White River National Forest

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.

Mountain Edition - February 27th, 2014

Feb 27, 2014

For Aspen athletes who competed in the Winter Olympics, their season isn’t over yet. Cross country ski sprinter Simi Hamilton says he has several races left.

Weeds are growing more abundantly on the White River National Forest as the agency grapples with budget cuts and fewer staff.

A Colorado Forest Service report shows the state’s forests continue to be hammered by insects and disease, especially at high altitudes.

Most skiers probably don’t realize Aspen Mountain is full of holes...from a history of mining. We’ll take you on a wintry history tour.

Finally, a group of “legally blind” skiers takes to the slopes at Snowmass. For these teenagers, the activity is empowering.

Phil Nyland/White River National Forest

Officials at the White River National Forest are anticipating significant cuts to their noxious weed management program. Funding to fight invasive species on the Forest has declined in recent years and it’s beginning to impact the land. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

The White River National Forest is expecting a 15 to 25 percent cut in the program that includes the management of rangeland and noxious weeds. Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams will get a final budget later this spring.

allvail.com

The White River National Forest is working toward the final stages of updating its oil and gas plan. The document sets out rules for the energy industry, like where and when they can operate on the Forest. And, it could impact what happens in the Thompson Divide. The agency is updating the old plan partly because oil and gas operations have advanced in the area. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

mape_s/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Forest Service is chipping away at plans to improve habitat on 10’s of thousands of acres in the Roaring Fork Valley. The large-scale project includes thinning overgrown vegetation in areas like the Frying Pan and Crystal River Valleys. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

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.

Federal Highway Administration

Cell towers disguised as trees will be erected soon in Glenwood Canyon. It’s a project years in the making. One Forest Service employee has been with the project since day one. Donna Graham’s focus has been to make the towers and their infrastructure mesh with the scenery.

Glenwood Canyon Cell Service Project to Start

Jul 25, 2013
Federal Highway Administration

Construction kicks off Monday on a project to create cell phone service through Glenwood Canyon. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Right now, drivers on Interstate 70 through the Canyon can’t use their phones and there’s limited emergency communication.

That will change once four towers are erected at rest areas along the 13 mile stretch. Marti Whitmore is an attorney for Canyon Summits, the group behind the project. She says cell service at busy tourist spots like Hanging Lake will help in emergencies.

Elise Thatcher

Memorial Day weekend brought luscious green views for drivers along Independence Pass. And there was an extra dash of color along Highway 82. Less than ten miles east of Aspen, large yarn creations appeared in a grove of Aspen trees.... looking like giant socks or leg warmers, wrapped around the tree trunks.

On Monday, two women were among several who pulled over to look more closely.

“At first we were really confused about what they were because we had never seen them before. But we knew we had to stop and check them out.”

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