Welcoming hosts at Piney River Ranch | VailDaily.com

Welcoming hosts at Piney River Ranch

Don Rogers

Well, this past spring the football thugs sold to a couple who are going out of their way to remove all the bad vibe of the past couple of years. Just about the first thing to go was making people pay for the privilege of walking to the trailhead.

The ranch is 12 miles by dirt road from Vail, in one of the prettiest high valleys Colorado has to offer. The above tree-line Gore Range hovers close, with Mt. Powell most prominent – especially while bathed in the sunset glow.

Piney Lake is a little gem, made for leisurely canoe paddling with the kids. There’s fishing, horseback riding, hiking, a restaurant and trading post, and now a couple of cabins for overnight stays. In the fall they’ll have guided hunting, in winter snowmobile tours.

The staff is a big turnaround – these people are friendly as can be. They even made Jerry Springer feel welcome up there not long ago, and professed that he’s really a nice guy. That’s how nice these people are. Actually we do trust their judgment on the off-camera Springer.

Anyway, Piney is back to being its familiar friendly self, and working hard in the right ways to take care of guests and odd strangers who wander up that way on late Sunday whims.

On Daschle

The Washington Times’ Audrey Hudson, a one-time Vail Daily wag, reported last week that Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle had sneaked in some language exempting his state South Dakota from environmental regulation and lawsuits so the forests could be thinned and a little more protected from catastrophic wildfires. There’s a nice gift.

It was neatly tucked into the defense supplemental spending bill – some $29 billion worth of spending.

That a Democrat, the highest ranking one at that, would undermine all that environmental effort is rich indeed. You’d think ruining the dense web of rules and suits that “protect” the forest would be the work of those wicked Republicans.

But suddenly these are “extraordinary circumstances” in South Dakota, meriting this clear-cutting of court challenges and paper clutter.

Of course, these “circumstances” have built up over the past 100 years or so of aggressive fire suppression allowing the forests to become too dense, and ripe for fire. Rather than too much logging, it looks like the problem might be the opposite.

Not surprisingly, lawmakers in the other Western states want that rider too. D.R.

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