Environmental briefs: White River National Forest winter travel season is here | SummitDaily.com

Environmental briefs: White River National Forest winter travel season is here

White River National Forest winter travel season is here

The White River National Forest’s winter motor vehicle use season began on Nov. 23 and ends May 20. The Vail Pass area switched to winter use “over the snow” vehicles Nov. 15. During the winter season all wheeled vehicles (including bikes) are limited to plowed routes, travel allowed through designation as open in the Forest’s 2011 Travel Management Plan, or by a permit specific to the activity. Routes and areas open to motorized winter travel are identified in the Forest’s Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM’s).

Mountain biking is allowed on plowed roads open to wheeled vehicles. Currently, no winter trails in the forest are open to mountain bikes, including fat-tire bikes. Trails are closed to mechanized use (bikes) during the winter season primarily to provide suitable winter habitat for wildlife, reduce soil erosion during the mud seasons and to reduce potential user conflicts.

The White River National Forest said in a press release that it acknowledges that technology has changed that enables mountain bikes greater capability to operate on packed snow since the 2011 Travel Management Plan was finalized. The Forest Service is currently working with local International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) representatives who will lead and coordinate a public process to develop a proposal of winter routes that would be open to fat-tire snow biking. The proposal will be based on current winter routes that are groomed and under permit. IMBA is encouraging users and interested publics to work with their local biking organizations and representatives of IMBA to better understand the process, what routes can be considered and IMBA’s potential time line. A full public input period and environmental review will be part of the project proposal.

Until then, forest users are asked to obtain and adhere to the Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps and special orders in accordance with the 2011 Travel Management Plan decision. Excluding winter wildlife closure areas, many communities and adjacent BLM lands currently have designated routes open to mechanized use (mountain biking) during the winter.

Keystone Resort opens uphill access

Keystone Resort announced this week that uphill access will go into effect on Thursday, Nov. 26 with the opening of River Run, Spring Dipper and Schoolmarm. Those taking advanatage of uphill access must abide by the following guidelines:

• Must not impede or obstruct ski area operations at any time.

• Public uphill access is prohibited when ski area lifts are open; all guests must be off the trails by the beginning of public lift operations each morning.

• Pets are not allowed on the ski area at any time.

• Uphill access may be restricted at other times throughout the season due to slope maintenance operations, which create unsafe conditions.

• Guests using the ski area for uphill access must abide by all posted signs, including all closed signs.

• Under Colorado law, any person using any of the facilities of a ski area is considered a skier. People traveling uphill are bound by the “Your Responsibility Code” and the Colorado Ski Safety Act.

Early morning skinners, snowshoers and hikers may park in the Montezuma lot in River Run or the Porcupine lot at the Mountain House base area.

For additional information regarding uphill access, dial (970) 496-4033.

Mountain Travel Radio provides live updates

As part of its Change Your Peak Drive winter driving education campaign, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is expanding its live streaming Mountain Travel Radio service on COtrip.org, providing motorists with the most accurate and up-to-date travel information, road conditions and more. The live broadcast will regularly air on Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons, and on holiday Mondays.

“Conditions along the I-70 Mountain Corridor change extremely quickly, and doing a live broadcast is one of the best ways to inform motorists and keep them updated with the most accurate info,” said Amy Ford, director of communications for CDOT.

Listeners can tune in to the live broadcasts through COtrip.org by clicking the “On-Air” button.

Mountain Travel Radio will normally broadcast every Friday afternoon from 4-7 p.m., Saturdays from 6:30-9:30 a.m. and 4-7 p.m., and Sundays from 6:30-9:30 a.m. and 2-7 p.m. throughout the winter, coinciding with peak travel times along I-70. For the two popular long weekends in January and February, Mountain Travel Radio will broadcast on those holiday Mondays from 12-4 p.m.

Content will include live updates on the rapidly changing I-70 road, weather and traffic conditions, as well as information about Traction Laws, the I-70 Mountain Express Lane and more. In addition, Mountain Travel Radio will provide information on events at ski resorts and mountain towns, along with Peak Time Deals — discounts for motorists who choose to stay off I-70 during the busiest travel times and instead enjoy deals on recreation, lodging and dining throughout the mountain corridor.

2015 Christmas tree permits available

Christmas tree permits are available from the White River National Forest. The cost per permit is $10.00 and may be purchased with cash, check or credit card at office locations. There is a maximum of five tree permits per person. Permits will be sold through Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, at the Forest Service office locations listed below.

Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with the exception of the Eagle and Holy Cross Ranger Stations.

Christmas tree cutting is allowed in most areas on the White River National Forest with the following exceptions: Wilderness areas, scenic byways, Glenwood Canyon, the Maroon Bells Scenic Area, commercial timber sale areas, recreation and ski areas, campgrounds, trailheads, developed sites and administrative areas. Trees may not be cut within 100 feet of any road or trail. Maps showing where Christmas tree cutting is allowed are available at all offices where permits are sold, and will be provided with permits along with a regulations list.

Trees must be less than 15 feet tall from the stump, may not be greater than 6 inches in diameter at the base of the tree, and the stump height should be no greater than 6 inches high. Trees are for personal use only and cannot be resold. The tags must be attached to the tree at the cutting location and must be left on the tree until it arrives at its final destination.

The closest permit sale location for Summit County residents is the Dillon Ranger Station on 680 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne.

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