Tree hazards prompt closures at Avalanche Campground
July 8, 2011
CARBONDALE – The danger posed by large trees at Avalanche Campground south of Carbondale has convinced the U.S. Forest Service to close most of the campsites there.
The agency has now closed nine campsites at Avalanche, all along the creek, according to Martha Moran, recreation staff supervisor with the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District. Four first-come, first-served sites away from the creek remain open.
Six sites remained open through the July 4 weekend and closed on Tuesday. The picnic tables at each of the sites have been pulled out, she said.
Three of the sites were closed last summer because of the dangers posed by aging or beetle-infested trees. On Memorial Day weekend this year, high winds toppled a healthy blue spruce at another site. The big tree grazed an unoccupied tent.
After evaluating the dangers posed by other large trees, some of which are healthy and some of which may not be, the agency closed the additional campsites rather than cut multiple trees down along the creek, Moran said.
“We just don’t want to be out there cutting trees in the riparian zone,” she said.
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Moran estimated that upwards of 50 mature trees would have to be cut to keep the sites open.
Instead, after an evaluation process that allows for public comment, the Forest Service will aim to build new campsites elsewhere in the vicinity – where the designated parking for horse trailers is currently located, she said.
Avalanche Campground is 13 miles south of Carbondale, off Highway 133.