Each year Jeffco Open Space uses seasonal wildlife closures at the parks to protect species at sensitive times in their life cycles. This year’s seasonal wildlife closures affect numerous Jeffco Open Space parks and trails.
Centennial Cone Park
Elk Range Trail at Centennial Cone Park, including the interior of the park, is closed from February 1 through mid-June to protect elk during their calving season. All other trails are open.
Clear Creek Canyon Park
Portions of Clear Creek Canyon Park near Mile Marker 270 are closed to all public use uphill of US Highway 6 from February 1 through July 31 to protect raptor nesting territory. 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.
Portions of Clear Creek Canyon Park, near Tunnel 2, are closed to all public use uphill of US Highway 6 from February 1 through July 31 to protect raptor nesting territory. This closure includes the following rock climbing sites: Highlander, Evil Area, and Tetanus Garden.
Deer Creek Canyon Park/Hildebrand Ranch Park
The entirety of Black Bear Trail, which connects Deer Creek Canyon Park and Hildebrand Ranch Park, is closed from February 1 through July 31 to protect raptor nesting territory.
North Table Mountain Park
Rim Rock Trail at North Table Mountain Park is closed from February 1 through July 31 to protect raptor nesting territory and ground-nesting bird habitat.
Cathedral Spires Park
The entirety of Cathedral Spires Park is closed from March 1 through July 31 to protect raptor nesting territory.
Crown Hill Park
The Crown Hill Park Wildlife Sanctuary is closed from March 1 through June 30 to protect nesting and brooding waterfowl.
Seasonal wildlife closures apply to all park visitors and all types of visitation. Jeffco Open Space staff use applicable Federal, State, and local laws and guidelines as well as knowledge of wildlife populations to delineate closure areas and time periods. Seasonal wildlife closures are put into place in response to conditions on the ground to protect sensitive species. Jeffco Open Space Natural Resources staff and wildlife monitoring volunteers monitor local conditions during closures and adjust as needed.
Violations of seasonal closures implemented to protect bald or golden eagles may result in a fine of $100,000, imprisonment, or both. For more information on The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668c), enacted in 1940, visit https://www.fws.gov/birds/policies-and-regulations/laws-legislations/bald-and-golden-eagle-protection-act.php.
Jeffco Open Space Regulations Applicable to Closures:
C.5. Natural Resources Protection Closure: It shall be unlawful to enter, use or occupy Open Space Lands during the time such Lands are designated as Sensitive Areas, seasonal closures, study area closures, wildlife protection closures, refuges or other protected areas. Fine: $150.00
C.8. Destruction of Wildlife Habitat: It shall be unlawful for any person, or any pet under their custody, control or ownership, to alter, damage, destroy, remove or in any other way vandalize wildlife habitat features on Open Space Lands, including, but not limited to, animal dens, burrows, dwellings or nests. Fine: $200.00
C.20. Closed Areas: It shall be unlawful to enter, use or occupy Open Space Lands, or any portion thereof, during the time such Open Space Lands, or any portions thereof, are closed to entry, use or occupancy. Fine: $75.00
To report active violations of closure areas, contact Jeffco Dispatch at 303.980.7300.
Jeffco Open Space was founded as a land conservation organization in 1972. Our mission is to preserve open space and parkland, protect park and natural resources, and provide healthy, nature-based experiences. Funded with a one-half of one percent sales tax, our organization contributes to city and park district projects, has preserved more than 54,000 acres, and manages 28 open space parks and more than 258 miles of trails in Jefferson County, Colorado.
Photo: Red Tailed Hawk by Audrey Boag