Winter trail closures in effect | AspenTimes.com

Winter trail closures in effect

Snowmass Village Animal Services has closed the North Rim Trail and Sky Mountain Park for the winter. The seasonal closure is enforced annually to minimize stress and disturbance to wildlife during the winter.

The trails will be closed from Dec. 1 to May 15, reopening May 16.

"The North Rim Trail and Sky Mountain Park serve as a winter migration corridor for elk crossing from Burnt Mountain to Wildcat Ranch," said Laurie Smith, animal services officer. "Due to human development, this corridor has been pinched and needs protection. Recreation pressures are intense in these areas, and trail closures give wildlife a break during the hard winter months."

The mountain shrub zone that surrounds these trails is critical winter range, which provides essential food sources for deer and elk. In addition, the trail closures allow cow elk to migrate toward their calving grounds on Burnt Mountain each spring without disturbance from humans or dogs.

The public is advised to honor closure gates and signs. Violators will be fined. Fines range from $50 to a maximum of $5,000.

Numerous trails throughout Snowmass Village remain open during this period for various types of winter recreation, including the Ditch Trail, the South Rim Trail, Snowmass ski area, the Snowmass Club Golf Course and the Tom Blake Trail.

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"We are fortunate enough to live in a town where wildlife is right outside our door, and it's one of the best parts about living in a rural environment," Smith said. "It's up to us to respect trail closures and ensure that we can continue to successfully coexist with a healthy and abundant wildlife population."

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