Waterfowl changes on agenda for Commission

Final changes to the state’s 2010 waterfowl regulations, including an expected boost for the Central Flyway daily bag limit for pintails from one bird to two, will be made Monday at the August workshop for the Colorado Wildlife Commission.

The workshop is from 8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. the Inn at Silver Creek, 62927 U.S. Highway 40 in Granby.

The pintail regulation will affect only hunters in the Central Flyway (east of the Continental Divide).

The results of the 2010 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, released jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service, said northern pintail populations are up 9 percent over last year to about 3.5 million birds.

Although the survey said wetland conditions and duck populations were well above their long-term averages, the total duck population across the survey area dropped slightly to 40.9 million from last year’s 42 million.

Mallards, the most popular duck among waterfowl hunters, were steady at 8.4 million. Scaup (also known as dos gris) numbers rose slightly to 4.2 million.

Colorado’s September teal season runs Sept. 12-20 in Lake and Chaffee counties and all areas east of Interstate 25.

Roadless Recreation Week: This week, through Sunday, is Roadless Recreation Week, highlighting the importance of the 2001 Roadless Rule protecting close to 60 million acres of designated roadless areas across the country.

Colorado is one of 13 states marking the week with special events, including 12 hikes and mountain biking trips offered around the state.

Some of the week’s events include hikes along McClure Pass and the Alpine Tunnel north of Pitkin.

“People can have fun and show their support for saving these treasured places,” Colorado Mountain Club spokesman Bryan Martin said. “Roadless forests are some of the best outdoor recreation areas we have in the state, and Coloradans are enjoying their roadless areas even more today than they did when the roadless rule was enacted in 2001.”

Colorado has 4.4-million acres of roadless areas currently being protected by the 2001 Roadless Rule.

A broad coalition of conservation and recreation groups, including the Outdoor Alliance, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Colorado Mountain College and the Access Fund, are asking that the 2001 rule remain in effect rather than a Colorado roadless proposal being considered by the Forest Service.

Gov. Bill Ritter sought a state-specific roadless plan for what he termed an “insurance policy” given the conflict in the courts over the national rule.

Opponents to Colorado’s plan say it opens too much roadless land to coal mining and other energy development and are asking Colorado’s roadless areas be managed with protections at least equal to the national roadless rule.

In August 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling to reinstate the roadless rule for most roadless areas, but a Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the rule is still pending.

In April, the Obama administration said it will move forward with Colorado’s proposal.

A complete list of events is available at http://www.cmc.org.

Telluride kicks off season pass sale: It’s 95 degrees in Grand Junction and your friends at Telluride Ski Resort are trying to sell you a ski pass.

Actually, it’s a great time to think about winter. All Telluride season passes are discounted up to 60 percent during the annual summer pass sale through Oct. 29.

Returning this year is the popular 4Pass, which allows four people to buy season passes at $998 each, a total savings of $1,000 over the adult season pass price of $1,298.

During the regular season (after Oct. 29), the adult season pass will be $1,950.

Junior passes (ages 13-18) are available for $225. Seniors (65 and up) can ski all year for $599.

Other passes, as well as six- and 10-day ticket packages, also are available.

For information, call the Telluride pass office at 970-728-7517 or visit http://www.Telluride SkiResort.com/pass.

Wolves back on ESA list: A federal judge ruled Thursday that the Obama administration’s decision to remove wolves in Montana and Idaho from the federal endangered species list was illegal. The decision effectively ends plans for expanded wolf hunts that would have begun as early as next month in those states.

When the Northern Rockies wolf population was delisted in April 2009, wolves retained endangered species protections in Wyoming. This is a key component of the judge’s decision, which said conditions for delisting must be present for the entire wolf population, not just certain states.


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