PDA

View Full Version : Roads will be closed!


subzali
08-21-2012, 12:35 PM
Just got this letter from the Clear Creek Ranger District a couple days ago. See attachments and maps that I made based on the road numbers. Green means GONE!


But


WE still have a chance to comment until September 10!

One thing I know for sure, if I had to give up all the roads except for 1, that 1 would be 248.1K! That's the old wagon road to the town of Waldorf! No way that road should be deleted! It's not that heavily used as it is (the lower portion is), and should be remediated rather than decommissioned! And if 248.1K goes away (apart from losing the historical value), then 248.2A goes nowhere, and what will happen next?

248.2B goes to the cabin.

248.2C is the steep hill climb right outside of Waldorf.

248.1L is the lower-most creek crossing by the foot bridge/water pipe and campsite.

248.1J goes to a campsite right at treeline. The letter also mentions that 248.1N will be decommissioned. I know I've seen it, I'll have to look at my most recent pictures, but can't remember where it is and it's not on the MVUM right now.

The 189 series of roads I think is also known as Grizzly Gulch?

Get your comments in folks! I hate to see any of these roads go (especially in the Leavenworth Valley since that's our turf and we keep it in pretty good shape!), but especially a couple really need alternative attention!

subzali
08-21-2012, 12:36 PM
One more

Jacket
08-21-2012, 01:21 PM
So what can we do? Doesn't seem like we can challenge the EA at this point for it's findings? Can we offer to help build mitigations for the roads that would be affected (such as what we're doing at Jenny Creek)?

subzali
08-21-2012, 02:17 PM
All of the actions are only proposed at this point. We can comment on any/all of the actions. I would recommend we offer to do more rebuild activities than closure/decommission activities.

nakman
08-21-2012, 02:31 PM
Just trying to get my bearings here... which road in the "Subzali Connection" again?


And isn't 248.1J is that upper creek crossing- totally optional in terms of the route we usually take as that road goes no where. I've been over there a few times though just for grins
you'll probably recognize the spot, is this 248.1J? The last turn before you go up the loose rocky section towards the main road.

http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/attachment.php?attachmentid=29070&d=1339553359

and

http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/attachment.php?attachmentid=29073&d=1339553359

subzali
08-21-2012, 02:57 PM
The Subzali Connection is down by where the wording "Leavenworth Road" is on the map above. Just left of the "L". The pictures above are 248.1A and zigzag up toward 248.1D etc.

248.1J is at or above treeline and just goes to a little campsite. Doesn't cross the creek.

Fishy
08-21-2012, 02:58 PM
Once we're dealing with fish and aquatic insect habitat, it's gonna be hard to overcome. Since I can't do anything but lay on the couch and wait for my back MRI, I will dig into Trout Unlimited's current and upcoming projects and see if they are involved at all. They have been very involved in all aspects of Clear Creek in the past.

If they are funding/assisting/requesting (cover letter doesn't include them) in improving this area I would expect them to be completely opposed to keeping any offroad/OHV trails open.
For all of their "save the habitat" stuff, historically they have not been supporters of OHV use. I usually only agree with about 50% of what they are doing.

It's no secret that I'm an avid fly fisherman and I support things like stream restoration, clean/cold water and responsible harvest. However, I'm also an avid outdoorsman and part of that includes getting off-pavement (not offtrail) and enjoying what this great state has to offer. I'm still new to Colorado 4X4ing and Rising Sun, but those of you who know me know how much I've come to enjoy it. I take FULL advantage of what is out my back door and keeping our offroad trails open and in the hands of the public is very important to me. As it should be to all of us.

As Jacket asked, what's the best move for us to make? Anytime we can "team up" with any agency and work collaboratively to find a solution is a win win. Especially for us (Rising Sun). Can we offer to help make improvements in exchange for having a voice on what is to be done or the final outcome? Clearly, Rising Sun has a fine reputation for keeping trails open and clean. Do you recommend we write/email/call/show up with letters in hand? All of the above?

nakman
08-21-2012, 03:00 PM
Ah ok, thanks Matt. So if 248.1J doesn't cross the creek, then why is it subject for closure given the whole basis was preservation of the watershed? Or I guess blue means something different than green?

edit: Stan, you're the best guy to get involved here. :thumb:

subzali
08-21-2012, 03:14 PM
My blue mark was to show that the MVUM shows 248.1J (which should mean it's open for motorized travel), but the letter deems that 248.1J is already closed to public use. Suspicious.

