The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the city of Durango’s annual closure of heavily used public lands to protect wintering deer and elk will begin today.
Grandview Ridge and Animas Mountain, managed by the BLM, and Twin Buttes, which is under city jurisdiction, will be off limits to the public until at least March 1. The latest the areas will reopen will be April 15.
Perins Peak Wildlife Area, two tracts that contain a total of 7,723 acres west of Durango, closed Nov. 18, the day after the end of the fourth hunting season. The date changes depending on hunting season’s end.
“We have more than 300 wildlife areas in the state, 75 of them in Southwest Colorado,” said Randy Hampton, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which manages the Perins Peak preserve.
Areas of the state where elk and deer calve can remain closed to the public until June, Hampton said.
The city of Durango and the BLM base the closure of wildlife areas on Colorado Parks and Wildlife estimates of elk and deer populations.
“The closures are in place because deer and elk are vulnerable to disturbances and must conserve energy to survive,” Connie Clementson, field manager for the Tres Rios district of the BLM, said in a statement. “When humans encroach where herds have migrated for food and shelter, the animals expend energy running through deep snow to avoid the intrusions.”
In the Grandview Ridge area, closures apply to the Sale Barn and Big Canyon trailheads and South Rim, Telegraph and Sidewinder trails.
Carbon Junction Trail will remain open from Colorado Highway 3 to Crites Connection and continuing to only the portion of the Telegraph Trail that leads to Horse Gulch.
In the Animas Mountain area, all land is closed except a 1.5-mile trail loop on the lower portion of the mountain. This loop can be accessed from the Birket Drive and 32nd Street trailheads or from Dalla Mountain Park.
All trail systems in the Twin Buttes development and the city open space with access from U.S. Highway 160 are closed.
Maps of the closed areas are available at the Public Lands Office, 15 Burnett Court, and the Durango Parks & Recreation Department, 2700 Main Ave.
Among areas open to the public are Horse Gulch, Raider Ridge, the Fort Lewis College rim, Overend and Dalla mountain parks, and the Colorado Trail northwest of Durango.
More information is available at the Tres Rios office at 882-7296 or the Durango Parks & Recreation office at 375-7321.