Update to Cougar Trail Closures During Muddy Conditions
By Sean Warren, Open Space Manager
Since 2017, during the months of October-April, the Rangers have been monitoring trail conditions on lower Cougar Trail, Bluebird Trail and the segment of Colorow trail connecting Cougar and Bluebird Trails to Massey Draw Trail and when warranted, have implemented trail closures in this area when excessively muddy conditions exist. When the decision was made to close the trails, it was inclusive of all the trail segments listed above.
Over the past three years, the rangers realized that the area containing these trails was so topographically and vegetatively diverse that a single closure area was not meeting overall management objectives, including natural resource protection and preventing trail damage. Starting in January 2021, a new closure plan will be implemented, which will divide the area into two parts; the eastern closure area and the western closure area (see map). The eastern area usually becomes muddy first and can be closed independently while the western area can still be frozen/snow covered and can remain open. Likewise, when the western area thaws and is muddy it will be closed, but usually by this time the eastern area is dry and stable and will be opened. There could be periods when both areas are closed at the same time.
The rangers will walk the trail segments during times when mud is expected and based on visual inspection, will make the decision on which trail sections to close. If a closure is implemented, chain gates will barricade the effected trail segments and notifications on the KCRMA website and social media will be posted. If you are descending from upper Cougar Trail, please check trail closure status before your trip to open space and plan accordingly.