Craig briefs: Guided sage grouse tours in March, April

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Conservation Colorado along with partners Rocky Mountain Wild, The Wilderness Society and Friends of Northwest Colorado is offering an opportunity to get a look at mating greater sage grouse during guided viewing tours in Northwest Colorado from March 28 through April 13.

For thousands of years, sage grouse have returned to their traditional breeding grounds — called leks — to perform a dramatic and complex dance as they compete for mates. Watching male sage grouse spread their spiked tail feathers and pop their large air sacs is a treat for birdwatchers or any wildlife enthusiast.

CPW provides a viewing trailer for the guided tour so that people can sit inside and not disturb the grouse on the lek.

The public is reminded that the locations are remote and primitive. Parents with young children or anyone with special needs are asked to inquire about accommodations by emailing Sasha Nelson at sasha@conservationco.org.


Anyone interested in watching one of the most interesting and visual mating rituals are encouraged to sign up for the guided tour because space is limited.

For dates, times, information and to reserve your spot, visit www.conservationco.org and click on Sage Grouse Tours.

1st meeting of Health Care Cost Study Group

In response to questions about health insurance premiums from Garfield County and other mountain communities, the Colorado Division of Insurance held the first meeting of the Health Care Cost Study Group on Feb. 13. Participants with expertise in a variety of areas related to health care costs joined Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar and DOI staff to look at available information and determine the scope of the study group.

“There was a considerable amount of knowledge in the room,” Salazar said. “It will be a challenge to dig into the costs of health care and the factors behind those costs, but this group is up to the challenge.  This is the first step in a journey to a better understanding.”  

The group shared a variety of information, including an in-depth look at the types of health care, health costs and population data available through the All Payers Claims Database. Tracy Campbell and Edie Sonn, both from the Center for Innovation and Value in Health Care, which houses the database, led the initial discussion. DOI staff then reviewed how they use this data. 

The participants represented a wide range of health care expertise, yet raised questions that highlight the complexity of this issue. Throughout the next four months, the group will focus on the variation in health care costs across different regions of the state and what might be causing those variations. 

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