Maroon Bells

Aspen Public Radio News

The City of Aspen hosted an open-house discussion last week about its water rights to build reservoirs on Maroon and Castle creeks, but interested locals still have a lot of questions.

Courtesy of Wilderness Workshop

The City of Aspen is holding a public open house today to discuss its conditional water rights on Castle and Maroon Creeks.

snowpeak/Flickr/Creative Commons

  Buses to the Maroon Bells will be up and running Saturday for the summer season, but tickets and parking will be more expensive.

Elise Thatcher

If you spend enough time in the Roaring Fork Valley, you’ll hear this sentence: the White River National Forest is the busiest, most visited National Forest in the country. But as the agency’s budget keeps dropping, officials say there will be significant changes down the road.

Marci Krivonen

Officials with the White River National Forest told elected leaders in Pitkin County Tuesday (10/13) a government shutdown is a “very real possibility.” 

If a government shutdown comes as a result of disagreement over a budget in Washington, the public likely won’t notice. Forest Service staff would be laid off in December, when fewer jobs are filled. And, even though some ski resorts operate on Forest Service land, White River District Ranger Karen Schroyer says skiers and riders won’t be affected.

Moose are moving closer to Aspen

Sep 18, 2015
Facebook/Pitkin County Open Space and Trails

Pitkin County’s Open Space and Trails Department is planning to put up signs about moose on some of its properties after several reports of sightings. 

It’s the first time in recent memory moose have been spotted at places like the North Star Nature Preserve, along the Hunter Creek trail and near the Roaring Fork River in the midvalley.

Education materials on how to behave around moose are prolific in areas like the Maroon Bells. Now, Assistant Director of Pitkin County Open Space Gary Tennenbaum says his department will add them to their properties.

Roaring Fork Transportation Authority/Instagram

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s fall schedule begins today, Tuesday September 8th.

Father and son die of carbon monoxide poisoning

Jul 27, 2015

The Pitkin County Coroner’s office has ruled that the father and son camping in the Maroon Wilderness area earlier this month died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Colorado Springs residents Jeffery Beard, 41, and his son, Cameron Beard, 13, were camping above Crater Lake with two other children in the family.

The circumstance of the death was the use of a camp stove in an 
enclosed space of a tent. Authorities first suspected lightning as the cause because of a burn on one of the deceased's body. That was likely a result of the stove.

Weather-awareness tips from Mountain Rescue Aspen

Jul 20, 2015
Facebook/Mountain Rescue Aspen

Mountain Rescue Aspen was involved in the recovery of two bodies from the Maroon Bells Snowmass wilderness last week. It’s still unclear how father and son Jeffrey and Cameron Beard died. A hiker discovered the Colorado Springs residents unresponsive, in their tent. Law enforcement initially thought lightning was the cause. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Jeff Edelson and Doug Paley from Mountain Rescue. Edelson says Colorado is third for lightning deaths in the U.S.

Lloyd F. Athearn/Colorado Fourteeners Initiative

Trails on peaks in Aspen’s backyard have received both “A” and “F” grades. That’s according to a report card on Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks or “fourteeners.” 

Marci Krivonen

With deep cuts from Washington in recent years, the White River National Forest is looking to free labor. Volunteers stationed at busy spots like the Maroon Bells scenic area, are becoming increasingly essential to the agency. And with summer arriving, officials are recruiting. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

In ten years the annual operating budget for the White River National Forest has been slashed by $2 million and the agency has reduced employees. Scott Fitzwilliams is Forest Supervisor.

Forest Service visitor center opens at Aspen Highlands

May 26, 2015
Marci Krivonen

The White River National Forest’s newest visitors center officially opens Tuesday. The Forest Service moved the center from Aspen to Highlands to make visits more convenient for the public, and to save money. 

On Friday visitor information specialist Mateo Sandete was putting finishing touches on interpretive signs. Visitors trickled in over Memorial Day weekend for a soft opening. Sandete says the new location is advantageous given the nearby Maroon Bells.

