Maroon Bells

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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