Some public lands must be closed for the winter to protect wildlife – The Durango Herald

Closures from December 1 will help mule deer and moose through the colder months

Certain public lands will close on December 1 to protect the moose and mule deer populations that migrate down from higher elevations for the winter. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Beginning Dec. 1, certain areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the city of Durango will close to protect mule deer and elk that migrate down from higher elevations for the winter.

“Public involvement helps ensure these critical areas remain available to wildlife under increased stress during the winter months,” said Connie Clementson, BLM Tres Rios Office Field Manager.

The agencies coordinate to identify key wildlife areas for protection while keeping other areas open for winter recreation.

These area trails are closed to public use from December 1 to April 15 annually, with a possible extension until April 30 if circumstances warrant:

Grandview Ridge

  • Trailheads Big Canyon and Sale Barn (access east of US Highway 160).
  • South Rim Trail, portions of Sidewinder and Cowboy trails on BLM land accessible via Carbon Junction Trail or Crite’s Connect.
  • Grandview BLM trails (access from Three Springs).

Animas City Mountain

  • BLM lands above the lower loops (about 1.5 miles above the 32nd Street trailhead).

Twin Buttes Area

  • All upper trails as indicated.

Bodo . State Nature Reserve

  • Exception: Smelter Mountain Trail is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dogs are prohibited. Small game hunting is permitted in the area south of La Plata County Road 210.

The Perins Peak area east of County Road 208 and west of Hogsback will be closed through July 31. Perins Peak is pedestrian-only the rest of the year, and the northernmost trails on Animas City are also closed until July 31 to protect nesting peregrine falcons.

These areas remain open for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and skiing:

Horse Gulch, Telegraph, Crites and Skyline areas

  • Meadow, Stacy’s, Mike’s, Telegraph, Crite’s and Sugar trails.
  • The whole Raider Ridge Trail to medicine.
  • Down and Out and Snake Charmer trails.
  • Trailhead Carbon Junction at Highway 3 to Telegraph via Crite’s Connection are open.

Lower Twin Buttes Trails

  • Access via US Highway 160 west; upper loops are closed.

All of Dalla Mountain Park

  • Access from Junction Creek Road.

Overend Mountain Park

  • Access via Leyden Street and Hidden Valley Circle.

Trails around Fort Lewis College and along the Rim

  • Lions Den, Chapman Flow and Jump Line.
  • The Rim, Squawker, Talker, Skyline and Shocker trail (accessible from the Powerline Trail).

The Colorado Route

  • Access at Junction Creek.

A 2.4 mile loop trail on the lower portion of Animas City Mountain

  • Access from the Birket Drive and 32nd Street trailheads or Dalla Mountain Park.

CPW data on year-round deer and elk movements indicate that closing areas to human activity is necessary to protect critical foraging habitats and allow the animals to conserve energy for winter survival.

BLM is reminding those who are recreating this winter to remember to observe wildlife from a distance and keep dogs under control at all times.

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