JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Several trails in JeffCo Open Space are now off-limits due to parks' annual wildlife closures to protect species during sensitive times of their life cycles, such as calving and nesting.
Most of the closures began Feb. 1 and will last several months.
JeffCo Open Space uses federal, state and local laws and guidelines, plus knowledge of the wildlife populations, to make these closures.
The following parks' trails are closed to protect wildlife:
- Centennial Cone Park: The Elk Range Trail, including the interior of the park, is closed from Feb. 1 through mid-June to protect elk during their calving season. The other trails in the park are open
- Clear Creek Canyon Park: Portions of the park near Mile Marker 270 are closed to all public use uphill of US Highway 6 from Feb. 1 through July 31 to protect nesting eagles. This closure includes the following rock-climbing sites: Bumbling Stock, Stumbling Block, Skinny Legs, Blonde Formation, and Ghost Crag. The Fault Caves are also included in this closure. The park near Tunnel 2 is also closed uphill of US Highway 6 during the same timeframe to protect nesting eagles. The closure includes the following rock-climbing sites: Highlander, Evil Area, and Tetanus Garden
- Deer Creek Canyon Park/Hildebrand Ranch Park: Black Bear Trail, which connects Deer Creek Canyon Park and Hildebrand Ranch Park, is closed from Feb. 1 through July 31 to protect nesting birds of prey
- North Table Mountain Park: Rim Rock Trail is closed from Feb. 1 through July 31 to protect ground-nesting bird habitat and nesting birds of prey
- South Table Mountain Park: Lava Loop trail is closed from Feb. 1 through July 31 to protect ground-nesting bird habitat and nesting eagles
- Cathedral Spires Park: The whole park is closed from March 1 through July 31 to protect nesting birds of prey
- Crown Hill Park: The Crown Hill Park Wildlife Sanctuary is closed from March 1 through June 30 to protect nesting and brooding waterfowl. This closure also allows other animals (deer, bobcats, coyotes, and other birds) a safe place during critical times of their life cycles
Staff will monitor local conditions and adjust the closures as needed.
These closures apply to all visitors. Violations of the closures to protect bald or golden eagles may result in a fine of $100,000, imprisonment, or both, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Entering any of the above areas in Jefferson County during their closure periods will result in a $150 fine, and any destruction of wildlife habitat carries a $200 fine. The latter includes any damage from pets. To report active violations of closure areas, call Jeffco Dispatch at 303-980-7300.