White River National Forest reminds public about winter travel season beginning Nov. 23
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The White River National Forest winter motor vehicle use season begins Friday, Nov. 23, and ends May 20, 2019. Some gates may be closed earlier due to early snow accumulation at higher elevations. Contact your local Ranger District Office to check on the status of roads prior to traveling in the forest.
During the winter season, all wheeled vehicles (including bikes) are limited to plowed routes or designated routes open through special order. Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps identify routes and areas designated for “over the snow” motor vehicle travel (such as snowmobiles). Motor Vehicle Use Maps are free and available at all Ranger Districts or online. Seasonal winter closures are in place to protect road quality, public safety and to provide critical winter habitat for wildlife.
During the winter months, snowmobile clubs groom many roads as a public service using a combination of volunteer time, private and partner funding. Help protect their investment, groomed surfaces and winter recreation opportunities by respecting signage and travel restrictions.
Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area: The Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area switched to winter use and “over the snow” vehicles on Thursday, Nov. 8. The area will start charging fees on Saturday, Nov. 24, when grooming operations begin. Season passes are now available for purchase at the Eagle-Holy Cross and Dillon Ranger District offices for $40. Day passes will be available at Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area trailheads for $6.
Fat-tire biking: Fat-tire biking is limited to plowed routes that are open to wheeled vehicles or designated routes open through special order. Currently, all trails are closed to fat-tire bikes in the winter in accordance with the White River National Forest 2011 Travel Management Plan.
The forest is working with local mountain biking groups to develop a potential proposal for winter routes that would be open to fat tire biking. Until then, forest users are asked to obtain and adhere to the Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps and special orders to provide for visitor safety and protect underlying vegetation and wildlife habitat.
For more information, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver and click on “Travel Management” in the spotlight section at the bottom of the page.