Stan, Rising Sun has in the past and will in the future put our money and our time where our mouths are (just look at last weekend). We have funds available to assist with projects, but by nature of our chosen means of travel we have to support keeping roads open as much as we can. We lost a great many in the MVUM process, and these are further chunks that keep getting taken away. Ever seen a road get added back on a map? Doesn't happen nearly as often as they get taken off.

I agree too that I don't want the fishies and toads and whatnot to have their habitat destroyed, but especially with a road like 248.1K that road has overwhelming historical value and would be a true shame if no effort was made to keep it intact, but stabilize its condition so as not to negatively impact the habitat.

The Forest Service doesn't have the manpower to do all of this on their own, so the easiest solution is to close. :( But we have the power to step in and offer the manpower and funds to maybe close the gap a bit.

Tim, I think the nature of 248.1J with it having a campsite near water at the end of it is why it's on the targeted list. It's kinda marshy up there.

Fishy
08-21-2012, 03:31 PM
Ever seen a road get added back on a map?


Never. And I probably won't in my lifetime. I have seen reversals of stream access, but only after major monetary "donations" and time in court.

Here is an example of where a Colorado 4X4 Club and TU teamed up to keep an area/road open to vehicle access.
http://www.tu.org/press_releases/2011/sportsmen-ohv-riders-call-on-usfs-for-access

As far as I know, Middle Mountain Road is still open?

rover67
08-21-2012, 05:31 PM
Wow, frustrating. I wish I could just decide to do stuff based on the existence of a boreal toad.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boreal_Toad

The creek looks fine to fish to me. super clear, no sediment. seems very sustainable.

Maybe it would be a good idea to propose a review of the EA and see if there is any way we can help improve the situation without closures. Are they concerned about runoff from teh trails (waterbars could help) Are they concerned with the creek running down the road (improved diversions could be constructed).

Would it be appropriate to craft an email stating that we'd like to look at the EA ans see if we could keep the routes open with effort from our club to provide $$ and man power for fixes?

Caribou Sandstorm
08-21-2012, 11:07 PM
We could offer to fund and build a wood bridge over that creek Tim was crossing in his pick. Also maybe only have the trail open for part of the year when the creek runs below the bridge?

I wonder if the ranger friends we have made via Jenny Creek, would be helpful in vouching for us as an organization or giving us insight?

Should we gather up and drive up there on Sunday?

nakman
08-21-2012, 11:41 PM
We could offer to fund and build a wood bridge over that creek Tim was crossing in his pick. Also maybe only have the trail open for part of the year when the creek runs below the bridge?

I wonder if the ranger friends we have made via Jenny Creek, would be helpful in vouching for us as an organization or giving us insight?

That creek crossing isn't even in jeopardy though, its stuff further up (and that first thing at the bottom, if you turn left instead of going straight immediately after the first switchback?) But seems like the bigger creek crossings are still on the map unmarked. :confused:

subzali
08-22-2012, 09:05 AM
They aren't focusing on the major stream crossings - yet. The 2 stream crossings on 248.1B and the 1 stream crossing on 248.1A (Tim's pictures above) are major thoroughfairs for the area. The stream crossing on 248.1L goes to 1 campsite and then switchbacks up the side of the mountain a couple times before petering out into nothing. I don't think it hardly gets used at all. So I can understand why it got chosen - most people have never been on it, there's not much of interest at the end of it, so it's an easy target.

Oh and Chris - we have friends in the Clear Creek Ranger District too - the BRD folks probably don't care too much about the goings-on in the CCRD - they have enough on their plate. I'm going to email Brant today and ask him his thoughts.

Caribou Sandstorm
08-22-2012, 11:52 AM
They aren't focusing on the major stream crossings - yet. The 2 stream crossings on 248.1B and the 1 stream crossing on 248.1A (Tim's pictures above) are major thoroughfairs for the area. The stream crossing on 248.1L goes to 1 campsite and then switchbacks up the side of the mountain a couple times before petering out into nothing. I don't think it hardly gets used at all. So I can understand why it got chosen - most people have never been on it, there's not much of interest at the end of it, so it's an easy target.

Oh and Chris - we have friends in the Clear Creek Ranger District too - the BRD folks probably don't care too much about the goings-on in the CCRD - they have enough on their plate. I'm going to email Brant today and ask him his thoughts.

Sounds good, I didn't do much research other than read the posts. Sounded like creek crossings were a target for closure, gosh why would they close these roads anyway? What's the point?

subzali
08-22-2012, 11:58 AM
Boreal Toads, dude, Boreal Toads.

