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January 15, 2014
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Answerland: Why is Meadow Mountain closed off near the base?

Q: Can someone figure out the real reason the Forest Service roped off the base of Meadow Mountain? It posted signs, but employees don’t have the same answers. Those are public lands, but there’s not a reason given as to why the area is closed.

A: According to Dave Neely, the district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service’s Holy Cross and Eagle ranger districts, the base of Meadow Mountain from the parking lot is roped off from the bottom only because the area has proven unsafe for sledders. At one point, the hill was a highly popular sledding area, but it was also the site of many injuries. Then, somebody ruined it for everyone, as they say.

“We had people on sleds who were unable to stop, and people coming down the hill into parked cars or the bus terminal or any other number of immovable objects,” said Neely. “There was a lawsuit filed against us, and as a result, we enacted a closure order and have tried different ways of managing the area, including roping it off to protect people from themselves.”

Only the bottom is closed off because that’s the area where most people were having accidents, he said.

The closure area is simply at the bottom of the hill because that’s the area that people sledding were most commonly sliding into the parking lot, and users should know that skiing or snowboarding in the closed area is also prohibited. Neely pointed out that other areas of the mountain are still open to sledders, skiers and riders.

“We’re perfectly fine with people going up the hill and finding safe places to ski, but just not in a place where they might not be able to stop in time,” said Neely.


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The VailDaily Updated Jan 15, 2014 09:30PM Published Jan 15, 2014 09:30PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.