The snow is melting, the days are getting longer, and skis are getting shelved in favor of hiking boots and mountain bikes. But in some parts of the Roaring Fork Valley, hikers and bikers will have to wait a little longer to venture out on certain trails.
Fourth of July weekend promises to be a busy one at North Star Nature Preserve, a popular spot for people to paddleboard and tube a section of the Roaring Fork River east of Aspen. On June 24, Pitkin County approved a new management plan for the preserve, ushering in some rule changes.
Pitkin County is looking for input on how to manage the popular Penny Hot Springs, which sits on open space property north of Redstone in the Crystal River Valley. The hot springs and the parking area on Highway 133 have grown increasingly busy, and officials with Pitkin County Open Space and Trails are working on a new management plan for the area.
Pitkin County has committed to using science to protect wildlife and habitat on the 5,000 acres of open space property it owns, and last week, the Open Space and Trails Board recommended spending more than $200,000 studying area wildlife.
Filoha Meadows Nature Preserve is tucked between steep mountain cliffs and the Crystal River; the open space is a flat expanse of wetlands. On a recent brisk fall morning, plant ecologists Rea Orthner and Denise Wilson lead the way across the swampy meadow. We’re here because of the stream orchid, which blooms in penny-sized flowers in mid-summer.
Earlier this month, the open space and trails boards for both the City of Aspen and Pitkin County agreed to move forward with plans to build a trail along Castle Creek Road. It will run just under a mile between the city trail from the Marolt housing to the campus of the Aspen Music School and Aspen Country Day School.
People, plants and animals all enjoy the nearly 5,000 acres of land owned by Pitkin County Open Space and Trails. To make sure the shared space remains a thriving ecosystem, Open Space and Trails is turning to data collected on site.
Pitkin County Open Space and Trails protects more than 20,000 acres of public land in the Roaring Fork Valley. These properties are used for recreation, to protect wildlife and for agriculture. The open space program leases out some of its properties to local farmers and ranchers. Two Roots Farm is the newest lessee at Emma Open Space.
Pitkin County officials are working to connect Carbondale to Crested Butte with a multi-use trail that would run through the Crystal Valley. Open Space and Trails staff has a draft plan in the works, and it goes far beyond the trail route.
Wednesday is the last day for the public to submit comments on alignments for a proposed trail through the Crystal River Valley. If completed, that trail would eventually connect Carbondale with Crested Butte.
Pitkin County officials are working on a trail that will eventually connect Carbondale to Crested Butte. They’ve released possible routes for Pitkin County’s section, which runs to the top of McClure Pass. Elizabeth Stewart-Severy took a tour of the area, exploring both the history and the future of the corridor.