Hanging Lake Trail will be closed for volunteer restoration work, Sept. 9-10 | PostIndependent.com

Hanging Lake Trail will be closed for volunteer restoration work, Sept. 9-10

The sign at the base of the log at Hanging Lake forbids this activity, but some people don't get it.
Will Grandbois / Post Independent file |

Hanging Lake Trail will be closed to the public Sept. 9-10 as volunteers work to improve the 1.2 miles of trail leading to the lake and Spouting Rock.

The volunteers, brought together by nonprofit groups Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, will restore heavily impacted areas and structures, constructing highly technical check steps, water bars, staircases and retaining rock walls.

The volunteer project comes amid headlines of graffiti and blatant violations of posted rules, including incidents of people swimming in the fragile alpine lake. These infractions, along with 160,000-plus annual visitors, have made the restoration project a high priority for demonstrating how volunteers can effectively address Colorado’s growing maintenance needs from overuse and lack of sustainable funding for public lands.

The Forest Service last week announced a plan to limit visitors to the lake and require permits to help combat the damage.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District, which manages the area, has long relied on volunteer organizations to address a backlog of maintenance needs in the area and across the state. Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers has committed to providing stewardship work at Hanging Lake through an ongoing partnership with the Forest Service, and it will be the group’s third time working with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado on the site: In 2010 and 2011, the two organizations engaged more than 200 volunteers to maintain 1,600 feet of trail, reconstruct rock walls and build 170 rock steps.

“The stewardship needs facing the Hanging Lake Trail and Colorado are simply too big to tackle alone,” said David Hamilton, executive director for Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers. “But with partnerships like the one between (Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado) and (Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers), we can reach more volunteers, use resources more effectively and better preserve our public lands.”

While the Hanging Lake project is full, those interested in volunteering can visit http://www.voc.org/volunteer to register for other opportunities across the state. Colorado land managers interested in using volunteers to address stewardship needs are also encouraged to submit an application for Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado’s 2018 project season at http://www.voc.org/land-managers.

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