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Opinion: Colorado needs to codify OHV regs with legislation

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Colorado lawmakers could help reign in unlawful OHV use by addressing some pressing issues with new laws.

By Tom Reyburn

Off-highway vehicles are a great tool for experiencing Colorado’s outdoors. They provide access to scenic vistas and beautiful forests for thousands of individuals each year and help spur our local economies.

Unfortunately, some folks choose to use OHVs in the wrong way. As the Alpine Ranger for the eastern part of the famous Alpine Triangle, I see firsthand what happens when people misuse OHVs. Every year we have people who choose to drive off designated routes, destroying precious alpine tundra and degrading the experience of the many law abiding OHV users. Continue reading

Colorado: Conservation groups challenge Forest Service over motorized routes on the Pike and San Isabel NF

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Motorized use on the Pike and San Isabel National Forest is at issue in a lawsuit in federal court.

Lawsuit alleges agency didn’t analyze the impact of new motorized routes

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Conservation groups say the Pike and San Isabel National Forest erred in sanctioning hundreds of miles of motorized routes in a contentious 2009 plan that highlighted all the ongoing user conflicts on public lands.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court, the groups claim the Forest Service failed to consider the potential harm to forest resources that could result from motor vehicle use on some routes, many of them created illegally over the course of decades of inadequate off-road vehicle management and enforcement on the forests.

“The Forest Service is rightly required to ‘look before they leap,’” said Melanie Kay of Earthjustice, attorney for the groups. “We’re not asking the Forest Service to ban motor vehicle use on the forests or to deny anyone reasonable access or recreational opportunities. Rather, we’re protecting the interests of forest visitors and the forest itself by ensuring that the agency makes well-informed decisions and does so in accordance with laws and regulations that have been on the books for decades.” Continue reading

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Summit County: Stakeholder group to take another close look at proposal for motorized trails on Tenderfoot Mountain

Consensus sought on divisive plan to build new trails

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Local dirt bike riders hope to create a new system of challenging single-track trails.

Click here to read full Summit Voice coverage of the Tenderfoot issue.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The White River National Forest has hit the pause button on its proposal to develop a new motorized trail system on Tenderfoot Mountain. Before issuing a final decision on the plan, forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams will consider the input of a stakeholder group that’s meeting in a process facilitated by the Keystone Center.

The stakeholder group includes Forest Service representatives, local government officials and planners, conservation advocates, motorized users and local homeowner groups. The hope is to find some sort of consensus on the contentious plan, said Peech Keller, who coordinates environmental reviews for the Forest Service’s Dillon Ranger District. The group will meet about every two weeks through mid-June, she added. All the Forest Service documents related to the proposal are online here. Continue reading

Summit County: Forest Service requests $96,000 state trails grant for OHV management

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The grant proposal includes examples of how the funding would be used.

Local stakeholders support idea of summer motorized trail crew

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The Forest Service’s Dillon Ranger District is applying for a $96,000 state trails grant partly to patrol and maintain a trail system on Tenderfoot Mountain that hasn’t been approved or built yet.

An off-highway vehicle subcommittee heard the grant request earlier this month in the first step of a three-stage approval process.

The grant request has support from the Summit County Commissioners, the town of Breckenridge and several nonprofit stewardship groups in the area. Continue reading

Summit County asks for delay on Tenderfoot motorized trail decision and suggests collaborative planning process

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Can Summit County and the Forest Service find common ground for a motorized trail system on Tenderfoot Mountain? Bob Berwyn photo.

‘Rewarding illegal trail creation is not good public policy’

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Summit County commissioners continue to express concerns with a U.S. Forest Service proposal to build more than 10 miles of new trail primarily for motorized use on Tenderfoot Mountain, between Dillon and Keystone. All the Forest Service documents for the Tenderfoot proposal are online at this WRNF web page.

In a formal comment letter submitted last week, the BOCC asked the Forest Service to delay making a decision on the project pending a joint collaborative planning process with the county, and offered to come to the table with some funds for maintenance and management of a trail system.

“I don’t think anyone on the planning commission is opposed to finding a place … But I don’t think the Forest Service did its job in looking at other places and saying why they won’t work,” said Craig Suwinski, chair of the Snake River Planning Commission, representing those citizens potentially most affected by noise and other impacts a motorized trail system could have. Continue reading

Summit County: Forest Service says, ‘Give us a chance’ on proposed Tenderfoot Mountain motorized trail system

County officials feel slighted by federal bureaucrats

Motorized riders enjoy cruising a road near the Summit County landfill on lower Tenderfoot Mountain. Bob Berwyn photo.

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By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A plan by the U.S. Forest Service to build 13 miles of new trails for motorized use on Tenderfoot Mountain has put the agency on a collision course with local residents who have fought the plan from its earliest stages. Despite some changes from the original proposal, most residents of the affected area remain adamantly opposed.

Meanwhile, Forest Service rangers are asking the community to give the project a chance, claiming that motorized users will police themselves to make sure that impacts don’t spread beyond the trail system that would span about 1,800 acres on the hillsides above Highway 6 between Dillon and Summit Cove.

The Forest Service released an environmental assessment for the project in mid-November, triggering a 30-day public comment period. Based on the final round of feedback, agency officials will release a final decision on the trail system sometime this winter. All the Forest Service documents relating to the proposal, including comment information, are at this WRNF web page. Continue reading

Summit County:Forest Service releases Tenderfoot trail plan

Controversial proposal includes 13 miles of new single-track in an area generally zoned for non-motorized use

The Forest Service wants to build 13 miles of new trails on Tenderfoot Mountain for motorized use in an area already laced with trails and roads.

Related stories:

Summit County: Forest Service doing sound tests for proposed motorized recreation trail on Tenderfoot Mountain

Summit County: U.S. Forest Service hits pause button on several projects to assess the cumulative impacts to lynx

Summit County: Tenderfoot trail showdown looming

Summit County: Motorized trails proposed for Tenderfoot

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Forest Service has released a scaled-back version of a controversial plan for a new motorized trail system on Tenderfoot Mountain. Under the proposed plan, about 13 miles of new trails on a project area spanning about 1,800 acres already laced by a spaghetti network of roads and trails, including many renegade user-created trails.

In all, the system would encompass about 27 miles of trails (21 miles of single-track). About eight miles existing routes would be rehabilitated, while some other unsustainable routes would be decommissioned. According to the Forest Service, the net result is a multi-use trail system “that would be managed for non-motorized uses (hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding) as well as for single-track motorcycle use.” Continue reading

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