DENVER — A full closure of Rocky Mountain National Park is now in place due to wildfire activity on the west side of the Continental Divide, a spokesperson for the park announced Thursday morning.
Air quality in the park is hazardous and Trail Ridge Road is impassable on the west side due to downed trees on the road, spokesperson Kyle Patterson said.
High fire danger prompted to the closure of the National Forest Service lands in Clear Creek County earlier and Denver Parks and Recreation closed all Denver Mountain Parks properties located in Clear Creek.
This closure includes Echo Lake, Summit Lake, Hicks Mountain, Pence Mountain, Mt. Judge, Snyder Mountain, Forsberg Park, and the Beaver Brook Trail at Genesee Park in Jefferson County.
> The video above aired on Oct. 19 about the Colorado wildfire updates.
Parks & Rec said the closure will remain in effect until superseded or rescinded by the Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation.
This comes after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) closed administered land in Boulder and Larimer counties earlier this week.
All lands in those counties that are managed by the Royal Gorge Field Office will be temporarily closed for entry.
Below is a map of the closures, you can find a larger map by going here.
The field office manages about 600,000 acres of public lands on the Front Range, all of which are east of the continental divide.
“This unusual step is being taken due to concerns for public safety and to aid ongoing fire suppression operations,” said Royal Gorge Field Manager Keith Berger. “We hope that this action is short-lived, and we intend to rescind these restrictions as soon as possible.”
The closure order prohibits anyone from entering those lands unless escorted by an authorized BLM official. Lands west of the divide are managed by the Kremmling Field Office and are not impacted by the order.
The following people are exempt:
- Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
- Individuals conducting previously authorized operations under 43 CFR 3809.
- Land Use Authorization Holders who are authorized to use public lands under an active BLM right-of-way grant, lease or permit.
- Grazing Permittees who are authorized to conduct grazing administration under an active BLM grazing permit or lease.
- Persons conducting normal activities pertaining to operation, maintenance, and safety, related to continued operations and previously approved activities per 43 CFR 3160 and 43 CFR 3170 regulations.
Anyone who knowingly and willfully violates the regulations could be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or 12 months in prison if convicted. They could also be responsible for restitution or damage costs related to their trespassing..
Closures for the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland went into effect earlier this week for five counties due to the same drought conditions.
Hunters impacted by the closures should visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website for information about potential refunds.
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