Friday news

After extensive, internal staff discussions and weeks of listening to public comments, including comments expressed during two meetings in Basalt with more than 400 people in attendance, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will reopen the Basalt State Wildlife Area shooting range to the public Sept. 15.

Beginning Saturday, the Basalt State Wildlife Area shooting range hours will be 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, until further notice.

The range closed after two individuals using prohibited incendiary tracer ammunition allegedly started the nearly 13,000-acre Lake Christine Fire the evening of July 2. Both suspects are facing felony arson charges.

In preparation for reopening, CPW is in the process of implementing several upgrades at the range, including the installation of fire extinguishers, improvements to the backstop and the permanent removal of vegetation and brush. CPW plans additional upgrades in the near future, many derived from input received from the public at the meetings and suggestions from range users. In addition, NW Regional Manager JT Romatzke says CPW will convene a steering committee to continue looking for long term options and solutions, and make more permanent decisions in approximately 6 months.

Upvalley hotel Occupancies continue impressive growth.

Aspen Snowmass August Combined for a 68.6% occupancy,accoring to Stay Aspen Snowmass.  This was a+9.9% increase over last year.

As previously reported, the event calendar, group activity and a one day shift in the Labor Day Holiday were the collective factors for strong August occupancy.   a new monthly record for Snowmass with 61.8% paid occupancy, an incredible +22.9% increase over last year!  While the occupancy performance was extraordinary in and of itself, it also drove average daily rate +10.3% higher than last year, further cementing this as the most successful August in Snowmass’s history.

Aspen finished the month of August with paid occupancy of 73.2%, which is its second best August ever behind 74.8% in 2016.   the recent trend towards stronger last-minute bookings continues.  Aspen and Snowmass combined saw nearly a +30% increase in in-the-month for-the-month bookings.

September On-the-Books as of August 31:

September combined is pacing slightly down (-2.1%) from last year.  But with the continued trend towards increased last minute bookings, ideal fall conditions in our valley and record high temperatures in Denver, we could experience pick-up this month that could still potentially drive positive occupancy results.

Looking Ahead Towards October + November:

Both October and November are currently pacing behind last year, with October down -18% and November behind by -6%.

The Hanging Lake Trail and parking lot will be temporarily closed from Sept. 17 – 22 and again from Oct. 15-17 for routine parking lot and trail maintenance.

The parking lot and trail closure will begin at 8:00 p.m. on the evening of Sept. 16, any vehicles left in the Hanging Lake parking lot after the closure time will be subject to towing. The Hanging Lake exit ramp will be open for vehicle turn around until 4:00 a.m. on Sept. 17. The ramp, parking lot and trail will reopen again at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 23.

Additionally, the Glenwood Canyon bike path will be closed from the Shoshone power plant to the Bair Ranch Rest Area starting on Sept. 17 through Sept. 19. Bikers can continue to utilize the Glenwood Canyon bike path from Glenwood Springs up to the Shoshone Hydroelectric Plant, but will need to turn around once they reach Shoshone. Bikers can also continue to utilize the bike path from the east entrance of Glenwood Canyon but will need to turn around at the Bair Ranch Rest Area.

The bike path through Glenwood Canyon will reopen on Thursday, Sept. 20 for through-bikers only, but the parking lot and Hanging Lake Trail will remain closed through Sept. 22 for the remaining maintenance work.

The City of Aspen will host an Electric Vehicle (EV) Ride & Drive Event this Friday, September 14th from 1-4pm at the Community Banks of Colorado parking lot at 210 N. Mill Street.

Drivers will have the chance to get behind the wheel of an EV, talk to local EV owners, and learn about dealer discounts available this September and October. Local attendees will be able to test drive the following EV and plug-in hybrid models: Nissan Leaf, Prius Prime, Chevy Bolt, Chevy Volt, and Honda Clarity.

City staff, EV dealer representatives, and some local EV owners will be on-site to share information and experience about driving an EV in the Roaring Fork Valley. Drivers will sign up for 15-minute test drive appointments in-person, on a first come, first serve basis. We look forward to seeing you there!