Rocky Mountain National Park considers closing Crater Trail
Due to excessive erosion and damage to sensitive natural and cultural resources, the Crater Trail, a short trail located on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, will remain closed to use for the remainder of this year, according to the National Park Service.
The Crater Trail is a 1-mile dead-end trail that is normally open to visitor use by mid-August each year after the bighorn sheep lambing season. The trail leads to the top of the Continental Divide and provides an overview of “The Crater” located on the west side of Specimen Mountain.
Park staff are considering closing the Crater Trail permanently. The trail was never officially designed and constructed. Instead, it evolved from an informal footpath.
Park personnel say the trail is not sustainable in its current location and is subject to erosion, which is damaging cultural and natural resources, including alpine tundra. Improving the trail in its current location is not desirable because the cost of long term maintenance would be excessive, according to park officials.
The trail leads directly to the Specimen Mountain Research Natural Area (RNA). There are three RNAs in the park. These designated areas are an integral part of the park’s designation as an International Biosphere Reserve. RNAs contain prime examples of natural resources and processes that have value for baseline and long-term studies for scientific and educational purposes.
Providing direct access runs counter to the purposes for which the Specimen Mountain RNA was established.
Park staff welcome comments on the proposal to permanently close the Crater Trail. Provide written comments no later than Sept. 30. The preferred method for providing comments is to use the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ROMO – from the home page click on the “Crater Trail Project.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.
Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.
If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Adam’s Camp Colorado, an organization that provides a camp at the YMCA of the Rockies in Grand County for children and adults with disabilities, is looking for some help on a number of upcoming Sundays.