The Final Environmental Impact Statement and two Draft Records of Decision are available for the Rico West Dolores Roads and Trails (Travel Management) Project.
The project will now enter a pre-decision objection process. The information in the Draft Records of Decision is preliminary. If no project changes are identified in the pre-decisional objection process the information in these Draft Records of Decision will become the final decisions of the project. The Draft Records of Decision explain the minimum road system, designations for motor vehicle use, and project specific amendments to the Forest Plan. Only those persons who commented during one or more of the public comment periods held previously will have standing to object to these Draft Records of Decision. A brief summary of the Decision and instructions for submitting objections are explained in the Cover Letter attached. I welcome you to read the documents posted on the website. This is not a public comment period so comments about the alternatives or the analysis are not solicited, however, my staff and I are available to answer questions about the project at any time. I have read the public comments received previously and feel these draft decisions reflect my understanding of public concerns and impacts to the environment.
A 45 Day objection period begins today November 14th and there is a 60 day objection time period for the Forest Plan amendment which begins tomorrow. For questions about the objection process, or to receive a CD or hard copy of the documents please contact Debbie Kill at or call 970-882-7296
The preliminary decision is Alternative B (Modified). From the current situation the decision would remove motorcycle use from 31 total miles of single track motorized trail at various locations, add 12 miles ATV/UTV trail, downgrade 5 miles from gravel surface to native surface, convert 5.32 miles of road to trail, decommission 7 miles of ML2 or ML3 roads and decommission 40 miles of ML1 roads. Alternative B would reduce single track motorized trail riding in most but not all of Bear Creek, the Ryman Creek Trail, trails near the Town of Rico, and in the area west of Forest Road 471. The Calico trail and its connectors, East Fork trail, and trials near Taylor Mesa and Stoner Mesa maintain single track motorized opportunities.
We don’t have to tell you that the preliminary decision is devastating to the single track motorized trail user group. We urge you to use your right to comment. Conveniently submit your comments electronically online at:
H.R. 3990 Would Require Improved Transparency and Stakeholder Input in the National Monument Designation Process
Please Take Action now to let your Member of Congress know that you support H.R. 3990, the “National Monument Creation and Protection Act” or “National Monument CAP Act.” H.R. 3990 would reduce the size of future National Monument designations and create a formal process for reductions of existing monuments. This legislation limits the size of new monument designations to 85,000 acres, ensures designations between 640 acres-10,000 acres are reviewed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and requires approval of all local and state governments impacted by a National Monument for any designation between 10,000-85,000 acres. Additionally, H.R. 3990 clarifies the authority of the President to reduce the size of National Monuments, requiring reductions greater than 85,000 acres in size to be approved by the impacted counties, state legislatures, and governors, and to have undergone NEPA analysis.
The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 3990 in October of this year, and the legislation now awaits consideration on the House floor. In an era with politically driven land grabs and unilateral executive overreach that negatively impacts local economies and creates restrictive land-use regulations for OHV and other recreational activities it is imperative Congress reforms the antiquated monument designation process.
GMUG Update from PAPA: The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests are undergoing a Forest Plan Revision. The Forest Plan is an overarching document that guides forest management through broad direction, standards, and guidelines for years to come. For an overview, click here:
We know that everyone is very anxious to get to the high country trails and enjoy the cool and scenic atmosphere we find in the exciting and challenging single-track trail riding experience in and around the Rico/West Dolores Colorado trail system.
Fortunately and unfortunately the area received higher than average snowfall this season and many of the trails above 10,500 ft. are still partially blocked by large snow drifts and un-cleared downfall. The reports from the Forest Service trail crews are that a few riders (of which we believe are not associated with SJTR, PAPA or Timberline Trail-riders) are attempting to break through blocked trails by creating new routes around large downfall trees and blocking snowdrifts. This is just not the kind of behavior that we want to support as it can potentially harm the resource and may even encourage further bad trail use behavior.
So, we are asking all of our members and other single-track motorized riders either in or out of our region to take very seriously any decision to plan rides on currently snow and downfall blocked high country trails for a few more weeks. Yes, it often works out that small drifts can be ridden over or through without much difficulty. However, not properly clearing trees and making new tracks around them is not the behavior any of us wants to see. Riders of high country trails in the summer need to be fully prepared to clear downed logs or go directly over them until they can be properly cut out. The best for everyone though is to properly saw them out when encountered. If all of us dedicate ourselves and share with others the need to follow these behaviors, our trails can be properly preserved.
Thanks to everyone (and other riders you may coach) for making these trail riding considerations for the high country trails this season. As it stands, there are many trails at lower elevations in the Dolores Ranger district that have been cleared and ready for your riding enjoyment. Please contact the Dolores Ranger District in Dolores, CO. for more information. Tom Rice is the recreation specialist there and a great guy to talk to. He can be contacted at 970-882-6843 or cell at 970-749-6432 and ., on changing trail conditions in areas you may want to go. It is our hope that you have a great summer trail riding experience in the Dolores Ranger District should you plan to go there.
Outdoor recreation is a central way that people interact with the natural environment. Federal land agencies are key providers of settings, facilities and landscapes for recreation. Click here for the 2016 USDA report:
The 2016 OHV Economic Impact Study Released Colorado offers unique opportunities for motorized recreation throughout many parts the state. As such, the sport and industry of motorized recreation has increased in popularity in Colorado, both for Colorado residents and residents of other states. Pinyon Environmental Inc. evaluated the economic contribution of motorized recreation throughout Colorado for the 2014–2015 season. This report was prepared for the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition by Pinyon Environmental in Lakewood, Colorado, funded in part and with complete support from the Colorado State OHV Program, managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The public comment period for the Rico West Dolores TMP Project ended July 15, 2016. The public is awaiting the San Juan National Forest decision. We will keep you posted concerning the outcome. If you have questions feel free to call the Forest Service Dolores District office at 970-882-7296 and ask for Debbie Kill, Tom Rice or Dolores District Ranger Derek Padilla. Comments received including names and addresses will become part of the public record.
The BLM staff at Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area need your help in
getting the message out to the OHV community about riding opportunities in the
Elephant Skin area. Though it has the same “look and feel” of
the open play areas at Peach Valley and Flat Top, it is not an open area.
All OHV and mountain bike use at Elephant Skin is limited to designated
routes, and there are many routes. We really need to get users to stay on
the trails to avoid having to take actions that could impact riding
opportunities.Protecting OHV Opportunities – Elephant Skin OHV