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Closures for elk rut extended in RMNP after visitors try to approach animals

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Posted at 11:42 AM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 13:42:41-04

Rocky Mountain National Park officials have extended the timeframe for how long parts of the park will remain closed for the elk rut season due to an increase in visitors approaching the animals in past years.

Beginning Monday, park officials began closing certain trails to all travel between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. In previous years, the areas had reopened by 7 a.m.

The closures, which will last through Oct. 31, are in place for Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, Moraine Park, Harbison Meadow and Holzwarth Meadow in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

These restrictions were established to prevent visitors from disturbing or harassing the elk during the rut season, which is their mating period. Male elk can be aggressive during this time.

In the past two years, park staff have seen an increase in visitors approaching elk after the morning meadow closures lifted..

RMNP is also reminding visitors that elk calling and using spotlights or headlights to find wildlife is prohibited. If a visitor's actions disturb the animals, they can be cited with harassment of wildlife.

Fishing in the Fall River, Thompson River or Colorado River within the posted areas is closed from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.