White River National Forest

Dan Wagner/U.S. Forest Service

  The White River National Forest is saying goodbye to agency spokesman Bill Kight. After more than two decades with the Forest Service, Kight is retiring at the end of this month, and heading to the Frontier Historical Society in Glenwood Springs.

Courtesy of White River National Forest

A new deputy supervisor for the White River National Forest was announced this week. Michael Donald is serving under Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.

Elise Thatcher

If you spend enough time in the Roaring Fork Valley, you’ll hear this sentence: the White River National Forest is the busiest, most visited National Forest in the country. But as the agency’s budget keeps dropping, officials say there will be significant changes down the road.

Aspen Journalism

Pitkin County is drawing up comments for the Forest Service on a proposed replacement of Lift 1A on Aspen Mountain. 

http://blog.thelittlenell.com/

  Starting today, Mon November 23rd, White River National Forest guidelines kick in for winter travel. Certain roads are open to motorized winter travel, like snowmobiles.

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.

Aspen Journalism

The Aspen Skiing Company is getting a jump on a plan to replace an aging ski lift in case an update is possible before a major competition is held on one of its ski areas. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen explains.

Marci Krivonen

Officials with the White River National Forest told elected leaders in Pitkin County Tuesday (10/13) a government shutdown is a “very real possibility.” 

If a government shutdown comes as a result of disagreement over a budget in Washington, the public likely won’t notice. Forest Service staff would be laid off in December, when fewer jobs are filled. And, even though some ski resorts operate on Forest Service land, White River District Ranger Karen Schroyer says skiers and riders won’t be affected.

aspenjournalism.org

In order to improve forest health and habitat for wildlife, a coalition of outdoor organizations is planning a prescribed fire in Hunter Creek. It's a popular recreation area near Aspen. 

Barring bad weather and safety concerns, the burn will be done in spring of 2016. It’ll happen on Forest Service land on north side of the Hunter Creek Valley, near the “lower plunge trail” and “hummingbird traverse.” The historic buildings on the valley floor won’t be in the burn area.

Marci Krivonen

Inmates from the Rifle Correctional Center helped with final steps of a mine reclamation project near Aspen on Tuesday.

Mine clean-up nearly complete at Hope Mine near Aspen

Sep 15, 2015
ACES/aspennature.org

For years the Forest Service has been working to keep mine tailings from an abandoned silver mine from getting into Castle Creek. The long-defunct Hope Mine is tucked between the creek and Castle Creek Road. Work to return the area back to its natural state is now nearly complete. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

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 —

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