Seasonal trail closures take effect April 25

Staff report
Several trails in the Two Creeks to West Buttermilk area will be closed this spring to protect elk calving habitat.
Town of Snowmass Village/Courtesy photo |

Snowmass Village Animal Services has announced the dates of the annual closure of the Two Creeks to West Buttermilk area.

May and June is the primary elk calving season. The closed area provides protection for a specific habitat that elk choose year after year for calving due to the abundance of water, food sources and seclusion.

“We are lucky enough to have a wildlife presence in our backyard that rivals national parks,” said Laurie Smith, Snowmass Village animal services officer. “Protecting these species is important enough that four major entities that manage our integrated trail system work together to improve trail signage and public information on the seasonal closures.”

In 2013, wildlife monitoring cameras revealed multiple closure violations by recreators, the town of Snowmass Village said in a statement. Stress and disturbance from humans can lead to abandonment of this critical habitat or the abandonment of elk calves. Cow elk are recovering from winter and have high energy demands. They need to forage and nurse without being startled or disrupted.

“Athletes may not even realize they have disturbed wildlife during birthing,” Smith said. “It’s up to all of us — mountain bikers, cross-country runners, or dog walkers — to respect these constraints and allow our local wildlife population to thrive.”

The public is advised to honor closure gates and signs. The town has a zero- tolerance policy, and violators will be fined. Fines can range from $50 to a maximum of $5,000.

Trails closed in the area:

Tom Blake Trail: Closed April 25 to June 21

Anaerobic Nightmare Trail, Sequel: Closed April 25 to June 21

Government Trail: Closed May 15 to June 21

Snowmass Village trails remaining open during this period include:

Highline/Lowline trails

South Rim Trail

North Rim Trail (after May 15)

Sky Mountain Park (after May 15)

Ditch Trail and West Government Trail

Sam’s Knob, Alpine Springs and Elk Camp work roads