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The politics of the Roaring Fork Watershed are somewhat complex, arising principally from the fact that the watershed is split awkwardly among four different counties: Pitkin ( Aspen ), Eagle County ( Basalt ), Garfield County ( Glenwood Springs, Carbondale ), and Gunnison County.
The fragmented structure is in contrast to the nearby Eagle Valley, which lies entirely within Eagle County.
The fragmented governmental structure has made the adoption of a comprehensive land-use and growth policy more difficult, especially in regard to Aspen, which has struggled between the extremes of allowing unbridled growth leading to sprawl and restricting growth altogether.
Roaring Fork Conservancy works on river and water issues across these lines and the Roaring Fork Watershed Collaborative works to address regional issues in this geographic area.

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