Eagle County on Monday issued the following press release on the seasonal closure of trails and open space to protect dwindling wildlife populations:
Beginning Dec. 1, various trails and portions of Eagle County Open Space properties will be closed to the public to support seasonal wildlife needs and migration routes. All closures are planned in concert with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and are done in an effort to protect dwindling wildlife populations throughout the Eagle River Valley.
The main trailhead and parking lot for Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space and the Three Sisters Trail will be closed. Hikers and equestrian users will still be able to utilize the Salt Creek area of the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space. Users coming from the Town of Eagle’s Haymaker trail system must turn around at the seasonal closure gate at the property boundary. Users are reminded that the Bureau of Land Management trails in the area — Pool & Ice, Dirt Surfer, Hillbilly Trail, Will’s Thrill, and the Bellyache Road gates — are closed beginning Dec. 1. The third loop of Haymaker and Extra Credit close December 15.
The western portion of the Eagle River Preserve will also be closed. The seasonal closure allows wildlife to utilize the area for winter habitat. As in prior years, the main gate at the preserve is closed, but winter users may park in the gravel lot located outside of the gate adjacent to U.S. Hwy 6. There is no ice skating on the irrigation ponds as the ponds are not monitored or maintained and the ice may be thin. Dogs must be on a leash at the Eagle River Preserve, with the exception of the off-leash area in the northeast corner of the property.
Eagle County Open Space Rangers are reminding users to comply with posted signs and to exercise caution if wildlife is visible on any Eagle County Open Space properties. Users are asked to keep dogs on a leash if wildlife is present, and are reminded to avoid disturbing wildlife, especially elk and deer, to maximize their chances of survival in the coming seasons.
The seasonal closure at the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space runs until July 1 or as deemed necessary by Colorado Parks and WIldlife. The lower parking area of the Eagle River Preserve will reopen to vehicles in the spring after the snow melts.
For up-to-date information on countywide seasonal closures visit the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance website: https://www.vvmta.org/seasonaltrailclosures/
To learn more about Eagle County Open Space, visit https://www.eaglecounty.us/openspace/, follow the department on Facebook and Instagram @ECopenspace, or contact them directly at 970-328-8698.