White River National Forest

Elise Thatcher

The popular Hanging Lake trail will be closed this Saturday. The Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers will be working on improvements at the heavily used destination. They’ll tackle some of the areas that are suffering from overuse.

Elise Thatcher

In 2017, there could be access fees and a shuttle system for a popular trail in Glenwood Canyon. Those are key options on the table for the Forest Service, as officials work to get a handle on surging crowds at Hanging Lake.

Marci Krivonen

The Forest Service was met by protesters Tuesday (9/2/15) in a remote area in the Thompson Divide, southwest of Carbondale. The agency is starting a review of a proposal to drill an exploratory well. But, the group gathered doesn’t want any natural gas drilling. They say the area’s natural environment is too valuable. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

It’s tough to imagine coming up here for anything other than peaceful moments in the great outdoors. But about 40 people Tuesday maneuvered mud-caked roads to protest drilling. Some even slept over.

Marci Krivonen

Too many people are storing food in their tents in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness, so the Forest Service is mandating bear resistant containers.

Forest Service District Ranger Karen Shroyer says the decision comes after recent human-bear conflicts in the heavily used wilderness area. It stretches over 160,000 acres and includes the Maroon Bells scenic area.

Marci Krivonen

The Castle Creek valley just outside of Aspen is becoming increasingly popular to recreationists like hikers and cyclists. Pitkin County and the White River National Forest are taking comments from the public on how to best manage the area. 

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.

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.

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