Pioneer Trail: Beaver Valley, High Plains and Avalanche Pass closing for good

If you've yet to complete the actual Pioneer Trail portions of Pioneer Trail - that is, make your way to Fort Courage by going through Beaver Valley, the High Plains and Avalanche Pass, now is not the time to delay, as Zynga has announced that the entirety of that portion of the game will close for good at the beginning of the year - Jan 2, 2012.

As a way to entice people to make their way through the trail (if they've yet to do so), you can now store up to 100 Rations at a time, and all of the parts needed to complete missions have been reduced by 50%, making things literally twice as easy to complete (or half as difficult, if you prefer). You'll also receive Ration Refills more often - once every two minutes, down from once every five minutes - for free. Finally, the free gifts page will now allow you to send +5 Ration boosts to friends, instead of just +1 Ration boosts.

The exact reasoning for the closing hasn't been announced, but it does leave us to wonder if the game's plummeting numbers have finally caused Zynga to take notice. Was switching from FrontierVille to Pioneer Trail a mistake? Is the game losing too many players, or too much money to justify keeping these maps open? Of course, that's the defeatist attitude, and perhaps it's not as bad as all that. Perhaps this will simply allow Zynga to open new and different Pioneer Trail maps, using the resources it's currently dedicating to the Beaver Valley, High Plains and Avalanche Pass trio.

Whatever the case, we'll stay on top of things and will let you know if other sections of Pioneer Trail take the same route.

Are you surprised to hear that these maps will be closed down within Pioneer Trail? Do you think this means the end of the whole game, or are we not there just yet? Speculate with us in the comments.