Hundreds of thousands of people visited Hanging Lake last year, and the U.S. Forest Service says too much traffic has caused damage to the sensitive ecosystem. On Friday, the agency released its final decision to require hikers to get permits to visit the popular spot.
Elizabeth Stewart-Severy breaks down the latest details with host Zoe Rom.
The basics of the plan remain the same: There will be a permitting system that limits the number of people to 615 in one day, and those people will have to make reservations in advance. It’s meant to protect the unique ecosystem — a rare travertine lake with hanging garden plant communities. Officials say the entire area is being damaged with the heavy congestion. In peak season, more than 1,000 people make the short hike up to the lake.
Beginning in May 2019, hikers will need to take a shuttle to the trailhead, and the Forest Service is partnering with the City of Glenwood Springs to manage that new system.
Glenwood Springs Town Manager Debra Figueroa said this assuages fears about how the permit system could hurt the city's economy; with the shuttle based in Glenwood Springs, people will still be coming to town before going to Hanging Lake.
Details on the shuttle service and the cost of permitting are expected later this fall.