The balmy, late-fall weather has prompted more people to take advantage of the Maroon Bells area, which has led to increased garbage, trashed bathrooms and illegal fire rings on the shore of Maroon Lake, an official said Friday.
None of that, however, was the reason Pitkin County officials closed the winter gate on Maroon Creek Road on Friday morning.
“The board (of county commissioners) designates Nov. 15 as the day to close the gate,” said Brian Pettet, Pitkin County’s public works director. “The Forest Service has no one to manage the area past today, so the decision was made to close the gate.
“If someone’s not up there managing it and cleaning the restrooms, … some people don’t pick up after themselves.”
As if to underscore that point, the U.S. Forest Service’s recreation manager for the Maroon Bells area said the crowds have taxed the agency’s remaining meager staff, most of whom left in mid-to-late October.
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