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Grizzly deaths a concern in National Park

Allen BestSpecial to the Vail DailyVail, CO Colorado

BANFF, Alberta – Sow grizzlies are dying in Banff National Park at a rate that is concerning wildlife biologists. The park has an estimated 60 female grizzlies, but a large number have died in the Lake Louise area most commonly after coming into conflict with humans. Parks Canada studied bear deaths since 1990 in Banff as well as in six other national parks: Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier. The resort found that 46 of the 61 grizzly bear deaths were at the hands of people.Some die when hit by trains. The trains often spill grain, attracting the bears to the tracks. But the Rocky Mountain Outlook also reports that hikers and bikers in Banff National Park are much more likely to have an aggressive, dangerous encounter with a grizzly bear than in any other mountain national park in Canada. There were 183 encounters in Banff and more than twice as many in Jasper. Of those 183 encounters, bears actually attacked people in only 10 instances.Its pretty clear that were losing more grizzlies over the last six years to human causes than the estimated population can sustain, said Kevin Van Tighem, superintendent of Banff National Park. He said trails might need to be redesigned to keep bears from encountering people. A lot of what were doing is trying to figure out if weve got trails and facilities in the wrong places, and how we can get people to areas where they can still enjoy the park but not disturb bears, he said.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. It was a milestone year at Jackson Hole High School. Nine of the graduates were the first in their families to collect diplomas. Usually, there are one, two or sometimes three.Anyone up to the age of 21 who lives in Teton County is entitled, by law, to a public education. Still, the first-ever graduates overcame great odds, says the Jackson Hole News&Guide.They come from a community in which many of their friends and families are not in the country legally and they were schooled during a time when immigration issues and immigrants are under increased scrutiny, notes the paper.The newspaper tells about one student, Arthur Diaz Miranda, who worked about 50 hours a week in addition to attending school. When he was 16, his father died after jumping into the Gros Ventre River to rescue another son during a fishing trip. Stan Morgan, who was the English-as-a-second-language teacher for Miranda, said he sometimes bumps into Arturo and his mother in the grocery store. And hes paying for the groceries, Morgan said. These guys worked really hard to get here. They made it happen. Theyre definitely not the typical American teenagers.The newspaper reports that several of the Latino high-school graduates are going on to college in Wyoming on soccer scholarships.

GUNNISON, Colorado A 30-inch telescope has been lifted by a crane into an observatory on the outskirts of Gunnison. The telescope will be open to the public for a nominal feel, but organizers hope the telescope will be rented for research and private viewings.The telescope may be used for study of asteroids, extra-solar planets and stars relatively close to Earth that are in the latter stages of life.The Crested Butte News says two local businessmen in 2001 decided a telescope in Gunnison would be a fine idea. The project faltered, but was eventually picked up by Gunnison County government, which provided land for the observatory and much of the money for the telescope. Total cost was nearly $500,000.

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. A new law in Placer County requires property owners to clear 100 feet of space around housing and other structures, even if the perimeter extends into a neighbors undeveloped lot. There is no such requirement if the adjoining lot has a home or some other structure on it.Clearing trees and other growth from around a home is seen as the most effective way to stop a fire from spreading from the forest. The law, explains the Sierra Sun, supplements an existing California law that requires homeowners to clear fire fuels from within 100 feet of their homes. However, that law stops at the property line.Placer County extends from the foothills west of Sacramento to the Nevada border, taking in the northern part of Lake Tahoe.


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