Hiking is a favorite pastime for many Fort Lewis students and faculty, and Durango offers year round weather that is conducive for a good time. Unfortunately, weather isn’t the only aspect that affects trail closures. Since Durango is a mountain town, we have wildlife, like bears and deer, that live in and around town year round. We also have wildlife, such as elk, that migrate through our neck of the woods on their annual migration. As winter comes, elk are forced to descend from the high country and keeping their path clear is essential for their move. The only issue is that many of the elks paths also interfere with the beloved trails in and around Durango.
Trails 2000, the non-profit organization that is responsible for building and maintaining much of Durango’s trails, have tracked the migration patterns of elk and staged seasonal trail closures to protect their natural movements. On their website, Trails 2000 has posted the trails that have closed for the season, all of which had gone into effect on December 1st. As far as “in town” hikes go, these will be closed until April 15th, when the elk return to the high country:
A fine of several hundred dollars is enforced for those who ignore the trail closures. However, the majority of the local trail system will stay open during the winter, so those warm days can still be spent enjoying the sun.