Caribou Sandstorm
08-22-2012, 12:16 PM
Boreal Toads, dude, Boreal Toads.

Oh boy, I thought Marco was kidding.

rover67
08-22-2012, 12:23 PM
They are commonly found in the Southern Rocky Mountain region and in recent, their population has been on the decline due to a common amphibian disease known as chydrid fungus.[1]

So close roads, don't fix fungus.

Caribou Sandstorm
08-22-2012, 12:34 PM
Maybe we can go up there and spray fungicidal stuff..jk

Matt, you seem to have great knowledge of this area, do you have the bandwidth to write a letter that we could all sign or one we could adapt but that outlines the historical significance for 248.1k?

I know you have a lot on your plate.

Red_Chili
08-22-2012, 12:40 PM
Load your ammo with facts. Pro-amphibian facts. Disassociate closing roads with impacts to boreal toads.
http://www.savethefrogs.com/chytrid/index.html

How the chytrid fungus spreads

http://www.savethefrogs.com/threats/images/Bullfrog%20-%20Chytridiomycosis.JPGHumans ship millions of amphibians around the world each year. When an infected frog arrives in a new location, its disease can spread to native populations if (1) it escapes captivity, (2) it is intentionally set free, or (3) water from its holding tank is released into the environment. Native amphibian populations generally have no evolved defenses against the new pathogen, and an epidemic that results in population decline or extinction can occur. The largely unregulated pet and food trades (http://www.savethefrogs.com/threats/over-harvesting.html) are the two most common sources of disease introduction into na´ve amphibian populations. For instance, the skin disease chytridiomycosis has been detected in Mexican axolotls Ambystoma mexicanum in Australian pet shops, and in American bullfrogs Lithobates catesbeiana being farmed for international trade in Uruguay. Infected frogs are also unintentionally exported internationally via the zoo trade and laboratory animal trade.


Is there a cure for chytridiomycosis?

While methods exist for curing laboratory animals infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, it is not currently possible to eradicate the fungus from wild amphibian populations. Nor is it possible to protect a natural wilderness area prior to the arrival of the chytrid fungus. It is thus of vast importance that the spread of the fungus due to human activities be halted. This will require international cooperation, as countries will need to implement stringent quarantine procedures and diagnostic testing, and severely restrict the transportation of amphibians. We recommend that you do not purchase amphibians unless you are certain they were (1) captive-bred in disease-free conditions and (2) raised locally. If you cannot confirm both of these things, you may be inadvertently contributing to the spread of diseases to native, susceptible populations. Currently, there are very few pet dealers that provide thorough disease testing of their amphibians, as the price is generally prohibitive.


The EA has a hole in it, that closing roads will not mitigate impacts to the boreal toad from this fungus. You have to realize the exposure to lawsuits the USFS faces if they do nothing. If you provide supporting data and an alternative to closure that is reasonable and effective, you have done them a service and given them a way out. IMHO.

JadeRunner
08-23-2012, 09:14 AM
. The stream crossing on 248.1L goes to 1 campsite and then switchbacks up the side of the mountain a couple times before petering out into nothing. I don't think it hardly gets used at all. So I can understand why it got chosen - most people have never been on it, there's not much of interest at the end of it, so it's an easy target.



I guess I understand they want to limit creek crossings due to resource damage. But this hits close to home. That's my favorite family camp spot across the foot bridge with my popup. Because you can get off the road a little and be near the creek. It's going to really bum me out if we are asked to close access to it.

In terms of use. When we were camping up there a few weeks ago. Quite a few jeeps, atv's and motorcycles loved to come through the creek and go up the switchbacks to the end as a fun side trip.

nakman
08-23-2012, 09:34 AM
Scott I'm not sure there... isn't the spot you like fairly close to the bottom? Like, you're not even up to the "Subzali Connection" at that point.. certainly well below timber line. the one in jeopardy is much higher up.

subzali
08-23-2012, 09:41 AM
Scott is correct. 248.1L (designated to be decommissioned) is the first optional creek crossing just after the road splits into two. There is a footbridge there and a campsite just on the other side.

nakman
08-23-2012, 10:37 AM
Sorry my mistake, I thought that was the road right at the beginning.. bummer, I like that spot too, and wow soooo glad I went back there to clean up fallen trees a few weeks ago, man that was helpful :rolleyes:

Map for page 2:
http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/attachment.php?attachmentid=30139&stc=1&d=1345577513

subzali
09-10-2012, 04:56 PM
Sorry for the last minute update - boy it's been a crazy weekend! I'm playing hooky from work to get this done! Let's try to get our comments in - they're due TODAY!

subzali
09-10-2012, 04:59 PM
Here is my response...

