Citizens Urged to Call 911 to Report Mount Jumbo Trespassers

While Missoula’s recent snowfall may look tempting to skiers, the City of Missoula reminds citizens that most of Mount Jumbo is closed to the public during the winter.  Citizens are urged to call 911 if they spot trespassers on Mount Jumbo. Two trails in Jumbo’s South Zone remain open during the closure: the “L” trail beginning at Cherry Street and the US West trail above I-90.

The closure protects about 90 head of elk on their winter range, and remains in effect through March 15 on Jumbo’s southern slopes, and through May 1 on Jumbo’s North Zone.  (See attached map.)  Last year’s fatal avalanche on Mount Jumbo, which was triggered by a snowboarder in violation of the closure, also has city officials concerned. While the risk of avalanche on Mount Jumbo is slight, citizens should be aware that avalanche warnings have been issued for much of western Montana. The City received reports of ski tracks on Mount Jumbo over the weekend, near the site of the February, 2014 avalanche.  Unfortunately, witnesses didn’t see the trespassers on the mountain and were therefore unable to contact law enforcement.

Avalanche DangerThe Mount Jumbo winter wildlife closure provides a safe buffer for the elk at the edges of the urban area, enabling them to feed, maintain an energy balance, and continue to live through harsh winters—away from human disturbance and away from our neighborhoods and gardens.  A habituated elk becomes a dangerous nuisance, as the average cow elk weighs in at around 500 pounds and stands over 4’ tall—and is naturally more aggressive than a typical deer.  By contrast, the average whitetail buck weighs about 200pounds.

Trespassing during the wildlife closure is prohibited by law and violators may be fined up to $500.  When calling 911 to report trespassers, please provide a description of the person and/or his vehicle and license plate number if possible.  The Mount Jumbo elk herd is a valuable natural resource and the animals need your help to stay wild and survive in an urban environment.  For more information, visit www.missoulaparks.org or phone 721-PARK.

Fast Facts

  • Much of Mount Jumbo is closed to recreational use during the winter months to protect wintering elk.
  • The North Zone, including areas north of the Saddle Road, is closed December 1 to May 1.
  • Jumbo’s South Zone, south of the Saddle Road, is closed December 1 to March 15.
  • The “L” and I-90 trails remain open all year, and dogs must be leashed during the winter closure.
  • Call 911 immediately upon witnessing a trespasser on the closed areas.
  • Call 721-PARK or visit missoulaparks.org for more information.

Call 911 to report trespassers on Mount Jumbo during winter wildlife closure