmen act. Nor does it reflect the spirit of ethical hunting in which wildlife is respected and valued, a lesson taught to our children who are required to take state hunter safety classes."