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CPW issues temporary closure of Skipper Island due to safety concerns after wildfire
CPW News Release
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Due to safety concerns after a wildfire destroyed much the Skipper Island section of the Horsethief Canyon State Wildlife Area last month, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has authorized a temporary closure within the burned area, effective immediately. All public access is prohibited until further notice.

CPW will post signs in the area to advise of the closure. The majority of Horsethief Canyon SWA on the south side of the Colorado River remains open to the public.

The blaze began April 18 after a person camping illegally lost control of a fire he admitted setting in an attempt to burn trash. Camping at the Horsethief Canyon State Wildlife Area is not allowed at anytime.

The fire burned for two days, destroying over 200 acres of older cottonwood trees, tamarisk, and grass.

"Currently, safety concerns include large, unstable trees and deep smoldering roots," said Area Wildlife Manager Kirk Oldham. "We are working on a short-term cleanup that could allow public access in the next few months, but full reclamation will take much longer."

The 1200-acre Horsethief Canyon State Wildlife Area, including Skipper Island, is located in Mesa County, near Fruita. CPW leases the property from the Bureau of Reclamation, managing the area for the conservation of wildlife and wetlands.

For more information, contact CPW's Northwest Regional office at 970-255-6100 or Area Wildlife Manager Kirk Oldham at 970-255-6178.