Forest Service details camping rules for Independence Pass spectators
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Olympics are winding down,but local sports enthusiasts are gearing up for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which returns to Breckenridge for the second year with an Aug. 24 stage start that will see riders heading up over Hoosier Pass and down the Front Range of the Rockies to Colorado Springs.
The local organizing committee for the race is hosting an Aug. 15 informational meeting to give detailed information on community impacts, including road closures, parking, transportation and a detailed event schedule. The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Breckenridge Town Hall, 150 Ski Hill Road. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.
Meanwhile, fans hoping to get a close look at the racers as they traverse Independence Pass won’t be able to camp at the top of the pass like last year. U.S. Forest Service rangers say that last year’s crowd was rough on the fragile tundra in the area, leaving behind piles of human waste. As a result, they closed the area to campers for this year’s race, to the dismay of some fans who said the area was well policed and cleaned up after last year’s race.
Other camping areas along Independence Pass Road will be open, but some have already filled up, including Difficult Campground.
To provide more camping, the Forest Service will open the Difficult Day Use area for walk-in tent camping on a first come first serve basis on Aug. 21 and Aug. 22.
Weller Campground (11 sites, max stay 5 days), Lost Man Campground (10 sites, max stay 14 days), and Lincoln Gulch Campground (7 sites, max stay 14 days) are all first come first serve sites.
Roadside camping is another option between the winter gate, between MM 47 and MM 56. The roadside camping is being allowed as an exception to the normal rule that bans camping within .25 miles of roads. All vehicles, including trailers, must be safely parked off the traveled portion of the highway. Spectators must ensure their areas are clean of debris and trash after they leave.
The areas immediately adjacent to the pass will be limited to day use only.