"Our Winter Playground: White River National Forest"

"The past few weeks of colossal snowstorms give cause to take a quick break from laps on the powdery ski runs to think about what makes these bliss-filled days possible; the public –private partnership on national forest lands.

There are 12 permitted ski areas operating partially or fully on the White River National Forest. Eleven are administered by the White River and the 12th (Ski Cooper) by the Pike San Isabel National Forest. There are also six Nordic ski areas permitted partially or fully on the White River. Collectively, these areas contribute to a large part of what makes the White River the destination forest for winter recreation in the country.

This year is a cause for celebration for many throughout the community including your local national forest. The forest marks 125 years of existence, 100 years of which include management from a supervisor’s office headquartered in downtown Glenwood Springs.

The forest is also thrilled to help commemorate the anniversaries of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (70 years) and Sunlight Mountain Resort (50 years). As both land managers and members of these vibrant mountain communities, we would like to take a few moments to acknowledge this shared history with our ski partners and all of you.

The evolution of sliding on snow on forest lands had its humble beginnings in isolated and enthusiastic pockets of forest locations around the country. However, the passing of the Term Occupancy Act in 1915 gave winter recreation the jump start it needed to develop as an agency- recognized use on national forest lands. The act allowed for the quick expansion of the special-use permitting program, granting permits for the development of infrastructure including summer homes, resorts and ski tows.

Late 1950s, at an unidentified resort on the White River National Forest, two women pose for a €œâ€glamourous” ski photo while taking a break between runs.

More opportunities for winter recreation greatly expanded with New Deal funding in the 1930s and the influx of Civilian Conservation Corps labor to work on the construction of both summer and winter recreation areas. As public interest steadily grew, the agency needed to consider capacity, accessibility and proximity to highways for the development of new winter recreation areas.

VETERANS’ ROLE

World War II also played a major role in the development of ski areas on the White River National Forest. Camp Hale, located on forest land south of Minturn, served as the storied and primary training ground for the elite 10th Mountain Division, whose members specialized in winter combat operations, which included skiing. After World War II, the 10th Mountain Division veterans returned to the states playing a major part in the development of ski areas across the country and also becoming legendary for contributions to resorts such as Vail, Aspen and Arapahoe Basin.

The end of World War II not only freed up ingenuity and capital to build resorts, but also enabled Americans to “return to the forest” to recreate at these resorts. Development of ski areas on the White River National Forest began shortly after the war with the opening of Arapahoe Basin in 1946, followed by the development of Aspen Mountain (1946-47).

The 1950s through the early ‘70s resulted in the establishment of the bulk of White River National Forest ski areas with Buttermilk (1958), Highlands (1958), Breckenridge (1961), Vail (1962), Sunlight (1966), Snowmass (1967), Keystone (1970) and Copper (1971). The last ski resort to be built on the White River National Forest was Beaver Creek, which opened to the public in 1980. Several other ski areas were proposed on the White River that either barely started and ended or never started such as the Rifle Ski Area north of Rifle, Little Annie and Ashcroft near Aspen, Marble Ski Area at Marble and most recently Adam’s Rib south of Eagle.

SUMMER ACTION

As forest year-round visitation numbers have soared over the past five years, exceeding 13 million combined winter and summer visitations, it has become clear that the White River is more than just a winter destination.

In 2011, Congress officially recognized the summer season for resorts by passing the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, granting resorts the opportunity to diversify their recreational offerings to the public on a year-round basis introducing what the agency has dubbed “summer uses” to the landscape. These uses include zip lines, bike trails, mountain coasters and outdoor education opportunities.

The forest has partnered with the resorts in this endeavor, seeing this as an opportunity to provide on-site environmental education and inspire a connection between visitors and nature in a developed setting.

While most locals know that when they ski on some of the 23,000 skiable acres or 1,300 individual ski runs in the area that they are skiing fully or in part on their national forest lands, the majority of the winter visits to the White River come from the Front Range, out of state or international visits.

This fact alone continues to motivate the forest to strengthen partnerships with ski areas and local communities as we endeavor to build awareness and educate about the benefits and opportunity of winter recreation on national forests.

As we celebrate 125 years of the White River National Forest, 125 years of the Post Independent and 50 years of the Colorado Mountain College, we invite you to think about the evolution of the ski areas that surround your community, the vision of agency and industry leaders of the past and present and we encourage you get out and go play in snow on your White River National Forest.

For more information on the history of recreation on National Forests visit http://www.foresthistory.org/."

