Steamboat briefs: Steamboat Lake State Park to host First Day Hike Jan. 1 | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat briefs: Steamboat Lake State Park to host First Day Hike Jan. 1

Steamboat Lake State Park will host a First Day Hike at 9 a.m. Jan. 1. Meet at the visitors center for a 1.1-mile snowshoe hike on the Tombstone trail, and dress appropriately for the outdoors and bring snowshoes. Attendees will receive free First Day Hike gear for participating. Those interested in attending should email Ranger Jason Crenshaw at jason.crenshaw@state.co.us.

Hayden Public Library to to be closed for Christmas

The Hayden Public Library will close at 2 p.m. Wednesday, remain closed on Christmas Day and reopen Friday. The library also will close at 2 p.m. Dec. 31, remain closed on New Year's Day and reopen Jan. 2.

Oak Creek sponsoring 'Shop Local' campaign

The town of Oak Creek is sponsoring a South Routt "Shop Local" campaign for the holidays. For every $100 shoppers spend at participating businesses, they receive an entry that qualifies them for prize giveaways that include Colorado "staycations" and passes to local attractions. Entries should be dropped off at Oak Creek or Yampa town halls or Flat Tops Ranch Supply by Wednesday. Prize drawings will be held at noon Dec. 30 at Oak Creek Town Hall.

Disturbance of big game herds remains problematic

A long-standing request for public involvement in big game, winter range management is being made by the Routt National Forest again this year. The U.S. Forest Service is asking recreational users to stay out of designated elk and deer winter range areas until April 15.

Courtesy closure signage has been posted at multiple trailheads, including Red Dirt, Hot Springs and Spring Creek, among others. If respected, these closure areas provide pockets of habitat where deer and elk find security and food during the harsh winter months without being disturbed by human activities.

To do their part in protecting wintering deer and elk, recreationists are asked to use the following winter recreation areas in the Routt National Forest: Buffalo Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass, Gore Pass, Lynx Pass, Bear River Corridor (entrance to the Flat Tops Wilderness Area) and Dunckley Pass.

Recommended Stories For You

Other areas include the South Fork Trail (Trail 1100.5A) south of the Elk River with parking at the Hinman parking area (a non-motorized area) and Forest Road 430/Scott Run (Trail 1177). Another alternate area is located west of Routt County Road 129 at the Hahn's Peak Lake Area on Forest Roads 486 and 488.

Current closure areas include:

■ Spring Creek Trail (Trail 1160) — mandatory closure

■ Swamp Park Trail (known as the Mad Creek Trail- NFST 1100)

■ Red Dirt trail (Trail 1171)

■ Hot Springs Trail (Trail 1169)

■ Lower Bear Trail (Trail 1206)

■ Area between Steamboat Ski Area and Alpine Mountain Ranch

■ Greenville Mine area (Road 440)

■ Coulton Creek area (Road 429)

■ Sarvis Creek Trailhead

■ Silver Creek Trailhead

■ South of Long Park on Forest Road 225

■ North of Toponas on Forest Road 285

■ Areas adjacent to the Radium and Indian Run State Wildlife Areas

Local wildlife officials think that threats to winter range for elk and other big game species are impacting the prized herds in north central Colorado negatively. As big game winter range on private land becomes developed, public lands become more important for wintering elk and deer herds.

"The National Forest provides valuable elk habitat, but this habitat is only preferred by elk if they are protected from human disturbance," said Becky Jones, Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District wildlife biologist. "If disturbed, they leave these areas and may end up in hay stacks, people's yards and crossing roads in the lower valley where they can cause problems.

"We are asking the public to please respect these closure areas this winter so that we can keep these animals on their native winter range."

For more information about voluntary closure areas or other areas recommended to recreate outside of winter range, visit or call the Hahns Peak/Bears Ranger District office at 970-870-2299 and the Yampa Ranger District office at 970-638-4516. Information also may be found at http://fs.usda.gov/mbr, or you can follow the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland on Twitter

@MBRNFsTBNG.