ASPEN, Colo. — A Colorado recreation official says visitation to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area outside Aspen has increased by almost 40 percent in the past two years, putting a strain on staff and resources.

The Aspen Daily News reported Thursday that the scenic area serves as the gateway to the Maroon-Bells Snowmass Wilderness.

Shelly Grail Braudis, recreation staff manager for the Aspen/Sopris Ranger District of the White River National Forest, says more than 320,000 people have visited the Maroon Bells Recreation Area in 2017.

The influx of visitors forced officials to put in place an overnight camping permit system in an effort to reduce impacts to the wilderness. The permit system begins next summer.

Information from: Aspen Daily News,

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