Clear Creek County, CO
Mt. Bierstadt is commonly considered the “easiest” 14er, thanks to its combination of elevation, road access, and proximity to Denver. This makes the mountain appealing for both Coloradans and vacationers alike, often seeing more than 1,000 hikers on a single day. The high levels of use have created significant impacts, most notably trail widening, human waste issues, and dogs off leash. Additionally, unprepared hikers have led to numerous search and rescue efforts by local volunteers. Three years after initially being selected as a Hot Spot, the Leave No Trace team returned to the mountain to continue helping the US Forest Service (USFS) and Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) in strengthening the Leave No Trace education and reach on the mountain.
While on site, the Leave No Trace team hosted a workshop for USFS staff including several district rangers and dispersed recreation rangers. The workshop focused on how these rangers and other USFS staff could communicate Leave No Trace practices to hikers in a way that would curb behaviors having a negative impact on the mountain. The team also spent a morning educating visitors at the Mt. Bierstadt trailhead. Though many of these conversation were brief, they were able to share important Leave No Trace practices before these visitors set off on their hike.
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