Spring 2017 – It’s that time of year again and spring closures of public lands for protection of the Gunnison Sage-grouse are in effect. Additionally, with the higher than average level of snowfall in January this year, deer and elk were concentrated in the critical winter range in the Gunnison Basin.
Recommendations for Spring 2017 – Please recreate on city trails, streets, roads or highways (be careful!) and at the Hartman Rocks area. Also, Salida, Montrose, Delta and Grand Junction are bone dry and trails are open. Note: Hartman Rocks is currently closed to all motorized uses but remains open to non-motorized over snow travel: skis, snowshoes and fat bikes. As the snow melts, this closure for muddy conditions and road and trail protection, will extend to all bicycle use. Once the BLM is satisfied with the snow melt and the condition of the roads and trails, Hartman Rocks north of the power lines will open.
Big Game: Deer and Elk – This area surrounds Gunnison, is lower in elevation and consists of predominantly sage brush habitat. Additional pressures from recreation and other activities in the lower elevation sage brush country this year will likely create additional stress to deer and elk that are in poorer body condition than usual for this time of year.
Please be conscious of wildlife and avoid areas where they are concentrated as this will help reduce that additional stress and allow more to survive the winter. Keeping pets on leashes and under control will be important all wildlife, especially for sage-grouse, deer and elk.
Gunnison Sage-grouse – As usual, nearly all of the public lands around Gunnison are closed until May 15th to all motorized use. There are also suggestions and recommendations about how walkers, runners and mountain bikers should access public lands to be as unobtrusive to the Sage-grouse as possible.
“Please take a moment to become familiar with these guidelines and be a part of the movement that will again allow this native bird to flourish in our area.”
What is Gunnison Trails doing to help protect the Sage Grouse?
How can you help Gunnison Sage-grouse?
- Stay out of all sagebrush areas before 9am
- Know and honor all seasonal road and trail closures
- Leash your dogs at all times in sagebrush areas
- Support Gunnison Sage-grouse conservation efforts, because it’s the right thing to do!
- Hartman Rocks area all accesses: Base Area, McCabes Lane; Gold Basin road access points.
- The lands adjacent to the W-Mountain ranch and W-Mountain.
- The trail system behind Western State Colorado University.
- The BLM lands accessed via Tomichi Heights neighborhood (the Signal Peak area).
- Lands accessed via the Cranor Hill neighborhood and ski area.
- The lands adjacent to Upper and Lower Castle Mountain neighborhoods; the lands surrounding the Antelope Hills neighborhood
- Lands accessed from Lost Canyon road.
- Lands accessed from Gold Basin road.
- Skull Pass
- The new Aberdeen Loop
- The entire Aberdeen Quarry area west of the green gate at the top of the hill.