You have just a few days left to influence what happens at Hanging Lake as the deadline for public comment draws near.

The problem of Hanging Lake's popularity has threatened one of western Colorado's great natural wonders and the U.S. Forest Service has been exploring options to save this popular attraction.

In December, the forest service said it would take public comment for 30 days on the matter before deciding what action to take. So far, there have only been 20 comments.

One of the most likely scenarios is to cut the number of daily visitors allowed on the Hanging Lake trail from 1,000 to just over 600. This could possibly mean utilizing a reservation system, charging an entrance fee, and incorporating a shuttle system to the parking lot.

Zane Mathews

An issue of great concern is the disregard of some visitors who ignore signs prohibiting swimming, and an increase in vandalism. Seems like there are some obvious and easy solutions to the problem.

1) Cut down on the trail hours
2) Increase patrol at the top and along the trail.

One watchman could be stationed at the lake to keep an eye on visitors at the top, while another officer could keep an eye on hikers on the trail. Of course, that one is easier said than done, considering the length of the trail, but at least a constant presence by security personnel would certainly help discourage potential vandals.

People on the trail can help as well by confronting violators, taking pictures of them, and holding them accountable.

Written comments can be submitted via mail or fax at the information below prior to January 22. A new plan is expected to be implemented at least by June, so if you have thoughts, concerns or suggestions now is the time to let your voice be heard. Contact information for submitting comments is below.

Aaron Mayville
District Ranger
℅ Paula K. Peterson, Project Leader
PO Box 190, Minturn, CO 81645

The fax number is 970-827-9343.

[CBSLOCAL.COM]

BONUS VIDEO: Wildlife Scenes From Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge