- Associated Press - Friday, August 7, 2015

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Forest officials are trying to deal with overcrowding at Hanging Lake by enforcing regulations while ensuring visitors still have an enjoyable experience.

Nearly 80,000 people have made the hike to Hanging Lake already this year, up from 50,000 for the same period in 2014, reported The Post Independent (https://bit.ly/1OUYEy6 ).

Efforts by U.S. Forest Service staff and volunteers to reduce overcrowding on the trail and at its parking lot 9 miles east of Glenwood Springs haven’t seen much success. When the parking lot is full, visitors end up parking on the grass, on sidewalks and blocking emergency access and fire lanes.

White River National Forest spokesman Bill Kight said officials must enforce regulations to prevent the negative impact of so many human visitors on the site.

“We want the public to have a quality experience, and that quality is fast disappearing,” Kight said. “When you go to the Grand Canyon and look in there, you don’t want to see it full of garbage.”

The first step for the Forest Service is to begin issuing parking tickets. The Forest Service will enlist the help of the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to outline a long-term plan to control traffic and overcrowding.

The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association is also lending a hand by trying to draw more attention to educating the public about the site’s rules.

“We want people to come here, but we want to set the right expectations,” said Lisa Langer, vice president of tourism marketing for the chamber.

The hike has gained a lot of attention since the Department of Interior established it as a National Natural Landmark in 2011.


Information from: Post Independent, https://www.postindependent.com/

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