SANTA FE — The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) reminds visitors to the Cuba Ranger District that Forest Road (FR) 69 is closed to all motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), from May 15 to June 30 to protect elk cows during the calving season.
The seasonal road closure provides suitable habitat for elk cows during the calving season. During May and June each year, elk cows seek areas that have cover and forage. Disturbances, including motorized traffic and human interaction, can cause the cow to abort or abandon her calf. Once the calf is born, mother and baby remain in the area for about 10 days until the calf is strong enough to follow its mother to higher country.
“The annual closure of Forest Road 69 is disclosed in the seasonal closure section of our Motor Vehicle Use Map,” Cuba District Ranger Patrick M. Petracca said. “Visitors can still walk in the area, but we ask you to be respectful around our elk during this critical herd-sustaining process.”
Federal, state and local officers, members of an organized rescue team or firefighting force, landowners accessing their private property and any others authorized by permit are exempt from the closure order.
Violation of the closure order is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, imprisonment of not more than six months, or both.
For more information about the seasonal closure of FR 69, please call the Cuba Ranger District at 575.289.3264.