Forest Service Takes On Dispersed Camping Issues In Gunnison Valley
The beautiful Gunnison Valley is a favorite camping destination for many. Throughout the summer months we see people from all over the country pouring into our pristine valley looking for dispersed camping spots to enjoy with their families. The growing number of visitors however is posing several issues. “Over the past few years there have been increases in recreation uses throughout our area,” said Lee Ann Loupe, public and legislative affairs officer. Loupe also notes that while it is great to see so many visitors and locals alike enjoying the forests, “The added numbers do come with a few challenges that require us to step up some management actions.”
The Gunnison National Forest Service will be helping to mitigate some of the issues that have risen from dispersed camping such as overuse. Other issues that have come up in the recent years are user-created roads, waste disposal issues (both human and animal), abandoned campfires and increased use. We are seeing people staying longer and much larger groups of people using dispersed campsites. These issues not only have a direct impact on the land but they also impact the outlook for future use.
“There are some direct impacts to your forests occurring, including permanent loss of vegetation, soil erosion, sanitation issues, riparian impacts, loss of wildlife habitat and user conflicts that necessitate more effective management of dispersed camping,” Loupe said.
This summer, the Forest Service will limit motor vehicle travel for the purpose of dispersed camping on 12 sections of road to about one vehicle-length off road. Starting at the forest boundaries, the corridors include Cement Creek to the Deadman Trailhead. The Kebler Pass Corridor to above Irwin Campground ending at private lands, to the top of Ohio Pass and Kebler Pass, and up Splains Gulch Rd. Long Branch to Baldy Lake and the Long Branch trailheads. Middle Quartz Creek from the junction with NFSR #765 to the Middle Quartz Creek campground. Needle Creek Reservoir Corridor to the upper end of the Needle Creek Reservoir. Quartz Creek Corridor past Pitkin to the Hall Gulch road junction. Slate River Corridor to the private land at Pittsburg. Washington Gulch to Elton. Taylor Canyon will be limited to camping only being allowed in developed campgrounds from Almont to the Rivers End Campground. and last but not lease, the Taylor River Corridor, from the junction with Cottonwood Pass road to the Dorchester campground.
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