KAJX

Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

The U.S. Forest Service said more than 320,000 people biked, bussed or drove to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area this season. That’s another record-setting year.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio News

The U.S. Forest Service has received three objections to a plan that would limit overnight use of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

Courtesy of RFTA

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) reverts to its full bus schedule on Saturday. Local and express busses will run the Highway 82 corridor more frequently and express returns to weekends service.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

The U.S. Forest Service released its assessment of the environmental impacts that will come with a new plan to limit camping in overcrowded wilderness areas.

courtesy photo/RFTA

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) Board of Directors meets Thursday. Among the topics they will discuss is a contract with the federal government.

Valley Roundup for Jan. 6, 2017

Jan 6, 2017
Carolyn Sackariason

 Welcome to Valley Roundup. I’m Carolyn Sackariason.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

Backpackers looking to stay the night in the most popular areas of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness will soon need a permit to do so. The U.S. Forest Service recently released a plan to manage overnight visitors in the backcountry.

Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service has released a draft management plan to address overcrowding in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Backpackers will likely see a permitting system in popular areas.

White River National Forest

Forest Service officials say early data shows record numbers of visitors to high use areas in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness over the summer.

Marci Krivonen

 

Update (7/16/15 6:30pm) : Pitkin County officials have released the names of two people found dead in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness on Wednesday. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office says the victims were a man and his son from Colorado Springs.

Marci Krivonen

The White River National Forest is encouraging backcountry campers to use bear-proof canisters to store their food. It’s an education effort this year and will become law next summer. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

The Ute Mountaineer in Aspen is one of a handful of stores in the Roaring Fork Valley renting and selling bear-proof canisters. The hard plastic, round containers have names like “Bear Keg” and “Bear Vault.” Nathan Martinez is store manager.

Jean Hocker has an extensive history in land conservation. She's the Chairman of the board of The Wilderness Land Trust and discusses the organization's current project of cleaning up The Painter Mine on Idaho's Salmon River. Hocker also shares the organization's challenges and goals. 

High Country News

The changes the White River National Forest is considering to minimize crowds in wilderness areas have been successful in other forests. Last week, Forest Service officials began an informal outreach effort around how to bring back solitude to busy trails and backcountry camping. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, their ideas have been tried in other wilderness areas.

Aspen Sopris District Ranger Karen Schroyer is delivering a presentation to a packed house in Aspen. She’s working to educate people about problems in the forest and solicit feedback.

Your Morning News - February 11th, 2015

Feb 11, 2015

Aspen Development Proposal to Go to Ballot

The Aspen City Clerk says a proposed charter amendment about development in Aspen will be on the ballot this Spring. That follows the collection of enough signatures by Aspen residents. Ballots for the mail-in election will go out in the spring. Election Day is May Fifth.

Your Morning News - February 5th, 2015

Feb 5, 2015

Calls Come for Increased Vaccination Rates

Pitkin County’s public health clinic is seeing a rise in the number of people requesting vaccinations for measles. The majority of calls are from parents checking on their children’s vaccine history and adults seeking vaccinations.

The local spike in interest comes after a measles outbreak started in California and spread to fourteen states. Pitkin County Public Health Director Liz Stark says she’s happy to see the uptick in interest.

“We are definitely being impacted by what’s going on in the country. And, the positive thing is that the calls we’re getting are from people interested in making sure they’re vaccinated and up to date on their vaccines.”

She thinks the Roaring Fork Valley is generally in favor of vaccines. Five percent of students in Aspen’s School District are not vaccinated.

“That means that only five percent of the children have opted out of vaccines for either religious or personal exemption. That’s really good compared to other communities around the country.”

But, Colorado as a whole has a low vaccination rate. The Denver Post reports, the state is dead last for vaccinating kindergartners for measles, mumps and rubella. The Roaring Fork School District with schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs did not respond to a request for vaccination rates.

Your Evening News - February 4th, 2015

Feb 4, 2015

Retail Sales in Aspen Up 10% in 2014

The city sales tax report for 2014 is in. It appears the Aspen economy has more than rebounded.

People in Aspen shopped more, drank more, ate more and consumed pot more in 2014 than the previous year.

That’s according a recently-released sales tax consumption report, which shows economic activity within the city of Aspen last year is up 10 percent over 2013. That amounts to nearly $624 million in commerce.

Sports equipment, clothing and luxury goods were up significantly for the year. Combined, those categories generated around $153 million in sales. Restaurant and bars were up 11 percent, bringing in about $111 million dollars. And with recreational marijuana coming on the scene last March, sales in that category spiked dramatically. The liquor and marijuana category saw an increase of 25 percent, generating more than $13 million throughout 2014. All of those industries posted increases for the month of December as well. Another big gain last year was revenue generated by accommodations up thirteen percent. That amounts to more than one-hundred-seventy-three million dollars that flowed into the local economy.

Valley Roundup - January 16th, 2015

Jan 16, 2015

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

The lodging review continues in Aspen and for the city council, this week, it was a mixed bag.

Meanwhile, the city employees reviewing those plans are looking for a new home of their own.

A proposed pot growing operation faces the NIMBY wrath in Silt.

Do we love the Maroon Bells too much and is that a problem?

Should Garfield County voters have the chance to vote for commissioners by district instead of at large?

Aspen and Glenwood Springs are going all mail balloting this spring

And what’s the lowdown on uphilling? That’s a conference coming on that topic.

Marci Krivonen

The Forest Service is beginning the discussion about how to deal with increasing problems with crowds in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness. This summer saw huge numbers of visitors at popular spots like Crater Lake and the Four Pass Loop. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, forest service officials are working to educate the public before exploring solutions.

Rangers in the Aspen Sopris Ranger District released a youtube video in October detailing the problems they saw this summer.