BLM winter wildlife closures begin Dec. 1 in Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties
SILT — Annual winter closures to motorized and mechanized vehicles begin Saturday, Dec. 1, in specific areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Colorado River Valley Field Office to protect critical big-game winter range and prevent road damage.
Winter closures occur annually from Dec. 1 to April 15 in multiple locations in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties. In several additional areas of Eagle County, the winter closures are in effect from Jan. 16 to April 15. All of the areas continue to be open to non-motorized and non-mechanized recreation opportunities, such as hiking, snowshoeing, horseback riding and skiing.
Most roads into these seasonally closed areas are gated. The public may notice new gates in some areas such as north of Newcastle and the Crown near Carbondale as the BLM implements its 2015 Travel Management Plan. A complete list and maps of the areas affected by these winter closures are available online at https://go.usa.gov/xP64j and at the Colorado River Valley Field Office in Silt, 2300 River Frontage Road.
Additional seasonal closures include the upper Transfer Trail gate above Glenwood Springs, which was closed Friday, Nov. 23, to maintain conditions for snowmobiling. The lower Transfer Trail gate will be managed based on snow conditions. BLM’s Wolcott and Gypsum campgrounds in Eagle County are closed for the winter and will reopen next spring.
“We appreciate the public’s cooperation in helping us protect wildlife and public lands,” said Gloria Tibbetts, BLM Colorado River Valley acting field manager.
People who use these BLM-managed lands in the winter can help reduce stress to wintering deer and elk by observing wildlife from a distance and keeping dogs under control, preferably leashed. For additional information or to report violations in these areas, call the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office in Silt at 970-876-9000.
BLM winter closures
The following areas are closed to motorized and mechanized vehicles from Saturday, Dec. 1, to Monday, April 15:
• Basalt Mountain (south portion)
• Boiler-East Elk Creek (north of New Castle)
• Dry Rifle Creek (east of Rifle Gap Reservoir)
• East Eagle-Bellyache Ridge except Red Neck Ridge and Boneyard mountain bike trails paralleling County Road 21 (east of Eagle)
• Fisher Creek-Cattle Creek (north of Carbondale)
• Flatiron Mesa (south of Rifle)
• Light Hill (south of Basalt)
• Red Canyon-Hells Pocket-Bocco Mountain (north of Interstate 70 and south of Castle Peak)
• Northside of the Red Hill SRMA (north of Carbondale)
• The Crown, except the mountain bike trails paralleling Pitkin County Road 5 (southeast of Carbondale)
• Thompson Creek/Holgate Mesa (southwest of Carbondale)
• West Rifle Creek (west of Rifle Gap Reservoir)
• Williams Hill (southeast of Basalt)
• Winter Ridge-Pisgah Mountain-Windy Point-Domantle areas (north of Castle Peak)
In conjunction with Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s request for late-season big-game hunting access, the following areas will be closed to motorized and mechanized vehicles from Wednesday, Jan. 16, to Monday, April 15:
• East Castle Peak (eastside of Castle Peak)
• Greenhorn/Cottonwood Creek (north of Gypsum)
• Hardscrabble (south of I-70 between Eagle and Gypsum)
The graduates of Vail Mountain School’s class of 2019 will be off to far-flung destinations next fall, set to enter college in one of 16 different states or explore the world on a gap year. One grad is even attending college in Canada.