Camping shouldn’t be complicated
August 7, 2012
The article “City considers saving parking spaces on pass,” in the Aug. 6 Aspen Times, discusses some of the reasons why the U.S. Forest Service has banned overnight camping and parking on Independence Pass for the upcoming bicycle race.
Katie Martinez, of the Forest Service, states, “It is our job to ensure that we maintain the size of the visitor population (and their associated impacts) well below the maximum carrying capacity of the unique ecosystem.”
I first question why the visitor population would need to be “well below” the maximum! If a maximum number is set, why would you need to be well below that maximum? That makes me wonder if maybe the maximum is an unrealistic number for the ecosystem.
Would it be possible to sell or issue overnight permits for cycling enthusiasts to purchase that would allow them to camp? Take the maximum number of visitors the Forest Service feels the ecosystem can handle, subtract a percentage from it, and sell that number of permits. This would allow some to camp overnight, keep visitors well below the maximum, minimize the impact on the ecosystem and generate some revenue for the Forest Service. Permits could be large Day-Glo orange stickers placed on windows of the vehicle visible from the road. If a person is there without a permit, fine them a thousand dollars! Forest Service rangers can patrol and enforce.
Or will there be a person at the bottom of the pass who is clicking a counter for each person who goes up before the race so the maximum is not exceeded?
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Oh, and editor, do you really need to continue printing letters from Emzy Veazy III? He is still dwelling on his 2008 editorial submissions! That is so, well, 2000 and 8! LOL.