George Gardner Scholarship Fund to sponsor a presentation by Jake Norton

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Jake Norton has a long relationship with the mountains and adventuring. He helped discover the remains of George Mallory on Everest in 1999 and returned to tell more of the Mallory and Irvine story in 2001 and 2002. Norton has made seven expeditions to Everest, climbing it by the Northeast and Southeast Ridges and attempting the West Ridge in 2012. A guide, photographer, videographer and speaker, his life and career are entwined with the high mountains of the world. In recent years, Norton has focused his efforts on the global water and sanitation crises, founding Challenge21 and partnering with nonprofit Water For People. While climbing the 3 highest peaks on each continent and fundraising at the same time, Jake aims to make a tangible difference in the world. Since 2011, he has raised over $325,000 for global water and sanitation programs. Norton, with Pete McBride, traveled the length of the Ganges river in the film Holy (un)Holy River, which is receiving numerous prestigious awards. Jake is also an athlete and photographer for Eddie Bauer and is an active philanthropist. Norton was Director of the American Mountaineering Museum in Golden, CO, serves on the International Advisory Board for The Mountain Institute, and is an Ambassador for the United Nations Mountain Partnership. He has covered assignments for Discovery Channel, PBS/NOVA, BBC, National Geographic, and Forbes. Norton lives in Golden, Colorado, with his wife and two children.


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Comments Due by December 12th! ~ TAKE ACTION

Silverton Guides has requested to exchange and expand their Special Recreation Permit authorizing their guided heli-skiing operations on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. The proposal would exchange their high altitude locations with larger areas frequently used by backcountry day users, posing significant issues that were not adequately (if at all!) addressed by the Environmental Assessment.

We are submitting comments to the BLM and urge the public to as well. See our talking points below and then uses the form to submit your comments. Then pass this on to a friend!

Talking Points

1. Deficient Environmental Assessment (EA): The EA must be revised to include a through analysis of teh 200+ public comments previously submitted and should include numerous alternatives for management direction. Issues the EA failed to analyze include:

User conflict and displacement
Avalanche control and safety issues
Noise impacts
Wildlife issues
Suitability of San Juan Moutnains for heli-skiing due to unstable snowpack
Certification standards for heli-skiing guides
Challenges to guaranteeing areas are free of users prior to avalanche control bombing


2. Will cause unnecessary increase in user conflicts: In the Silverton area there are thousands of acres of remote terrain not accessible to day use by skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, dog walkers and others that can be used for heli-skiing. There is no need to increase user conflicts by allowing heli-skiing in commonly used front-country areas accessible by county roads. Adding more than 10,000 acres to Silverton Guides Recreation Permit is not an exchange, but an addition of more than 16 square miles of public lands that under certain conditions will be the exclusive use of the permittee.

3. BLM should not prioritize commercial over public use: The BLM has no obligation to prioritize the commercial use of public lands ahead of the interests of recreational users and other businesses who currently and historically have utilized these accessible-by-road front country areas without the concerns of helicopter noise, avalanche control activities and possible road closures.

Learn more on our Blog.

Send your comments today:

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MAKING PEACE WITH TRUMP’S REVOLUTIONARIES ~ At a rally in western Colorado, the candidate prepares his followers to give up without giving in. By Peter Hessler , OCTOBER 20, 2016


Lisa Issenberg photo

On Tuesday, while driving to a Donald Trump rally in Grand Junction, Colorado, I pulled over when I saw a political sign that used the word “mulatto.” It was located in the town of Delta, on the west side of U.S. Route 550, at a former shopfront whose walls and marquee had been decorated with big-lettered messages:

if muslim mulatto endorses corrupt clinton
as well as he did our economy 

                                  they will both be hung for treason!
                 ban liberal tards, not guns! molon labe!

stand tall! vote!

or live/die on
your knees

from kenya
is a

I knocked on the front door. There was a big metal grill and a sign that said “Security Camera in Use.” No answer. I walked around to the back. Another sign, with a picture of a dog: “I Can Make it to the Gate in 3 Seconds. Can You?” I kept walking. Across a small street, an elderly woman was unfurling an American flag in front of a single-wide trailer. I asked about the building with the signs. “It belongs to Bill Pope,” she said.


I asked what she thought about the messages.

“I don’t like it.”

“Who are you going to vote for?”

“Clinton,” she said. “Oh, definitely.”

In Delta County, in the 2012 election, Barack Obama received twenty-nine per cent of the vote. In the next county to the north, Mesa, which includes Grand Junction, he hardly did any better: thirty-two per cent. This part of western Colorado represents a Republican stronghold, which is why Trump was making a visit. I asked the elderly woman why she was voting for Clinton.

“Because of her policies,” she said. “And I cannot stand Trump. His mouth. What he says about women. Oh right, he says that he likes women. I’m sure he does. Look at how many came forward!”

