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Recreation use in Castle Creek valley goes under the microscope

Jul 14, 2015

The Castle Creek Valley near Aspen is under review by the Forest Service and Pitkin County. The agencies are collecting data on how many people use the area for activities like cycling and hiking.
Credit Marci Krivonen

The Castle Creek valley just outside of Aspen is becoming increasingly popular to recreationists like hikers and cyclists. Pitkin County and the White River National Forest are taking comments from the public on how to best manage the area. 

The two agencies will host a second public meeting Thursday. The first was held in April. They want to hear from the public about concerns and solutions related to busy trails, parking areas and roads. Some spots, like the Conundrum Creek trailhead, are already crowded. Still, Cindy Houben with Pitkin County says the idea is to get ahead of the problem.

"It’s becoming, in certain pockets, maybe too much. But in other areas, we’re trying to find out exactly what’s going on, get a handle on existing conditions, and see whether or not we need to address issues like biking."

Creating a bike shoulder, bike path or shuttle service could make the area safer. Another idea is to build a real-time website where people can check if parking areas at trailheads are full before setting out. Thursday’s meeting is in the basement of city hall. It starts at 5pm.