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BLM seeks public comment on roads and trails

The Dolores River road, right, is a popular destination on local Bureau of Land Management lands. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Process is lead up to Transportation and Access Plan environmental analysis

The Tres Rios Office of the Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input on road and trails in Dolores, San Miguel and Montrose counties.

The BLM and its partners initially completed a comprehensive inventory of routes within the field office boundaries, covering about a half-million acres, that was shared with the public in 2017.

BLM is now asking the public to review an updated inventory to identify routes that may have been missed, which will provide the framework for a proposed Transportation and Access Plan.

Initial public review and comments for Travel Area 1 of Montezuma, La Plata and Archuleta was done previously.

Now comments on Travel Area 2 are being accepted for Dolores, San Miguel and Montrose through Dec. 15.

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on use of roads and trails in Dolores, San Miguel and Montrose counties. (Courtesy Bureau of Land Management)

The preliminary comment periods are in preparation for the proposed Transportation and Access Plan, which will be available for public comment during the environmental analysis process, anticipated to begin early 2022.

To participate in the public review and comment on the routes, the BLM developed a web-based interactive map illustrating each inventoried route. The public can provide feedback via email (include “TCCM” in the subject line) to blm_co_trfo_comments@blm.gov; or mailing feedback to BLM Tres Rios Field Office, 29211 Highway 184, Dolores, CO 81323.

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To review the interactive map, visit bit.ly/3nlOGjN

In 2019, the BLM hosted public meetings in Nucla, Dove Creek and Montrose to present information on the road and trail planning effort in Travel Area 2, and to gather input from the community on the resources. Attendees reviewed maps and marked areas of interests and concerns.

BLM planner Keith Fox emphasized that BLM’s focus in the planning effort is not to close roads. It is to direct limited BLM resources into supporting local priorities, such as increasing economic development through outdoor-based recreation on public lands, while making sure these uses are protective of the planning area’s natural, historic and cultural resources.

At the Nucla and Dove Creek meetings, participants emphasized a desire to leave roads open and generally untouched, but to have some additional loops, connector routes, dispersed camping and parking, and limited signage to support outdoor recreation and ‘off the beaten path’ tourism in the area.

Recreationists identified a list of favorite routes and multiple uses on roads and trails.

At the Nucla meeting, there was a request for signed full-size OHV routes up to Wedding Bell Mountain. Another suggestion was for the BLM to consider more camping and RV parking near the Gypsum Valley boat ramp used to access the Dolores River.

Connecting Dove Creek to the Rimrocker Trail that goes from Montrose to Moab was another suggestion.

At the Dove Creek meeting, participants had multiple suggestions, including:

  • Open King Springs Road (San Miguel County Road 5H) where it is closed on private land, in order to provide access to upper Bishop Canyon and south end of Summit Canyon.
  • Designate and maintain camping areas off the Dolores River road, north of the existing Box Elder campground.
  • Identify a connector route from the bottom of Summit Canyon to the east rim/Highway 141.
  • Improve and maintain the Dolores River Canyon road from the pump station to the Joe Davis Hill area, to allow use by ‘standard’ ATVs and OHVs
  • Improve hunting access off of San Miguel County Road 28 T near Dry Creek Basin State Wildlife Area.
  • Reestablish access to historical mines on the eastern Dolores River Canyon rim off San Miguel County Road 15 R.
  • Designate the Dolores River road as multimodal from Bradfield campground to Mountain Sheep point. Also consider this section for an OHV route.
  • Designate a single-track trail and connectors on Dolores River Canyon (western rim).
  • Consider a bike trail from Bedrock to Bradfield.
  • Designate a single track, non-motorized trail following the existing two-track at the bottom of Summit Canyon.
  • Identify a loop route up Summit Canyon, up to the east rim, connecting over to Bush Canyon and back to the mouth of Summit Canyon.
  • Create a loop opportunity on west Summit Canyon.
  • Identify loop routes from Dove Creek to provide for four-wheel drive day use and or hunting activities on BLM lands, so visitors can return to Dove Creek to spend evenings.
  • Identify multiple single-track connector routes in the vicinity of Dolores River Overlook, to connect with Mountain Sheep Road and the southern end of the ‘Pines’ area.
  • Develop BLM camping area at Slick Rock.

For information, contact Tracy Perfors, BLM planning and environmental coordinator, at (970) 882-1136.