Weminuche Wilderness required registration program postponed

By Ann Bond
Special to The SUN

The San Juan and Rio Grande national forests will be postponing implementation of a required registration program for the Weminuche Wilderness, which was slated to begin this summer. The project has been postponed due to budget constraints on the forests.

“A recent shift in budget priorities has affected our ability to implement this important project right now,” said Brian White, San Juan National Forest wilderness team lead. “The Forest Service acknowledges that the resource and social issues driving the need for the registration project still need to be addressed, and we will continue working to manage negative impacts to natural resources and visitor experiences.”

For the past 15 years, the Forest Service has collected data on natural resource and social impacts across the Weminuche Wilderness, and the data have shown many heavily used areas are suffering from degraded campsite and trail conditions, degraded water quality and less opportunity for solitude. Instead of installing registration boxes at wilderness trailheads and requiring that visitors sign in, as originally planned this year, the Forest Service will instead concentrate on wilderness patrols, trail clearing and improved trailhead information to educate visitors on regulations and Leave No Trace ethics.

For more information, please contact Brian White at brianwhite@fs.fed.us or 385-1246.

This story was posted on April 10, 2014.