DATE: September 10, 2012

TO: Ms. Kelly Larkin-McKim

FROM: Matt Miller

SUBJECT: High Peaks to Headwaters Watershed and Fisheries Restoration Project - EA

Dear Ms. Larkin-McKim,

My name is Matt Miller, and I am the Land Use Coordinator for Rising Sun 4x4 Club of Colorado. As you probably know, our club participates in the Adopt-a-Road program with the U.S. Forest Service, and the Leavenworth Creek Drainage is our Adopt-a-Road within the Clear Creek Ranger District of the Arapaho National Forest. We have sponsored many regular cleanups of the Leavenworth Creek area, and I thank you for sending us the notification letter regarding the drafting of the Environmental Assessment for this area.

Rising Sun 4x4 Club of Colorado is a club that is committed to promoting responsible recreation and stewardship of our National Forests and public lands. In the past we have shown this in the Leavenworth Creek area by donating volunteer hours to help with projects such as the closure of illegal user-created routes and the installation of signage and carsonite to promote respectful use of the area. Every summer we perform trail cleanups of the Leavenworth Creek road system, and a fair number of us frequent the area for purely recreational purposes as well. Through these experiences, we have seen what damage could be caused by inappropriate trail usage, and understand some of the challenges that must be faced to keep the entire area open to recreation.

After reviewing the proposed action in the Watershed and Fisheries Restoration Project, I have some comments that I hope will be included in the final decision process for this area. Most of the proposed activities appear to be reasonable and effective for enhancing instream fish and toad habitat and improving the watershed, but I do have some concerns regarding the decommissioning of some of the dispersed campsites and also some of the roads.

As a 4x4 club, travel by road is of necessity to our recreation. Having lost many miles of roads during the MVUM process, and in subsequent processes thereafter, our entire community is very sensitive to the prospect of losing additional miles of travel surfaces. In the past, Rising Sun has shown our dedication to keeping roads open by offering volunteer time and money to harden riparian areas, stabilize road surfaces, and install post and cable to clearly identify the road surface and prevent off-road travel. Most of these projects have been done within the Boulder Ranger District, on our other Adopt-a-Road, Jenny Creek. However, we have also felt that by closing illegal user-created routes in the Leavenworth Valley we have also been contributing to the sustainability of the area and to keeping legitimate roads open.

Getting to the specifics of the proposal, I looked at all the road numbers slated for decommissioning, and I have concerns and suggestions regarding several:

1. 248.1K. This is the first on the list that is slated for decommission. I believe I know why. Above 248.1 there is a slightly steep climb that has some large exposed rocks and I suppose might be a source for excessive erosion that is adding to the streambeds. Here’s the problem: aside from it being a legitimate established road, this is in fact the historic wagon road that paralleled the railroad up to the town of Waldorf. By decommissioning this road, its historical value will be lost. I must stress this point, being personally acutely interested in the amazing mining and tourism history of the area. I would propose that more discussions are held with clubs such as Rising Sun and with the Georgetown Historic District Public Lands Commission (HDPLC) to work out ways to harden the travel surface of this road and stabilize it in order to keep it open. Rising Sun has available volunteers and available funds to help with this effort. Furthermore, it seems excessive that the entire 0.83 mile stretch of this road be decommissioned as a result of such a small length of the road being problematic. In fact, the large majority of the road (I’d estimate almost 75%) doesn’t appear to see regular travel of any type, and erosion doesn’t appear to be a problem at all! Most people appear to travel up 248.1K to 248.2A and continue that way. Closing the entire section of 248.1K doesn’t make sense, but hardening the travel surface and continued monitoring and repair does make sense.
2. 248.1L. This road appears to be on the decommission list because it crosses Leavenworth Creek, goes to a campsite, and then continues up to a dead-end. Unfortunately this is a favorite campsite of some in the club. Would a bridge crossing of the creek provide a feasible and effective alternative to just closing the campsite and the road?
3. 248.1J. This road is labeled as already closed to the public. My MVUM still shows this road as open, so I do not understand the discrepancy there. As I recall, this road services a campsite that is well and away from the wetlands area of the Leavenworth Valley, so I question how its use impairs water quality.
4. 248.2B. This road appears to access a cabin, and I understand that this road travels through a low-lying area (I have not yet visited the cabin myself, though I have meant to for several years). If there are no other problems with accessing the cabin site and location, would it be possible for volunteers to harden the road base and stabilize the area to prevent water quality issues?

