BLM starts Carson study
Should Fort Carson helicopters take off and land in Bureau of Land Management territory? Will there be impacts to the land and wildlife? An environmental study to be launched this month or next will explore those questions.
BLM and Carson officials were to meet Wednesday to iron out details of the study and determine when public hearings will be held, according to BLM spokesman Kyle Sullivan.
Carson has sought permission to use the land for its 350 Combat Aviation Brigade pilots as well as visiting units. High Altitude Mountain Environmental Training, it maintains, is crucial to preventing crashes in places such as Afghanistan.
The number of landing zones in the Pike National Forest and San Isabel National Forest has been scaled back from 22 to just 12 over the years, because of environmental and safety concerns. (See "Hard landings," cover story, March 19.) The Army has used BLM property that extends north of Cañon City for several years under temporary permits, but the last temporary permit expired in 2013. Now it wants a 30-year permit for 43 landing zones.
Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Niles at the post says pilots have flown roughly 36 missions over the Pike forest so far this year, and around 120 over the BLM land. More flights will be needed as the aviation brigade reaches full strength, Carson spokeswoman Dee McNutt says. She also notes that as of now, pilots only fly over the BLM land; they don't touch down. According to Sullivan, the BLM has received no complaints about the flights. — PZ
Gazette gets paywall
Effective Sept. 8, the Gazette is changing the way non-subscribers can interact with its website. A metered paywall will limit unregistered readers to four original articles a month — national stories, obituaries and classifieds will remain free — while those who register can read eight articles before being required to buy a digital subscription that costs around $8 per month.
Print and digital subscribers will receive full access to all products; the exclusive ability to comment on online stories; and membership in the paper's "Insider Club," which exposes readers to contests, coupons and other advertising products. — BC
Broadmoor boosts Lamborn
Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, trailing his Democratic opponent, Maj. Gen. Irv Halter, in the last campaign finance report, is getting a leg up from The Broadmoor and some big names with an Aug. 25 fundraiser at the resort.
The host committee includes Broadmoor CEO Steve Bartolin and Bill Hybl, CEO of El Pomar Foundation. Admission is $500 for individuals, $1,000 per couple and $2,500 per person on the host committee.
Event organizer Hillary Shoun, who worked for the Republican National Committee and on the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, says attendance is by invitation only.
A flier about the event says Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, will appear as a special guest.
Meanwhile, Halter's campaign has announced that he's been endorsed by Stanley McChrystal. The retired Army general served as commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan but was forced to retire in 2010 after speaking frankly with a reporter about civilian officials, including Vice President Joe Biden. Halter, who served with McChrystal on the Joint Staff, said in a press release that he admires McChrystal's leadership and character. — PZ
Incline to close Aug. 18
The Manitou Incline trail is closing Aug. 18 for repairs. Some say that's not soon enough. Organizers of the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent say they tried unsuccessfully to persuade city officials to close the Incline on Aug. 15 to avoid conflicts with their races, which take place Aug. 16 and 17.
Race staffer Tyson Liese says 3,000-plus runners will be using Barr Trail and Ruxton Avenue for the events, along with spectators. Adding Incline enthusiasts trying to hike the trail before it closes for four months' worth of repairs could create a dangerous situation. — JAS