Photo: Zach Dishner
Colorado set a course for the nation to follow by legalizing recreational marijuana on the 2012 ballot. With successful oversight, the law not only regulates the sale of a plant viewed in many circles as highly beneficial but brings hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy each year while supporting a new class of entrepreneurs. Now, other states are crafting their own legalization legislation. But cannabis isn’t the only forward-thinking concept Colorado has enacted recently. Here are other Colorado-based movements the rest of the nation needs to adopt.
Aspen Ski Co. is changing the way ski resorts source energy.
Under the direction of CEO Mike Kaplan, the resort company which manages Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands has taken great steps to green its business. In 2012, the company invested $5.5 million in a clean energy power plant. But this isn’t your typical wind or hydro-powered source. The plant actually burns methane to create power, keeping it from being expelled into the atmosphere by burning the harmful gas in an internal combustion engine to generate power.
Colorado Department of Transportation’s ‘Mountain Express Lane’ eases peak ski traffic.
CDOT is implementing several new toll lanes on state highways for those willing to shell out a few bucks to save traffic time. Most notorious of these projects is the I-70 Mountain Express Lane. It works on tiered pricing, kind of like the Uber I took home from the bar this weekend. The I-70 corridor between Denver and Summit County is notoriously backlogged during ski season. This new lane, built during 2014 and 2015, is only open during heavy traffic and the pricing is tiered to reflect how bad the traffic is. During the busiest Sunday afternoons, when thousands of skiers are rushing to get back to Denver for the work week, the toll is higher (the max is $30, though, to my knowledge, it has never reached that high). When it’s less busy, it might be $8, or $5, or $18.
People love to criticize CDOT for projects like this during construction, but the results are inarguable. It saves drivers 30 minutes or more during busy periods. When you’re tired, sore, and just want to get home, that’s more than worth it, especially if you’ve got a few friends along to chip in.
The state is increasing conservation efforts to be better stewards of the land.
Governor John Hickenlooper and his team realize that a big draw to our state is the beautiful landscape, and have set forth an ambitious proposal to take better care of that land. By 2018, the plan is to increase trail maintenance funding by $10 million, enhance 6,650 acres of wetlands per year, and protect streams inhabited Greenback Cutthroat Troat.
Cheers Hick, I’ll raise a pint of Colorojo to that.
Same goes for our water supply.
As the state’s population soars, the water demand increases along with it. Plans have been set to lower the supply-demand gap to keep up with all of those ski bums and pot fiends that keep coming here. While there is still much improvement needed here, the track has been set in the right direction.
The people here are friendly and encourage an active lifestyle.
We’re consistently among the ‘thinnest state in the nation’ titles, and a lot of that has to do with attitude. Spend some time in a Colorado mountain town and you’ll experience the friendliness that comes with being happy, and that is a result of being active and getting outdoors. In many Colorado social circles, you’ll be an outcast if you don’t have stories to tell of powder adventures or of days climbing our 14ers. This seems to be reason enough to get even the most sedentary of transplants and visitors off the couch now and then.