Chelan PUD is closing the Sage Hills trails system for four months beginning Thursday (Dec. 1 to April 1) to provide a winter-feeding ground and quiet range land for mule deer and other wildlife.

PUD senior wildlife biologist Von Pope says the herds typically migrate to the Wenatchee Foothills starting in December and peak in March.

"With the recent snow, we expect more mule deer will move into the area for winter,” said Pope.

The utility manages the 960-acre Home Water Wildlife Preserve inside of Sage Hills as part of its federal license to operate the Rock Island Dam.

Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and the City of Wenatchee also close off more than 2,200 acres of open space adjacent to PUD property to protect winter range land for mule deer and wildlife.

The closure includes trailheads north of Fifth Street, such as the Horse Lake Reserve trail system and the side trails of Dry Gulch Preserve.

Among the Wenatchee area trails that stay open during the winter are Saddle Rock, Jacobson Preserve and Castle Rock.

The public is advised to avoid areas where the ground is soft to prevent lasting trail damage.

Information on trail conditions can be found here.

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