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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

Forest Service makes final decision to limit camping in Maroon Bells Wilderness

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy
Aspen Public Radio

Next summer, backpackers planning to stay overnight at Conundrum Hot Springs will need reservations.


The U.S. Forest Service released its final decision on a plan that is meant to limit overuse and damage to fragile ecosystems in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Conundrum Hot Springs takes top priority, and backpackers headed there next summer will have to make a $10 reservation.

The plan sets caps on the number of campers at 30 different places in the Wilderness area, and the Forest Service can require permits if any of those spots see overuse.

The Four Pass Loop and Capitol Lake araes are also seeing heavy traffic; permits there could happen as soon as 2019.

Officials are still working out some details, like the number of nights groups can camp in permitted areas.


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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