News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

Dec. 1 is trail’s correct seasonal closureThe hundreds of hikers, bikers and rollerbladers using the newest stretch of the Rio Grande Trail over the last couple of weeks can rejoice – it’s open for another month.The Roaring Fork Transit Authority’s management plan calls for the trail between Rock Bottom Ranch and Catherine Bridge to be closed from Dec. 1 until May 1 to lessen impacts on wildlife. The Aspen Times inaccurately printed in a recent story that RFTA would close that section of trail on Nov. 1.The article contributed to the confusion over a contentious issue. The paving of the trail and the closure was hotly debated. The trail opened earlier this month.RFTA’s board of directors approved the recommendation of wildlife biologist Jonathon Lowsky, who was hired to draft a management plan. He advised adopting two major recommendations from the Colorado Division of Wildlife: Banning dogs altogether from the stretch between Rock Bottom and Catherine Bridge and restricting human use during winter months.The wildlife division consistently has requested the closure from Dec. 1 until May 1. The agency never requested an earlier closure.”This area has considerable use by deer and elk during the critical winter months when they are most susceptible to disturbance,” said the state agency’s latest letter on the topic. “During that time period it is important to limit disturbance to wildlife that may already be struggling to survive the winter.”New registration at aspentimes.comBeginning Wednesday, The Aspen Times will be using a new registration system at http://www.aspentimes.com.We apologize for the hassle, but we’re making the change in anticipation of a coming site redesign. For new online readers, the process is fairly straightforward, but those who have already registered to read the online version of The Aspen Times will be asked to do so again. Previously registered readers will be asked to fill out a new registration form, which includes a couple of new components – a screen name and a challenge question.The challenge question serves only to help readers immediately gain access to our site if they forget their password. Before, we’ve sent an e-mail with the password, which has caused problems for those with spam filters that block our messages. This system should be simpler and easier.We’re asking readers to pick a screen name in advance of new features on our site that will allow the public to contribute photographs, blogs and even video. After the redesign, the screen name will be used to post article comments, photos and the like. Those who simply read the newspaper online may never use their screen name, but everyone will be asked to select one. Choose any screen name you like – it can be your name or an alias that protects your anonymity. As before, we won’t share your personal information with anyone. We recognize registration is a pain, but it’s the best tool we have to let advertisers know the demographic profile of our readers. Our site remains free to you because of advertising support.If you need help registering, call web editor Janet Urquhart at 925-3414 or e-mail her at janet@aspentimes.com.