May 15 begins seasonal area closure for elk calving near Steamboat

Media Contact: Aaron Voos, (970) 819-2898


News Release (PDF)

Forest Order



(STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.)  May 12, 2020 – A seasonal area closure for elk calving on the Routt National Forest will be in place May 15 - June 15, approximately two miles northeast of Steamboat Springs, Colo. The closure area includes three trails on Buffalo Pass; BTR, Flash of Gold, and Great White Buffalo.


No use of the trails will be allowed for one month, to minimize recreational disturbance of elk during a critical time. The mandatory area closure is necessary to protect elk calving areas for resident herds and was originally put in place in 2017.


“This seasonal closure is a good example of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the USDA Forest Service working together to benefit local wildlife,” said Hahns Peak/Bears Ears District Ranger Tara Umphries. “The public’s role in this community effort cannot be understated. We rely on their adherence to the closure and their information-sharing, both locally and with out-of-area visitors.”


The restricted area is 355 acres of National Forest System land, mapped as Colorado Parks and Wildlife Elk Production Area and designated by the 2016 Buffalo Pass Trails Project Decision Notice. The restricted area does not include a 200-foot buffer on either side of the portion of Buffalo Pass Road (Forest Road 60) that bisects the restricted area.


If respected, this closure area provides pockets of habitat where elk find security and food during spring calving without being disturbed by human activities. Other area land managers, such as the City of Steamboat and the Bureau of Land Management, also have seasonal area closures in place that recreational users should respect and be aware of. 


Closure signage is posted at affected Forest Service trailheads, and maps and brochures are available at area businesses, digitally, and at the District office. Violation of the mandatory area closure is a punishable offense per Forest Order 2017-HPBE-135.  


For more information about the closure area, please call the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District office at (970) 870-2299.


Information may also be found on this website, You can follow the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland on Twitter, @FS_MBRTB.