More than half a million people used Pitkin County’s public trail network in 2016.
Automated trail counters in 23 locations keep track of how many people are using the county’s properties.
“It makes us look at overall staffing: are we maintaining them up to speed, do we have enough rangers to be on all the trails,” said Gary Tennenbaum, director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.
Last year, the department added a ranger and funding for a forest protection officer to help manage parking at the North Star Nature Preserve.
The county has plans to improve parking at Jaffee Park and along the Rio Grande Trail near Basalt High School. A new lot, including spaces for horse trailers, is in the works at Glassier Open Space as well.
There were about 40,000 fewer visitors last year than in 2015, when more than 600,000 users took advantage of the trail system.