Hunt to close Sky Mountain Park trails
Four trails at Sky Mountain Park will close for the fourth rifle season, Wednesday through Nov. 15, while an elk hunt occurs on a portion of the park.
Cozyline, Airline, Skyline Ridge and Ditchline trails will all be closed to public use during the hunt for safety reasons. Closure signs will be posted. Highline, Lowline, Viewline and the downhill-only Deadline Trail will remain open.
Five hunters were chosen in a lottery in the summer for the hunt, which is limited to cow elk. If all of the participating hunters harvest an animal quickly, the trails will reopen before the rifle season comes to a close, according to Gary Tennenbaum, assistant director of Open Space and Trails.
The hunting will take place on about 1,200 acres in the heart of Sky Mountain Park, on open space that stretches between Snowmass Village and Highway 82, between the Brush Creek and Owl Creek valleys. The area was traditionally hunted when it was private property. Pitkin County Open Space and Trails arranged the first limited hunt for cow elk on the open space last fall. One animal was harvested.
The management plan for Sky Mountain Park made a provision for limited hunting to assist Colorado Parks and Wildlife in managing the elk herd in Game Management Unit 43. Annual, limited hunts are planned.
This year’s participating hunters must meet with Senior Ranger John Armstrong before the hunt.
Most of Sky Mountain Park closes to all public use for the winter, starting Dec. 1, to protect wintering wildlife.
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A speeding car on Tuesday morning crashed into and destroyed part of the winter closure gate on Maroon Creek Road.