3rd District Republican Congressman Scott Tipton has introduced a measure he and New Hampshire Democratic Congresswoman Annie Kuster are calling the “Ski Area Fee Retention Act.”  The Vail Daily’s reporting both of Colorado’s Senators, joined by Ron Wyden of Oregon, are promoting a companion bill in their chamber, too.  The idea is for fees the resorts pay the US Forest Service in order to operate on federal property each year to be retained by the Forest Service, instead of just poured into the federal treasury.  Under the proposal, those millions would be targeted at resort improvements, guest services, and used by the resorts and their communities to promote what’s becoming so popular now–  year-round activities on the mountains.  What the resorts pay has been going up, too, 11% higher in 2016 than in ’15.  Last fiscal year, it was a total of nearly $37 million.  These bills would re-direct that money, maybe as much as $24 mil of it.  No indication, though, as to when or whether either of these bills will be heard on the floors of each chamber.

Remember with this abnormally warm weather for early and approaching mid-March, mud season’s almost upon us.  Of course outdoor observers remind us the coming month or 2 can be the time trails in the region sustain the most damage, with too many folks riding bikes, taking hikes, and otherwise using them while it’s muddy.  Groups like the Red Hill Council are reported in the Post-Independent as urging all of us to resist the urge to get out there on the trails too soon.  The damage can include making single-track too wide, killing vegetation on either side, and more.  The officials and councils are actually recommending, although it might sound odd, that if you just have to go for that hike or ride, you try a trail when it’s still frozen.  The damage occurs after things thaw out for the spring.

Evicted, so drive away—  People who’ve been living in their cars at the intercept parking lot, just below Snowmass Village and across Highway 82, are being told by law enforcement to move along.  A lot of locals, largely folks who pull in each day in order to catch their RFTA buses to work, have recently complained about those numerous vehicles and their occupants hanging out each night.  Some of those occupants seem not to be very stable, either.  Last month, one guy reportedly threatened people with a hatchet, and it wasn’t the first time he’d done so.  The lot is not supposed to be a homeless camp.  CDOT could take away Aspen’s lease on the intercept lot if it starts getting consistently used for purposes other than transportation.

Remember there’s a big meeting on how serious the opioid crisis is, in Colorado and the Roaring Fork Valley, 9 ‘til noon tomorrow morning at the El Jebel Community Center in Crown Mountain Park.  It’s going to be a local Human Services Commission meeting, where a panel of experts will be offering information and opinions regarding the situation with the use of those drugs.  And word is a lot of them are getting prescribed in the valley.  Local abuse risk factors are said to be lower than in many places, the experts note that the longer you use those pain relievers, even legitimately, the greater your risk is for getting addicted to them.  Already in the planning stages is a valley-wide panel discussion and public input session for sometime later this year.

And remember today there’s the first encore presentation of a talk in the OrthoAspen Winter Lecture Series.  It’s Dr. Eleanor Von Stade’s “What’s New In Total Knee Replacement,” set for this afternoon at 5:30 at the Basalt Regional Library.  The next topic, coming up Friday at noon at Aspen Valley Hospital’s Oden Conference Room, will be “The Foot and Ankle In Ski Boots.”  Check out the full schedule–  the talks continue through the 13th of next month. They’re at ortho aspen dot org