Member ALERT!

November 17, 2017 8:19 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

From:  The SJTR Board of Directors

For you members who may not be aware, your San Juan Trail Riders government relations team has been working with the Dolores Ranger District in Dolores, CO since 2009 on the Travel Management Plan for the Rico / West Dolores landscape.  It has been an up and down exercise with the USFS and anti-access / anti-motorized activists to keep 14 significant and premier single-track motorized trails open for our type recreation even though these trails have over 50 years of historical motorcycle use.  And, just 3 years ago the 10th Circuit agreed with the USFS that these trails should remain open to the single-track motorized designation.  This was a true win for our recreation type that was supported monetarily by all of you through memberships and special donations.  We thank you again for helping to keep these world-class trails open to so many.

Most recently SJTR has worked through 3 years of USFS meetings, planning sessions, compromise meetings, alternative recommendations meetings and supervisory sessions to try and work through a plan to preserve these critically important trails for our recreation.  Today the Draft Decision for the entire Rico / West Dolores landscape was released by District Ranger Derek Padilla.  With much dismay I must report to you that the USFS has neglected to accept any of our input to the plan and is recommending a plan to reduce the last of our high quality trail riding by over 30%.  In addition, the plan calls for a full seasonal closure that will also limit riding time on the few remaining trails for single-track use.  In his plan he gives preference to those who have moved into the existing trail areas who do not want motorcycle use to continue.  He also gives significant preference to a private resort area that has now wants the nearby trails for their personal use over the general public.  He gives grazing permit holders preference over the general public to close trails that may possibly disturb cattle in the area of current motorized trails.  He has also closed a key public easement to only motorcycles that have been used by our recreation type for more than 40 years.  The Plan completely prevents motorcycles from using existing trails into Rico, CO for fuel and food.  In his Draft Decision the District Ranger provides much less restriction to all other users, only motorcycles get the axe and he announces this proudly. 

San Juan Trail Riders made it clear to the Dolores District going into this TMP / EIS Process that we would work hard with them to work out a plan and that we would accept no net loss of trail miles in the end.  We recommended multiple opportunities and options to replace the trail miles they wanted to designate as non-motorized.  They refused to consider even one option.

We recommend that each of you take the opportunity to log on to the USFS Dolores District site and read the EIS Draft Decision for Rico/West Dolores.

Rest assured that we will be reviewing the entire document very carefully over the next short period of time to assess potential objections that we will submit during this next step in the process.  We will keep you posted and abreast of any additional actions to be taken to preserve this historic riding area.

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