Snowmass winter trail closure starts Friday | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass winter trail closure starts Friday

Staff report

Sky Mountain Park, North Rim and Seven Star Trails will close for the winter season Friday.

Effective immediately, the trails will be off limits to all, including bikers, hikers, dogs and equestrian users.

These closures start each year Dec. 1 to protect the sensitive winter ranges that local elk populations and other wildlife rely on to navigate winter conditions, according to a statement from the Town of Snowmass Village.

Sky Mountain and the North Mesa are critical habitats for elk. Minimizing disturbances allow elk to survive declining winter diets.

"These trails are cut through historical winter ranges, and once the trails are closed, we see the elk start to move in and stay for winter," said Tina White, a Snowmass animal services office. "Wildlife cameras show elk and other wildlife using the trails to access feeding areas during the winter months."

The Town of Snowmass, Pitkin County and the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife manages and strictly enforces the closures. Violating a trail closure can net a fine of as much as $5,000.

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"It's something we take seriously, and there is a zero tolerance policy," White said. "But most people get it. Our community respects the closures and let wildlife have the trails for the season."

The trails will reopen on May 16 for the summer season.

For the latest trail conditions and closures, visit http://www.snowmassrecreation.com.

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