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Conundrum targeted as Leave No Trace 'Hot Spot'

Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service

Conundrum Hot Springs has been targeted as a “hot spot” by the outdoor ethics organization Leave No Trace.

The popular wilderness spot attracts large crowds, which U.S. Forest Service officials say is damaging the fragile high-alpine ecosystem. So the Forest Service is partnering with Leave No Trace, a nonprofit that works to teach people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

Backpackers at Conundrum last year left behind nearly 200 pounds of trash, abandoned campgrounds and large amounts of human feces.

“It’s always a little uncomfortable to talk about poop, but it’s a real issue up there, so we’re asking people to pack out their human waste,” said Katy Nelson, Wilderness and Trails Coordinator with the U.S. Forest Service.

The Forest Service and Leave No Trace trainers are meeting with local chambers of commerce and retailers, spreading the word about the importance of removing all waste from backcountry areas. They will also be talking to hikers at the trailhead and setting up a booth at the Aspen Farmers Market on Saturday.


Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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