Sustainability tip: Trail closures & trail etiquette necessary during elk calving season | VailDaily.com

Sustainability tip: Trail closures & trail etiquette necessary during elk calving season

3 tips for what you can do on the trails

By Ford Sanger
Walking Mountains Science Center
This bull elk is wholly focused on his bugle and the prospect of attracting a harem of cows this time of year. (Photo by Rick Spitzer)
Rick Spitzer | Special to the Daily |

Did you know that the state of Colorado has the largest elk population in the world? However, today’s elk population from Vail Pass to Glenwood Canyon has decreased 50 percent since 2007, according to Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

This is the time of year that our local elk population, as well as other local ungulates, breed and calve. Because it is critical to the health and survival of new ungulate calves to be in a peaceful state, many of our local trails remain closed to protect these new members of our community. See our three tips below to make sure you are informed about trail closures and proper trail etiquette.

Three tips for what you can do

Stay off closed trails: Do your part to avoid human-wildlife conflicts during this critical breeding and calving time. For a list of closed trails in the Eagle Valley, visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/trailclosures.

Stay off open trails, too. Many trails, though open, are muddy this time of year. Wait a little longer until they dry in order to keep them in good condition. Only hike on open and dry trails.

Stay on the trail and follow all traditional trail etiquette like leave no trace. If you see wildlife, keep your distance to avoid stressing the animal.