National Park Service to Temporarily Close Three Areas Along Highway 50

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Date: January 24, 2017
Contact: Sandra Snell-Dobert, 970-641-2337, etx. 227

Gunnison, CO: In order to support Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) efforts to bait deer and elk away from U.S. Highway 50, the National Park Service (NPS) will be closing Beaver Creek Picnic Area, the East Elk Creek area, and the Dry Gulch Campground area to public use. These areas allow CPW staff and volunteers the most efficient access to baiting sites that are beyond the boundaries of Curecanti National Recreation Area.  

Significant snowfall in the Gunnison Basin began the first week in January and at least 50 inches have accumulated in the lower elevations near U.S. Highway 50. A recent spike in road-kill along this route has prompted CPW to bait wildlife away from the highway for public safety. The baiting operation will help CPW to adapt to changing conditions as weather, forage, and animal conditions change throughout the winter. 

Travelers and recreationists are asked to give wildlife a break. Keep your distance – if they change their behavior because of you, you are too close. Avoid making long stops and getting out of your car or approaching animals. Avoid recreating in areas where wildlife is congregating. Keep pets on a leash. Respect area closures. Deer and elk, as well as other animals rely on stored fat to make it through the winter. Disturbing animals on their winter range causes them to burn stored fat that they rely on to make it through the season. 

In addition, Curecanti National Recreation Area is enforcing the Temporary Emergency Order effective January 22-May 15, 2017 for the Gunnison Basin. This order closes areas in the Basin below 9,500’ to all recreational hunting of small game, predators, furbearers, and mountain lions. The collection/possession of shed deer and elk antlers, bighorn sheep skulls and/or horns, and pronghorn skulls and/or horns is always prohibited in Curecanti National Recreation Area under 36 CFR, 2.1a1i. 

For more information on Colorado Parks and Wildlife baiting operations and the Temporary Emergency Order, please visit:

Last updated: March 31, 2017

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