Saturday, October 17, 2009

Campers enjoyed Aspen campsites in September

Campgrounds on Independence Pass, southeast of Aspen, stayed open nearly three extra weeks in September — an experiment that may be worth repeating, according to a U.S. Forest Service official.

The Weller, Lincoln Gulch and Lost Man campgrounds have typically closed right after Labor Day weekend, but this year the Forest Service negotiated a longer season with the company that manages the sites to see if campers would make use of the facilities during the fall color season. Last year, campers urged the agency to keep the sites open longer.

Despite some sketchy weather, including one weekend of miserable camping conditions, occupancy for the month at the three campgrounds was roughly 20 percent overall, said Mike Kenealy, recreation special uses coordinator for the White River National Forest.

“I think it was worth keeping those sites open,” he said. “There was some use in those campgrounds for sure.”
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