January 13, 2012
Snowmaking at Mount Blue Cow, Perisher Blue Resort

Snowmaking at Mount Blue Cow, Perisher Blue Resort     Photo: laRuth

Ski Resorts' Water War Blows Up

Resorts file suit, counter fraud charges

The National Ski Areas Association filed suit against the federal government on Monday as tension rises between the Forest Service and the ski industry over disputed water rights. In federal court in Denver, the NSAA accused the Forest Service of seizing privately owned property through a new permitting stipulation that requires ski areas operating on public land to transfer ownership of water rights to the government. Ed Ryberg, who headed up the USFS ski area program from 1992 to 2005, responded with a sacathing open letter addressed to Senator Mark Udall of Colorado. Ryberg defended the permitting change, which he says reverses damaging "Bush-era" deregulation of public water rights protections that have been in place since the 1980s. "The [2011] clause will ... only impact the bad actors in the ski industry who welshed on their agreements with the United States, and obtained water rights, justly belonging to the American people, through fraud and deception," Ryberg wrote.

Read more at Adventure Journal


El Capitan

El Capitan     Photo: Mike Murphy

National Parks Offer Free Admission

Fees waived for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The country's National Parks will open their gates to visitors for free this weekend in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. All 397 U.S. parks will participate in the event, which will last from Saturday until Monday. “Dr. King’s story and those of so many others whose efforts changed our country are preserved in the national parks, places where history happened," National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said in a press release. "I hope every American can take advantage of the upcoming fee free weekend and visit their parks to experience their history firsthand.” Besides this weekend, the NPS will offer free admission on 14 other days in 2012.

Read more at CNN


Capuchin monkey

Capuchin monkey     Photo: Armando Maynez

Monkeys Use Rocks to Escape Zoo

Eight capuchin monkeys go free in Brazil

A group of eight capuchin monkeys used rocks to smash a lock and escape from a zoo in the Brazilian state of Paraná earlier this week. Zoo staff have captured four of the eight escapees, one of which was discovered when it wandered into a local restaurant. Capuchin monkeys have been observed using rocks as tools, often to crack nuts, but using a rock to escape suggests unusually advanced cognition.

Read more at Treehugger


Mavericks surf competition

Mavericks surf competition     Photo: UltraView Admin

NOAA Cracks Down on Mavericks Jet Skis

Agency delivers fines to surf film

Federal agents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week cited jet ski riders working on the film Of Men and Mavericks in Pillar Point Harbor, California, in the latest confrontation between surfers and wildlife officials at the world-famous big-wave surf break. The break is located in the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, one of 13 natural marine locations set aside for habitat conservation. Surfers say that jet skis are the only way ensure safe conditions at Mavericks. "We've been having friends of ours pass away out there," said Mavericks regular Adam Replogle. "The state or the feds aren't going to put anyone out there to rescue you, so we've got to do what we can." NOAA fined the jet ski riders $500 and the penalty could rise to as much as $100,000 if the citation is contested. Wildlife advocates maintain that personal watercraft churn up the marine habitat, pollute water, and endanger wildlife. Special dispensation has been made for the Mavericks Surf Contest.

Read more at Half Moon Bay Review