Back to Marble and a new data dashboard
It’s been hard to turn away from the debate swirling around increasing motorized recreation overrunning the town of Marble and nearby Lead King Loop. We returned there this week for a story looking at the parking crunch created by off-highway vehicles and efforts by stakeholders to define the future they want for their community. In many ways it is a story unique to the upper Crystal River Valley. The Lead King Loop remains one of the few places in the watershed where off-highway vehicles are still allowed, yet its stunning scenery and proximity to the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness make it an area of special environmental concern. And the fact that nearly all of the traffic must route through Marble, a tiny town steeped in history without the infrastructure to handle the influx, exacerbates the impacts.
But in other ways the story is becoming increasingly common, especially in Western mountain towns. It involves widely felt pressures around growth, the environment and the fight to maintain community. Marble, like many other places, is changing fast as more people discover the benefits of living close to nature. How to manage that growth is the question dominating the political scene.
The way Marble tackles its own unique challenges could have a lot to say for how other communities facing similar issues deal with their problems. What’s especially interesting about Marble’s situation is the wide array of jurisdictions that are attempting to work together toward a solution.
Also this week, Aspen Journalism’s data desk editor Laurine Lassalle has launched version 1.0 of our new data dashboard project. This is an evolving feature that will corral local public data as it relates to water, the environment and the economy and other factors. We start out this week with interactive features showing streamflows throughout the region and water storage in Lake Powell, as well as air quality and temperature in the Aspen area. We’d love to hear your ideas on what you’d like to see presented, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any suggestions.
One final note: We learned this week that 2020’s Cash Flows series, which was co-reported and produced by water desk editor Heather Sackett, won a national investigative reporting award from the Society of Professional Journalists, as part of the Sigma Chi Delta honors. Congrats to Heather, as well as our collaborators at KUNC radio, KJZZ radio and the Nevada Independent. This marks the third time the series, which investigated increasing interest in Western water rights by financial firms, has been honored.
— Curtis Wackerle, editor
By Curtis Wackerle | June 18, 2021
There is no designated parking near the Lead King Loop trailhead for the trucks and trailers needed to haul the machines. Many in Marble feel this has put the squeeze on their town, population 140, which has limited resources and infrastructure to handle the influx.
By Laurine Lassalle | June 18, 2021
With the peak flows coming in low and early, streamflows are now registering as low as 24 percent of average, on the Colorado River at Westwater.
By Laurine Lassalle | June 18, 2021
Garfield County reported seven new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, Eagle County added three cases, while Pitkin County didn’t add any cases.
While it’s just mid-June and the hottest time of the year is historically still weeks away, temperatures have matched their highest ever observed levels in parts of Utah, Wyoming and Montana.
Source: washingtonpost.com | Read more
This summer, the fishery will receive just 5,000 acre feet of water, far below its 32,000 acre feet allotment. As a result, releases out of McPhee are expected to drop as low as 5 cubic feet per second, the lowest amount ever recorded.
Source: durangotelegraph.com | Read more
Mesa County seems to have stalled at a vaccination rate of just about 40 percent for residents 12 and older. And earlier this month, the county’s largest hospital saw its biggest increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since the pandemic began.
Source: cpr.org | Read more
Marble, a historic mining town of 140 residents in the upper Crystal River Valley near Carbondale, is by no means alone in grappling with an unprecedented, pandemic-boosted surge in off-highway vehicle use. In 2015, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife division that oversees OHV use counted 170,000 of the vehicles registered in the state. Last year, there were 203,873. Around 46,000 of those came from out of state.
Source: coloradosun.com | Read more
This week, a study that Shuman co-authored with Philip Higuera and Kyra Wolf was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The three of them discovered that since the year 2000, wildfires are burning nearly twice as much area of the Rocky Mountains than compared to the last 2,000 years. Source: wyomingpublcmedia.org| Read more
The property was purchased by Patrick Dovigi, a Canadian who was a former professional hockey player who is now founder, president and CEO of Green for Life Environmental, a North American waste management company worth an estimated $6.1 billion.
Source: aspendailynews.com | Read more
Steamboat City Council enacts 90-day moratorium on vacation home rental applications in emergency meeting
“We aren’t able to hire anyone because people working in this town don’t have anywhere to live,” Wadnik said, adding her neighborhood near Bear Drive has seven short-term rentals on one street. “We deal with traffic, high rates of speed, garbage issues with bears, noise and major disruptions in our lives.”
Source: steamboatpilot.com | Read more
June 11, 2021 Edition
A community facing the loss of hundreds of jobs as nearby coal-fired power plants and coal mines are set to be decommissioned is investing in the Yampa River as the backbone of future economic growth. Read more
June 4, 2021 Edition
Aspen Journalism’s editor, Curtis Wackerle, on our history desk’s wondrous work and the scheming and innovation of the Hunter Creek corridor, plus the return of The Bucket. Read more