Thou shalt not pass

Thou shalt not pass

We may sound like a broken record (if anyone remembers what a record is) but some things bear repeating: winter wildlife closures on certain public lands in Durango go into effect starting Dec. 1.  The closures will remain in effect through the end of April to protect wintering deer and elk who have a much harder time surviving than you with your down puffy, warm house and stocked fridge. Just saying. 

“Every year the BLM partners with the City of Durango and CPW to close key areas to provide conditions that enable wildlife to make it through the tough winter months,” Tres Rios Field Manager Derek Padilla said.

And if you don’t comply? Well aside from the certain shame that comes from getting busted and endangering Bambi, wildlife officers can issue fines that most of us would rather spend on new bike gear next spring.

These trails are closed to public use:

• Grandview Ridge and Grandview BLM trails (accessed from Three Springs)

• Big Canyon and Sale Barn trails

• South Rim Trail and portions of Sidewinder and Cowboy trails accessed from Carbon Junction or Crites

• Animas City Mountain above the lower loops (approximately 1.5 miles past the 32nd Street trailhead)

• Twin Buttes upper trails as marked

• Bodo State Wildlife Area (exception: Smelter Mountain Trail is open from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; but no dogs allowed.)

In addition to wildlife closures, the Durango Mesa Flow Trails will also be closed Dec. 1 – April 30 to minimize damage and erosion to the sweet new trails. However, the Mesa Connector, Telegraph Connector and Meadow Knob Connector trails will remain open.

The good news is, in the trails-half-full scenario, plenty of areas will remain open for your winter recreating pleasure, including:

• Horse Gulch, including Telegraph, Crites, Meadow, Stacy’s and Mike’s

• Raider Ridge Trail to Medicine, Ben’s Down and Out, and Charmed trails

• Carbon Junction to Telegraph via Crites

• Dalla Mountain Park

• Overend Mountain Park

• Rim, Lions Den, Squawker, Tawker, Powerline, Skyline and Sugar trails

• The Colorado Trail

• Lower portion of Animas City Mountain and Twin Buttes

And last but not least, please consider alternative routes or activities if trails are muddy to prevent trail damage – no one likes ruts in their singletrack. You’ll thank yourself later.

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