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Forest Service acts to restrict camping at Priest Lake

Plan affects Priest Lake and Mary E sites
Lori Shields poses for a photo as a moose passes behind her at Priest Lake. The camping rules at the lake are proposed to change from dispersed camping to designated camping sites.

The Norwood Ranger District is seeking comments on a proposal to add camping at the Mary E recreation site and limit camping at the Priest Lake site this summer.

The Mary E recreation site, about 5 miles west of Telluride, is currently open for day use only. Under the proposal, camping would be limited to 15 to 25 designated campsites marked with a site post and picnic table. All sites would be offered free of charge. The Forest Service would provide portable toilets and a dumpster.

“We will ensure that camping at Mary E is closely managed, receiving daily visits from our recreation rangers,” said ranger Matt Zumstein. “We also plan to have a campground host living on site to ensure that rules and regulations are followed.”

Additionally, campfires would be prohibited, all dogs would be required to be leashed, quiet hours would be set from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and the maximum stay would be seven days in a 30-day period.

The Priest Lake site, about 11 miles south of Telluride, currently offers dispersed camping and a restroom. The Forest Service proposes to limit camping to eight to 15 designated campsites marked with a site post and a metal fire ring. All sites would be offered free of charge with a stay limit of seven days in a 30-day period. Visitors would continue to be required to pack out their trash.

Written comments must be submitted to project leader Kathy Peckham, P.O. Box 388, Norwood, CO 81423; in person Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays to Kathy Peckham, 1150 Forest St., Norwood, CO 81423; by fax to 970-327-4854; or electronically to comments-rocky-mountain-gmug-norwood@fs.fed.us. The name and mailing address of the person submitting electronic comments must be included.

Comments will be accepted until May 18. Maps for the proposals are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/gmug.