Every weekend last year, hundreds of cars spilled from trailheads, lining forest roads for miles. Wait times stretched for hours just to get inside Forest Service welcome centers at Brainard Lake and Mount Evans. Wildfires scorched more than a quarter of the 1.5 million acre Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.
And still, the easy-to-access forest’s recreation numbers soared 200% last season as Coloradans escaped pandemic restrictions.
“It was an unexpected increase and it was surreal, and it had a huge, huge impact,” Arapaho and Roosevelt spokeswoman Reid Armstrong said.
Land managers across Colorado are going to be better prepared this summer. That means anyone leaving their home for an adventure in the mountains needs to be prepared as well. In the Arapaho and Roosevelt — from the Wyoming border to Clear Creek County’s Mount Evans to Loveland Pass to pretty much all of western Boulder County and Grand County to Kremmling — forest visitors need to do their research before loading up for a camping trip or hike.
Visitors this summer may need reservations — even for hiking — and campers will need food storage containers to keep bears away. Some heavily trafficked overnight hot spots will be converted to day-use only. And fire restrictions could be coming earlier than usual.
“People need to know before they go. You just can’t walk out your house in 2021 and go where you always went like you always have,” Armstrong said. “Do your research. Have a backup plan.”.....
For more info, read the full article here:
Read the Article