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Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

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Area Management

The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is part of the 109 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.

General Wilderness Prohibitions

Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.

In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information.

These general prohibitions have been implemented for all national forest wildernesses in order to implement the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act requires management of human-caused impacts and protection of the area's wilderness character to insure that it is "unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment as wilderness." Use of the equipment listed as prohibited in wilderness is inconsistent with the provision in the Wilderness Act which mandates opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation and that wilderness is a place that is in contrast with areas where people and their works are dominant.

Wilderness-Specific Regulations

Wilderness managers often need to take action to limit the impacts caused by visitor activities in order to protect the natural conditions of wilderness as required by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Managers typically implement 'indirect' types of actions such as information and education measures before selecting more restrictive measures. When regulations are necessary, they are implemented with the specific intent of balancing the need to preserve the character of the wilderness while providing for the use and enjoyment of wilderness.

The following wilderness regulations are in effect for this area. Not all regulations are in effect for every wilderness. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information about the regulations listed.

ALL VISITORS

-- Group size is limited to no more than 10 people per group.

-- Campfires are prohibited in the following locations:

1. within 100 feet of any lake, stream, or trail

2. within 1/4 mile of treeline or above treeline

3. within the entire Bear Creek drainage

4. within 1/2 mile of Crater Lake and 1/4 mile of Conundrum Hot Springs, Copper Lake, Geneva Lake, Capitol Lake, Snowmass Lake, and Cathedral Lake.

-- Storing equipment, personal property, or supplies (caching) for longer than 7 days is prohibited.

-- Do not cut switchbacks.

-- Dogs must be leashed at all times (except for working stock dogs and/or dogs used for legal hunting purposes) and leashes may not exceed 6 feet in length.

-- Dogs are prohibited (with the exception of service dogs) within the Conundrum Creek Valley and from Silver Dollar Pond (2.25 miles North of Conundrum Hot Springs) to Triangle Pass (1.5 miles Southwest of Conundrum Hot Springs), including Conundrum Hot Springs.

-- All scented items (food, trash, toiletries, etc.) must be stored in a hard sided, bear-resistant canister.

-- Mechanical transportation (including wagons, game carts, wheelbarrows, or other vehicles) is prohibited.

OVERNIGHT VISITORS

-- A valid self-registration Wilderness Use Permit (available at the trailhead) is required for each group or individual camping.

-- Campfires are prohibited in the following locations:

1. within 100 feet of any lake, stream, or trail

2. within 1/4 mile of Conundrum Hot Springs, Copper Lake, Geneva Lake, Capitol Lake, and Thomas Lakes, except at designated campsites

3. within 300 hundred feet of Twin Lakes

STOCK USERS

-- Using more than 15 head of pack or saddle stock in any group is prohibited.

-- Hitching, tethering, or hobbling pack or saddle stock is prohibited in the following locations:

1. within 100 feet of any lake, stream, or trail

2. within 1/4 mile of Crater Lake, Conundrum Hot Springs, or Snowmass Lake

3. within 300 feet of Twin Lakes

-- Possessing, storing, or transporting any plant material (with the exception of pelletized feet and rolled grains) is prohibited.


Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness.

Wilderness Permit System

A wilderness permit system has been implemented for this wilderness. This involves a mandatory permit, which does not limit use. Wilderness permit systems are implemented to collect information on use levels and patterns and as an education and information tool. People interested in visiting the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness should contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more information about this permit system, which may vary by location or time of the year.



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