Multiple weekend incidents raising concern of White River National Forest officials

  • Contact: David Boyd, Public Affairs Officer (970) 319-4895

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – White River National Forest officials reported high levels of public use on the forest last weekend, along with a number of concerning incidents.

Forest officials are investigating an incident involving four people base-jumping from the cliffs above Hanging Lake that sent one to the hospital on Sunday. The trail to Hanging Lake remains closed, and off-trail travel is never allowed in this area.

“We never want to see people breaking rules and engaging in high-risk behavior, but it’s especially worrisome given the current situation,” said White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams. “We don’t want to pull emergency officials away from focusing on the pandemic.”

Additionally, all ranger districts on the White River National Forest reported finding multiple unattended campfires over the weekend.

“This isn’t rocket science. Follow the area fire restrictions. If you can have a campfire, enjoy it safely and make sure it is completely out before you leave,” Fitzwilliams said. “It’s only a matter of time before one of these abandoned campfires sparks a larger fire.”

Several chains on seasonal Forest Service gates were cut over the weekend to gain early access. In other areas people are driving around the gates. The seasonal closures to vehicles are in place to prevent disturbance to wildlife and damage to the roads. Other roads that are open but muddy suffered serious damage from motorized travel in several areas of the forest.

“Please stay off muddy roads. Be patient, these spring conditions will improve,” Fitzwilliams said.

Forest officials also remind the public to observe the 14-day camping limitations in areas open to camping, and to pack out their trash.

“Public lands are a tremendous resource available to us during these stressful times. But people need to be responsible and use common sense. We are all in this together,” Fitzwilliams said.

If you see illegal behavior, please contact your local ranger district or sheriff’s office.


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