Looks like this move might make a little more sense for the CAIC, given that while we would love to have the CAIC in our backyard, we didn’t really think it made all that much sense in the first place.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center may move to Natural Resources
Posted: 01/15/2013 11:58:57 AM MST
Updated: 01/15/2013 11:51:50 PM MST
By Jason Blevins
The Denver Post
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is enduring a game of hot potato.
Last spring, new legislation shifted the country’s first avalanche-forecasting program to the Colorado School of Mines as part of a transfer of the Colorado Geological Survey.
The transfer was scheduled to take effect Jan. 31, but new legislation could separate the CAIC from the geological survey and transfer it to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.
Freshman state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, proposed the new legislation that would reverse last year’s bill and return responsibility of the CAIC to the executive director of the Department of Natural Resources.
As the university studied the avalanche center, it became evident that the CAIC’s daily avalanche forecasting, avalanche-incident review and avalanche-education programs fit better with the state department than with a research-oriented institution, Mitsch Bush said.
“The CAIC does research into how avalanches form and what makes a slab, but their most important research is for us as consumers, with that report they put up every day,” said Mitsch Bush, an avid backcountry skier who hails CAIC as “the best avalanche center in the country” and brought her avalanche beacon and shovel to a House agriculture committee hearing Monday.
“With this bill, I simply move the CAIC back to the DNR. The center is vitally important to public safety and quality of life,” she said. “It’s very important economically for ski areas and outfitters and outdoor retailers who sell backcountry equipment and even the state’s manufacturers of avalanche safety gear.”
The House agricultural committee Monday moved Mitsch Bush’s bill forward to the appropriations committee, which Tuesday referred the bill to the House floor. There’s a sense of urgency to get the move confirmed before last year’s bill takes effect and the avalanche center becomes part of the School of Mines.
The avalanche center uses an array of offices — mostly in the homes of avalanche forecasters — and wasn’t planning to set up shop at the Golden campus.
“Our applied research is interesting to the university, but I think they realized we are more operational than research driven,” said CAIC director Ethan Greene. “We cover a lot of different things, but we don’t fit perfectly in any one place. We are thinking the best fit would be with the DNR.”
The avalanche center formed in 1973 as part of a Forest Service avalanche-research program. A decade later, the federal agency dropped the program during budget cuts and the executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources took over. In 1987, the CAIC was folded into the geological survey, and since 1993, the center has handled forecasting for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Read more: Colorado Avalanche Information Center may move to Natural Resources - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22377943/new-law-could-return-co-avalanche-information-center#ixzz2IFjuPJ1C