New regulations for overnight visitors to Aspen area wilderness

Staff report
A black bear eats its way through a messy camp in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness where food was not properly stored.
White River National Forest/courtesy photo |

The White River National Forest is reminding overnight visitors in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness that new regulations are in place that will affect their stay.

Overnight visitors are required to store all food, garbage and other attractants in certified bear resistant containers, according to the Forest Service. Overnight visitors must possess and appropriately use containers that are approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (

All bear attractants should be securely stored in a certified container, placed on the ground greater than 100 feet from all trails and camps when not actively being transported, prepared or consumed.

The purpose of this order addition is to provide wild refuge for bears, protect human safety and property while minimizing the need for emergency management intervention. Frequent bear-human incidents in recent years have resulted in a human habituated black bear population that is adept at retrieving food stored in the traditional hanging method.

“The new requirements help ensure the continued protection of the Wilderness area and the protection of forest visitors,” said Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Karen Schroyer. “Public Safety is a priority, and the requirement for certified bear containers mitigates undesirable bear-human contacts.”

Campfires are now prohibited above 10,800 feet in elevation and within a quarter-mile of Crater Lake. The purpose of this order is to address impacts related to firewood collection in sensitive tree-line forest stands.

For more information on Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness Regulations see “Special Areas” at or contact Martha Moran or Andrew Larson at 970-404-3149 or