Forest Service hopes plan can solve winter parking flap in Lenado | AspenTimes.com

Forest Service hopes plan can solve winter parking flap in Lenado

Snowmobiler parking on the road just above Lenado has been controversial for years and spurred a lawsuit.
Aspen Times file photo |

U.S. Forest Service officials in Aspen are hopeful that a winter parking dispute along Woody Creek Road just above Lenado will be eased by a new plan.

The Forest Service is performing an Environmental Analysis on a proposal by a private company to expand its snowmobile operation on the slopes above Lenado. As part of that study, the Forest Service is looking at an alternative that will create a small public parking lot and turnaround area.

The parking lot, intended as staging for private snowmobilers, would be located just past the bridge over Woody Creek, where Forest Road 103 makes a sharp left curve. The lot would be on the right side of the road.

The site is currently used as staging for Western Adventures Inc., which provides guided snowmobile tours. Western Adventure’s staging would move about 300 feet up the road and to the left.

Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Karen Schroyer said the alternative was developed after the Forest Service collected public comments on Western Adventure’s expansion plan last fall. The parking area would be large enough to accommodate six vehicles and trailers, she said.

Parking along Woody Creek Road has spurred controversy for years. Some residents and landowners in Lenado object to the area being used as staging for snowmobilers to get to the public lands beyond. They say it generates traffic, noise and a jumble in the area. The situation prompted some landowners to file a lawsuit against the Forest Service and Pitkin County. The Forest Service has been dismissed from that lawsuit.

The Forest Service disclosed last week the alternatives under review for the proposed expansion of Western Adventure. It will now take public comment on the alternatives for 30 days after a legal notice is published in The Aspen Times Weekly, so essentially through July.

Public comment is open to anyone. An earlier article erroneously said it was just open to people who filed comments in the initial scoping.

Schroyer said she will make a decision after considering the staff analysis, public comments and staff responses.

To review the Environmental Assessment of the proposal by Western Adventures Inc., including the public parking provision in alternative three, go to: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=47743.

Electronic comments, including attachments, can be submitted to: https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=47743. Email messages should be sent to ebcarey@fs.fed.us.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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