Forest Service will host open house on Aspen-area wilderness camping plan | AspenTimes.com

Forest Service will host open house on Aspen-area wilderness camping plan

Staff report
Wilderness Ranger Eric Tierney restores an illegal campfire ring next to the Snowmass Lake trail while out on patrol in August. The White River National Forest is proposing limits on camping in some backcountry zones to reduce impacts.
Aspen Times file photo |

IF YOU GO

What: Open house in plan to manage overnight visits in Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

When: Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Where: Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center in Basalt

Those interested in learning more about the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness draft of the Overnight Visitor Use Management Plan are invited to a U.S. Forest Service open house Wednesday in Basalt.

The meeting is 5 to 7 p.m. in the conference room of the Rocky Mountain Institute office at 22830 Two Rivers Road. This is the only open house in the Roaring Fork Valley before a final environmental assessment and draft record of decision is released later this spring. The public is encouraged to attend and learn about the proposal.

The draft Environmental Assessment showed that five of the 20 zones in the wilderness area are exceeding the overnight use capacity. Those areas are Conundrum and Capitol Lake as well as three zones along the popular Four Pass Loop backpacking route — West Maroon Valley, Snowmass Lake and Crater Lake.

The White River National Forest plans to more actively manage the wilderness to prevent damage to the landscape and ecosystem and disturbances to wildlife. One option is to use an existing online reservation system to make reservations for backcountry campsites. That would involve a camping fee and reservation service charge.

Another option would be to issue permits out of the office of the Forest Service or a local partner for no fee.

A third option is to charge a special type of overnight fee that allows the program’s revenue to be kept in the White River National Forest.

Written comments are being accepted through April 28. They can be filed electronically at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=49388.

Those who cannot attend the open house can learn more about the project online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=49388.


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