Town wants bitter cold with its snow
GRANBY – Among the thanks given over turkey dinners in the Granby-Winter Park area last week was for the early arrival of winter. But with the thanks came a divine appeal for cold, cold weather – a week’s worth of cold, something that hasn’t happened in many years in a valley that once proclaimed itself the icebox of the nation, with recorded temperatures that vouchsafed that claim.Extreme and extended cold weather is the only thing that is guaranteed to stop the spread of bark beetles, which have been advancing rapidly across the forests of the Fraser Valley, where the resort towns are located. A new estimate from the U.S. Forest Service finds the number of trees infested by the beetles has increased geometrically during the last year. “They’re in the peak of the epidemic this year,” the agency’s Rick Caissie told the Winter Park Manifest. “It’s 5 to 10 times worse than it was there last year, which is pretty significant.”The most immediate effect of the beetle infestation is a new color mosaic. Instead of green trees and blue skies dominating the landscape, the woods are now crowded by rust-colored forests as trees die. This aesthetic concern is, in turn, producing an even greater concern about the potential for forest fires. This potential is, in turn, causing stepped up logging of forests.While the Fraser Valley for decades had a great deal of logging, logging trucks have been increasingly absent in the last 20 years. As in other gentrifying valleys of the West, homeowners who have purchased vacation or retirement homes with a certain “view” in mind have opposed plans to cut down trees. But the Winter Park Manifest welcomes a new Forest Service initiative that proposes more than 10,000 acres of logging in order to provide a buffer against forests that have been decimated or worse. “It’s for our good,” says the newspaper.Heavenly thankful for snowmakingLAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Going into Thanksgiving, it was another dry, dry year for the ski resorts of the Tahoe-Truckee area of the Sierra Nevada. Like four other Novembers during the last 15 years, no moisture had been recorded. That fact made operators of Heavenly Mountain Resort thankful for the $1.5 million investment in snowmaking equipment.