DURANGO, Colo. – To protect critical wildlife habitat, annual winter closures on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Tres Rios Field Office will go into effect Tuesday, Jan. 31, within the Grandview Ridge and Animas City Mountain areas. This closure will remain in place until at least March 1, 2012, but no later than April 15, 2012.
The BLM uses a “conditions-based” management approach, which allows the agency to keep these lands open to the public until deer and elk have migrate into these areas. However, when the Colorado Division of Wildlife reports that significant numbers of deer and elk have moved into the area, a closure is put into effect on BLM lands in the Grandview and Animas Mountain areas.
The closure of Grandview Ridge and Animas City Mountain areas prohibits all public access until conditions allow the wildlife to move back to higher elevations.
“These closures are in place because deer and elk are vulnerable to disturbance in winter, when they must conserve energy to survive. When humans encroach into areas where herds have migrated to find food and find shelter, the animals must expend energy running through deep snow to avoid the intrusions,” said Clementson.
Closures in the Grandview Ridge area include:
• Sale Barn and Big Canyon trailheads off U.S. Highway 160 will be closed to all public use.
• Carbon Junction Trail will remain open from its Highway 3 trailhead to Crites Connection continuing onto only the portion of the Telegraph Trail leading into Horse Gulch (these trails are all on private property).
• South Rim Trail, Telegraph, Sidewinder and other trails on BLM lands will be closed and cannot be accessed from the Carbon Junction Trail or other routes.
Closures in the Animas City Mountain area include:
• BLM lands will be closed to public entry, except for a 1.5-mile trail loop on the lower portion of the mountain, which will remain open to public use. This loop can be accessed from the Birkett and 32nd Street trailheads or Dalla Mountain Park. Signs are posted at the top of the loop indicating the extent of the closure area boundary.
Maps of the closure area may be obtained from at the Durango Public Lands Office located at 15 Burnett Court in Durango. The areas affected by this closure order will be posted with appropriate regulatory signs and/or physical barriers.
There are many other opportunities for winter recreation near Durango. Areas open to the public adjacent to Durango include the Horse Gulch and Raiders Ridge areas, Fort Lewis College Rim, Durango Mountain Park and Dalla Mountain Park. The popular Junction Creek/Colorado Trail is west of Durango.
For additional information or to report violations in these areas, call the Tres Rios Field Office (970) 882-7296.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.