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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Aspen in Pitkin County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The Environment

 
 
The Environment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
1. The Environment Marker
Inscription.  The Independence Pass corridor is home to irreplaceable natural habitat, much of which is protected by federally-designated Wilderness Areas. Wilderness is off-limits to motorized recreation and mountain bikes but provides important low-impact recreational opportunities and is a sanctuary for native plants and animals. Wilderness designations also protect the unique tundra environment at the summit of Independence Pass. The tundra is home to specialized plants and animals which have adapted to the short growing season, harsh weather and extreme temperatures which characterize the highest life zones. Please stay on paths and trails to avoid damaging this fragile environment which can take decades to recover from disturbance.

Flora and fauna
1. Mountain goats in this area are probably descended from a herd that was transplanted from Montana in 1948. These large herbivores sometimes spend their entire lives above tree line.
2. The Yellow-Bellied Marmot's high-pitched squeaks led the pioneers to call it a "whistle pig"
3. This common wildflower is one of many that bloom on the tundra during the 6-week high-altitude
The Environment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 4, 2020
2. The Environment Marker
This marker is on the rightg.
growing season.
4. The ptarmigan lives on the tundra year-round and has superbly adapted camouflage for all seasons.
5. These gnarled trees are called "Krumholtz" trees (German for "twisted wood"). Extreme cold and wind stunts and deforms them.

Recreation
6. The Pass is often the site of both competitive and recreational bike events.
7. Snowmobilers enjoy the Pass during the winter months. Wilderness designation limits motorized travel to road corridors year-round.
8. Climbers can be seen clinging to the high rock faces from a number of pullouts adjacent to the road.
9. Hiking the Continental Divide Trail is one of the most popular activities on the Pass.
10. Skiing on the Pass is popular in the spring when the highway opens to traffic and snow is still plentiful around the summit>

Captions:
1. Mountain goats Photo: Mark Fuller
2. Yellow-Bellied Marmot Photo: Mark Fuller
3. Whipples' Penstemon Photo: Mark Fuller
4. White-Tailed Ptarmigan summer plumage (left) and winter plumage (right)
5. Krumholtz trees Photo: Independence Pass Foundation
6. Road biking Photo: Mark Fuller
7. Snowmobiling Photo: Mark Fuller
8. Rock Climbing Photo: Aspen
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Expeditions

9. Hiking Photo: Mark Fuller
10. Skiing, 2014 Photo: Lou Dawson and Skiiing, 1965 Photo: Aspen Historical Society
 
Erected by The Independence Pass Foundation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsEnvironmentHorticulture & ForestryParks & Recreational Areas.
 
Location. 39° 6.498′ N, 106° 33.834′ W. Marker is near Aspen, Colorado, in Pitkin County. Marker is on Colorado 82, on the left when traveling west. Marker is approximately 17 miles east of Aspen. The road is closed October-May. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Almont CO 81210, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Early Travel Over the Pass (here, next to this marker); The Continental Divide (here, next to this marker); Restoring the "Top Cut" (approx. 1.3 miles away); Independence Pass Foundation (approx. 1.3 miles away); Welcome to the Ghost Town of Independence (approx. 2.1 miles away); a different marker also named Welcome to the Ghost Town of Independence (approx. 2.1 miles away); Independence Townsite (approx. 2.1 miles away); Tent City (approx. 2.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Aspen.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 16, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 33 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 16, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 5, 2021