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.
According to the grant request, the grant would fund a two-person crew to patrol and maintain motorized trails around the county, including the Golden Horseshoe and the trail network around Montezuma. The Forest Service would also buy two dirt bikes with the money for about $21,000.
The proposal for the Tenderfoot trail system has been controversial for many years, with many residents of the area opposing dirt bike use. The Summit County commissioners have been battling the Forest Service over the proposal, and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis has also weighed in on the plan.
The agency completed an environmental assessment for the trail system a few months ago and solicited a final round of public input. Local officials wanted to see a more comprehensive environmental study. The decision is now in the hands of White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.
In the grant application, the Forest Service said it has closed about 20 miles of renegade trails created illegally by motorized users in the Tenderfoot area. The area would see some enforcement regardless of whether the proposal is approved because about five miles of existing roads in the area remain open for motorized use.
According to the grant request, the new two-person seasonal OHV crew would patrol abou 75 miles of trail, conducting outreach and education, trail maintenance as needed, as well as rehabilitation of renegade trails, which the Forest Service acknowledges would likely be created even under the strict management regime.
The crew would also test dirt bikes for for compliance with sound standards and for spark arresters. Forest Service rangers say the crew is needed because of new restrictions on motorized use under the White River National Forest’s recently completed travel management plan.