Celebrate your lands Saturday | AspenTimes.com

Celebrate your lands Saturday

The Maroon Bells near Aspen will have discounted bus trips Saturday in celebration of National Public Lands Day. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

Saturday is National Public Lands Day, and a variety of events as well as free or reduced-fee services will be available on the White River National Forest.

All day-use fees will be waived at all standard fee locations on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Please note that none of the concessionaire-operated services on the White River National Forest will be free, and Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus services to the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area will still require tickets during road-restricted hours.

Bus tickets to the Maroon Bells will be reduced by 50 cents per rider on Saturday. The reduction is the amount the White River National Forest receives per passenger from the sale of bus tickets. Adult tickets will be $5.50 instead of $6, and children and senior tickets will be $3.50 instead of $4.

When the road restriction is not in effect on Saturday, personal vehicles can enter the Maroon Bells Scenic Area for free.

“The use fee is free for vehicles before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. on Saturday,” explained Martha Moran, recreation staff for the Aspen-Sopris District of the White River National Forest.

The Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers and the White River National Forest will be holding a special trails project to commemorate National Public Lands Day. The group of volunteers and forest staff will focus on the Basalt Mountain Trail on the White River National Forest and will work on widening the trail, trimming the trail corridor and restoring effective drainage. The trail is largely used by mountain bikers. To sign up for the volunteer project, visit http://www.rfov.org.

Meeker is hosting one of the largest National Public Lands Day celebrations in the state on Friday and Saturday. Highlighted events include a talk by Northern Ute Gloria Thompson on Friday evening at the Fairfield Center and Saturday dance and drum demonstrations at Meeker City Park.

“The part we are most excited about are the Northern Utes returning to Meeker for such a wonderful variety of events,” said Liz Turner of the Meeker-based Blanco Ranger Station of the White River National Forest.

Hosting the events are the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Rio Blanco Historical Society, White River Museum, Northern Ute Public Affairs Office, Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Tourism Program and the town of Meeker.

For a complete schedule of Meeker events, visit http://www.co.blm.gov/wrra.

Hundreds of National Public Lands Day events will be held throughout the country on or near Sept. 30. Last year, more than 80,000 people attended more than 800 events across the country.

National Public Lands Day is an annual program of the National Environmental and Training Foundation, chartered by Congress in 1990 as a private nonprofit organization to develop environmental learning programs, to meet social goals and build partnerships.

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