BLM begins winter road closure patrols
by Bureau of Land Management
December 21, 2011
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Pinedale Field Office (PFO) will patrol over 500,000 acres of BLM-administered winter closure areas through April 30. The patrols have operated since 2009 and demonstrate that the BLM is serious about big game winter range protections.
This year, two more BLM rangers will join the PFO ranger and patrol teams to help cover more ground. "We’re trying to let folks know that we are working hard to make sure the closures are implemented and enforced successfully," states Rusty Kaiser, PFO wildlife biologist. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Sublette County Sheriff’s Office also keep an eye out for closure violations.
The patrols are intended to educate the public, distribute maps, answer questions, deter violators and encourage the public to report violations; however, Kaiser adds, "in the past, warnings were more common than citations, but now that the public is aware of the closures and most violators tend to be blatant or repeat offenders, more citations will be issued." Citations could include fines not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months.
The annual winter closures have been in effect since 2008 and help protect elk, moose, pronghorn, and mule deer from disruptive human activities which, during the difficult winter months, can increase the mortality rate for these animals.
The Ryegrass, Bench Corral, Deer Hills, Calpet and Miller Mountain closures include all BLM-administered lands north of Fontenelle Creek, east of the U.S. Forest Service Boundary, west of Highway 189, and south of Horse Creek. The Mesa winter range closure includes all BLM-administered lands east of County Road 110 (East Green River Road), north of County Road 136 (Paradise Valley Road), west of the New Fork River, and south of State Highway 191.
Signs are posted at key locations around the closed areas restricting all types of motorized travel. Non-motorized means of travel are still allowed. Highways, county, and oil and gas roads are not affected unless posted otherwise. A map of the closed areas can be found at http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Pinedale/recreation/closures.html
As a reminder, elk winter feedground areas are closed through April 30 to all motorized and non-motorized use and human presence. These include the Franz, Finnegan, Bench Corral, Fall Creek, Scab Creek, North Piney, and Black Butte feedgrounds.
For more information, please contact Kaiser at 307-367-5317.