Hyalite off limits during annual spring closure

By ALEXANDRA DUBIN/Montana State News

Hyalite Canyon is one of Bozeman’s most beloved national forest areas. It began its annual spring closure cleanup on April 1 and will run through May 15.

The gates at the mouth of the canyon are closed, which forbids motor vehicles access.

During the annual spring closure, the roads will be thawing out and cannot handle motorized vehicles. It can cause cracking in the pavement and create potholes, according to the Forest Service.

With higher elevation in a location, the later in the season a gate will remain closed according to Wendy Urie, the Recreation Program Manager of Bozeman’s’ Ranger District.

“It’s still really snowy in Hyalite. People see it’s 70 degrees in town, grass is green and Hyalite still has 3 feet of snow,” said Urie.

The canyon is still open to other forms of transportation such as running, walking and cycling.

“We do get use in other places since many gates are still closed after May 16,” said Urie.

Storm Castle is a popular Bozeman hike that is located 25 miles South of Hyalite Canyon.

“Saturday at 2 p.m. there were 20 cars at the bottom of Storm Castle,” according to Urie.

Local volunteers are a big part of Hyalite’s maintenance, with designated cleanup days such as the one on May 9 at Hyalite Canyon fishing access.

Gordon Sevee is a Bozeman resident who volunteered at the cleanup last year.

“You feel like you’re doing a good deed, it was satisfying,” said Sevee. “Spring closure does not disrupt my activities.”

His favorite activity of grouse hunting happens in Hyalite during the fall, so he has an indifference to closure time.

Once Hyalite opens back up it will be ready for a fresh summer season. The canyon will see about 80,000 visitors during the summer months according to the Forest Service.

– Edited by Sara Saxton

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