Gates will be locked early Friday (Dec. 13) morning on two roads leading into a portion of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area 15 miles northwest of Ellensburg, according to a news release from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

This is an annual closure of the roads leading up Joe Watt Canyon and Robinson Canyon to protect between 1,200 and 2,000 wintering elk. The gates will be reopened on the morning of May 1, 2020.

Winter recreational activity can physically stress elk and increase the movement and scattering of the herd.

The closure’s goal, in connection with the elk supplemental feeding program, is to keep herds in the higher elevation above the Kittitas Valley, so they do not migrate down into the more heavily populated rural areas of the valley. The goal is to protect private property and help keep the herd safe.

The closure area extends well into the wildlife area. The boundary of the closure can be viewed on the L.T. Murray Green Dot Road Management map, which can be found on the web at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/wdfw-lands/green-dot or viewed on the kiosks at the Joe Watt parking area and Taneum Road.

For information, call the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area office at 509-933-6088 or 509-933-6089.

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