TPA Partners Meeting 2021

Upshift Magazine Article: Strength in Numbers

April 1, 2021 in News

Republished with permission

By Chad de Alva

There is no greater tool for trail advocacy than the local motorcycle club and their boots-on-the-ground presence. Yet different clubs enjoy varying degrees of success in their trail advocacy efforts, as each club faces a unique set of challenges surrounding their local trails. Different user groups, different land managers, and different advocacy strategies all impact what a club is able to accomplish. Operating in their own little worlds, some clubs produce impressive results while others struggle just to keep their existing trails open.

In an effort to increase the impact of local clubs, and to further improve riding opportunities in Colorado and the surrounding states, the Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) recently arranged for a meeting of the minds. A chance for clubs that work with the TPA to get together to compare notes and share lessons learned. Clubs typically operate on a tactical level, engaged with their local land managers on efforts in their backyards, where the TPA supports strategic-level efforts across the state in addition to backing local clubs. By working with so many different clubs on a diverse set of advocacy issues, the TPA is a unique resource in that it can help clubs with everything from grants and legal challenges, to getting the equipment and resources that clubs need to get work done.

This combination of local club and state level trail advocacy is powerful, and the value in getting involved with other advocacy organizations near you can’t be overstated. If you are not part of your local club, you need to be. If you are part of a local club, determine what other clubs are in your state and make a plan to trade notes. The challenges your club has surmounted may hold the keys that another club needs to get a new trail project in the ground. Likewise, another club may have the additional resources that your club needs to accomplish its goals. Trade notes. Seek out opportunities to support each other. When it comes to preserving and creating the trails we all love to ride, we’re strong alone – but we’re stronger together.

Upshift Magazine Article April 2021

BLM Releases Decision on Roads & Trails in San Juan County, Colorado – Sept. 21, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management increasing access to public lands in San Juan County

GUNNISON, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Gunnison Field Office has announced changes that will increase recreation offerings and public access on BLM lands near Silverton in San Juan County.
“This decision responds to requests from the Town of Silverton and recreational user groups for more trails in the area,” said BLM Gunnison Field Manager Elijah Waters. “The roads and trails authorized by this decision will enhance the recreational offerings and access to public lands in the area for residents and visitors alike.”

The decision allows for construction of approximately 30 miles of trails in what will be known as Bakers Park. The trails in the Bakers Park area were recommended by the Town of Silverton in the 2019 Silverton Area Trails Plan. Once constructed, these trails will be open to hiking, biking, and Class 1 electric bicycles (e-bikes).
Additionally, 1.6-miles of single-track trail in Minnie Gulch will be re-routed and designated for single-track motorized use, creating a single-track motorized connection to a robust motorized trail network on nearby USDA Forest Service lands. The rerouted trail will avoid sensitive landscapes and ecological areas to balance recreational opportunity and protection of resources.
Approximately 12 miles of existing routes will be authorized for public use as part of the decision. These routes will provide access for a variety of activities, including camping, wood gathering, hiking, biking, and stock use.
The decision furthers a number of the Department of the Interior’s priorities, including those found under Secretary’s Order 3366, Increasing Recreational Opportunities on Lands and Waters Managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and Secretary’s Order 3376, Increasing Recreational Opportunities through the use of Electric Bikes.

The Finding of No Significant Impact on the implementation-level Silverton Travel Management Environmental Assessment, the decision, and maps of the trails included in the plan are available on BLM’s ePlanning site at

2019 Year End Report summary

The Rico West Dolores (RWD) lawsuit has been fully briefed, with the Petitioners (TPA, SJTR, and PAPA) as well as the Wild Earth Guardians group filing reply briefs on November 1, 2019.  The case was originally filed on September 14, 2018.  The TPA Petitioners have raised various claims under the Administrative Procedure Act, NEPA and the Travel Management Rule seeking to have the RWD Travel Plan declared unlawful and set aside.  If the TPA Petitioners succeed, it could result in the Plan being remanded to the Forest Service for further analysis, including to consider and/or adopt a plan that will modify or reduce the roughly one-third reduction of motorcycle trails in the challenged decision. The joint case management plan, which was approved by the Court, states “ parties agree that this case would be aided by oral argument.”  The Court has not yet indicated whether it will hear argument.  A decision on the merits in a case of this nature typically issues about 3-6 months from final submission of the briefs, or, if argument occurs, the end of argument.  So a decision from the district court seems likely sometime during the spring-summer of 2020.

