It may still be nice outside to go out for a hike, but Colorado wildlife officials are reminding trail users that closures in certain areas take effect Dec. 1 to protect critical winter range for elk and deer.
Every year, certain areas around the state are closed, typically from Dec. 1 to April 15, to allow big game undisturbed space and range to survive winter, which can be a difficult time for animals trying to preserve energy.
Matt Thorpe, the Durango-based wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said it’s even more important to avoid those areas as development across Southwest Colorado encroaches on winter range.
“We keep losing winter range in this area,” he said. “They have fewer and fewer places to go.”
Thorpe said he understands that favorable weather drives people outside. But it’s important people avoid wildlife closure areas to give elk and deer a better shot at surviving the hard winter months.
“They are important for wildlife,” he said. “It’s their hard time of year to make it through.”
Closures are in effect for properties managed by CPW, the Bureau of Land Management and the city of Durango. Violations could result in a citation and fine. All closures are marked with signs.
Closures in effect Dec. 1 to April 15 include:
Bodo State Wildlife Area: Public access is prohibited from Dec. 1 to April 15.The Smelter Mountain Trail is open for hikers only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dogs are prohibited.Perins Peak State Wildlife Area: Public access is prohibited from Dec. 1 to April 15. Closures remain in effect through July 31 in areas east of County Road 208.Big Canyon and Sale Barn trailheads off U.S. Highway 160 are closed to all public use.South Rim Trail, including portions of Sidewinder and Cowboy trails on BLM land accessed from Carbon Junction trail or Crites Connection.Grandview BLM trails accessed from Three Springs.BLM lands above the lower loop trail on Animas City Mountain.All upper trails in the Twin Buttes open-space area.To report violations, call 247-0855.