Ranger district moves to winter uses | VailDaily.com

Ranger district moves to winter uses

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

MINTURN — The Holy Cross and Eagle districts of the White River National Forest have converted the forest road system from wheeled use to winter use. A number of gates were closed for the winter and “Over the Snow Vehicle Only” restrictions went up.

Many roads are groomed by partners for snowmobiling. Those gates will re-open when the partners begin grooming operations. The district manages three roads for wheeled access to the snowline during the winter months. They include Coffee Pot Road (No. 600), Hardscrabble Road (No. 413) south of Eagle, and Muddy Pass Road (No. 700) from Wolcott. Snowmobilers can drive their trucks/trailers to snowline and offload their machines rather than riding on bare ground for an extended portion of a dry road. It’s important to note that this exception does not allow for wheeled vehicle use past the snowline.

“With winter now upon us, we want to preserve the snowpack for the snowmobiler and non-motorized winter user,” Deputy District Ranger Aaron Mayville said. “Thank you for following the Winter Motor Vehicle Use Map, and have a safe winter enjoying your National Forests.”

Don’t disturb wildlife

Additionally, Berry Creek Road (No. 774) to June Creek Road (No. 717) offers winter motorized access to the Red & White area, north of Interstate 70. This area is winter range habitat for mule deer and elk, and it is important that snowmobile use does not displace and harm these wildlife populations. There have been recent reports of illegal snowmobile use from Mountain Star, Wildwood, Wildridge, and Singletree into the Red & White area.

“Within the past couple weeks, the gate on the Metcalf Road has been vandalized, and the fence torn down,” Mayville said. “Please keep snowmobiles on open designated routes, and give us a call at our office before destroying property out of frustration.”

Motorized users are responsible knowing where they can and can’t take a motorized vehicle. Refer to the Motor Vehicle Use Maps available free at the district office in Minturn or online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/whiteriver/recreation.

For more information, call the Eagle-Holy Cross Office at 970-827-5715 or stop by during business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., then 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.