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Plan for Conundrum permits announced

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy
Aspen Public Radio

The U.S. Forest Service released a draft decision yesterday on its plan to combat overuse in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The first step is to address the Conundrum valley.


Phase 1 of the Forest Service’s plan for overnight visitors involves a reservation system for Conundrum Hot Springs and along Conundrum Creek. Starting next summer, campers would have to book one of a limited number of campgrounds.

The reservation would likely cost about $10, but that revenue will not go toward the White River National Forest budget, yet.

“I feel strongly that for this to be a sustainable plan that we can continue to implement, that we are able to collect a fee that stays here on the forest,” said Karen Shroyer, district ranger with the Forest Service.

A separate public process would be required to change the fee structure.  

After the system is up and running at Conundrum, Forest Service officials will turn their attention to the Four Pass Loop, which includes camping areas at Crater Lake, Snowmass Lake and others. This could mean limited overnight use by 2019.

A final decision is expected by the end of the summer.


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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