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Forest Service considers limiting number of visitors to Hanging Lake

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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — The U.S. Forest Service has announced a proposal to limit the number of daily visitors to Hanging Lake.

The proposed Hanging Lake Area Management Plan would set a limit of 615 visitors per day at the national natural landmark.

The lake typically gets as many as 1,200 visitors a day during the summer, according to the Post-Independent.

“Situated in the narrow, rugged and scenic Glenwood Springs Canyon, this ‘bucket list’ site and hike has gained so much popularity to the point of creating congestion, overcapacity and safety issues,” the Forest Service said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“The area has continued to experience growing visitor dissatisfaction due to crowding, disrespectful behavior and most importantly environmental and facility degradation.”

Under the proposal, the number of visitors would be managed by a fee-based reservation system.

The plan also proposes a mandatory shuttle system to manage daily capacity during the peak season (May to October). Shuttles would not be mandatory during the off-peak season (November to April).

“Our goal is to protect and preserve the unique and fragile natural resources at the Hanging Lake area while sustaining high quality visitor experience for many years to come,” Eagle-Holy Cross district ranger Aaron Mayville stated.

“We know people will have specific questions about the shuttle and reservation systems, but at this point in the process, we are still gathering comments and working out the details of how to implement the plan.”

The Forest Service is asking for public and stakeholder feedback on the proposed plan. Written comments on the proposed project will be accepted until midnight Sept. 21.

Comments can be faxed to 970-827-9343 or submitted online.

Comments can also be submitted to:

Aaron W. Mayville
District Ranger, o/c Paula K. Peterson, Project Leader
P.O. Box 190
Minturn, CO 81645.