ASPEN – Sky Mountain Park and Glassier Open Space will both close to recreation on Thursday, Dec. 1. The closures, to minimize human impacts on wintering wildlife, will be in place until May 16, 2017.
“Open Space and Trails has fought an uphill battle to win compliance from members of the public who believe trail rules do not apply in the snowy months,” said Pryce Hadley, lead ranger for Pitkin County Open Space and Trails. ”Visitors and locals need to know that complying with the leash law and seasonal closures are crucial to protecting pregnant cow elk and other stressed animals that are struggling to conserve calories during the winter months.”
Cow elk may forage less when they are under stress, putting their unborn calves at risk. Moving through snow to escape human intrusion is taxing to species that are trying to survive the harsh winter months, Hadley explained.
Closed starting Dec. 1 are:
- Most Sky Mountain Park trails, including Cozyline, Airline, Skyline Ridge, Deadline, Ditchline, Viewline, Rim Trail North, Seven Star Trail and Upper North Mesa Equestrian Trail.
- Glassier Open Space, including Glassier Road, and the equestrian and bike trails.
- Brush Creek Trail is closed to human use from Dec. 1 through March 31 and closed to dogs through May 15.
- Perham Creek Trailhead is closed Dec. 1 through March 31.
- Aspen Valley Ranch Trail is closed Dec. 1 through March 31.
- The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority will close the Rio Grande Trail between Rock Bottom Ranch and Catherine Bridge on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. It reopens April 30 at 5 p.m.
- The Rio Grande Trail for a roughly one-mile stretch in lower Snowmass Canyon is already closed to dogs for the winter season. The closure area is marked with signs.
- Bionaz Gulch and Wheatley Gulch are closed Dec. 1 through April 30.