David Pierce’ Museum Open House

On Friday December 20th SJTR Board Members met with David Pierce of Farmington to present him with a monogrammed vest to show appreciation for his most recent donation to the RWD Legal Action Fund coordinated through TPA.  David will also be hosting a Museum Open House at his facility (with SJTR support) in late March to also help bolster the Legal Action Fund.  At the Open House David plans on bringing in 2 high profile motorcyclists that will be providing special presentations for those wishing to attend.  Along with the planned March 2020 event David has already begun working on a special ride for all attendees who may wish to participate through registration and special participation donation.  We will look for details in the next couple of months.  We could not thank David Pierce enough for all that he has done to help meet the financial challenges of the RWD Litigation.

Rico West Dolores Update 2019

Rico/West Dolores Litigation

We have recently fielded some inquiries regarding the ongoing Rico West Dolores lawsuit and wish to provide a quick update.  We realize that progress has been slow, but this is unfortunately typical in federal court litigation of this nature.  The good news is that the case is entering a meaningful phase of activity, during which our claims and other fruits of the collective effort between SJTR-PAPA-TPA will be more apparent.

The case has been moving through the housekeeping and scheduling phase, culminating in production and refinement of the administrative record, which consists of the thousands of page views of documents and information upon which the Court’s review will be based.  Under the recently modified (and hopefully final) schedule, our opening legal briefs will be filed on August 2, 2019.  The Forest Service will respond to both Petitioner briefs on October 4, 2019.  We will be able to file a separate response to the WildEarth Guardian et al. Petitioner brief on October 18, and then will be able to file a reply brief in support of our own case on November 1.  The parties have jointly requested oral argument, which will be heard at the Court’s discretion, which would likely be in late 2019 or early 2020.

As we have previously noted, we are deeply grateful for the unprecedented support of this effort and the very successful donation campaigns from our memberships (SJTR and PAPA) in collaboration with TPA and others.  Our members and our lawyers are highly motivated to make a difference in this project and help restore access to some of these critical trails.

We anticipate a relatively short interval between this announcement and our next update, which will follow shortly after August 2 and provide an opportunity for you to review our opening brief on the merits of our case, in addition to the corresponding effort from the WildEarth Guardians, SJCA, Dunton Petitioner group.  We are committed to advancing a strong case and vigorously advocating for our essential recreation and access in the Rico West Dolores area and beyond.  Your continued membership and financial support is critical in maintaining this strength.

Most Sincerely,

Board of Directors:  San Juan Trail Riders, PAPA, Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA)

Trail Riders File Brief


Date:  August 2, 2019

Denver, CO:  Several organizations today filed legal arguments challenging the Rico West Dolores Area Travel Management Project Decision within the San Juan National Forest.  The legal brief was filed by the Trails Preservation Alliance, San Juan Trail Riders, and Public Access Preservation Association, whose members enjoy and advocate for motorcycle access along the Area’s prized single-track trails.  The Decision closed about 30 percent of those trails, reduced the season of use, eliminated use of key routes and connections, and displaced trail riding to Highway 145.  The Trail Riders are challenging these restrictions under the National Environmental Policy Act and Forest Service Travel Management Rule.  Preservationist interests including WildEarth Guardians, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Dunton Hot Springs, Inc. and Sheep Mountain Alliance have also filed a suit, contending the agency should have further restricted motorcycle access.  The two cases have been consolidated and will be considered together.

“We remain committed to restoring balance and improving the trail experience in the Rico West Dolores Area,” said Gary Wilkinson with the San Juan Trail Riders.  “Litigation has unfortunately become an extension of the travel planning process, and we have little choice but to stay this course and continuing to expose the shortcomings and illogic of this flawed Decision,” Wilkinson concluded.

