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Burning wood for power investigated

Allen Best/Special to the Daily

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. – The Winter Park Manifest reports a plan, still in embryonic form, to build a plant that burns wood chips to create electricity. If built, the plant would likely draw from forests near Winter Park and Grand Lake, as well as the Breckenridge, Vail and Steamboat Springs areas.

The presumption is that local forests are too dense and need to be thinned. One U.S. Forest Service study finds that a healthy forest of lodgepole pine has 400 trees per acre. But the forests in Grand County average 1,000 trees per acre, making them more susceptible to diseases and insect epidemics.

Such a power plant might cost $60 million to build, but the proponent of this idea, a group called the Grand County Forest Stewardship Association, contends that providing a market for forest thinning is cheaper than fighting wildland fires.



To make this thing work, proponents want a 20-year commitment from the Forest Service, which administers a third to three-fourths of the land in these counties. California has 15 such wood-fired power plants, there are three more in New Hampshire and one in Michigan.

Crested Butte flounders financially

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CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – The Crested Butte ski area continues to flounder in the deep waters of financial debt. The troubles seem to be deep enough that the Crested Butte News mentions that the lifts will continue operating, suggesting some doubt before that they would.

Also, the recent news that the ski company’s real estate division owes $475,000 in delinquent taxes to the county government seems to have opened eyes.

To continue operations, Crested Butte Mountain Resort received more cash from one of its lenders, although not a refinancing package. The resort is pinning its hope on a sale by late December or January.



Crested Butte area gets general surgeon again

GUNNISON, Colo. – While Vail, Steamboat, and Jackson Hole are among the resort areas thick with doctors, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Gunnison County. The Crested Butte News reports a full-time general surgeon for the first time in nine months. The doctor comes from Blue Ridge, Ga.


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