IN-BOUNDS AVALANCHE HITS SUN VALLEY
Nobody was hurt, but whoa would this have been bad during a holiday weekend. The slide dropped from the top of Lookout Bowl at Sun Valley and slid down the length of the mountain overnight. A pile of snow from the avalanche had gathered at the base of the Seattle Ridge lift, though luckily there was no damage to the lift. Lookout Bowl was not open at the time of the avalanche and is currently still closed. The occurrence of the slide was hardly surprising: Sun Valley’s been pounded by fresh, with three feet nailing the resort in the past three days and high winds have compounded the risk of a slide. Avalanche danger in the Sawtooths is high, and will likely remain that way for some time after this current storm. Via NWCN.com.
SABER TOOTH CAT FOSSILS FOUND AT PROPOSED PARK SITE
This week, paleontologists confirmed the discovery of 15,000 year-old saber-toothed cat fossils in Tule Springs in the Upper Las Vegas Wash, Nevada, an area where national park legislation is currently being considered. The discovery coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Big Dig and adds to the thousands of Ice Age fossils found over the years in the area. Paleontologists have uncovered several species, including Columbian mammoth, American lion, massive bison, ancient horse, and sloth. In June Congress proposed that Tule Springs Fossil Beds come into greater protection; if enacted, nearly 23,000 acres of land, Ice Age fossils that date back over 100,000 years, rare plants, and desert wildlife would gain national park status. At present Tule Springs is BLM land, which wouldn’t prevent mining and other businesses from disturbing the fossils. Via LA Times.
FOREST SERVICE BACKS DRILLING NEAR MOUNT ST. HELENS
The U.S. Forest Service on Tuesday authorized controversial mineral prospecting near Mount St. Helens, giving a key endorsement to a Canadian company hoping to drill there. The BLM still has to approve the plan, but an earlier BLM assessment appeared to agree with the Forest Service, finding that exploratory drilling in the Goat Mountain area of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest would pose no major impact to the environment. The drilling would be for copper, silver, and gold and would be exploratory, not the full-scale mining operation that some fear could follow. But some opponents have argued even exploratory drilling could cause significant ecological harm to a sensitive natural area just north of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument boundary. That includes damage to water resources, particularly near the Green River, according to comments submitted this year. There’s also a fear that the drilling could impact recreation in the forest. A BLM decision is expected soon, and drilling could begin in 2013. Via The Columbian.