Winter travel rules put into effect in Aspen-area forests
The White River National Forest will apply its winter travel rules and close many roads and trails starting Saturday.
Winter travel rules require all wheeled vehicles, including bicycles, to stick to plowed routes or designated roads open through special order.
The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District and other U.S. Forest Service offices in the White River National Forest have Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps that identify routes and areas designated for “over the snow” travel, including snowmobiles. They are free or available online.
“Please respect the shift from summer to winter travel even if the snowpack is minimal,” the White River National Forest Supervisor’s Office said in a statement. “Seasonal winter closures are in place to provide critical winter habitat for wildlife, for winter recreational activities and for visitor safety.”
Snowmobiling clubs groom many routes through volunteer time and by collecting donations. Their work should be respected by obeying all signage and travel restrictions, the Forest Service said.
Fat tire bikes are limited to plowed routes that are open to wheeled vehicles or designated routes open through special order.
“Currently, all (Forest Service) trails are closed to fat-tire bikes in the winter in accordance with the White River National Forest 2011 Travel Management Plan,” the agency said.
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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.