Summer-Fall 2010 Telluride Magazine

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tellurideturns energy projects and tax rebates. Along with that, Wheels and an advisory board are working on a sustainability action plan they hope to have finished this year. She also has regular meetings with other coordinators around the state to share information and innovative ideas. “I like it a lot,” she said of the new job. “It’s challenging. I feel like there’s a lot on my shoulders.” —Katie Klingsporn

in an agricultural zone. SMA and other groups are also challenging the company’s water rights in court. Although state regulators insist their permitting decision lies beyond politics or public opinion, theirs will not be the last word on what could become the country’s first new uranium processing mill in a quarter-century. A permit decision in early 2011 is likely a prelude to an appeal and the legal proceedings ahead. —Stephen Barrett


Uranium Mill Still on Hold


merrick chase/

Paradox Valley remains ground zero in the debate over nuclear power for another year, as state regulators review Energy Fuels’ proposed Piñon Ridge uranium mill. Unlike the contentious land use hearings by the Montrose county commissioners, the state’s review entails a technical look at the mill’s planned operations.

Even so, that review got off to an inauspicious start in December. It took the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment a full 30 days to determine that Energy Fuels’ 15-volume application was complete. But somehow, despite the agency’s thoroughness, regulators failed to acknowledge a 17-page letter from the mill’s opponents that questioned the adequacy of the company’s data. Undaunted by that setback, the environmental group Sheep Mountain Alliance has filed suit against Montrose County for approving the industrial mill

Development Threatened in Bear Creek No one is certain what the Gold Hill Development Company wants to do with its historic mining claims in upper Bear Creek—except keep other people off them. Few people actually believe the new owners can enforce trespassing in such a forbidding location. Even so, the purchase has caught the attention of the hikers and backcountry skiers who recreate there. The reason for their alarm is that the new owners include Tom Chapman, a Colorado developer who made his reputation by parlaying remote claims into big profits, often by threatening to develop them if his price is not met. In upper Bear Creek, Chapman’s company paid nearly a quarter-million dollars for mining claims that last sold for $75,000, before new zoning had restricted their access and building potential. Chapman still says he might build a cabin at almost 12,000 feet in elevation, using a vestigial road traveled predominantly by marmots. It’s doubtful the U.S. Forest Service or the Town of Telluride will buy him out—not when similar real estate sells for so much less per acre. That leaves the Telluride Ski Resort, which has talked inchoately and not very discreetly about expanding its boundaries. The resort’s entry to upper Bear Creek would now come at a much bigger price. —Stephen Barrett

artists 50, 51

prairie dogs 23, 65, 66 bags 28, 56, 57


Color By Numbers The Hardrock 100 race covers 100 miles and takes place at an average elevation of 11,000 feet. The cumulative vertical gain is 33,992 feet. Mt. Everest, the highest point on earth, is 29,035 feet in elevation, and climbing the peak via Route #1, the southeast ridge, has a vertical gain of 19,632 feet. As of the last count (Oct. 31, 2009), there are 21,625 medical marijuana patients registered in Colorado; 74 percent are male. The average age of all patients is 40, and severe pain is the reported condition for 91 percent of all patients. Muscle spasms is the secondmost reported condition at 34 percent. Forty-five medical marijuana patients live in San Miguel County, less than 1 percent of the state total. The federal minimum wage in 1987, when the Dead played in Telluride, was $3.35; it was the minimum wage from 1981-1989. The federal minimum wage in 2009 was $7.25. The Harmonic Convergence that coincided with the Grateful Dead concert in Telluride is said to have correlated with the Maya calendar; the astrological event was an alignment of the Sun, Moon and 6 of the 8 (9 at the time) planets in a configuration called a “grand trine.” The Harmonic Convergence began the final 26-year countdown to the end of the Maya Long Count in 2012, the end of one historical cycle and beginning of a new 5,125-year cycle. The Grateful Dead played more than 2,300 shows from 1965 to 1995 (when Jerry Garcia died). During the 80s, the Grateful Dead played in 37 states, the District of Columbia and 9 foreign countries. The #1 cause of death in the outdoors is an accidental fall; #2 is drowning; #3, heart attack. Artists held about 221,900 jobs in 2008. About 60 percent were self-employed. In 2018, artists are projected to hold 247,700 jobs, a 12 percent increase. The average American uses 334 plastic bags each year. Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour; less than 25 percent are recycled. On average, a plastic bag is used for only 12 minutes before being discarded. An estimated 14 million pounds of trash, much of it plastic, ends up in the world’s oceans every year, and the average American contributes 800 pounds of packaging waste to landfills each year. There are 50 billion pounds of BPA (Bisphenol A), a chemical used to harden plastic, produced annually. During the twentieth century, 98 percent of all prairie dogs were exterminated. The area covered by the largest recorded prairie dog “town,” or group, is 25,000 square miles. —D. Dion (Sources: Hardrock 100 Endurance Run website; National Geographic Society and Peakbagger. com; Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment; Federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics; Neil Michelsen’s The American Ephemeris;; Bag It documentary fact sheet; Deadbase; National Geographic) g

summer/fall 2010