Mountain News: Unwelcome mat out at Crested Butte 

click to enlarge BOTHERSOME BEARS A failed high elevation berry crop around Crested Butte means bruins are seeking food from sources in human populated areas.
  • BOTHERSOME BEARS A failed high elevation berry crop around Crested Butte means bruins are seeking food from sources in human populated areas.

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — Crested Butte residents are being urged to overcome their natural tendency toward friendliness and instead summon up their most aggravating qualities and behavior, at least during bear season.

In July, with drought very much reducing the crop of backcountry berries and nuts, bears have been much in evidence. Bears have invaded several homes, and in one case killed the house dog. In another case, a bear killed a dog just outside the town.

J. Wenum, the state wildlife officer, told the Crested Butte News that the "more a bear feels unwelcome, the less likely it is to stick around or come back. Do something to make it feel unwelcome. Bang pots and pans, yell at it. Make it uncomfortable."

About 163 kilometres away, on the opposite site of the Elk Range, a 200-kilogram bear evaded police by scrambling through an alley behind The Gap clothing store and then surprising shoppers at a Farmers' Market, tearing through a Honeypot Alpaca Farms booth before climbing a tree. The Aspen Daily News says the bear hung out in a tree, most definitely a tourist attraction, before stealing away at dusk.

Wildlife officials tell the Aspen Daily News that the number of bears in town substantially increased in early August. One of them, a cub, walked through the putt-putt golf course, then later wandered through the municipal parking garage.

And in Telluride there was outrage after state wildlife officers killed a bear that they believed had broken into a home. That is standard policy for bears in Colorado. Several council members objected, citing the lack of overwhelming proof of the bear's identity.

"If I were a bear in Telluride today, I would consider defecting to Syria, because it's safer," said Thom Carnavale.

San Juans soon to be on road bike world stage

TELLURDE, Colo. — The Pro Cycling Challenge returns to Colorado starting Aug. 20, this year starting in Durango and wending north through Telluride, Crested Butte and Aspen on the way to a finish in downtown Denver.

Seth Cagin, publisher of The Telluride Watch, notes some skepticism in Telluride about this new event, now in its second year in Colorado. But Cagin says there are times to put doubts aside and exult in the moment.

"The world is coming to us! How cool is that?" he says while extolling the marketing opportunities afforded by the bicycle race.

Tens of thousands of spectators lined the racecourse in Aspen, Vail, Steamboat and other mountain towns along the race course last year, and more than that in Denver. Sponsors think they can soon build it into the world's second biggest bicycle race in the world, after the Tour de France.


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