Cops: Upper Lost Man snowmobilers caught on camera need to know rules | VailDaily.com
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Cops: Upper Lost Man snowmobilers caught on camera need to know rules

A snowmobiler caught on camera going up and down the Upper Lost Man Trail on Independence Pass (Courtesy photo).

Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies want to speak with a group of snowmobilers caught on camera illegally poaching a trail on Independence Pass in February.

However, they don’t want to punish them.

“We want to talk to them to let them know they can’t snowmobile up there,” Deputy Grant Jahnke said Thursday. “We want to make it educational.”



The Sheriff’s Office posted images of the group on its social media sites Wednesday asking for the public’s help in trying to identify the individuals.

The group of four to five people were photographed in early February snowmobiling up and down the Upper Lost Man Trail, he said. That trailhead is near the summit of the 12,095-foot Independence Pass.



Snowmobiles are only allowed on Highway 82 when the paved road is covered by snow in winter, according to U.S. Forest Service rules.

Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies want to talk to the party of 4-5 people and inform them of the rules, but not punish them.
Image courtesy Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office

However, there are no signs at the top of the Pass or along the road on the way up delineating the snowmobile regulations, and snowmobilers must take it upon themselves to read the Forest Service website to find out the rules, Jahnke said.

It is not yet known if the snowmobilers did any damage, though it appears unlikely because the area was covered in snow, he said.

The incident does not compare to the actions of Colorado resident David Lesh, who was caught riding his snowmobile near the Upper Lost Man trailhead in July 2019, Jahnke said.

“There’s a big difference between February and July,” he said. “Winter’s a lot different than summer.”

Snowmobilers on Independence Pass going off the designated areas to ride.
Image courtesy Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office

Jahnke said deputies don’t think it’s necessary to punish the winter snowmobilers, and just want to make the rules clear.

“We’re not looking to drop the hammer on anyone,” he said. “We just want to say, ‘Let’s protect the area … and make sure we can all continue to use it in the future.’”


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