Motorists damaging Richmond Ridge |

Motorists damaging Richmond Ridge

ASPEN ” The U.S. Forest Service wants motorists to stop driving around the remaining snow drifts in the high country and damaging fragile lands.

“We have some folks driving around snow drifts on the Richmond Ridge Road and driving onto the forest to go around the snow,” said Acting Aspen/Sopris District Ranger Mike Kenealy in a prepared statement. “The right thing to do is to turn around and go back down the road.”

Richmond Ridge runs from the top of Aspen Mountain to Express Creek Road. The Forest Service advisory said the various roads in that area are still snowy and muddy in many places, particularly in areas shaded by timber. Express Creek Road still has a substantial amount of snow just below Taylor Pass. Officials estimate the road won’t be clear until late June or early July.

Richmond Ridge is also accessed via Little Annie Road and Midnight Mine Road as well as from Aspen Mountain. Drivers who go off road to avoid snow can damage alpine meadows and other forest land, Kenealy said.

The Forest Service is warning drivers that driving into the forest to avoid the snowy areas is illegal. If caught, drivers can face a $5,000 fine, six months in jail or both.

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