Hike service

Forest Service reminds recreators of spring rules to protect wildlife and minimize damage to trails

U.S. Forest Service officials want to remind outdoor recreationists that there are spring rules in place to protect wildlife and minimize damage to trails in White River National Forest.

“As we start to see these beautiful spring days, people naturally want to get out and recreate in the forest,” said White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.

“We want people to know before they go and understand what is allowed where they are recreating. We have these set dates and wildlife closures to protect roads and trails from damage during mud season and to protect wildlife,” he said.

Summer vehicles like ATVs, OHVs, four-wheel drives and other wheeled vehicles are not permitted in the state forest until May 21 in most areas. There are also closures in critical elk calving areas, through July 1, according to the service.

“The elk return to these areas every year because they provide the water, forage and isolation they need to survive, calve and suckle without being startled or disturbed. Repeated disturbance of elk by humans and dogs during calving season in these critical areas has resulted in lower calf survival rates,” said Natasha Goedert, wildlife and fish program manager.

“We are seeing an increasing number of violations by mountain bikers and all-terrain vehicles on roads and trails not yet open, as well as by hikers, dog walkers and cyclists in areas closed for calving of elk,” Fitzwilliams said.

Information on the specific areas where the closures apply can be found here.

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