Wintering elk are extending their stay in the south zone of Mount Jumbo, leading Missoula Parks and Recreation to extend the area's closure through this Sunday, April 6.

Conservation Lands Manager Morgan Valiant said the extraordinary winter Missoula has experienced has led to this unusual move.

"Most people know we've been experiencing a record-setting winter and a really slow start to our spring," Valiant said. "Because of the high snowpack at higher elevations, and the lack of a significant green-up, the elk that use Mount Jumbo for their winter range have just decided to stay in the south zone a little longer than they normally do."

Valiant said even though the south zone will remain closed a while longer, some trails in the area will reopen.

As of Tuesday, April 1, we are going to be reopening the "L" trail, and the U.S. West trail for on-trail traffic only," Valiant said. "That will give people the access to get back on the mountain, but, until those elk move out of the area, we're keeping the south zone closed. We're asking people to be cognizant of their actions while they're up there by staying on the trails, and, of course making sure their pets are controlled accordingly."

Conservation Lands Manager Morgan Valiant