The immensely popular Sky Mountain Park trails close Thursday for the winter season.
Pitkin County Open Space and Trails lead ranger Pryce Hadley said the closures are key to protecting wildlife, especially elk, during the most stressful season.
“Our hobbies — hiking, biking and all those things — still have an impact on the wildlife,” Hadley said. “These habitat closures are one way to passively give these animals a fighting chance to survive the winter.”
The closures are not limited to Sky Mountain Park; nearly 20 trails managed by Open Space and Trails have seasonal restrictions.
Open Space and Trails staff monitor the closures with motion-sensing cameras and violators face a $100 fine.