Spring trail closures take effect April 25th
on the Government Trail and feeder trails.
While it may be tempting to creep over the closure gates for some biking
or hiking, you may want to think twice for these good reasons.
1. Wildlife need a break
Local elk populations have a rough winter and enter the spring with high calorie demands. Combine that with increased recreational pressures, and it becomes even more critical that we give wildlife some time to recoup. There are many wildlife species recovering and reproducing in the rich Aspen understory; porcupine, bobcat, deer, bear and moose have all been observed.
2. Help keep the elk population from dwindling
We’re fortunate enough to live in an area where humans and wildlife can (hopefully) co-habitate successfully. You’re likely to see wildlife here that rivals many of our national parks. The Burnt Mountain closure helps elk calve undisturbed, and forage and nurse in peace which means better birth rates, more successful calves, and a stronger population. Research has shown that disturbance to production areas significantly reduces reproductive success.
3. Generational Calving Grounds are Surrounded by Development
Everyone knows moving is a hassle and just like us—elk need a specific place to calve. Abundant food, water, and seclusion along or below snow line are all criteria. Each year around this time, elk return to this prime real estate. But stress and disturbance could lead them to abandon this critical habitat without options for change. Development has enclosed their traditional calving grounds.
4. There are plenty of other places to bike, hike, run, etc.
In Snowmass Village and the surrounding areas, there are plenty of open trails on which you can recreate to your hearts delight. Open trails during this period include Highline/Lowline, South Rim, North Rim (after May 15th), Ditch Trail, West Government Trail, and Sam’s Knob, Alpine Springs, and Elk Camp work roads.
5. You could face some big fines
All closed trails are clearly marked with gates and signage, so there’s really no excuse to enter a closed area—and violators will be fined. Fines can range from $50 to a maximum of $5,000, and we’re sure there are plenty of other things you’d rather do with that money.
Do your part to protect wildlife which is such a key asset to our village! Stay off closed trails. This elk calf was born last year in the Tom Blake trail area during the trail closure. Your compliance makes a difference.