Some parts of Colorado sound like they are getting some decent snow, but, sad to say, Pueblo Mountain Park and vicinity have seen a pretty dry winter so far. The reports say that tomorrow, January's last day, will be a warm, dry day, which means that January's snow total will be 19.8". Add that to December's 17.6", November's and October's combined (and measly) 5.5", and Winter 2009 through January is only 42.9" of snow. For comparison, through January of last winter (which ultimately ended up at 130" for the entire winter, a bit above the park's average winter snowfall of 115"), we had received 63" of snow. Of course, this can all be turned around by a big snow or two, or a snowy March (often our snowiest), so it's way too early to say just what Winter 2009 will go into the record books as. But, we'd like to snowshoe and x-country ski a lot more this winter, and have less worries about water and fire this summer, so, come on snow! (Pictured is the park's official NOAA precipitation measuring station, showing a quickly diminishing snow cover.)
MPEC is one step closer to heating the Horseshoe Lodge not by burning a fossil fuel, but by burning biomass, in the form of wood collected through forest-thinning fire mitigation efforts in Pueblo Mountain Park. Ponderosa pine forests were significantly less dense in pre-settlement days, kept that way through frequent low-intensity fires, usually started by lightning. Decades of fire suppression have resulted in unnaturally dense conditions more prone to catastrophic wildfire. Carefully thinning the park's forests will result in a healthier ponderosa pine forest ecosystem, less chance of a destructive wildfire, and fuel to heat the Horseshoe Lodge. Here are photos of the delivery of our 2 GARN 2000 boilers. We hope to have these in operation soon. Many thanks to the Governor's Energy Office, the SEP grant program, the Stepp Foundation, the Frank Lamb Foundation, and all the individual donors for supporting this worthy "green" project. Keep visiting MPEC's blog for more updates on this and other MPEC projects and programs.