Elk hunt to close parts of Sky Mountain Park next week | AspenTimes.com

Elk hunt to close parts of Sky Mountain Park next week

Staff report

Four trails at Sky Mountain Park will close starting Wednesday for the fourth rifle season, Nov. 24-28, while an elk hunt occurs on a portion of the park.

Cozyline, Airline, Skyline Ridge and Ditchline trails will be closed during the hunt, and closure signs will be posted. Highline, Lowline, Viewline and the downhill-only Deadline Trail will remain open, according to a news release from Pitkin County.

Five hunters are chosen each spring through a lottery. The hunt is limited to cow elk and takes place on about 1,200 acres in the heart of Sky Mountain Park, which is between Snowmass Village and Highway 82 and between the Brush Creek and Owl Creek valleys.

The management plan for Sky Mountain Park makes a provision for limited hunting to assist Colorado Parks and Wildlife in managing the elk herd in Game Management Unit 43. The hunt also increases elk movement and prevents a refuge effect in the park could negatively impact the habitat through overuse and intensive browsing, according to the county. Last year, two elk were harvested during the hunt. Find out more about the hunt at http://www.pitkinoutside.org/ecofinder/learn.

Starting Dec. 1, most of Sky Mountain Park closes to all public use for the winter to protect wintering wildlife. The winter closure extends through May 15; the park reopens May 16.

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