Forest Service closes lower portions of Big, Little Vasquez Creeks to dispersed camping |

Forest Service closes lower portions of Big, Little Vasquez Creeks to dispersed camping

Sky-Hi News staff report

The US Forest Service will be closing five undeveloped areas in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest to dispersed camping including a popular spot near Winter Park.

While dispersed camping is generally allowed across most of the National Forest, officials said they will be exploring more sustainable ways to manage popular areas, especially those within 100 feet of streams. Working closely with local officials, the Forest Service outlined five temporary closures while land managers explore long term solutions.

Just south of Winter Park, Vasquez and Little Vasquez creeks serve as drinking water supply for the town’s residents and guests. It is also a key access point to Winter Park’s mountain bike trail system. Vasquez (FSR 156) and Little Vasquez (FSR 148) are narrow access roads to this area.

“(The areas) have become riddled with new visitor-created campsites, crammed between the road, the hillsides and the creek,” forest officials said. “There are no restroom facilities, trash receptacles or permanent campfire rings in this area.”

Growing concerns about wildfire potential and water quality led to the temporary closure order that will prohibit camping within a quarter-mile on either side of Vasquez and Little Vasquez for one year.

Along with these local closures, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest will also be designating Maxwell Falls, southwest of Evergreen, as day use only for the next fives years; camping will be prohibited within a quarter mile of either side of Rainbow Lakes Road, northwest of Nederland, for one year; ending camping within a quarter mile of the creek at Ceran Saint Vrain, west of Jamestown, for one year; and the County Road 68J/FSR 68.2B corridor at Winiger Ridge, west of Gross Reservoir, will be closed to camping for two years.

In addition to these areas, closures are still in place for the Williams Fork, East Troublesome and Cameron Peak fires. These areas are expected to remain closed until critical road and trail stabilization needs can be addressed, officials said.

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