Colorado towns try to curb carbon |

Colorado towns try to curb carbon

Allen Best
Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado

CRESTED BUTTE, Colorado ” Across America, the transition to a new perception of energy continues town by town, meeting by meeting. In Crested Butte recently, 150 people gathered to examine how to modify business as usual.

The community ” Crested Butte, plus two other towns and Gunnison County ” has been working on how it can rein in energy use. All three towns and the county government have signed pledges to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases roughly in line with the targets established by the Kyoto Protocol.

That was several years ago. Since then, the governments and local community organizers have been trying to figure out how their communities can live up to their vows of lower-carb diets.

Last year, the communities began collecting data, to establish a baseline as of 2005 for those emissions. Last week they assembled to hear what others have done, and talked about what they can do.

Among those speaking was George Sibley, a long-time local, who called for more local production of energy, instead of depending upon imported energy imported. He also called for more environmentally friendly construction.

“Really, is there any reason why we should be allowing anybody to build a new house that isn’t sited on its lot and has some accommodation to the idea that the sun shines a lot here and that’s a lot of energy,” Sibley asked.

Meanwhile, building codes are being upgraded to require greater efficiency. In this case, instead of the initiative coming from the grassroots, the action is coming from higher levels. In Crested Butte’s case, the town thought it had more stringent standards, but new versions of the International Energy Conservation Code are causing Crested Butte to do some catchup.

DURANGO ” Instead of punishment, the U.S. Forest Service is taking a softer approach to motor-vehicle riders who use the San Juan National Forest. The forest service wants them to police themselves ” or it may crackdown, the Durango Telegraph reports .

A study several years ago revealed more than 60,000 miles of renegade trails throughout the nation. That spurred Dale Bosworth, then chief of the Forest Service, to confine motor vehicles to only those roads and trails specifically designated for use.

In the Durango area, however, the Forest Service chose to include 52 miles of previously undesignated routes ” mostly old mining and logging roads ” in the new road network. As well, for motorcycle riders, there will be a sanctioned singletrack that probably started as a pirate trail.

Grousing on both sides of the equation is being heard. The San Juan Trail Riders complain that “terrain that was once multiple use is being restricted more and more.”

The Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers says that the Forest Service is failing to both Bosworth’s mandate of limiting motor vehicles to roads and undo the damage done to the landscape over the last 20 years.

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User