Overnight self-registration now required in Eagles Nest Wilderness | PostIndependent.com

Overnight self-registration now required in Eagles Nest Wilderness

Daily staff report
The self-registration system includes boxes at trailheads with forms to fill out. The data will help the U.S. Forest Service collect visitation numbers and monitor trends. Some of the problems the Forest Service is seeing on the rise is trail widening, illegal campfires and trash.
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For more information about the self-registration system, contact the Dillon Office at 970-468-5400, or the Eagle-Holy Cross Office at 970-827-5715, or stop by an office location during business hours weekdays 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

EAGLE COUNTY — The Dillon and Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger Districts of the White River National Forest will be implementing an overnight self-registration system in the Eagles Nest Wilderness beginning this summer of 2018.

The registration system will be identical to the one already in place in the Holy Cross Wilderness and several other Colorado wilderness areas. Registration will not restrict use and is only required for visitors camping overnight within the wilderness.

Registration boxes stocked with forms will be installed at all trailheads and key access points into the wilderness beginning in mid-May. Information on how to fill out forms will be displayed at trailheads. The registration system is being implemented to improve responsible recreation and backcountry ethics among visitors and to improve data collection and monitoring for the Forest Service.

“Impacts such as trail widening and braiding from high use, campsite proliferation, illegal campfires and trash and human waste have been on the uptick for some time, especially near our vulnerable high alpine lakes,” said Bill Jackson, Dillon district ranger. “The implementation of a self-registration system in this wilderness area will help us collect data on visitation numbers. We can also monitor trends for where we are seeing the most use and impacts occur over a long period of time to prioritize trail maintenance, campsite restoration efforts, and ranger patrol activities.”

Part of the Preservation System

Currently, 16 trail counters have been temporarily installed on portions of trails that enter the wilderness to monitor visitation. However, these counters do not distinguish overnight and day use, or use by stock and dogs. Information collected on the registration forms will enable the Forest Service to identify where day and overnight uses are happening.

Additionally, the registration system will improve wilderness education and responsible recreation ethics. The back of the registration forms include a written list of Eagles Nest Wilderness regulations to better inform visitors on appropriate behavior while recreating, giving them the information they need to make better decisions about overnight travel within the wilderness area. Each of these actions will help to preserve wilderness character within the Eagles News Wilderness.

The Eagles Nest Wilderness was designated in 1976 and is a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Wilderness Act of 1964 mandates that areas within this system provide outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation, and are administered in such a way that they are left unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment of the public.

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