Colorado: Winter trail changes for forest visitors

Many areas require motorized users to stay on designated routes

Winter travel management rules now in effect on White River National Forest.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — White River National Forest visitors may see new signage this winter, as various changes related to an updated travel management plan start to take effect this weekend

The forest is switching from wheeled travel on the open road system to over-the-snow vehicles (vehicles with a ski and/or tracks) on Nov. 23. Whether gates are open or closed, the roads are closed to wheeled vehicle travel as of Nov. 23.

“We understand the Travel Plan and the MVUM’s are going to take some getting used to. We ask that our forest users respect the change from summer to winter seasons” said Eagle/Holy Cross district ranger Dave Neely.

The White River National Forest travel management plan update  identifies the transportation systems for both winter and summer seasons and designated motorized and non-motorized routes across the forest. Information is at this White River National Forest web page.

Winter motor vehicle use maps have been produced for the entire forest.  These maps show forest roads, trails and areas that have been designated for snowmobiles and snowcats. The mpas also shows plowed routes open to wheeled motor vehicles as well as any seasonal restrictions that may apply. Winter travel for foot, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing type activities are not limited to designated routes and therefore are not included on the maps.

Several roads are used as groomed snowmobile and ski routes.  Protecting the snow surface is imperative to providing a quality groomed surface, especially in times of low snow levels. While there may not be snow cover in many places across the forest yet, please follow travel designations shown on winter MVUMs to help maintain road surfaces. Traveling on muddy roads creates rutting and erosion, and driving on such routes this time of year can create maintenance backlogs next summer.

There are many new areas that require winter motorized travel to stay on designated routes that we have not had in the past.  Be sure to know before you go by contacting your local ranger station where you may obtain a copy of a winter MVUM.

Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps for all the Ranger Districts on the White River National Forest are available at each office.  These maps are free and available via the website: www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver

Additional Information for Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District:

Portions or all of the following roads will be groomed as snow accumulates:

  • Coffee Pot Road #600;
  • Muddy Pass/Red Sandstone #700;
  • Nolan Creek #418;
  • Tigiwon Road #707; and,
  • An assortment of roads within the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area.

As snow accumulates and the groomers begin operating the gates on these roads will swing open to provide easier access for winter users.  Signs will be located at the entrance to these winter trails systems that say “Over the Snow Vehicles Only, No Wheeled Vehicles Past this Point”.  Please respect these groomed systems.  Many hours are spent grooming the winter routes so you can enjoy a smooth surface with a snowmobile, skis, or snowshoes.

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