Will Call column: You can pitch in to help Hanging Lake
September 8, 2016
If you're anything like me, then you probably avoid Hanging Lake except when family or friends visit.
It's one of those local icons that's too picturesque for its own good. These days, it seems like even going in winter or by moonlight doesn't mean you won't share the boardwalk with crowds from all over the country. Even under ideal conditions, that has an impact on the trail and the lake, and what's happening is far from ideal.
Personally, I'll always take a downgrade in scenery in exchange for something a bit less trodden. I particularly avoid anything with a visitor's center.
That said, I appreciate the existence of such places, both for their innate beauty and for making solitude possible elsewhere. If everyone who goes to Delicate Arch were off trying to find their only little spot in the canyon country, I'd have to give up on Moab entirely.
I have also discovered that I'm fiercely protective of our landmarks, even though I rarely visit them. I'm incensed at what I've heard about trash and worse at the Maroon Bells and Conundrum Hot Springs, and I cheered when I saw people called out for posting photos of themselves on the Hanging Lake log online. Obviously the state as a whole feels the same way, as there's been a lot of press about the graffiti problem.
Really, though, there's no use griping about visitors. They're here for the same reasons we are, they're the backbone of our economy, and the vast majority of them act responsibly.
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Instead, I recommend rolling up your sleeves and helping reverse some of that damage. Sign up with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers to repair the Hanging Lake trail from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Visit http://www.rfov.org for information or to sign up.
The trail work season is winding down, and I'll admit that one thing or another got in the way of me lending a hand this year. I did do the Hanging Lake project last year, and didn't regret it.
They close the trail, so you have a shot at having the lake almost to yourself, and no one is going to force you to work harder than you want to. Plus, the people are pleasant and dinner is catered.
I should probably admit that the allure of Aspen's Mac and Cheese Festival may drag me away from a work day, but I'll certainly be renewing my membership and adding the last two public projects to my calendar.
If you can't make it, or even if you can, consider making a donation so Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, the Mount Sopris Nordic Council and their ilk can keep up the good work.
Will Grandbois is still amused that someone asked about canoe rentals at the lake. He can be reached at 970-384-9105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.