Published in the Post Independent, Feb. 13.
Residents of the Roaring Fork Valley and similar mountain communities have felt the issue even more deeply because of our close connection to public land. Thousands of acres of national forest surround our everyday outings, and beckon us on the weekends to ski, hike, camp, ride or play. It’s why we live here, and why people visit us.
Like it or not, outdoor tourism is booming. This is great for communities like ours that depend on tax revenue from recreation tourism, but it means there are more feet, more trash, and more poop in places that were once considered remote.
Hanging Lake is, of course, a prime example of this. After seeing more than 1,200 visitors daily over the last few summers, many of whom don’t follow the rules in just a few small ways, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service is limiting access to a permit system. Conundrum Hot Springs is another local hotspot of heavy impact. Fecal matter in the water and trash throughout a wilderness area prompted a cap on the number of visitors.
Read more here…