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Pitkin County Seeking Input On North Star Preserve

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Alex Hager
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Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails is crafting a new management plan for the North Star Nature Preserve, but first, they’re seeking public input to help shape what that plan looks like. The county has released a survey with questions about where, when and how people are using the protected land.

“It doesn't really matter how you use North Star,” said Jessie Young, an environmental planner with Open Space and Trails. “We want to hear from you, even if you pass by on highway 82.”

Responses from the survey will help shape a draft of the new management plan, which is slated to go public in February 2020. The plan will then be open for public comment, with a final plan expected to be released in May.

The nature preserve consists of about 240 acres near Aspen, in the direction of Independence Pass. Most of the land is off-limits to human activity, but a section of the Roaring Fork River that runs through the preserve is a favorite among summertime floaters and paddlers. Additionally, the East of Aspen trail is open for biking and foot traffic in the portion of the preserve closest to the highway.

North Star is currently under a management plan issued in 2015, and is set for a routine update every five years. The survey on the next management plan is open from now until Jan. 6, 2020.

"Generally with our planning," Young said, "The community is more likely to take ownership of the area if they feel that they had a role in developing the management actions.”

Alex is KUNC's reporter covering the Colorado River Basin. He spent two years at Aspen Public Radio, mainly reporting on the resort economy, the environment and the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that, he covered the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery for KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska.
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