outdoor recreation

MOAB — About 40 miles north from the tourist hordes in town and set against a backdrop of tan clay and red mesas, the vista looked primed for a nature magazine cover shoot: early afternoon, the desert bloom in full force, awash with purple and yellow flowers. Quiet.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

River rafting outfitters expect upcoming snowmelt to provide Colorado with their best season in decades.

Increased tariffs on Chinese goods will ‘devastate’ outdoor recreation companies, an industry group warned in a letter sent to President Trump Wednesday.

It’s no secret that in peak season Yellowstone National Park is getting really, really crowded these days.

It was a warm, wet winter this year across much of the United States. In most states, this means more greenery, more rabbits, more rodents and more snakes — which raises the risk of snake bites for humans and their canine companions.

Biologist Gerad Fox is standing next to a loud rattlesnake. "Right now he's in a classic strike posture, very defensive," says Fox. "The rattle is a warning, saying, 'Back off. I'm dangerous. You should leave me alone.' "

If you kill a wolf in Idaho, your effort might be worth $1,000. 

A nonprofit in North Idaho covers costs for hunters and trappers who successfully harvest wolves. The group, called the Foundation for Wildlife Management pays up to $1,000 per wolf harvest.

 


In wide open spaces like the rural parts of the Mountain West, there's sometimes little known about the secret lives of plants and animals. There are too many square miles and too few scientists. That's where citizen scientists can come to the rescue.

Abigail Beckman / 91.5 KRCC

Starting in the late 80s, rainbow trout in Colorado began dying off because of a parasite that causes whirling disease. By 1997, wild rainbows in the state had all but vanished. The disease is caused by a water-borne parasite that infects young trout and some species of salmon, causing deformities of the skull and spinal column. The infected fish swim in circles, hence the name whirling disease. Ultimately, it leads to death.

Shanna Lewis / 91.5 KRCC

A new multimillion-dollar recreation master plan for the Arkansas River levee in Pueblo is complete. The goal of the process, according to the document, was to come up with ways to increase river recreation, improve connectivity to the river as well as its ecology, and provide for more economic development opportunities.

A collection of outdoor trade groups announced they’re forming a collaboration to step up action on climate change.

Chris Steinkamp is the director of one of the trade groups, Snowsports Industries America, which represents snow sports suppliers. He says until recently, brands were hesitant to get involved on such a politically polarized issue -- until, that is, climate change started visibly edging into the reality of their businesses.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

The 2019 State of the Rockies report says 70 percent of western voters identify as "outdoor enthusiasts." The annual bipartisan poll surveys how voters across the Mountain West feel about public lands, water, wildlife, and energy expansion. 

The Fading Dream Of The American Ski Bum

Jan 24, 2019

For generations, the siren song of deep powder and steep inclines has lured starry-eyed young people into the time-honored tradition of "ski bumming."

The phrase is as much a term of endearment as an aspiration to a life lived simply: Pick a mountain, find some roommates, and ski or snowboard as much as humanly possible. But decades of corporate mergers and tourism are turning once-scrappy ski towns into high-end resorts, leaving the alluring glow of ski bum life to grow dim in much of the Mountain West.

 

Wearing flannel, sporting beards and donning beanies, many of the workers at the DPS ski factory in Salt Lake City look like ski bums warming up between runs at the local resort. But they are hard at work crafting some of the most advanced skis in the world.

https://www.waldocanyonplanning.com/about/

Following the devastation from Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) is beginning a two year public planning process to reimagine the future of the area. Last year, RMFI received a $45,000 State Trails Planning Grant to initiate the process.

There's no doubt skiing can be a very expensive sport, and now there's a concern that mergers and acquisitions could make it even more pricey. So is it increasingly a sport for the wealthy?


Mike Procell, 91.5 KRCC.

Conservation groups are planning to buy a ranch near Trinidad that includes the landmark Fisher's Peak. The $25.5 million acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of February with a goal of eventually allowing public access to the land.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

The ski industry is one of the most important contributors to the economy in the Mountain West. And it's dealing with some pretty big changes right now. Probably the biggest one is climate. Winters are getting shorter and mountain resorts are having to adapt. 

Elyse Cosgrove / Protect Our Winters

The ski industry is an important economic driver in our region, but it's facing a lot of changes. Climate change, for one, is transforming ski resort leaders into activists and lobbyists.

Greg L. Wright / CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons

There’s some apparent good news for backcountry adventurers in the West this winter: the number of avalanche deaths is declining.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0

The outdoor recreation industry makes up an important part of the Mountain West economy and it’s feeling relieved right now after President Trump and President Xi of China have agreed to pause their escalating trade wars for now.  

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / MaxPixel

At least two states in the Mountain West have opened ski resorts early due to healthy dumps of snow. Many more are scheduled to open next week. This could be a good sign for our region’s economy this winter.

User Thomson200 / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Colorado Springs has finalized the purchase of 64 acres of open space near Blodgett Peak on the city’s northwest side.

Abigail Beckman / 91.5 KRCC

For a few hours on Sunday, October 7th, vehicles were not allowed Garden of the Gods. A gloomy, crisp morning didn’t keep people away from the park’s second so-called Motorless Morning. Bikers, runners and walkers roamed freely throughout the park, appreciating the landscape and the wildlife—and no one seemed to miss the traffic. 91.5 KRCC’s Abigail Beckman was there and has this audio postcard...

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

This Sunday morning, Garden of the Gods will once again be closed to vehicles. Motorless Morning is an opportunity for cyclists and pedestrians to take in the park without the sounds, commotion and worry of traffic. 

Creative Commons 2.0 / Trailsource.com

The outdoor recreation industry is growing faster than ever, especially in our region. In fact, new statistics show this sector grew faster than the overall U.S. economy.

A leaked memo this week from the Interior Department shows Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to give states more clout over wildlife management on public lands, unless it conflicts with federal law.

 


In early August three years ago, Barb Horn stood along the banks of the Animas River in the city of Durango, Colorado. Word had spread of a mine waste spill upstream near Silverton. She waited, alongside hundreds of others, for the waste to appear. But the plume took longer than expected and eventually arrived at night.

The next morning, she saw the change.

“It was absolutely surreal,” Horn says. “And I think that's why it went viral. It’s like somebody photoshopped the river orange.”

Tyler Hill / KRCC

Colorado Springs spends less money on its parks than the national average, according to an annual report from the Trust for Public Land. The analysis compared the 100 largest cities in the United States. 

Public lands have been in the news a lot this year. They comprise much of the Mountain West, from around 30 percent of land in Montana and Colorado to more than 60 percent in Utah and Idaho. This summer, we’re taking you on a tour of some of our favorite public lands.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado is called “the mother of  rivers” for a reason: it’s one of the most popular states for river rafting in the country.  But like the rest of our region, unprecedented growth, a changing climate, drought, and wildfires are taking their toll on this multi-million-dollar industry.

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