Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently announced that public access to Durango wildlife areas will close for the winter starting Friday.
Seasonal closures are necessary to protect winter wildlife. Every winter, big-game animals rely on fat storage from the summer and typically shed 30 percent of their body weight because of a lack of food sources during colder months. Animals burn unnecessary energy when forced to move during the winter, and human interference can make it difficult for wildlife to outlast harsh conditions and survive until spring, when they start to gain weight again.
“Winter is difficult for wildlife, especially deer and elk,” Brad Weinmeister, Durango-based CPW terrestrial biologist, said in a news release. “We’re fortunate in the Durango area to provide places for animals to take refuge. We ask that people respect wildlife by observing the closures.”
Winter closures include:
Dec. 1-April 15: Bodo State Wildlife Area; Perins Peak State Wildlife Area west of Dry Fork Road (County Road 208); Bureau of Land Management tracts at Perins Peak, Animas City Mountain and Grandview.Dec. 1-July 31: Perins Peak State Wildlife Area east of Dry Fork Road.“The areas with closures are set aside for wildlife. There are many other areas identified for recreation use where people can hike, bike and horseback ride,” Weinmeister said. “We hope folks will enjoy getting outside in those recreation areas during the closure period.”
Trail users should note that the steep trail up Smelter Mountain, which overlooks the Animas River east of Bodo State Wildlife Area, will be open limited hours, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 1 through April 15, with dogs prohibited.
Signs that indicate restrictions are displayed at state wildlife area trailheads.
Violation of the closures could result in a citation and fine.
For more information, visit cpw.state.co.us.