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Bad month for bears



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Mayor Mick Ireland argued against changing course. "Now we're gonna throw them under the bus and say, 'We didn't really mean that. Thanks for the time, but we have a better idea,'" he said. "I don't like that."

Still more dissent came from Derek Johnson, who said he believes a total ban would impose a hardship on visitors. He said he believes retailers are headed toward some sort of solution to providing plastic bags on their own.


New backcountry cabin takes shape

BERTHOUD PASS, Colo. - In truth, the old Second Creek cabin affords little more separation from the elements than a good North Face tent. The new cabin near Berthoud Pass should do better.

The old cabin was built by volunteers in 1958. An A-frame with 23 square metres, it had just three layers of plywood on the ground serving as flooring. The walls are tree poles leaned up against a center log and then wired together, the poles then covered by plywood and asphalt sheeting. Every expense was spared.

For all its primitiveness, it has always been a popular attraction, winter and summer. Location can be everything. It's just a mile off Highway 40. Downtown Denver is 80 kilomtres away, Winter Park another half-dozen hairpin turns down the valley. At 3,500 metres, the cabin is just two rumples away from the Continental Divide.

In the 1990s, Andy Miller and other local backcountry skiers began taking steps to deliver a better cabin, along the lines of those built by the 10 th Mount ain Division between Aspen and Vail.

"It's astounding it stood for 53 years, because there really wasn't all that much to it," he says.

Miller's group got permission in 2001 from the U.S. Forest Service to build a new hut. More difficult yet was raising the money.

The $220,000 in hand was good enough to start the 156-square metres cabin, not finish it. Nonetheless, it is expected to be ready by Christmas 2012.

A pellet-burning stove will be installed, along with a thermostat. "People have a tendency to keep stuffing wood stoves," Miller observes.

The new hut will also have solar collectors, and it was designed to milk a maximum amount of passive solar. It will sleep 16, plus 4 volunteers

And there will be two toilets, designed to compost, even in the thin, often frigid air found just below tree line. It may not be the complete answer, but Miller expects far fewer wads of toilet paper littering the landscape after spring snowmelt once the new toilets become available to day skiers in the Second Creek bowl.