Government Trail closure now in place

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” The annual closure of the Government Trail to protect elk in their calving grounds is now in effect, the U.S. Forest Service announced. The closure will be in place until June 20.

The trail traverses the national forest between Buttermilk on the Aspen side and the Snowmass ski area. The area is a critical spring transition habitat for elk as they move up in elevation from winter range. The roads and trails on the ski areas themselves are open.

The Government Trail and adjacent terrain is closed to all uses from May 15 through June 20. Additional trails in the town of Snowmass Village that access the Government Trail also are closed.

Violators of the closures can be fined between $275 and $5,000.

“Spring elk habitat that is undisturbed by human presence is extremely limited in the upper Roaring Fork Valley,” said Phil Nyland, wildlife biologist with the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District. “Until higher elevations are free of snow and greened up in summer, elk are vulnerable to disturbance. Females may abandon their young calves if disturbed.”

For more information contact, Tim Lamb of the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District at 945-3316.