Renegade off-roaders threaten wildlife in Summit County
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. ” Illegal off-road use in the Wolford Mountain Reservoir area is threatening wildlife in the area, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Just in the past few days, state wildlife officers contacted several Summit County teenagers who were illegally traveling in the closed area on off-road vehicles, said division spokesman Randy Hampton.
“These aren’t random closures. They have a purpose in specific areas,” Hampton said, explaining that the division works with other agencies ” in this case the Bureau of Land Management ” to determine which areas are critical for wildlife.
“(We) didn’t ask the BLM for these closures so we could ruin everybody’s fun. We just need to protect the animals that use this important winter range at a critical time of year. Pushing these animals right now can result in animal deaths from stress and also fewer young animals being born,” Hampton said.
The sage shrub habitat around Wolford Mountain Reservoir is critical winter range for deer and pronghorn antelope, and potentially for elk in the western reaches of the area, Hampton said.
After a winter of hard foraging, the animals are very vulnerable and at the edge of starvation. Every additional bit of stress, whether from motorized use or being chased by unleashed dogs, can lead to unwanted mortality among the game animals.
The stress level can also affect the birthing rate, Hampton said, explaining that the females are trying to store up enough food and energy to feed their calves later in the spring.
“They don’t just fall over dead right there. It doesn’t work that way,” he said.
Closures and travel restrictions around Wolford Mountain Reservoir remain in effect through April 15. The closure includes BLM-administered lands between U.S. Highway 40 and Grand County Road 2 (Gunsight Pass Area) north of Kremmling. It also includes the BLM lands in this area that are west of U.S. Highway 40.
Recreational users are responsible for informing themselves about closures and other restrictions.
Maps showing open travel routes are available at information kiosks on County Road 224 near the landfill, the junction of County Road 25 (Antelope Pass Road) and County Road 22, and along County Road 26 off of Highway 40.
Information and maps are also available at the Kremmling Field Office. All other travel routes and areas on BLM-administered lands within the Wolford Mountain area are currently closed to all motorized and mechanized use.
Additionally, motorized travel will not be allowed on the single-track motorcycle trail over Wolford Mountain until June 1
“Although we1ve had some warm weather, the wildlife is still on the winter range and the roads are very muddy,” said Dave Stout, the burea’s Kremmling-based field manager. “We’re urging the public to observe this closure and to report any violations they see.”
To report violations or for further information regarding the Wolford Mountain area travel restrictions, visit or call the Kremmling Field Office, 2103 E. Park Ave., (970) 724-3000.
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