Mountain News 

Canary Initiative draws attention

ASPEN, Colo. — Aspen’s bold bid to carry the torch for global warming concerns is getting noticed. The Canary Initiative, as the town’s program is called, got a mention in Time Magazine last spring. On a recent Friday night, just before a segment about "Brides Bare it All," a piece about risqué wedding photos, Aspen’s program was also featured on the television program Nightline.

The story is becoming a familiar one. Town attorney John Worscester, driving in a car one day, listening to radio talk guy Rush Limbaugh rail about the global warming nuts, had an idea. Why, he wonders to himself, shouldn’t the town of Aspen use its platform as arguably America’s best known resort in an attempt to direct attention to the issue?

As an affluent resort, Aspen is and always has been a major contributor of greenhouse gases. Travel is a huge cause of green house gases, and jet travel especially so. At the same time, the community has been notably ambitious in the last 20 years in attempting to curve dependence away from fossil fuels.

Still, any place so dependent on travel is bound to be an energy hog. A study undertaken by the town found that Aspen residents and visitors account for twice as many greenhouse gases per capita than the average for U.S. residents.

But while Aspen is doing small things to mend its ways, such as encouraging more use of hybrid vehicles, it still sees its primary value as being a platform. To that end, a major conference is scheduled for Oct. 11-13 that is being pitched to other resort towns and gateway communities. It’s not something for the light-of-wallet, though. The base price is $600, not including lodging.

Crested Butte gets unhitched

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — Based on a report from Telluride, Crested Butte is abandoning the idea of dog "hitching-posts" at public places such as near the post office.

"I talked with the Telluride mayor, and he said people get bit all the time," said Crested Butte Mayor Alan Bernholtz, citing a similar idea implemented in Telluride.

The issue arose when the U.S. Postal Service, citing federal regulations, ended the habit of people tying up their dogs when in the post office to transact business. As is the case in many smaller towns, there is no street delivery of mail in Crested Butte. The idea of the town-sponsored hitching-posts was proposed to replace the post office tie-up arrangement.

Joan Windsor, the local resident who proposed the hitching-posts, said she believed the town council was going overboard. "There are dogs – and then there are dogs," she said, pointing to her dog.


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