The US Forest Service is planning changes to two popular areas near Telluride, Colorado that will affect camping in both areas.

The two areas affected are the Mary E and Priest Lake recreation sites. The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest Norwood Ranger District are planning changes beginning this summer.

The proposed changes for the Mary E recreation site, five miles west of Telluride, will add 15 to 25 campsites that would be marked with a campsite pole and picnic table. The area will also get portable toilets and a dumpster.

Currently, Mary E is only available for day use so adding campsites will allow people to camp if they want to stay more than one day. There will be a number of rules for campers and the plan includes an on-site camp host to ensure rules are followed. One of the most significant rules is that campfires will be strictly prohibited.

The Priest Lake recreation site, 11 miles south of Telluride, will see changes in the management of the area with camping changing from dispersed to designated campsites. The plan is to make 8 to 15 campsites available and camping will only be allowed in designated campsites which will be marked with a site post and metal fire ring.

Visitors to the Priest Lake area will be required to pack out their own trash as no trash containers or dumpsters will be in the area. The vault restroom currently at the site will remain.

Camping at both Mary E and Priest Lake recreation areas will be free. Camping will be limited to a maximum of seven days in any 30 day period.

Those wishing to comment on the proposed changes have until May 18 to submit those comments which can be sent in the mail, submitted online, or in person by visiting the Norwood Ranger District Office at 1150 Forest Street. Maps for the Mary E and Priest Lake proposals are available online.

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