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Aspen Journalism

Christin Kay

On a recent busy Saturday morning at Ruedi Reservoir in the Fryingpan River valley, Jaime McCullah sprayed a high-powered jet of hot water over every nook and cranny of a bright-green motorboat. 

McCullah is a supervisor for Rocky Mountain Recreation, which inspects boats at Ruedi for quagga and zebra mussels. She found mussel shells, smaller than a fingernail, on the craft she just decontaminated. 

John and Karen Hollingsworth, USFWS


Colorado’s last wild wolves were killed in the 1930s, but this winter, wildlife officials confirmed that a wolf pack has moved in to Northwest Colorado. The news comes several months before Colorado voters decide whether they’ll support a bill to reintroduce gray wolves to the state. Recent reporting from Aspen Journalism looks into what the return of wolves could mean for the Roaring Fork valley. Morning Editon host and reporter Molly Dove sat down with Aspen Journalism Environment Editor Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.  

Nancie Battaglia


Bill McKibben first wrote about the changing climate more than 30 years ago, and he continues to document global warming and speak out against the largest culprits. Most recently, he was arrested while protesting Chase Bank’s ties to the fossil-fuel industry.

McKibben will be in Aspen this weekend, learning to downhill ski and speaking as part of Aspen Skiing Company’s occasional speaker series Aspen U.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The Gunnison sage-grouse, a smaller cousin of the greater sage-grouse, is a unique, regal-looking bird found in southwestern Colorado.  In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed it as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act. This past fall, the federal government released its recovery plan for the species, and Tuesday is the final day for public comment.


Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Journalism

Just as new research shows that aspen forests are a fountain of biodiversity, Aspen’s namesake trees in the Roaring Fork River watershed are battling warming temperatures, drier conditions, climate disruption, and unchecked herds of deer and elk. Although local aspen forests are currently still healthy, they face serious challenges.


Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism


As awareness of the potential effects of climate change grows, so does anxiety and grief about the seriousness of the crisis. As a result, a new climate-anxiety support group is forming in Aspen. 

Penny Hot Springs Gets A Management Plan

Nov 8, 2019
Pitkin County

Pitkin County’s Open Space and Trails Board has a plan for Penny Hot Springs north of Redstone. It’s the first plan ever for the popular spot in the Crystal River Valley. The plan was discussed for the first time at a meeting Thursday.

Aspen Journalism Environment Editor Elizabeth Stewart-Severy says the Penny Hot Springs has quite a storied past.

Courtesy of CPW


One of Colorado’s biggest wildlife attractions is not native to the state. Moose were brought to northern Colorado in the late 1970s, and in the past several years, more and more of the large mammals are showing up in the Aspen area, sometimes right in town. 

So now, wildlife officials are working to understand just how many moose are in the state — and how to manage them.  

Skico's Pandora Expansion Still Alive

Oct 28, 2019
Elizabeth Stewart-Severy

This Fall, The Aspen Skiing Company's (Skico) proposal to expand skiing into the Pandora area of Aspen Mountain was halted when county commissioners said no to a zoning change for the project. But Aspen Journalism’s Environmental Editor Elizabeth Stewart-Severy says Skico is asking to go back to the planning commission stage to try and keep the project alive.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Journalism


The 2019 legislative session in Colorado included a major focus on climate policy, and Gov. Jared Polis has a plan to move the state’s electric grid to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. 

Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office, is in Aspen on Wednesday to discuss that plan and how states can address climate change.

“Today more than ever, journalism should spur political and social action.”  That’s according to Richard Tofel, president of independent news organization ProPublica.

Tofel helped found the nonprofit in 2007 to fill the gap in investigative reporting created when news organizations started to cut their budgets. 

Tofel is in Aspen Tuesday. He'll discuss the press’s role in a democracy, as well as the challenges of today’s news market, with Aspen Journalism’s Brent Gardner-Smith.

Valley Roundup for Morning Edition, June 23, 2017

Jun 23, 2017

Hanging Lake, a popular hiking trail in Glenwood Canyon, has fallen victim to over-use. And now commercialism has compounded the problem.

Valley Roundup for June 3, 2016

Jun 3, 2016

Welcome to Valley Roundup. I’m Carolyn Sackariason.

A management plan has been adopted for the Crystal River but getting ranchers to agree to divert less water is still a challenge.

Keeping water in the Crystal

And rivers around the state are about to hit their peaks.

And in Glenwood Springs, a rare collision between a truck and an Amtrak train has made headlines.

Valley Roundup - December 27th, 2013

Dec 27, 2013

Welcome to Valley Roundup, this week a review of the top stories of 2013.  Curtis Wackerle of the Aspen Daily News and Brent Gardner Smith of Aspen Journalism join us to look back on a busy year.

In Aspen it was regime change as a new mayor and city council was elected and changed the tone of debate.  For Basalt a major issue was the forced relocation of residents living downtown in the Pan and Fork trailer park.

2013 was also marked by conflict over noise in Aspen’s restaurant row, the conclusion of a big cocaine bust and sticker shock from Obamacare.