The Trail Riders filed this lawsuit in September, 2018.  Under the current schedule, the matter will be fully briefed on November 1, 2019.  The parties have requested that they be allowed to present oral argument, but the Court has not yet scheduled a hearing. 

Rico / West Dolores ROD Litigation

PAPA Member Alert: Rico / West Dolores ROD Litigation

                                   February 13, 2019

Many of our members are very interested to know what is happening regarding the lawsuit that has been filed against the USFS Dolores, CO Ranger District regarding their Record of Decision to close over 30% of the motorized single-track trails recreation on the Rico/West Dolores landscape. 

First of all let us say that we have had one of the most successful donation campaigns from our memberships (SJTR and PAPA) in collaboration with TPA and others, so critical for filing this suit.  Thanks to all of you for digging deep to help fund this fight.  There will most likely be others but for now we are ready to take this one on robustly.

The deadline to submit a litigation schedule was February 9th but that has now been extended to March 9th due to the partial government shutdown.  The schedule will begin with generation of an administrative record, and will culminate in argument presented through written briefing, with the possibility of oral argument before the judge assigned to the case.  This process will most likely stretch through the summer of 2019. We urge all our members to adjust to the newly applied restrictions in the Rico/West Dolores riding area and to be patient as we wait for a decision from the court.  We remain optimistic that our case has merit.

We will do our best to keep you abreast of any particular actions that occur relative to the suit as they arise.  As much aligned organizations (SJTR, PAPA and TPA) we now have combined strengths that can now give us the best opportunity to meet the challenges of preserving our chosen recreation.  Your continued membership and financial support is critical in maintaining this strength.

Most Sincerely,

Board of Directors:  San Juan Trail Riders and PAPA

Critical Action Alert: Help Keep The Single Track Motorized Trails Open

To all our members and other loyal constituents:

As many of you already know PAPA and San Juan Trail Riders have been working diligently for more than 9 years with the U.S. Forest Service, Dolores Ranger District on a travel management plan.  The final plan, issued July 2018, primarily impacts motorcycle riding on existing trails that have been ridden by motorcyclists for almost 4 decades.  Even with all our efforts to work out a reasonable, just and appropriate travel plan for motorcycle recreation in the Rico/West Dolores landscape, the District Ranger has acted arbitrarily and capriciously and has signed a Record of Decision which eliminates nearly 30% of existing trails from motorcycle travel.  In yet another blow to trail users, the District Ranger chose to impose a restrictive seasonal closure that further limits motorcycle travel on existing trails, allowing riding only from June 1 to October 30.

The Decision will crush long and historic motorcycle recreation in the area and serve special interests.  It is so imbalanced that multiple organizations have now filed a lawsuit challenging the Decision.  San Juan Trail Riders (SJTR), Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA), and Pubic Access Preservation Association (PAPA) have banded together with legal counsel Mr. Paul Turcke of Boise, ID to use this litigation to exhaust all opportunities to overturn this Decision on behalf of our members, constituents, local business owners, county organizations, future generations of motorcycle recreationalists and other OHV user groups.

This battle, which may be long-lasting, will need an extremely strong financial backing to see it through to success.  If we cannot collectively overturn this Decision we believe the future of motorcycle recreation in the San Juan National Forest, as well as other forests, will be at risk.  YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT IS CRITICAL if we are to win this battle and we believe we can.

Today we are launching a 45 DAY DONATION CHAMPAIGN (to November 15) as an opportunity for each and every one of us to STEP-UP AND DONATE to the cause!   This litigation could amount to well over $100k.  For as little as the cost of a couple of motorcycle tires from each of us, we can do this.  All donations are being collected by the lead organization Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) for our lawsuit.   TPA is a 501c3 corporation, allowing donations to be tax deductible. The address for TPA for all donations is listed below.  Let’s commit to make this a highly successful donation campaign to protect these world-class trails that we have used for so many years and to keep them available for others to enjoy for years to come.

