by Mark Reaman
Addressing Vinotok issues early
The Crested Butte Town Council wants to schedule a meeting with Vinotok organizers and neighbors who live by the traditional bonfire that takes place in the Visitors Center parking lot. Councilman Jim Schmidt said neighbors have consistently asked that the fire be moved because of safety concerns. “We need to address this situation sooner rather than later,” he said. “It is a major, major deal so we should talk about it by June at the latest.”
Public Works director Rodney Due agreed since he is planning a paving project for the Visitor Center parking lot for the summer of 2017. “We are thinking about whether or not we need fire bricks in the parking area because of the Vinotok fire. I would like to know soon as well.”
Councilperson Laura Mitchell, who represents the council on the local chamber of commerce board, said the chamber has had issues with lax clean-up after Vinotok so that could be addressed at the same meeting with the event organizers.
Councilperson Chris Ladoulis expressed concern that the council not isolate just Vinotok for such issues but apply policies to all special events.
The staff will try to find an appropriate meeting time with the event organizers sometime in May or early June.
Lecture on ski town ecology
At the request of council members Erika Vohman and Paul Merck, Dr. David Inouye of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory gave a presentation April 4 on the changing environment and how it impacts Crested Butte. Basically, he said given the changes in temperature, snow melt, and runoff, the town was changing and some of the attractions that brought people to live or visit were disappearing or coming about earlier. He said local wildlife (from bees to moose) and local wildflowers were feeling the effects and the town should be aware of the changes. Inouye said essentially the town would need to evolve and be resilient under the circumstances. That could mean being nimble enough to change the timing of the Wildflower Festival because flowers might be blooming earlier, or creating new events to complement the changing climate, such as expanding the mountain biking season.
Inouye suggested there is an evolving “environmental stewardship” that should be adopted by communities and the need for real sustainability in town was important.
“An obligation as a scientist is to broaden the impact of research through things like this presentation,” Inouye explained. He said one role of science was to inform people about data that has been collected for decades that can then be used as a sort of “crystal ball” to help forecast the future.
Council not ready to comment on winter travel management
There appears to be no appetite from the Crested Butte Town Council for getting involved at the moment with the local winter travel management controversy. The council heard a presentation earlier in the winter from the group Silent Tracks that hopes to start a review process of what over-the-snow activities are appropriate for drainages in the Gunnison National Forest. They asked the council to write a letter to the Forest Service asking the agency to start the process. The council received several letters from people opposing that move. At the February 16 meeting, councilman Jim Schmidt asked if the council wanted to address the request. No one on the council was inclined to wade into the volatile local issue at the moment.
At the April 4 meeting, the council packet included more than 30 letters addressed to the council commenting on the need for a winter travel management plan. The council asked that the letters be forwarded to the Forest Service and Gunnison County since those were the government entities that have decision-making power over the backcountry situation.