Group raising money to build mountain hut |

Group raising money to build mountain hut

Allen Best

BERTHOUD PASS – The Grand Huts Association has a long ways to go in its bid to replace an old ski hut at Second Creek, near Berthoud Pass. The group has plans to build a new 20-person hut with a low ecological footprint, including a composting toilet that uses a pint of water per flush, passive solar, and efficient gas-log fire places. But to do all this will take some $480,00. So far, reports the Winter Park Manifest, the group has about $20,000.Land rising faster than real estateSTEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The price of land has been appreciating rapidly in Steamboat Springs, with residential lot prices rising by about 20 percent in the last two years.While all real estates prices have been rising in resorts across the West, land has been rising more rapidly. In 1996, for example, the land at one lot in Steamboat represented 26 percent of the total valuation of the property. By 2003, the value of the lot had more than doubled, but more important, the land itself represented 45 percent of the total, explains The Steamboat Pilot.If Steamboat’s progression follows the same track as more highly developed resort towns like Aspen and Vail, the market will soon reach the point that people will buy homes for the value of the land, scraping off existing homes to build more modern and usually larger homes.Cold weather could quell beetlesBANFF, Alberta – Those tracking pine beetles around Banff would love to see an old-fashioned cold snap in the next month or more. A week of 40 below temperatures would do fine, they say. That’s the easiest way to curb the spread of bark beetles, which have been finding the warmer winters and aging trees in the Bow River Valley to their liking. The Rocky Mountain Outlook explains that Alberta’s problem with the spread of bark beetles is minor compared with that in British Columbia, where up to nine million hectares of trees have been killed. While 90 percent of each year’s brood of bark beetles typically die, that still leaves 10 new beetles from every adult when the insects are in their epidemic cycle.Vail, Colorado

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