Respectfully:  Your Public Access Preservation Association Board of Directors

Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA)
P.O. Box 38093
Colorado Springs, CO    80937

Trail Riders Bring Suit Challenging Rico West Dolores Plan


September 2018

Denver, CO:  Several organizations recently filed a lawsuit challenging the Rico West Dolores Travel Management Project Decision on the Dolores District of the San Juan National Forest.  The parties bringing the suit are the Trails Preservation Alliance, San Juan Trail Riders, and Public Access Preservation Association, whose members have long enjoyed motorcycle access along prized single-track trails within the Project area.  The Decision would close roughly 30 percent of those trails, and impose seasonal restrictions eliminating motorcycle use between November 1 and May 31.  The case was filed in federal court for the U.S. District of Colorado, bringing claims under the National Forest Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, various regulations and the Administrative Procedure Act.

“This area has received sustainable trail use by diverse users, including motorcyclists, for more than 40 years,” said Gary Wilkinson with the San Juan Trail Riders.  “This Decision, roughly a decade in the making, is mostly a solution in search of a problem that unnecessarily pits trail users against one another where there is ample room to get along,” Wilkinson added.  “Our organizations have long partnered with the Forest Service and other users to define and support effective trail management, but this Decision crossed a line which we must defend,” added Don Riggle of the Trails Preservation Alliance.

The planning process leading to the Decision followed an earlier round of litigation brought by anti-access groups represented by the Colorado Law School, seeking to close 14 trails to all motorcycle use.  The Forest Service, with the trail riding groups as intervenors, successfully defended that earlier lawsuit, which ended in a 2015 Tenth Circuit decision penned by then Judge Gorsuch finding the case lacked jurisdiction and allowing motorcycle travel to continue.  The Forest Service followed that successful defense with the now-challenged Decision, rewarding anti-access interests with closures previously rejected by the courts.  The lawyer for the motorcycle riders in both rounds of litigation is Paul Turcke of Boise, Idaho.

The trails at issue are found in an area along the Dolores River, generally between Durango and Telluride in southwestern Colorado.  The case is in its early stages, and will likely proceed into 2019 under the Court’s Administrative Procedure docket.

January 2018: Objections Filed to Rico/West Dolores Travel Management ROD


On November 15, 2017, the San Juan National Forest Dolores Ranger District released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Record of Decision for the Rico/West Dolores Roads and Trails (Travel Management) project. Members of the public can review the documents, maps and other project information at:

There is a lot of interest in the Draft Record of Decision on the Rico West Dolores Travel Management Project for the San Juan (CO) National Forest. BlueRibbon Coalition has worked under the direction of Colorado members in this project for many years, particularly including assisting as an intervenor in the Forest Service’s successful defense against the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers lawsuit filed in 2009. continued to follow the leadership of our local partners, and was named in objections recently submitted by the San Juan Trail Riders (SJTR), Public Access Preservation Association (PAPA), Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA), and Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO).

If you would like further information, you can view the TPA announcement and the SJTR Member Alert below, each of which include the objections submitted by our attorneys. This is a top priority and these groups are vigorously fighting to maintain and improve access in the Rico West Dolores and surrounding areas. Ric Foster, Public Lands Department Manager, BlueRibbon Coalition

PAPA, TPA, COHVCO, BRC and the SJTR’s Board of Directors finds it very important to keep you updated on the steps that are being taken to challenge the USFS Dolores, CO Ranger District’s recent move to significantly reduce single-track motorized recreation in the Rico/West Dolores Landscape of Southwest Colorado.

On December 29 th, 2017 a very significant list of objections to the Draft Record of Decision (DROD) developed by the Dolores Ranger District was submitted to the Region 2 offices of the U.S.F.S. in Denver, CO. These objections will be reviewed by an assigned reviewing officer as a part of the process. We will be waiting to hear of any actions that may or may not result as to the review that will be made. We will keep you abreast of future developments.

A full list of the objections to the DROD by the Dolores Ranger District are posted HERE for your review. Please take the time to look over these objections carefully to get a full understanding of all that is in play with this action.

Best regards to all our loyal and supportive members who are committed to preserving our future recreation opportunities.
Your San Juan Trail Riders Board of Directors.