White River National Forest


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

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.

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.

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.


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.