White River National Forest grappling with tight budget

Mar 16, 2015
White River National Forest

The head of the White River National Forest says the agency is doing more with less as it continues to battle budget cuts from Washington D.C. 

Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams told elected officials, conservation groups and business leaders Friday that the White River is grappling with tight funding. During a “state of the forest” address he said the budget is almost half of what it was five years ago, and staffing levels are down.

He says nearly all of the agency’s budget is being used to fund fixed costs, like salaries and rents, leaving little for side projects.

Marci Krivonen

The two largest public landowners in the Castle Creek Valley are gathering data to determine how to manage the area the future. The effort comes as the Forest Service and Pitkin County are seeing increased use of trails and roads. 

The entities are looking at the Castle Creek watershed from ridge to ridge, starting just past the urban growth boundary to the top of Pearl Pass and Taylor Pass.

The groups have seen a rise in use at spots like the Conundrum Hot Springs, American Lake and Cathedral Lake trails. Cindy Houben is Pitkin County’s Community Development Director.

On today's show, the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the Maroon Bells birthday bash with Olivia Siegel from ACES, Will Roush of Wilderness Workshop and Andrew Larson of the White River National Forest.

Also, Kelly Alford, Executive Director of Wyly Arts, and artist Jody Guralnick on the new Wyly Annex and Jody's show opening August 8th.

Mountain Edition - July 31st, 2014

Jul 31, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

The Wilderness Act turns 50 this year and we’re devoting this entire show to the topic.

First, we’ll look back on how the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness became protected. A group of local women had a hand in it.

The wilderness in our backyard is one of the busiest in the state. The Forest Service says some areas are being loved to death.

Another problem facing wilderness is private land smack-dab in the middle of these peaceful places. One local group is working to make wilderness more wild.

And, a group of local organizations is throwing a birthday bash for the Maroon Bells this weekend. We have the details.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition.

50 Years of Wilderness: The State Of Wild Places Today

Jul 18, 2014
United States Forest Service

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the challenges facing wild places today are different than they were in 1964. Some say it’s increasingly difficult to keep these areas wild and to get protection for new wilderness. The White River National Forest manages eight wilderness areas, including the popular Maroon Bells/Snowmass region near Aspen. In part two of our series, Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen examines the challenges facing the wilderness in our backyard.

Mountain Edition - July 17th, 2014

Jul 17, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

It’s been a busy summer in the Roaring Fork Valley so far. For some communities, it’s an important economic boost.

The U.S. Justice Department fines Citigroup for misconduct that helped fuel the recession. We talk to Colorado’s US Attorney, who was part of the investigation.

Colorado names Carbondale a creative district candidate. Turns out, much of the town’s economy is centered around ingenuity.

We’ll head to a shooting range near Basalt, where a group of women are learning to cast...and blast.

And, it’s the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act this year. We’ll introduce you to a group of women who fought to protect the Maroon Bells/Snowmass area.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition... right now.

“Have you heard about the moose?”

Jul 11, 2014

Moose are showing up this summer at one of Aspen’s most popular destinations; the Maroon Bells.  Already there have been reports of moose charging hikers and the Forest Service closed the trails there for a day this week. The trails have reopened but rangers are warning visitors to be aware of the potential danger.  As Aspen Public Radio’s Dorothy Atkins explains they are also considering other options.

snowpeak/Flickr/Creative Commons

The government shutdown in Washington is limiting access to one Colorado’s most visited places: the Maroon Bells. The road outside of Aspen closed to traffic yesterday during prime leaf-peeping season. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

The White River National Forest closed its facilities in the area Tuesday morning. Bathrooms are locked and campgrounds shuttered. The agency barricaded the popular parking areas just below the famed peaks. Pitkin County owns the two-lane road leading to the Bells. And, yesterday county commissioners were grappling with what to do.