Winter travel maps detail new closures and designated trails
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The White River National Forest has started enforcing new winter motorized travel rules on the Dillon Ranger District, including the closure of some areas that were previously open to snowmobiles.
The winter travel maps are available at the Dillon Ranger District visitor center in Silverthorne and also online at this Forest Service web page. Dillon District winter rangers will be educating the public about the new changes, checking snowmobile registrations, and responding to snowmobiles in closed areas. Anyone observing snowmobiles in closed areas is encouraged to record detailed information and report it to the Dillon Ranger District at 970-468-5400.
Motorized users are responsible for obtaining a map to determine where they can ride. “NO SNOWMOBLE” signs will not be posted except in key areas. More information is available on the White River National Forest recreation web page.
Areas are completely closed to motorized use, including Mount Baldy, Miners Creek, Indiana Gulch, Pennsylvania Gulch, Spruce Creek, Frey Gulch, and Peru Creek.
“There are some new areas that require winter motorized travel to stay on designated routes where it had been unrestricted in the past,” said Ken Waugh, recreation staff officer for the Dillon Ranger District.
The areas that are open to motorized over-snow use on designated routes only are: Golden Horseshoe (east of Breckenridge), Saints John (west of road) and the three forks of the Swan River drainage. Motorized travel is restricted to designated routes in these areas in order to minimize user conflicts and/or to protect wildlife habitat.
Areas where motorized over-snow use is permitted without restriction are the Spring Creek area and the area east of Montezuma which includes Webster Pass, Deer Creek, Saints John (east of road), Radical Hill, and Sheep Mountain. The Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area will continue to provide snowmobile opportunities through a fee permit system.
The new travel rules were adopted under the White River National Forest travel management plan, completed in March 2011. The winter season runs from November 23 through May 20. Winter travel on foot, snowshoes, and cross country skis is not limited to designated routes or prohibited in any area, unless otherwise posted.
The Spring Creek area will be groomed this year through a partnership with the High Country Snowmobile Club. The club obtained grants from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department to purchase a groomer and to start up a trail grooming program. Club members will volunteer to operate the equipment and provide a groomed trail surface on 15 miles of designated routes in the area.
The HCSC will also help with signing the Eagles Nest Wilderness boundary and with educating the public about not entering that area on snowmobiles.
“We are looking forward to the improved signage at the wilderness boundary and helping to educate snowmobilers about the boundary. These efforts will help to ensure snowmobilers can continue to enjoy the Spring Creek area,” said club president Rich Holcroft.