Study Area — Do NOT ENTER!

Post by blogger | September 6, 2006      
This cat knows how to chase those rabbits

Name games. It’s been amusing to watch Federal land managers creating de facto legal Wilderness by creating “Wilderness Study Areas” where little to no “study” really gets done. In reality, such areas are created as land management tools to keep certain high maintenance user groups out — without the need for the Congressional law making and politics that creating legal Wilderness requires.

Now Colorado ski areas are joining the fun. According to the Summit Daily, Keystone ski area has designated some of their adjacent public land as a closed “Wildlife Study Area,” even though little to no “study” is presently being done there — nor is any planned. The excuse is that Lynx pass through the area. Problem is, the official Forest Plan has no category of land management that goes by the name “Wildlife Study Area.” The term is simply a convenient construct of the ski resort so they can use Lynx as an excuse to close public land to recreation, and place a feel-good note on their trail map.

Reality check: Keystone doesn’t like skiers who backcountry ski but depend on the resort ski patrol for rescue. By closing the “Wildlife Study Area” to backcountry skiers, they eliminate a management problem. They’re playing the Lynx card for their own gain and it’s blatantly obvious. But this game could involve turnabout.

Follow the logic:

Keystone is aiming the Lynx gun at their own paws. From my own experience watching Colorado wildlife, I’m certain that if biologists looked they’d find Lynx food (rabbits) within the ski area boundary, and no doubt the Lynx venture there as well for meals (if not using much of the resort lands the same way they use adjacent areas). By the resort’s logic, they should then declare their own ski slopes to be a “Wildlife Study Area” and close their business.

As consolation, perhaps Keystone’s owners and managers can go back to college, get degrees in conservation biology, then help other ski resorts around the state shut down. Problem with that scenario is that the closed resorts would all become Wildlife Study Areas and we couldn’t backcountry ski there either!

Oh well, so much for that plan.

(Lynx note: The animal’s activity is almost entirely nocturnal, they go where food is, and rabbits are it. If a ski resort is adjacent to a declared Lynx habitat and rabbits live there, simply dangling a rope between two trees isn’t going to keep the cat out of the ski area any more than it keeps a skier out of the backcountry.)


3 Responses to “Study Area — Do NOT ENTER!”

  1. Derek September 6th, 2006 2:30 pm

    That Lynx needs a lesson, it’s WAY back seat!

  2. Lou September 6th, 2006 3:05 pm

    Must be the Diamirs without the toe shim removed! I tried to find a cool telemarking cat but they all hang out somewhere else (grin).

  3. wildlife October 26th, 2006 12:39 pm

    I ran across your site while just surfing around, wanted to say hi and I like the blog.

Got something to say? Please do so.

Anti-Spam Quiz:

You can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box to left, but you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE before you submit.
If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.
:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.
Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use. ...

Switch To Mobile Version