Four Sky Mountain Park trails to close for elk hunt over 5 days in Snowmass
For five days starting Wednesday, four Sky Mountain Park trails will close for the fourth rifle season while an elk hunt occurs on a portion of the park.
The hunt, which five people were chosen for last spring through a lottery and is limited to cow elk, takes place every year on about 1,200 acres between Snowmass Village and Highway 82 in the heart of Sky Mountain Park, according to a Pitkin County news release.
The management plan for the park made a provision for limited hunting to assist Colorado Parks and Wildlife in managing the area’s resident elk herd.
This year’s elk hunt will occur from Nov. 13 through the 17, and the Cozyline, Airline, Skyline Ridge and Ditchline trails will be closed to the public as a result for safety reasons, the news release said. Highline, Lowline, Viewline and the downhill-only Deadline Trail will remain open.
The news release also noted that most of Sky Mountain Park closes to all public starting Dec. 1 to protect wintering wildlife. The park reopens May 16.
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Studies by Colorado Parks and Wildlife show the survival of elk calves in the Roaring Fork Valley has dropped about 33 percent in the last decade. White River National Forest officials said they need to act to try to reserve that trend. They are seeking public comment on their plan.