Steamboat briefs: Steamboat Symphony’s fundraiser set for Feb. 4

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— The Steamboat Symphony Orchestra’s Soiree & Swing fundraiser is at 6 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at All That Jazz, the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra office at the Depot Art Center, by calling 970-870-3223 or online at www.steamboatorchestra.org.

Report shows early season skier visits behind last year

Colorado Ski Country USA’s 22 member resorts reported a decrease in skier visits for the beginning of the 2011-12 ski season. Skier visits at Ski Country USA resorts, which includes Steamboat, were off by 10.65 percent through Dec. 31 compared with the same period last year, according to a news release.

Ski Country USA President and CEO Melanie Mills cited variable snow conditions as a contributing factor. “We had a promising start in October with several robust storms giving resorts a solid base and allowing some to open earlier than planned,” Mills said in the release. “But we faced inconsistencies in weather patterns for most of November and December, leading to slower visitation especially by in-state skiers at some ski areas.”

Ski Country USA resorts have about 80 percent of their lifts open, servicing about 17,609 acres of terrain, according to the release.

“When comparing this year to last year, remember that last season was exceptional, with several of our resorts breaking the 500-inch mark for snowfall, and we were skiing until the Fourth of July,” Mills said in the release. “In our weather-dependent business, we feast in the big snow years and suffer a bit when it’s dry. But we’ve got lots of the season still ahead including a bonus leap year ski day on Feb. 29.”

BLM holds meeting about sage grouse Feb. 7 in Craig

The Bureau of Land Management will hold a meeting from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at the BLM Field Office in Craig, 455 Emerson St., to hear from the public about its district-wide greater sage grouse planning effort, according to a news release.

The BLM is writing an environmental impact statement to analyze incorporating new sage grouse conservation measures into its resource management plans for the five field offices within the district: the Colorado River Valley Field Office in Silt, the Grand Junction Field Office, the Kremmling Field Office, the Little Snake Field Office in Craig and the White River Field Office in Meeker.

More than 1.8 million acres of Colorado’s greater sage grouse habitat are on BLM lands in the northwest district, according to the release.

In December, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced new greater sage grouse conservation guidance aimed at conserving the greater sage-grouse and its sagebrush habitat in 10 western states. This included new long-term conservation measures found in the BLM National Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Planning Strategy, which is available at www.blm.gov/g4jd.

The BLM will accept public comments through Feb. 22. Written comments will be accepted at the meeting, can be mailed to Erin Dreyfuss, NW CO District NEPA Coordinator, at 2815 H Road, Grand Junction, CO 81506, emailed to gjfo_webmail

@blm.gov or faxed to 970-244-3062. Reference “CO Sage-Grouse EIS” in the subject line of faxes and emails.

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