Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mountain Town News


By ALLEN BEST - MTN TOWN NEWS SERVICE

Yellowstone’s wolves and grizzlies spread outward
    RED LODGE, Mont.—From Yellowstone National Park, the populations of grizzly bears and gray wolves have been spreading laterally. Some people rejoice; others worry.
    “They’re here,” said Shawn Stewart, a biologist with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, referring to grizzlies. “Now what do we do?”
    To keep people out of harm’s way, said Stewart, they need to have no food lying around, such as in garbage cans.
    “Food-conditioned grizzly bears, bears with access to garbage and other anthropogenic food sources, are much more like to cause human injury or death than non-food-conditioned bears,” he told the Carbon County News of Red Lodge.
    Nine people were killed by grizzlies in Yellowstone, Glacier and Banff national parks between 1967 and 1989. The deaths were caused by seven different bears, all of  which were food-conditioned, he said.
    Bears who have yet to make the connection between humans and food almost always leave people alone. Just the same, bear spray is an effective deterrent when there are encounters with bears. Stewart said studies show that where bear spray was used, 92 percent of the bears changed their behavior. In 98 percent of cases, human were unharmed.
    In Wyoming, conservation groups are seeking to block a hunt of wolves that has already begun. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted the wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act after first securing a management plan with Wyoming.
    The plan, reports the Jackson Hole News&Guide, allows up to 52 wolves in the northwest part of the state to be killed, but requires Wyoming to maintain at least 10 breeding pairs and 100 individual wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.
    Gov. Matt Mead says the plan is working well, but conservationists disagree.
    “It’s sort of a race to the bottom in terms of wildlife management standards,” said Tim Presco, of Earthjustice, which is representing Defenders of Wildlife and other groups.

New tourism strategy in B.C. looks familiar
    WHISTLER, B.C. – Although another political party is now in charge, and the recession has slowed the effort, British Columbia remains determined to grow its tourism economy.
    Pique reports the new five-year strategy is called Gaining the Edge, and it looks very like the strategy promulgated by the previous ruling party in B.C. The goal: increasing tourism revenues 5 percent annually to meet a target of $18 million by 2016. Alberta, notes the newspaper, also hopes to grow its tourism sector, but has a less lofty goal: $6.5 million by 2017.
    “We all recognize that Alberta is not in the same league as B.C. when it comes to tourism,” notes Pique publisher Bob Barnett, “but it may be helpful to know what our neighbors are trying to achieve, particularly as Alberta’s oil patch continues to woo labor with wages that are out of reach of most tourism businesses.”
    In the longer haul, as baby boomers leave the labor pool, hiring skilled workers in the tourism sector will be the most difficult obstacle for achieving this goal, he notes. One study found that 10 percent of tourism jobs will be vacant by 2020.

Petraeus pal spoke at Aspen festivals
    ASPEN, Colo.—You might have guessed that there was an Aspen angle on the big story about Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
    The Aspen Daily News reports that she spoke twice last summer at conferences in Vail, first at the Aspen Ideas Festival and then at the Aspen Security Forum.
    “He is quite a physical specimen,” she said during an hour-long interview at the Ideas Fest.  “He really loves to work out. I think at the agency they call him a genetic mutant. For any of you who have worked out with him, he is 59 and he can run around 6:30 (minute) miles.”
    
Dawn has returned for real estate agents
    STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.—Real estate sales continue to recover as lowered prices meeting willing buyers have produced closings that rival, in quantity if not individual sales prices, the frantic pace of the boom years.
    Consider the Telluride area, where total dollar volume in October was 132 percent of the previous year.
    Altogether, 2012 has been a rip-snorting year in sales, second only to 2007, according to Judi Kiernan, of Telluride Consulting.
    Mike Shimkonis, broker associate with Telluride Properties, says he believes November and December will continue the trend, because many sellers, for purposes of capital gains taxes, will want to close on sales by the end of the year.
    “I have a feeling we’re going to see a huge number of closings in the last two weeks of December,” he told The Telluride Watch.
    Telluride real estate agent George Harvey also noted that Vail and Aspen had big months.
    In Steamboat Springs and Routt County, foreclosure filings had been expected to increase. But Jeannie Whiddon, public trustee for the county, instead reports the pace of foreclosures has faltered significantly. At this pace, she told Steamboat Today, foreclosures could be down a third from 2011.
    This same trend, if less pronounced, is occurring across Colorado, according to the Denver Post.




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