Source: http://www.postindependent.com/news/local/our-winter-playground-white-river-national-forest/

Strategies on How to Manage Glenwood's Traffic Demand

"With the 2017 traffic bridge detour approaching, the Grand Avenue bridge team is strategizing about reducing traffic on the detour through Glenwood Springs by 20 percent during rush hours. Many people have asked, 'How can something like this be done?' and our answer is traffic demand management.

TDM describes a wide range of programs and services that create the efficient use of existing transportation facilities by managing the actual demand placed on these facilities. TDM efforts are implemented through strategies including promotion of alternative transportation modes, increasing vehicle occupancy, reduction in travel distances and easing peak-hour congestion.

TDM measures are widely recognized and utilized in cities such as Los Angeles and New York. Our goal is to implement some of these strategies for our small community to create a smooth detour.

Some TDM measures include carpools, ride share matching, additional parking lots, walking, cycling, variable work hours, telecommuting and work schedule adjustment. This could also include covered bike parking or a bike sharing service.

Our team has also identified a few TDM measures that have not been included in other studies. The city’s new transportation manager, Tanya Allen, is assisting the team with locating “slugging” locations around Glenwood Springs. Slugging is 'casual carpooling,' where people wait in certain identified lots and motorists pick them up and take them part or all the way to their destinations during commuting hours.

Other ideas for TDM have stemmed from the environmental assessment of the bridge project. There will be a strong campaign leading up to the detour that includes information on all pedestrian and bicycle routes around Glenwood Springs, as well as links to Roaring Fork Transportation Authority schedules."

Source: Post Independent 

"Carbondale Artist Picked for National Show in Portland"

"Discomfort: it’s a sensation that ceramic artist Matthew Eames would like us all to get more, ahem, comfortable with.

Eames, who works with the Carbondale Clay Center as its studio manager, was recently accepted to present an installation he calls 'Room' at the upcoming National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference in Portland, Oregon. He hopes the piece, which he will create and then deconstruct over the course of four days, will provoke feelings of instability and environmental transience in its viewers.

'With this installation I’ve thought a lot about how we perceive our environment as being filled with permanent fixtures in everyday life,' Eames said. 'But in reality, those structures are very impermanent in the grand scheme of time.'

The artist plans to construct 'Room' with a collection of simple building materials including drywall, metal rods, wood and hundreds of hollow ceramic bricks he is making by hand. The finished product will include a crafted space of 8 by 20 feet, encompassing two rooms and a corridor that viewers can experience by walking through and exploring.

A native East Coaster who grew up on Cape Cod, Eames came to the ceramic arts as a teen and later pursued undergraduate studies in the field at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Wichita State University, and ultimately chose to take a position at the Clay Center after applying for multiple opportunities nationwide. He moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in August 2013 and says he has not looked back.

'I have really worked to become immersed in the community here, and opportunities have opened up,' Eames said. 'Things have been progressing in an upward trajectory, so I’ve felt the past few years have been very enjoyable and productive here.'

He noted that his upcoming installation at the Portland conference will help him place a foot in both the national and local spheres. Eames pointed out that 'Room' is representative of the larger vision of his artistic aesthetic.

'My work has always centered around building, and the structural,' he explained. 'With this piece I want the ceramic in a way to become a discovery — it will create this tenuous, semi-movable space. As visitors step in they will notice things shifting or shaking a bit, and this is totally intentional to play with the psychology of the viewer’s mind and challenge how they interpret spaces in general. The goal is that they’ll feel a sense of discomfort.'

Eames stressed that although the work is intended to appear unstable, the fully enclosed rooms with raised flooring are indeed structurally safe. Two previous iterations of “Room,” which he presented this summer at the Clay Center and again at pop-up gallery Nomad in downtown Glenwood Springs, prompted a range of reactions from viewers.

'I’ve had people shaking things and jumping on the floor before, apparently to test everything out,' he said. 'There is a notion in the artistic world that once you put your work out there, it no longer belongs to you — it becomes public domain in a way. And the truth is that some people will push the envelope, so it has been fascinating for me to see how others react and interpret my work.'

Eames submitted the concept of 'Room' to the council earlier this year in hopes of having a chance to bring his work to the national stage.

'It’s a very involved application process with lots of forms, image submissions, and a breakdown of materials and timing,' he said. 'NCECA is the biggest clay conference in the world, with more than 5,000 people in attendance each year, so it’s very competitive. I had applied before and was not accepted, but this year I was and it has been a huge honor.'

Along with two other selected applicants who will present installations in the conference’s Projects Space, Eames will have the opportunity to connect and network with leading professionals in the field.

