Permit system being considered for Ice Lakes Basin due to human waste, other problems

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SAN JUAN COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A permit system is being considered for Ice Lakes Basin in the San Juan National Forest near Silverton after an abundance of human waste was found on trails.

The Ice Lakes Basin trail is currently listed as temporarily closed.

For a reference, this photo shows the pristine condition of the Ice Lakes Basin before COVID-19 arrived.

Meteorologist Chris Tomer

Over the last 10 months, the Ice Lakes Basin area has been trampled, polluted, and destroyed by a tsunami of visitors. 

As a result, a permit system is being considered.

Jed Botsford with Columbine Ranger District says 400-600 people per day were visiting. 

Meteorologist Chris Tomer says that number is “mind boggling”.

Ice Lakes Basin is an 8 hour drive from Denver in dry weather.

Biggest problems according to Botsford:

  • Unemployment caused by COVID-19 and telecommuting
  • Social Media attracting visitors
  • Dog Poop Bags
  • Cars parked everywhere
  • Trees and historical structures stripped for fire wood

A volunteer at the Ouray Visitor Center says the trash left behind at campgrounds and hiking trails and the damage to jeep trails and the tundra was awful over summer and fall.

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