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December 5, 2012
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Col. Joel E. Best, land component commander of the Colorado Army National Guard, was promoted to brigadier general Dec. 1, on Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora.

Brig. Gen. Best was the longtime commander at the Colorado Army National Guard High Altitude Aviation Training Site at the Eagle County Regional Airport.

As land component commander, Brig. Gen. Best is responsible for the readiness of all Colorado Army National Guard units and approximately 4,000 citizen-soldiers. Additionally, he provides guidance concerning personnel, training, logistics and safety.

"Brig. Gen. Joel Best has been instrumental to many successes in the Colorado National Guard," said Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, adjutant general of Colorado. "I have full confidence in him to advance the force and to be a great steward of taxpayer dollars and resources."

Best was commissioned in 1982 through Colorado Army National Guard Officer Candidate School. After commissioning, he served in various assignments within the Colorado Army National Guard, including deputy chief of staff for aviation and safety, High Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site commander, aviation team chief Army Central Pakistan, and 168th Regiment Commander.

The Colorado Army National Guard consists of almost 4,000 men and women - citizen-soldiers from every corner and community of Colorado.

The White River National Forest is seeking public input on a proposal from Vail Mountain Ski Resort related to year-round recreation enhancements. The proposal includes a variety of project elements that were submitted subsequent to the passage of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011. Proposed activities include:

• Educational and interpretive opportunities

• A zip-line canopy tour into Game Creek Bowl

• A Front Side zip-line canopy tour

• An elevated, fixed rail Forest Flyer at Adventure Ridge

• An elevated, fixed rail Pride Express Forest Flyer

• A rappel activity at Adventure Ridge

• Expanded hiking and mountain bike trails as well as a modified horse trail

• A riparian experience at Adventure Ridge

• A Family Forest Park at Adventure Ridge including aerial ropes challenges

• Observation decks and towers at Adventure Ridge and Wildwood

• A reconfigured Talon's Deck and barbecue area at Eagles Nest

• A wedding deck at The 10th

Proposed activities have been designed to both compliment and improve the existing non-skiing recreation opportunities that are currently offered on National Forest System lands at Vail Mountain.

A notice of intent (NOI) has been published in the federal register to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) evaluating the possible environmental effects of Vail Resort's proposal. The analysis will contain full disclosure of the potential impacts on the environment.

"Since the passage of the Act, the White River National Forest has been working closely with our ski industry partners to move forward consideration of ideas that will enhance our visitor's ability to better connect to and enjoy their public lands while at the same time creating opportunities to strengthen the economy of our local communities." said Scott Fitzwilliams, supervisor for the White River National Forest. "The public input part of this process is key to making sure we understand and consider the community's concerns regarding this proposal."

Initial public comments are requested by Dec. 31 in order to help formulate the foundation of the environmental analysis by identifying resource issues and generating additional action alternatives if needed. Written, facsimile, hand-delivered, oral and electronic comments will be accepted. Comments should be addressed to: Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, c/o. Don Dressler, Winter Sports Administrator, White River National Forest, PO Box 190 Minturn, CO 81645; FAX (970) 827-9343 or by email to: comment@vailreceis.info.

Complete project information, including how to submit comments, may be found at the project website, www.vailreceis.info.

With the changeover to winter service, ECO Transit has debuted a new pocket map and schedule for passengers. The revised piece includes maps of all areas served by the transit system and numbered bus stops correlating to stops on the time schedule. The pocket schedule is intended to help visitors and first-time riders find the information they need to easily navigate the ECO Transit system.

In an effort to simplify the pocket schedule, all routes are color-coded and while all stops are shown on the maps, only major stops are listed with stop times. To determine when a bus will arrive at additional stops, passengers can view the time of the closest major stop prior to theirs and add a small amount of time. A QR code on the pocket schedule allows passengers with smart phones to quickly access the full schedule, including all stops and times, at www.eaglecounty.us/Transit/Schedules/.

Pocket schedules are available at the Vail and LionsHead Transportation Centers, at many hotels and on all buses. Passengers who are still unsure on routes and times can call ECO Transit for assistance with trip planning at 970-328-3520 ext. 1. Dispatch employees are available from 4:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., 365 days a year.

The Forest Service recently opened the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area for the 2012-2013 winter season.

Fees are collected 24 hours a day at self-pay fee stations located at all VPWRA trailheads. Season passes can be purchased at the Vail Pass trailhead on Saturdays and Sundays, or the Dillon Ranger District office in Silverthorne and the Holy Cross Ranger District office in Minturn during regular business hours. Individual day use passes cost $6 per person. Children 15 and under are free. A season pass is $40.

Grooming occurs six nights a week on a rotating cycle of trails.

The Vail Pass Winter Recreation Fee Area encompasses over 50,000 acres and extends from Copper Mountain on the east, Vail Mountain on the west, Camp Hale on the south, and the Interstate 70 corridor on the north.

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The VailDaily Updated Dec 5, 2012 12:53PM Published Dec 5, 2012 12:51PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.