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White River National Forest: government shutdown a "very real possibility"

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.

"They don’t need us to run those ski resorts. Our snow rangers are up there on a regular basis. But, those snow rangers could be laid off and the ski resorts could still operate," Schroyer says.

In 2013, a government shutdown closed the Maroon Bells Scenic area during prime leaf-peeping time. It led to a loss of revenue for the Forest Service.

Schroyer went over a range of issues with commissioners Tuesday including crowded trails. This winter, she says Forest Service staff will research solutions to crowds at Conundrum Creek and the Four Pass Loop. A reservation system is being explored.