When the ski lifts shut down in mid-March 2020, the city of Aspen recorded a significant drop in traffic at the entrance to Aspen. But this year, the daily average for the months of March through June is getting back to 2019 levels, up to 23,510 cars per day on average for June 2021.
The Colorado River below Glenwood Springs ran at 2,270 cfs on July 7, which is 34.76% of average for the day. On the same day, the Roaring Fork just upstream of Aspen was flowing at 89.7 cfs, which is 38.7% of average.
While 2020 overall posted the lowest flow levels at the Aspen wastewater treatment plant in 10 years, the fall months had the highest readings for any September-November stretch in that time.
After a low summer season for Aspen and Snowmass tourism last year due to the pandemic, this summer promises to get back on track and even exceed 2019’s occupancy rates.
With the peak flows coming in low and early, streamflows are now registering as low as 24 percent of average, on the Colorado River at Westwater.
“This use, combined with new patterns of social distancing, has translated into visible impacts and degradation on the land,” according to OST director Tennenbaum.
The number of COVID-19 tests given in Pitkin County more than tripled — from an average of 34 tests per day on Nov. 1 to 111 tests per day on Dec. 1, and then kept increasing. But on Jan. 21, the state announced that Curative tests could not be used for asymptomatic testing.
“We not only do have to keep them because there was nowhere to go with them, and then all of a sudden we find ourselves in the middle of a drought. We basically got to the point where we had to get rid of them, whatever price was being offered.”
The number of enforcement contacts — in which rangers had to remind people of the rules through a simple conversation, a warning or a ticket — exploded in the spring, especially in May.