Her name was June Broome, and she was seventy-six years old. She used to work as a grocery-store clerk, and she told me that she didn’t like the Republican Party because, in her opinion, the leaders neglect the poor and the middle class. She led me around the back of the trailer to meet her husband, who was working in the garden. His name was Orland Broome, which made me think of the actor, except this guy was bigger. At eighty-seven, he was digging into the hard ground with a shovel.

“He’s very radical,” Orland said, when I asked about his neighbor with the signs. “All he can do is say bad things about Obama because he’s a darkie. He goes ballistic if anybody—”

“He’s only half,” June said, interrupting.

“Yes, he’s only half,” Orland said.

“Half what?” I asked.

“Half darkie,” Orland said. “Obama.”

After that had been cleared up, Orland continued to say that, until recently, his neighbor’s building had also featured a big picture that was even more offensive than the current signs. “It was downgrading the colored people in politics,” he said delicately, without going into detail. “People would drive by and stop and take pictures, and finally the authorities came and told him to take it down because it was racist.”

At the time of the last U.S. census, in 2010, the population of Delta was 1.1 per cent African-American. June told me that Bill Pope was home right now. “He’s got bad hearing,” she said. “Just rattle that chain on the gate loud enough and he’ll come out. You should talk to him.”


Peter Hessler joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2000


Keep OURay Alpine Wild passed 3-0!!!

Greetings Keep OURay Alpine Wild Supporters,

It is with great pleasure to announce that late yesterday afternoon the BOCC voted 3 – 0 to enact the High Alpine Development Regulations. These regulations will only allow one dwelling structure to be built on patented mining claims or patented mill sites totaling 35 acres or more at or above 9,480 feet. And the maximum square footage for a dwelling structure is 700 square feet, which may be increased to a maximum of 2,500 square feet when certain criteria are met. The new regulations also include a prohibition on building non-mining structures in the tundra ecosystem.

Many Ouray citizens, over many months, played a significant role in helping get these regulations passed. A big thank you to all who helped out with this effort. Thank you to the 600+ who supported this campaign by signing the Citizen’s Letter and the Declaration of Support. Thank you to those who attended the Planning Commission and BOCC alpine meetings over the past 6 months. Thanks to the “Keep OURay Alpine Wild” leadership team for the countless hours they spent on this campaign. An especially BIG thanks to all who testified at the BOCC hearing in Ouray. It was your testimony that assured the 35 acre minimum, 700 maximum square footage and the prohibition on non-mining structures in the tundra ecosystem.

You’re invited to a celebration of the protection of Ouray County’s high alpine zone. Hope to see you there.

Celebration of the Protection of Ouray’s High Alpine Zone

WHEN: Thursday, October 27
TIME: 6:30
WHERE: Ridgway Town Hall

Thank you again for all your efforts to help pass these High Alpine Development Regulations.


Roze Evans for Keep OURay Alpine Wild

Avalanche Zen ~ Tricycle



The Battleship path running near Silverton, Colorado.

Photo credit:  Jonathan Thompson

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Some folks sit on a cushion and count their breaths as though it were a matter of life and death. Others, like 68-year-old Jerry Roberts, a retired avalanche forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, meditate wholeheartedly on the intricacies of snow.

I do not use that word “meditate” lightly. As a forecaster, Roberts’s job was to rigorously and relentlessly observe the snowpack. That involved studying everything from weather systems swirling in the Pacific to the structure of ice crystals out the back door. His special awareness was then tapped by the Colorado Department of Transportation to help determine when to shut down the mountain roads around Telluride and Durango. Winter in the San Juan Mountains begins in October and ends in June, and the range often receives 300 inches of snow in a single season. It is a notoriously dangerous place.

Currently, Roberts does part-time consulting work with Mountain Weather Masters, an outfit he cofounded. The group’s logo—a sword-wielding samurai backed by a white cloud—reflects his longtime interest in Japanese culture. Roberts’s house in Ridgway, Colorado, is cluttered equally with avalanche maps and anthologies of haiku by Issa, Buson, and Basho. I met him there on a bright winter morning, and we sat by the fireplace, drank coffee, and talked. He showed me homemade chapbooks of his own free-verse haiku, many of which braid the languages of snow science, skiing, and mountain geography with the language of Zen.

Enlightenment? Roberts wouldn’t claim to know much about such an exalted state of being. Self-deprecating and quick to laugh, he jokingly referred to our conversation as “bullshitting.” Nevertheless, I could tell from his warmth and sincerity that talking about snow and poetry was, for him, an immensely valuable pastime. After my second cup of coffee, when I rose to leave, instead of offering a handshake, he smiled and told me, “Keep on enjoying life.”

–Leath Tonino