View Full Version : West Dolores travel plan comment period extended...

Uncle Ben
02-01-2008, 11:30 AM


Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

We've been posting updates on several important planning projects currently underway in Western Colorado. In our last update, we mentioned that we would have some comment suggestions that our members can use to help us keep trails open in the Rico area. This Action Alert concerns the Rico - West Dolores Area Travel Management Plan.

The comment suggestions come from the San Juan Trail Riders, one of the more active OHV groups in Colorado. The SJTR guys say the Draft Travel Plan has about a half dozen key problems that if not corrected would create havoc with the current trail system.

We've taken their comments and formulated a quick cut and paste comment letter for your use. However, if you visit this area we strongly encourage you to visit the agency's website and take a close look at the proposal. Personal comments are best.

We are concerned about recent statements from wilderness activist groups threatening to challenge any decision to include so-called "user created" routes in the travel plan. We expect these groups to push for maximum closure and that means your comments are important and will help us keep the travel system intact.

Thanks in advance for your involvement.
Brian Hawthorne
Ric Foster
BRC Public Lands Department
208-237-1008 ext 102


Dolores Public Lands Office, a combined office that oversees management of both Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands, is taking public input on a new Travel Plan for the Rico - West Dolores area.

This important plan will designate routes that will be open to summer motor vehicle use on some 240,000 acres of National Forest lands in the Bear Creek, Taylor Mesa, Rico, Dunton, Black Mesa, and Stoner Mesa areas.

For more information about the Rico - West Dolores Travel Management Plan, please contact Penny Wu at (970) 882-6829. A copy of the Scoping Letter and Rico-West Dolores area map are available on the Forest's website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan/projects/projects.shtml.

Please send a quick email using the comment information below.

IMPORTANT: Put "Comments on Rico - West Dolores Travel Plan" in the subject line and be certain to include your name and address. A return email address is NOT sufficient! (BLM and FS often discards "anonymous" email comments.)

The email address is: pwu@fs.fed.us

Comments should be addressed to:
Penny Wu
Dolores Public Lands Office
29211 Hwy. 184
Dolores, CO 81323

I would like to make the following comment on the Rico - West Dolores travel management proposal.

The off-highway vehicle community generally supports the "travel limited to designated roads, trails and areas" paradigm. The OHV community also supports thorough environmental review and analysis in route designation process, as well as ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the OHV infrastructure. Indeed, we have taxed ourselves via OHV registration stickers in order to provide funds to the agency so it may accomplish these tasks.

What the OHV community does not support is being presented with a "range" of management alternatives where all of the alternatives represent a significant reduction in OHV opportunity. The intent of the Travel Management Rule is "revising regulations regarding travel management on National Forest System lands to clarify policy related to motor vehicle use, including the use of off-highway vehicles." It is not intended to be a means to eliminate or even drastically reduce motorized recreation on National Forests.

Please consider the following changes to your plan.

1. The agencies should look for additional ATV trail opportunities. The trail experience is much more valuable than the road experience for most ATV users. There may be a good ATV trail opportunity in the "Taylor OHV" area.

2. The agencies should develop an alternative that maximizes all recreational uses.

3. I support the specific route recommendations of the San Juan Trail Riders:

* A compromise solution is needed for the Burnett Creek trailhead access so that Burnett Creek can remain open for motorized access to Rico for food, fuel and lodging.

*Johnny Bull is a major connector to the Calico Trail and its continued designation as a multiple use/ motorized route is essential for a manageable system. It also serves as a safety route for ready access to the West Dolores Rd. when hours of the day run short.

* A compromise solution that sustains motorized use is needed for the Morrison Trail (intersection with Bear Creek to the end of planning area boundary). The Morrison trail is an important connector to many trails North and South. Motorized impacts are minimal as this corridor has also been signed as a stock driveway for many years in addition to its use for motorized and non-motorized users.

* The Loading Pens is a highly valued and popular trail that has been maintained and ridden regularly by single track motorized users for more than 25 years. It is a challenging trail for single track users and the local OHV groups take great pride in keeping it maintained. It should be left open

*Section House - School House Trails These two trails have great potential as multiple use trails. Both trails offer access to Calico and Priest Gulch trails. The benefits to opening these to motorized use would not only be wonderful experience they provide but also ease congestion at the Calico/Priest Gulch trailheads during peak trail use times.

*Priest Cut-Off trail provides a key connector with two currently authorized trails. The value to the less experienced motorized users is that the challenging sections of the Priest Gulch trail can be avoided as the Cut-Off can be taken to the Calico Trail to continue on North.

02-01-2008, 11:46 AM
So here I am, replying to your PMs, with a clipboard full of an action alert, and you beat me to it!