Rebecca Sokol


Colorado's fourteen-thousand-foot mountains, commonly known as fourteeners, are attracting visitors in unprecedented numbers. As people flock to the state's most popular peaks, hikers degrade the environment and create safety problems. This Comment addresses potential approaches to recreation management on fourteeners and argues that traditional use-limit management methods, like visitor quotas, do not align with sustainability objectives. The Forest Service, the primary land management agency for most fourteeners, has a duty to promote sustainable recreation by incorporating environmental, social, and economic factors into its decision-making processes. However, the Forest Service tends to rely on use limits even though these methods would not be the most scientifically or socially sustainable management choice on fourteeners. This Comment explains why the Forest Service often resorts to use limits to manage recreation. In doing so, it provides an analysis of the agency's historical role as a land regulator. This Comment also suggests an alternative strategy to mitigate recreational overuse on fourteeners that focuses on fostering sustainability through changing hiker behavior.