Changes Planned For Colorado Wilderness Area

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CREEDE, Colo. (AP) -- The U.S. Forest Service plans to start requiring people to register before they enter the Weminuche Wilderness in southwest Colorado.

The free registration will begin next year. Officials say it will help them monitor use of the wilderness area and gauge their efforts for minimizing impacts.

Camping is popular there, and officials say they're already seeing signs of degraded vegetation, wetlands and water quality.

San Juan National Forest recreation manager Brian White says use of the Weminuche Wilderness is likely to grow along with population growth, interest in the outdoors, and marketing by the outdoor tourism industry, and officials want to protect the area so they don't have to limit its use in the future.

The Forest Service plans public forums this spring to explain the registration program.