Thursday, July 05, 2012

All is quiet at Conundrum w/Cow Carcasses

It appears that conditions at the favorite backcountry spot, Conundrum Hot Springs, are back to normal after 12 cow carcasses were found in the area this past spring. Forest Service rangers on Monday returned from a four-day patrol in the Conundrum Hot Springs area to check the condition of the carcasses, water quality and trail conditions. Water quality tests on the hot springs pool and tributary stream revealed E. Coli and fecal coliform counts that exceed drinking water but not recreational water quality standards for both sources, according to Andrew Larson, lead wilderness ranger for the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District in the White River National Forest. The results are consistent with the majority of previous tests, he noted, and water contamination in the springs is normal given the amount of people who camp in the area and fail to pack out their waste. The springs and campsites, located at an elevation of 11,200 feet in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area above the Castle Creek Valley, are a concern for Forest Service officials not only because of the cows but also because of the overuse of the area, which can see up to 120 people camping there on any given summer night...more

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