Letter: Multiuse land permits
Although it was truly devastating to discover that Hanging Lake trail was vandalized with spray paint, I believe that a short-term trail closure policy is not the most effective approach to the problem.
If we only focus on closing the trails until summer, we will not see any long-term change in the risk of more vandalism. Closing the trails will prevent vandalism for a small amount of time, and will make people more aware of the issue, but will not ensure a further protection of the trails.
In another letter to the editor called “Fast-track forest fees,” Dave Heyliger brings up the issues focusing on Hanging Lake and Maroon Bells. I truly agree with his opinion for an effective policy is to keep the trails open and charge hiking fees. This would provide stable funding to the forest service which could improve opportunity for the Garfield County Trails.
However there are aspects of his opinion that I disagree with, as he believes we should charge “a pre-paid $10 per-person pass” at Hanging Lake, and a “$50 per person pass” at Maroon Bells. This is for a single day access, which I believe is overly expensive as there are many local hikers who hike frequently.
I believe that as there are so many different trails, it would be extremely effective to have multiuse land permits. While these permits would cost money, they would not be nearly as expensive as would be seasonal passes that can be used for a wider variety of things.
This multiuse land permit would reduce the number of people on the trails at a time, and would also allow Forest Service to hire more rangers who can thoroughly monitor the activity on the trail.
I advocate this as a course of action for our recreational areas, and hope that the Forest Service considers all aspects that can be affected by whatever policy they issue.
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