Visitors spending the night under the Maroon Bells are literally treating nature like shit and Aspen Sopris rangers are tired of picking up their smelly remains.
A new report from the Aspen Sopris Ranger District detailed the horrendous amount of litter and human waste that plagues the area in their annual report for 2016. Considering only two paid rangers and 4 volunteer interns were responsible for cleaning up more than 438 pounds of trash and 273 “unburied piles of human waste,” maybe interior secretary Ryan Zinke should cut each person involved a bonus check for going above and beyond the line of duty.
“The wild character of the Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness is being negatively affected by unprecedented levels of overnight visitation and associated impacts. Over capacity trailhead parking, abandoned tents, illegal campsites, trash and unburied piles of human waste attest to the need for proactive visitor management.”
While the rangers and volunteers will never score such a lump sum of cash for their deserved deeds, officials with the White River National Forest have recommended “pro-active visitor management” in the coming years. While that recommendation is vague to begin with, possible outcomes could include closures, more ticketing, and the introduction of trail fees where there were none prior. So instead of closing down one of Colorado’s most beautiful pieces public land, we should all review the Leave No Trace principles and stop being assholes instead.
Find the entire report here: 2016 Wilderness Program Report