USFS Opens Bear Creek Access Gate
by Karen James
Mar 17, 2011 | 4170 views | 3 3 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href=" ">Click here</a> to download a pdf of this map.
Click here to download a pdf of this map.
TELLURIDE – After closing backcountry gates from the Telluride Ski Resort onto National Forest System lands in Upper Bear Creek Basin last December due to concerns about trespass on private landholdings in the basin, the US Forest Service announced Wednesday the establishment of a new point restoring public access to the area.

Located on Palmyra Peak and accessed from Lift 12, the gate is expected to be open to the public as early as the morning of Thursday, March 17.

“This decision restores reasonable public access to Alta Lakes Basin, Lena Basin, Bear Creek and also provides for future discussions and exploration of ski access issues with local government and interested publics before the next ski season,” said Norwood District Ranger Judy Schutza in a press release.

The new gate was arrived at in collaboration with the Telluride Mountain Club, with whom the USFS worked closely. The TMC will assist with public education and information about legal routes and access to terrain that doesn’t affect private land.

“They had some good ideas on how we could position the access point and not trespass,” said Schutza.

“We are very happy to work in partnership with the Forest Service,” and have been working with USFS presenting “a plan that includes a few more gates. They have committed to working with us on this and we’re happy to get something done this year,” said TMC President Tor Anderson.

Nevertheless, the price of access into the basin is no walk in the park.

“It’s a pretty long hike in,” Schutza admitted.

Still, “It will give backcountry skiers more options where they can contour around Bear Creek Basin and there’s a short uphill hike and they can avoid private property more easily.”

“We’re still asking that people respect private property,” she said.

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March 18, 2011
Hey Dave Riley; Palmyra Peak needs a T-bar ride to the top; like they have at Crested Butte. The New York Times faulted T-Ride for having to walk to the top of Palmyra - I like the walking idea myself personally; once again, I am outvoted ;-)

Even if David Chapman gets access to the upper Creek, I wish him the best of luck keeping people off his land; the Sheriff will not do it, even then it would at best be a small fine like a parking ticket; Chapman's only recourse is to sue people in court for damages; so, he can go to small claims court and sue people for $5 in damages for crossing his unoccupied land - this is truly a joke, funniest thing I have seen in years.

Out of bounds skiing is now a major 50 million dollar a year industry, it is here to stay; Chapman may as will be whistling dixie if he thinks he can keep skiiers off his mining claims, he will spend more on attorneys than what it is worth.
March 16, 2011
Nobody is going to respect the private property owners rights up. That map makes it really clear that you cannot exit upper bear creek into lower bear creek without crossing private property. So just putting a sign up and asking people to read a map and respect private property rights is not going to work. A lot of people already think they have some sort of inalienable right to traverse private lands as if they were public lands and this is just an open invitation to do so.
March 16, 2011
Yes, Ms. Schutza...the first and last thing on our minds will be respecting private property..uh, that you respected the right of the people to use public land with three weeks left in the season..

uh, huh..