The problem of overcrowding at Western Colorado's Hanging Lake is well-documented, now we can add Maroon Bells to Colorado's list of overcrowding problems.

The problems of overcrowding at Hanging Lake and Maroon Bells are similar. For one thing, huge throngs of people on the trails day in and day out threaten the beauty and wonder of both destinations. The second issue is the problem of access due to limited parking availability.

In reality, limited parking at both sites is actually a blessing in disguise for the respective trails, but it creates other issues that the Forest Service has to deal with.

There has been talk of implementing a shuttle service at Hanging Lake as well as possibly limiting the number of daily visitors and charging a use fee.

At Maroon Bells near Aspen, a shuttle service is already in place, and parking at Maroon Lake is not even allowed between 8am and 5pm.

According to the Aspen Times, authorities are studying the transportation issues at Maroon Bells to formulate some sort of long-term solution. So far there are no plans to limit the number of visitors to Maroon Bells, but you never say never.

Colorado is a wildly popular tourist destination - which is both a blessing and a curse. Everybody loves what tourist dollars do for the state's economy, but the natives who also want to enjoy Colorado's many wonders are likely less than thrilled. Here in the Grand Valley, we SAY we want more people to come visit, but, I can't help but wonder if that's really true outside of tourism industry circles.

The overcrowding issues are not going away any time soon, and plans and strategies that are formulated now will go a long way toward securing the future enjoyment of Colorado for natives and tourists alike.

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