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Mountain News: Friedman attacked as hypocrite

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In Avon, the town council recently adopted a law trying to curb short-term rentals in a residential community called Wildridge. As defined by the town, a lodge is a building containing a common kitchen and dining facilities occupied by paying guests on a temporary (31 days or less) basis.

Perhaps somebody needs to invent a generic name for mountain-side restaurants and warming huts.

 

Grand Lake seeks clarity

GRAND LAKE, Colo. – Grand Lake, located at the western portal to Rocky Mountain National Park, is the namesake of a town, but also the origin of the Colorado River. Until Congress dictated otherwise in 1924, the river was known as the Grand until its confluence with the Green River in Utah.

The lake is the largest natural body of water in Colorado, and in 1937 had unusual clarity. It was possible, a scientist found, to see down into the lake for 30 feet.

This is by no means a record. Lake Tahoe once had a clarity of more than 100 feet. But the clarity of both Tahoe and Grand Lake has diminished in recent decades.

In Tahoe, the change in clarity is blamed on a wide variety of dispersed development. Grand Lake’s reduced clarity is blamed on a water diversion project called the Colorado-Big Thompson, which diverts water to cities and farms in the northern Front Range from Boulder to Fort Collins.

That diversion includes two dams immediately downstream from Grand Lake. One of those, called Shadow Mountain, essentially enlarges Grand Lake, making it into a reservoir before the water is pumped through the Continental Divide to Estes Park.

But Shadow Mountain is shallow, which results in warmer temperatures. Warmer temperatures yield more weeds and algae growth. All of this flows into the inter-connected Grand Lake, reducing the 30-foot clarity to only 5 to 10 feet.

Activists, reports the Sky-Hi News, say that Grand Lake must cease to be used as a holding pond. They say a $60 million pipeline from downstream at Granby Reservoir could bypass Grand Lake altogether.

The key at Tahoe, explained Dr. John Reuter, associate director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center, was the notion that economy and environment cannot be separated.

Activists are also getting the Colorado Department of Health and Environment involved to verify and validate their claims that the water quality is deteriorating in a way that could be harmful.

 

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