White River National Forest

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.

Forest Service visitor's center moves to Highlands

May 19, 2015
White River National Forest

There will be a new Forest Service visitors’ center at the base of Highlands starting next week. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason has more.

 

The new center will be in the Highlands ticket office. It’s aimed to better serve people going to the Maroon Bells —

High Country News

The White River National Forest is about to get deluged with summer users. The Forest Service is contemplating a management plan, but it won’t be implemented this year. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason has more.

District Ranger Karen Schroyer says she needs more information from the public before making any decisions on how to curb the overuse in areas like Condundrum Hot Springs or the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness area. She plans to get feedback from recreationalists in Denver this summer.

Karen Schroyer is the ranger for the Aspen and Sopris district in the White River National Forest. Her agency, along with the Bureau of Land Management, the National Elk Foundation, the Basalt and El Jebel fire departments and the Upper Colorado River Fire Agency, burned between 1,100 and 1,300 acres on Basalt Mountain last weekend. She wants the public to know the facts behind Sunday’s prescribed burn on Basalt Mountain. She spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason.

Mountain Edition - April 9th, 2015

Apr 9, 2015

Good afternoon, it’s Mountain Edition.

A federal mid valley investigation turns out to be a gang crackdown.

Glenwood Springs residents elect two new city council members.

Questions are raised about an Aspen City Council candidate running in the spring election.

He and other candidates tackle issues at the chamber of commerce forum.

Forest Service offices reopen in Glenwood Springs.

We hear what comes next for Explore Booksellers in Aspen...as well as for local alpine skier Wiley Maple.

http://www.thearmchairexplorer.com/colorado/glenwood_springs_colorado

The White River National Forest headquarters in Glenwood Springs has re-opened for business. The National Forest Service says the supervisor and staff returned this morning to their newly renovated offices at 900 Grand Avenue. Among the upgrades are improved heating and cooling systems, energy saving electrical, water saving plumbing as well as the removal of asbestos from the historic building. For the past two years, the 30-plus employees of the White River National Forest have worked remotely from ranger stations in Rifle, Carbondale, Minturn and the BLM office in Silt.

Forest Rangers Drawing Up Moose Plan

Mar 17, 2015
wikipedia

The White River National Forest is seeing some close calls between moose and people. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, the agency is drawing up a moose management plan.

Since 2005, the number of moose in areas like the West Maroon Valley, the Thompson Divide and Frying Pan is increasing. In the last few years, the White River National Forest has seen four to six close encounters per year between people and moose. Wildlife Biologist for the Aspen/Sopris Ranger District Phil Nyland says a handful of people statewide have been injured in moose attacks.

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.

White River National Forest

The White River National Forest has moved one step closer to approving several winter enhancements on public land at the Snowmass ski area.

The Aspen Skiing Company proposed the projects and the Forest Service began an environmental review in August. They include a replacement and realignment of the 35-year-old High Alpine chairlift, additional snowmaking on the Green Cabin run and trail and glade construction projects. The Skiing Company wants to provide gladed terrain for non-expert skiers.

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.

Mountain Edition - February 12th, 2015

Feb 12, 2015

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

Once again, Aspen will play host to the First Lady. Michelle Obama is expected to be in town this weekend.

An Aspen teenager arrested and taken down by police officers gets an attorney. Police suspect the teen had marijuana.

Aspen City Council supports an affordable housing project from a prolific landowner. But, a tree nearly derails the approval.

The new Airport Director in Aspen talks about plans to improve the experience of flying into the Upper Valley.

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.

White River National Forest

The White River National Forest released a “conservation-minded” plan Tuesday for future oil and gas drilling. Conservation groups are cheering the plan, saying it proposes closing nearly all of the Thompson Divide to future leasing. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Wilderness "Hot Spots" See Increasing Crowds

Nov 10, 2014
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.

forestcamping.com

The Forest Supervisor for the White River National Forest says he expects to see more marijuana grow sites on national forest land now that pot is legal in Colorado.

Forest Service officials on Wednesday dismantled a large cultivation site near Ruedi Reservoir. It’s illegal to grow marijuana on federal land and there are strict penalties.

Hunters discovered the latest site that contained more than 2600 mature marijuana plants. That’s $6 million to $8 million worth of pot. Scott Fitzwilliams is Forest Supervisor.

Marci Krivonen

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing media outlets ask permission before filming or photographing in Wilderness areas. But local forest service officials say little will change on the White River National Forest. 

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.

High Country News/hcn.org

White River National Forest officials are concerned about overuse at Conundrum Hot Springs, outside Aspen. Forest Service staffers recently pulled more than 35 pounds of trash from the popular recreation area and the number of visitors continues to grow.

Visitors hike from Aspen and Crested Butte to reach the hot springs in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness. The area sees more than 3000 people each summer. Martha Moran with the Forest Service says the numbers are impacting the area’s Wilderness character.

BLM Seeks Comments From Public On 65 Oil, Gas Leases

Apr 17, 2014
savethethompsondivide.org

The public is getting a chance this week to comment on what happens to existing oil and gas leases in Garfield, Pitkin and Mesa Counties. Sixty-five leases within the White River National Forest are up for review. Just eight of them hold active infrastructure, like gas wells. The Bureau of Land Management handles the leases and is soliciting feedback on what do with them.

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