BLM to restrict Wood River Valley public access to protect wintering wildlife
Hailey, Idaho—The Bureau of Land Management Shoshone Field Office is restricting public access to portions of the Wood River Valley to protect wintering wildlife beginning Feb. 15, 2023. The restriction will primarily apply to several of the south facing slopes from North Picabo Road to East Fork/Triumph area on BLM-administered lands, including the popular trail Buttercup Ridge. Signs have been posted at all main access points. Conditions are monitored monthly through a partnership alliance with the BLM, Cities of Bellevue and Hailey, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Blaine County Recreation District and the Wood River Land Trust to determine when the restriction will be lifted. (map)
Trails that remain open include the Quigly Road, Blaine County Recreation District (BCRD), Quigley Loop, City of Hailey Toe-of-the-hill, Olympia Gulch, Triumph Trail and the flat trails at the base of the hills in Old Cutters. Members of the public may continue to use the corridor roads and groomed trails that are in many of the drainage bottoms, however, are encouraged to refrain from traversing uphill on the identified slopes.
“Winter came early in the Wood River Valley, and we continue to experience cold temperatures, as well as additional snow accumulation,” said BLM Shoshone Field Manager Codie Martin. “The time is right to enact this closure in these areas, as the wintering wildlife need our help to make it through the winter.”
All forms of winter recreation can disturb deer and elk, displacing or preventing them from using winter range habitats throughout the Wood River Valley. Late winter and early spring are the most difficult times for deer and elk. It is important that they minimize expending their energy, as they are living off fat reserves and there is little nutrition in the available forage.
When recreating in other areas or immediately adjacent to the closure areas, it is important to remain vigilant and avoid startling wildlife by looking before you go. If there are deer or elk in the area, you should not continue. Please recreate responsibly and follow posted recommendations, as we balance recreation opportunities and human-wildlife conflicts.
For additional information, visit the wildlife smart communities website, https://wrvwildlifesmart.org/seasonal-restrictions-for-wildlife/, or contact BLM Shoshone Outdoor Recreation Planner John Kurtz at 208-732-7296, City of Hailey Administrator Lisa Horowitz at 208-788-9815, or Wood River Land Trust Lands Program Manager Keri York at 208-788-3947.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.