'I’m looking forward to the exposure this experience will provide, having thousands of people looking at my work and navigating the pieces,' he said. 'It’s an amazing opportunity for my personal career but it’s also an experience that I can learn from and bring back to our work at the Clay Center.'

For now, Eames is focused on completing his collection of materials and planning their transportation to the conference. He has set up an Indiegogo fundraiser for local arts patrons to help support the project financially and is looking forward to future opportunities and artistic growth.

'I currently have two shows at the Clay Center lined up for after the conference, and beyond that I just hope to keep creating, working and applying for new shows,' Eames said. 'That’s the life of an artist — just putting your nose to the grindstone, and continuing to make.'"

Source: Post Independent

More About Matthew Eames

"Glenwood Merchants Seek Festive Feel Amid New Bridge Work"

"Downtown Glenwood Springs merchants are inclined to make the most of the situation as work on the Grand Avenue bridge moves within a few feet of their storefronts through the holidays and over the winter months.

Several business owners affected by the latest stage of bridge construction met with project officials Tuesday morning to discuss concerns as work begins on the structural walls for the new bridge in the 700 block of Grand.

Chief among them is to ensure that access to stores and restaurants located along the wing street walkways is maintained during the busy holiday shopping season and into the spring and summer.

Project officials emphasized at the merchants meeting that the work now being done will not limit access as much as the utility work that was done in that area last spring. That required a trench to be dug directly in front of stores, while a 6- to 8-foot walkway next to stores will be maintained during the current work.

Work began this week to erect safety barriers on the east and west sides of Grand Avenue as it approaches Eighth Street to allow for a work zone to build the nearly 200-foot-long wall sections that will be part of the support structure for the new bridge.

The work zone will entail a concrete barrier and plywood splash guards with a chain-link safety fence separating storefronts from the work area where the new concrete bridge walls will be poured.

The walls will also provide a surface for the aesthetic brick facade that is part of the bridge design. However, the brick work will not be done until the weather warms again in the spring, project officials said.

To get into the spirit of the holidays, shop owners also want to put up some lighting on the work zone safety fencing to create a festive atmosphere.

Crews will continue to work on the pedestrian bridge deck, hand railings, canopies and utilities for the Seventh Street Station through the winter months.

'We have been trying to get some more light on those wing streets anyway so they are more inviting,' said Leslie Bethel, executive director for the Downtown Development Authority. 'If we do it well, it can stay up the whole time the fence is there, and it can be inviting and festive.'

First and foremost as winter weather sets in, bridge project and city officials want to make sure the wing street area stays clear of snow.

'People have to be careful with putting things in that [wing street] area, because it will impact how we’re able to remove snow,' said Gaylen Stewart, construction manager for the bridge joint venture general contractor of Granite-Wadsworth.

'The less stuff we have out there will help us get the snow out of the way,' he said.

Timely snow removal in the downtown area in general, including the parking lanes in the 800 and 900 blocks of Grand, will be a high priority for the city this winter as well, Glenwood Springs City Manager Debra Figueroa said.

In addition to the work zone barriers in the 700 block, the left-turn lane from southbound Grand onto Eighth Street will be closed to allow adequate work space.

The turn lane was expected to be closed today, requiring motorists to continue on to Ninth Street to access areas east of Grand Avenue. Project officials said the turn signal timing at Ninth will be extended by an extra four or five seconds.

Construction crews will take a break during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, starting Dec. 22 until Jan. 2, Stewart said.

Project public information manager Kathleen Wanatowicz said the work on the structural walls was to have started earlier this fall, but has been delayed and now must begin in order to stay on schedule.

'If we could have pushed it back to January, we would have,' she said in response to questions about waiting to begin the work until after the holidays. 'We just didn’t have that option.'

Stewart added that it’s critical to get as much work done ahead of the planned 95-day bridge detour that is set to start Aug. 14, 2017, as possible, so that the final segment of the bridge can be built on schedule.

'The more we can get done now, the better success we will have completing things during the detour,' he said.

Stewart said the support wall work could have been done in a shorter amount of time, but that would have required closing access to businesses in the 700 block.

'We had to maintain that access for everyone’s livelihood,' Stewart said.

The work will be done in four phases, starting on the south end of the wall and working to the north, he explained. Phase four of the work will start in March after the new pedestrian bridge opens. At that time, the old section of the pedestrian bridge ramp and the temporary walkway across the highway bridge will be removed.

Motorists should anticipate one-lane closures on the bridge while the support wall work is being done. Two lanes of traffic will be kept open, southbound during the morning commuter times and northbound during the evening peak times."

Source: Post Independent