KBUT’s Community Matters airs live every other Monday. The show is hosted by KBUT News Director Christopher Biddle, and veteran Gunnison County journalist Chris Rourke.

On this week’s show, we spoke to Julia Nania and Sue Navy of High Country Conservation Advocates about the historic fight to block a molybdenum mine underneath Mt.Emmons, a mountain known locally as The Red Lady. We also heard about new developments that may permanently block the mine from ever being developed. 

We also spoke to Ian Billick, a key scientific advisor for the One Valley COVID19 Response Team, and the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. Billick recently put together a report on variants of the COVID19 virus, two of which have been detected in Colorado.

Finally, we spoke to Ian Havlick and Zach Guy of the Crested Butte Avalanche for our regular backcountry update. While bad for snow depth, recent warming trends may have led to a more stable snowpack, and there’s snow in the forecast!

Listen to the full episode


Pt. 1: Has Red Lady been saved?

Julia Nania is the water program director for High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA), and Sue Navy is the president of their board of directors, as a well as a founder.

HCCA was formed when a group of local conservationists banded together to block the development of a mine on Mt. Emmons. Known locally as the Red Lady, it is one of the four peaks that forms a giant geographic crater in which the town of Crested Butte sits.

We talk about the historic and cultural significance of the legal battle, and recent developments. We also discuss the role of organizations like HCCA in what many call just transition — in reference to the need for equality when transitioning away from mining economies. 

Pt. 1a: The History of the Red Lady, and it’s cultural significance in Crested Butte, and the new land swap could permanently block mining.
Pt.1b: The details of the swap, including water rights and mine reclamation, and what does just transition mean to organizations like HCCA?

Pt. 2 Variants in Colorado

Ian Billick is known to most in the Gunnison Valley as the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. He’s also a key advisor for local health officials battling the pandemic in Gunnison County. In that role, he recently put together a report on variants of the COVID19 virus, two of which have been detected in Colorado.


Pt. 3 Regular Backcountry Update

Zach and Ian are back and finally talking about a stabilizing snowpack. Plus — snow in the forecast?!

Learn more about Community Matters on KBUT

Every two weeks, we sit down with community leaders, and ask our listeners to send in their questions.

We want you to join the conversation. Email News@kbut.org or click here.

Community Matters airs every other Monday at 6pm. 

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