NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9TH

SNOWMOBILERS URGED TO AVOID WILDERNESS AREAS

Routt National Forest officials would like to remind snowmobilers that their machines, like all motorized equipment, are illegal in wilderness areas.  Some have chosen to ignore signage in the area explaining where snowmobiling is and isn’t allowed. Last weekend the Forest Service ticketed six people for riding in the wilderness, with a total collateral fee of over $3,000.  Violations are punishable by fines of up to $5,000, six months in jail and the forfeiture of snowmobiles and other items involved.  The 1964 Wilderness Act set aside wilderness as places to enjoy primitive adventure and solitude, as refuges from the sights and sounds of the mechanized world.  Locally, recreationists can enjoy many forms of non-motorized activities in the Mount Zirkel, Sarvis Creek and Flat Tops Wilderness Areas.  The Routt National Forest provides around 350 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and hundreds of thousands of acres of off-trail areas on each of its three ranger districts for snowmobilers to enjoy.

RAFTING BUSINESS HURT BY DROUGHT

Rafting outfitters say business dropped 17 percent last year because of drought and wildfires.  The industry on Thursday reported the lowest number of rafters since 2002 and the second-largest decline since 1990.  Some rivers including the Blue in Summit County and the Eagle above Avon barely ran as drought conditions reduced upstream snowpack.  Others, such as the Cache la Poudre, were choked by wildfire.

HEALTH CHARITY TO PROVIDE GROCERS WITH HEALTHIER FOOD

A national health charity is offering to pay Colorado grocers to provide more healthy food.  The Colorado Health Foundation has set aside $7 million for a loan-and-grant fund to provide better nutrition.  Grocers in underserved urban or rural areas could draw from the fund to expand produce sections or create urban greenhouses.  Grocers say it is hard to find financing for expansion projects in lower-income areas because they risk losing money if they stock perishable produce.

JUDGE ALLOWS INVESTIGATION INTO GESSLER TO CONTINUE

A Denver judge has rejected Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s request to block the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission from investigating his spending of office funds.  Gessler sued the commission and sought a temporary restraining order to halt its investigation and prevent release of a report, arguing that the commission had no jurisdiction to investigate his spending.  The judge refused, saying no one has defined ethics. Attorneys are expected to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to decide the issue.  Gessler is accused of using office funds for political purposes by taking a trip to a Republican lawyers’ conference and the Republican National Convention.

In high school sports:
Yesterday:

In basketball:
Steamboat’s boys and girls beat Palisade.  (boys= 52-40; girls= 65-55).
The Rangely boys beat Vail Mountain (65-40).
The Soroco boys and girls defeated North Park.  (boys= 75-58; girls= 49-48).
The Meeker boys lost to Vail Christian (46-42), while the girls won (72-14).
Hayden’s boys and girls topped West Grand.  (boys= 71-52; girls= 51-36).

In wrestling:
Moffat County beat Cedaredge (51-30), Basalt (42-32), and Gunnison (64-6).

In hockey:
Steamboat topped Fountain Valley (5-1).

Today:
In basketball:
Moffat County goes to Basalt.  The girls play at 2 and the boys at 3:30.
Hayden plays at North Park.  The girls start at 2:30 and the boys at 4.
Rangely goes to Vail Christian.  The girls play at 2:30 and the boys at 4.
Steamboat heads to Delta.  The girls tip off at 1 and the boys at 2:30.
Soroco is on the road to West Grand.  The girls play at 1 and the boys at 2:30.
Meeker is on the road to Vail Mountain.

In wrestling:
Rangely and Soroco go to Meeker.

In hockey:
Steamboat hosts Monarch at 3.

In girls swimming:
Moffat County continues at state.

In Nordic skiing:
Steamboat is at Aspen.

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