Regarding the remainder of the listed roads, especially the 189-numbered roads, I have no specific questions and/or input, but rather I would like to offer Rising Sun’s assistance to explore alternatives to closing and decommissioning the roads listed. Rising Sun feels that our efforts to maintain our Adopt-a-Road has greatly benefited the entire Leavenworth Valley, and we would like to participate in continuing to keep the area as pristine as possible with the fewest number of road closures possible.

Another thought I would like to offer: if we must give up some existing roads, would it be possible to gain any back in return? When the MVUM was developed, a connecting road was missing from the map. I commented on the proposed MVUM during the public comment process to add the road to the map, but it was never added. It appears to be in very stable condition and offers convenient access for us on our cleanup days as well as for recreational users on the weekends to go between the “upper” and “lower” roads of the Leavenworth trail system. The intersection of this road to the “upper” road is at 39░40.810' N, 105░43.659' W. The intersection of this road to the “lower” road is at 39░40.818' N, 105░43.518' W. Please consider adding this road to the environmental assessment if it would be possible to add this road back to the system.

Finally, I would like to say that Rising Sun is here to help the Forest Service in any way we can pursuant to our Adopt-a-Road agreement. We are committed to providing manpower and monetary funds in support of keeping our public lands healthy and enjoyable, and again commit to responsible recreation and management of our public lands. Thank you so much for involving us in the comment process, and we look forward to continued involvement!

Sincerely,

Matt Miller
Land Use Coordinator – Rising Sun 4x4 Club of Colorado

corsair23
09-10-2012, 05:59 PM
:thumb:

I was discussing this with a friend (trying to get their permission to post up their thoughts) via email. My friend works for a local environmental company that does a lot of work for the oil and gas industry doing and writing environmental impact studies etc.

Fishy
09-10-2012, 09:19 PM
Awesome Matt! Very nicely written. Do you suggest that anyone else comment via written letter as well? Clearly, you are speaking on our behalf. However, is there anything else you'd like to see done?

subzali
09-10-2012, 09:25 PM
Absolutely! The more letters and comments the better! However, I'm not sure if the cutoff is COB 9/10/12 or midnight 9/10/12. Either way it's probably worth a shot to get your letter out there if you have time! Sorry that my response was so delayed!

subzali
03-20-2013, 10:36 AM
Kelly just sent an update to this EA for everyone to read. It looks like most of the roads that were slated to be closed have been taken off the list. We're now down to 1.97 miles of roads in the Leavenworth Valley that are proposed to be decommissioned.

-1 is the hill climb out of Waldorf.
-2 is the road out to the cabin
-3 is a little connection road near #2
-4 is an illegal user-created route past a campsite off of the main road.

Map 12. This is mucho bettero than the original plan, IMO. I'm not sure there is any reason to fight them on this proposal, it's a pretty good compromise IMO.

If you have issues with other areas like their proposed administrative closure gate in the Grizzly Gulch area, then feel free to contact them.

Here are links to the letter and EA:
30-day comment period Cover Letter (http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/uploads/subzali/HP2HW_EA_30daycomment.pdf)

Watersheds Environmental Assessment and Appendices (http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/uploads/subzali/HP2HW_EA.pdf)

Fishy
03-20-2013, 10:42 AM
This is mucho bettero than the original plan, IMO. I'm not sure there is any reason to fight them on this proposal, it's a pretty good compromise

Would it be beneficial to us to offer and help with the closures since we were adamant on what not to close?

subzali
03-20-2013, 02:04 PM
Would it be beneficial to us to offer and help with the closures since we were adamant on what not to close?

Stan, I don't know if the club has an official position on this. Here's my take on it, and I know a previous Land Use Coordinator had the same take.

I will volunteer my time to keep trails clean
I will volunteer my time to keep trails open
I will volunteer my time to do repair work
I will volunteer my time to close user-created illegal routes
I will volunteer my time to try and work towards opening (or legalizing) new or existing roads

I won't volunteer my time to close previously open and legal roads

The Forest Service won't ask us anyway, they're going to hire contractors with heavy equipment to do the work.

Red_Chili
03-20-2013, 02:26 PM
That would be me.

Road closures sometimes make sense from the greatest number of perspectives, and I might even support some, but almost all the time they are the cheapest alternative when keeping them open but sustainable is more costly in a time of shrinking USFS budgets. So as a matter of principle, I will support anything that helps defray the cost of keeping routes open and sustainable and responsible. But not the inverse.

YMMV.