BLM makes winter trail closures clear in Carbondale’s Prince Creek area | AspenTimes.com

BLM makes winter trail closures clear in Carbondale’s Prince Creek area

A trail is gated and signed for winter closure on the Crown off of Prince Creek Road. The Bureau of Land Management made the closure more obvious this winter. Trails above South Porcupine are closed Dec. 1 to April 15 to benefit wildlife.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management made it clearer this year that a winter closure was in effect on part of a major trail network for mountain bikers outside of Carbondale.

The Colorado River Valley Field Office of the BLM erected four new gates on trails that access the Crown in the Prince Creek Road network, according to agency spokesman David Boyd. Last year some of the main arteries were closed with gates and signs but rules weren't entirely clear on some single-track trails.

The winter closures are in effect from Dec. 1 to April 15.

The BLM also will "increase its presence" on the trail network to educate people and enforce the closures, Boyd said.

The primary reason for the closure is to benefit wildlife, Boyd said. There is a limited amount of calories available to elk and deer during winter months, he said. Human disturbance causes big game to burn precious energy.

"Another reason is to protect trails and roads" from damage from use when they are wet, Boyd said.

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In the Prince Creek network of trails, South Porcupine and the trails lower in elevation are open throughout the winter. That includes more than 1 mile of new single-track created this fall by Pitkin County Open Space and Trails and its partners. The new stretch is parallel to Prince Creek Road.

Mike Pritchard, executive director of the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, said he believes riders will respect the closures despite the temptation when conditions are so favorable in this dry fall. The closure gates and signs remove chances for confusion, he said. The BLM also provides options for cyclists at the lower elevations.

"I think it's really good that the BLM provided these exceptions close to the trailhead," Pritchard said.

Other BLM areas in the Roaring Fork Valley with winter closures from Dec. 1 to April 15 include the south portion of Basalt Mountain, Fisher Creek-Cattle Creek north of Carbondale, Light Hill south of Basalt, the north side of the Red Hill Special Resource Management Area outside of Carbondale, all of the Crown except the trails below South Porcupine, Thompson Creek-Holgate Mesa, southwest of Carbondale and Williams Hill southeast of Basalt.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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