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Mountain News: Tutus in the Cowboy State, but not in Jackson Hole



JACKSON, Wyo. — The guys in Jackson Hole missed an opportunity to have a little fun last week. Maybe they were camping in the desert, biding their time until the snow melted or at least transformed into the fine corn best harvested by spring skiing.

Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi told high-school students that a man who wears a tutu to a bar "kind of asks for" a fight. Although he quickly apologized, his remark soon had men of a certain political persuasion in Wyoming showing up to classes, work, and all else in — well, you guessed it — tutus, the costume worn by ballerinas.

If Wyoming is known for its conservative politics, it has its libertarian and non-conformist bent, as well as a few precincts that vote liberal. One photo showed a man dressed in a purple tie, dark suit — and purple tutu standing next to the Michael B. Enzi Stem Facility on the University of Wyoming campus in Laramie.

In Lander, home to the National Outdoor Leadership School, there was a full of line of people in tutus on the city's main street outside a bar. "A tutu rebellion has erupted across communities in Wyoming, including Lander," reported a website called County 10.

Where was Jackson Hole in all this? A no-show, it seems. Halloween is a big, big deal there, and in years past the Jackson Hole News&Guide has showed men glammed up in short dresses and whatnot.

But although the News&Guide was waiting for news to happen in its backyard, it did not.

"Nothing to report. We had our ears and eyes perked, and no tutus turned up," reported editor Johanna Love.

But here's another idea. Maybe the guys in Jackson Hole are too fashion conscious just to throw on any old tutu. Is North Face or Patagonia preparing to issue a line of tutus?

Banff's first bison in 140 years born on Earth day

BANFF, Alta. — The first bison calf in 140 years in Banff National Park was born on Earth Day, and two more calves soon followed.

As many as seven more calves are expected, the result of 10 pregnant bison cows that were transplanted from Elk Island National Park in February along with six bulls. Wildlife biologists hope that the transplanted herd grows to 30 animals before being released from its 18-hectare fenced pasture in June 2018.

The fenced pasture lies within historic bison range in Banff, far from the heavily trafficked areas of the park and also distant from the park's borders. Biologists hope the bison during the next year identify the park's interior as home instead of wandering into adjoining provincial land, where they may be killed.

What goes down in Jasper cannot stay in Jasper

JASPER, Alta. — Whatever will Jasper do with its growing mound of biosolids? The biosolids are a product of the wastewater treatment plant. The biosolids are mixed with wood chips before being laid out to cure, and the intent had been to use the biosolids for fertilizer.

Nope, said Parks Canada. It can't be done. Tests revealed the presence of "viable non-native weed seeds." How the seeds end up in the sewage at Jasper wasn't explained, but the Jasper Fitzhugh said it's clear that the biosolids must be hauled from the national park

The operator of the sewage treatment plant has found that it is not legally responsible.

That leaves Jasper town officials checking with other Alberta municipalities of more than 25,000 people to find out what they do with their biosolids.

Town now selling fishing leases

GRANBY, Colo. — There's fishing to be had along a verdant portion of the prized Colorado River come mid-May. A real-estate project called Shorefox got caught by the Great Recession, and the town of Granby swooped in to buy the former ranch.

Now, reported the Sky-Hi News, the town is selling fishing rights in segments called beats. Each beat will be available to anglers for two days, then it will get a rest for two days before others can use it. The cost is US$25 for town residents, but $60 for others.

This is about 40 kilometres from where the Colorado River originates in Rocky Mountain National Park. It's natural enough, although the giant Granby Dam a few kilometres upstream is used to divert much of the young river into a tunnel under the Continental Divide for distribution to cities and farms in northern Colorado.

Regs governing use of drones drawn up

TELLURIDE, Colo. — The Wild West for drones has ended in Telluride. The town has adopted regulations that govern where and when drones are flown above public or private property.

The regulations were triggered in large part by a case last summer when a drone was being used for filming of a promotional video. The drone appeared to spook a herd of elk on Telluride's open space area, called the Valley Floor.

Greg Clifton, the town manager, told the Telluride Daily Planet the regulations do not constitute an outright prohibition, but they do provide an approval process.

A modest turnout

PARK CITY, Utah — In late January, just after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, Park City was full, as it was the time of the Sundance Film Festival. Organizers of the Women's March told local authorities they expected 4,000 to 5,000 people, but the official count after the event estimated the turnout at close to 9,000 people.

But at the March for Science on Earth Day on April 22, there was no film festival, Trump had not just issued a fiery, take-no-hostages speech, and the ski slopes were closed. Lots of people were camping in the desert or headed to the beach.

Organizers said they expected 850 to 1,200 people but they got even fewer: 350 marched on Main Street.

The Park Record belatedly wondered why there were so many law-enforcement personnel there compared to the number of marchers.

"You really don't know until the day of the event how many people are going to show up," Wade Carpenter, the police chief, said, adding that the women's March was an "eye-opener about how quickly these things can grow."

Big real estate project comes around again

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — A major real-estate development in Steamboat Springs first approved at the tail end of the last real-estate boom has returned to life with at least a somewhat different vision.

Mark Scully, managing director of Green Courte Partners, said the overall project would have a value of $300 million to $400 million.

The Steamboat Today reported that the RiverView project would be located on 1.8 hectares along the Yampa River at the eastern end of downtown Steamboat Springs. The rezoning of the planned-unit development approved by the city's planning commission does not expressly authorize new projects. But if the city council agrees, the newspaper said, the developer could pitch five distinct pieces, including a hotel, to prospective development partners.

The developers said they invested $2 million in improvements on the site in 2008, when they were awarded a development permit for the site. The permit has since lapsed.

In Aspen, real-estate sales continue to spur arched eyebrows. The Aspen Times reported the $30-million sale of a 9,600-square-foot (892-square-metre) house, the most paid since 2015. In broader Pitkin County, six sales of homes have occurred at prices of $10 million and above so far this year.

Sierra runoff suggests surge in hydro power

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Truckee River has become rambunctious as it spills over the lip from Lake Tahoe, tumbling down past the Alpine and Squaw Valley ski areas toward the town of Truckee and then Reno.

It's normally a relatively mild-mannered river, observed the Lake Tahoe News, but this year might offer Class IV raft trips, the sort where the guides get more serious as they go through their safety explanations.

All this snow soon to become water also has a strong implication for electrical production in California, explained the Los Angeles Times.

In 2011, the last very wet year for the state, more than 18 per cent of California's in-state electrical generation came from large-scale hydropower plants, but dipped to just 5.9 per cent in 2015, deep in the drought.

Natural gas accounted for 45 per cent in that first year, but increased to 59.9 per cent during the drought.

This also has implications for California's carbon footprint. The Pacific Institute, a Berkeley-based water research group, recently estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector increased by 10 per cent between 2011 and 2015. It's not unusual for hydro to come in at less than two cents a kilowatt-hour, whereas natural gas comes in about twice as high.