Will Call: You can pitch in to help Hanging Lake | PostIndependent.com

Will Call: You can pitch in to help Hanging Lake

If you’re anything like me, you probably avoid Hanging Lake except when family or friends visit.

It’s one of those local icons — along with the Crystal Mill and the Maroon Bells — that’s too picturesque for its own good. These days, it seems like even going in winter or by moonlight doesn’t mean you won’t share the boardwalk with crowds from all over the country. Even under ideal conditions, that has an impact on the trail and the lake, and what’s happening is far from ideal.

Personally, I’ll always take a downgrade in scenery in exchange for something a bit less trodden. I particularly avoid anything with a visitor’s center.

That said, I appreciate the existence of such places, both for their innate beauty and for making solitude possible elsewhere. If everyone who goes to Delicate Arch were off trying to find their only little spot in the canyon country, I’d have to give up on Moab entirely.

I have also discovered that I’m fiercely protective of our landmarks even though I rarely visit them. I’m incensed at what I’ve heard about trash and worse at the Maroon Bells and Conundrum Hot Springs, and I cheered when I saw people called out for posting photos of themselves on the Hanging Lake log online. Obviously the state as a whole feels the same way, as there’s been a lot of press about the graffiti problem.

Really, though, there’s no use griping about visitors. They’re here for the same reasons we are, they’re the backbone of our economy and the vast majority of them act responsibly.

Instead, I recommend rolling up your sleeves and helping reverse some of that damage. Sign up with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers to repair the Hanging Lake trail from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 10. Visit rfov.org for information or to sign up.

If that’s not your cup of tea, pitch in getting the Spring Gulch Trail System ready for winter the same day. For more information, contact John Armstrong at 970-618-9825 or john.armstrong@pitkincounty.com.

The trail work season is winding down, and I’ll admit that one thing or another got in the way of me lending a hand this year. I did do the Hanging Lake project last year, and didn’t regret it.

They close the trail, so you have a shot at having the lake almost to yourself, and no one is going to force you to work harder than you want to. Plus, the people are pleasant, and dinner is catered.

I should probably admit that the allure of Aspen’s Mac and Cheese Festival may drag me away from both work days, but I’ll certainly be renewing my membership and adding the last two public projects to my calendar.

If you can’t make it, or even if you can, consider making a donation so Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, the Mount Sopris Nordic Council and their ilk can keep up the good work.

Will Grandbois is still amused that someone asked about canoe rentals at the lake. He can be reached at 384-9105 or will@postindependent.com.

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