From The Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Stroud) via The Aspen Times:
The U.S. Forest Service has released its formal draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Hanging Lake area, kicking off a final 30-day public comment period before the plan is to be implemented next May, the agency announced today.
The proposed management plan sticks to a permit-only, 615-visitor-per-day cap year round, as detailed in the preliminary plan that was released in August. It also establishes a fee-based, reservation-system shuttle service to be implemented during the peak time of year from May through October.
Forest officials, working with the city of Glenwood Springs, the Colorado Department of Transportation and others, have bee studying ways to better manage Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon in the face of increasing crowds at the popular area.
The management plan seeks to protect the natural resources and fragile ecosystem of the lake and the trail that provides access to the area from the effects of high use.
“In 2017, we saw 184,000 visitors at Hanging Lake, which is a 23 percent increase in only one year,” Eagle-Holy Cross District Ranger Aaron Mayville said in a news release announcing the draft plan. “This data further underscores the importance of the long-term management solution, and I’m happy we’re making good progress with this Environmental Assessment.”
He said the proposed plan would benefit the fragile ecology of the area by limiting soil compaction, improving soil health, plant viability, stream health and wildlife habit.