Avimor closes some trails to protect wildlife

STATESMAN STAFFNovember 14, 2013 

Closure is primarily to protect deer and elk winter on their winter range.

ROGER PHILLIPS — rphillips@idahostatesman.com

Trails around the subdivision north of Boise and east of Idaho 55 are winter range for mule deer and elk populations, as well as spring nesting and fledging sites for a number of migratory bird species.

Many are closed to all use from Nov. 1 to May 1.

“One of the primary tools used in the management of the trail system is seasonal trail closures and leash requirements for dogs in order to limit the effect of humans on wildlife populations during critical times of the year,” Avimor officials said in a news release.

Avimor voluntarily closes the majority — about 84 of the 96 miles of the trails — to all nonmotorized uses (hike, bike and horse).

However, there is still about 12 miles of trail at Avimor open year-round, which allows for access that has minimal impact on wildlife because of its close proximity to the development.

To see a map of open trails, go to avimor.com.

“These trails are open to all nonmotorized uses (hike, bike and horse) at this time; however, these uses could be restricted in the future if use of wet trails, or out of bounds areas continues,” Avimor’s release said.

Open trails also have restrictions on pets, and anyone taking dogs onto trails needs to bring a leash and clean up after them.

The Avimor trails are on a mix of private and public lands, but access is through the subdivision and the trails can be closed by Avimor officials at any time if there is misuse.

People using Ridge to Rivers trails in the Boise Foothills should also beware of seasonal closures, especially in the East Boise area where trails cross into Fish and Game’s Boise River Wildlife Management Area.

The Foothills provide critical winter range for a variety of wildlife, and people recreating can disturb those animals when they are at their most vulnerable time of the year, especially fawns that are trying to survive their first winter.

Roaming dogs can be harmful to those animals because a dog can spook a herd of deer or elk, which may run off before the pet owner is aware of them.

All trail-users should give wildlife a wide berth during winter. If you see animals near a trail, stop and let them get out of sight before you proceed to avoid spooking them.

For a map that shows seasonal closures on Foothills trails in the Ridge to Rivers system, go to ridgetorivers.org.

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