Archive | March, 2017

Jerry Abboud – Together we saved the $100 million dollar OHV grant program

Please see the below message from Jerry Abboud.  Jerry’s work on this project is a perfect example of the value that COHVCO and he has for saving the state OHV grant process. Which in turns help support and save OHV recreation in Colorado.
Hello everyone,
I am pleased to report that SB17-100, our insurance relief bill, is on its way to the governor for signature. If I missed anyone on this email please let them know.  Once again thank you for all of your hard work, not just on the bill, but helping COHVCO and keeping the trails and roads open . Your letters and support, particularly from the clubs, were a great help so pass it on to all.  I am including our ATV, dirtbike, 4wd and snowmobile clubs and members.
Thanks to the COHVCO Board and the Powersports Dealers Association without whom this would not have been accomplished.  Thanks to Jim Bensberg for all his political savvy it working to get the bill passed.
Of the 100 members of the General Assembly we received a grand total of 2 no votes and 4 absent.  That’s 94% for those who flunked senior math review in high school. 😊  It’s been a long road, but I promised you we could fix the problems. Jim is working on a bill signing a bill signing ceremony with the governor.  Please let me know if any of you folks would like to attend.  It may be a limited number.  And thanks again to Conrad for his testimony.
Together we saved the $100 million dollar OHV grant program.  With the new federal legislation addressing the need for volunteers and identification of priority trails for maintenance and repair, we are genuinely the only group poised to jump right in.
Finally, a big thank you to the Department of Natural Resources: Director, Bob Randall: Assistant Director, Madeleine West; Assistant director for Parks, Margaret Taylor and government liaison, Doug Vilsack.
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Usage of OHVs on Pitkin County Roads

 Letter to Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners

Pitkin County
Att: Board of County Commissioners
123 Emma Road Suite 106
Basalt, CO 81621

Re: Usage of OHVs on Pitkin County Roads

Dear Commissioners:

Please accept this correspondence as the vigorous support of the above Organizations for the Proposal opening specific roads the county or all roads with volumes less than 100 vehicles to OHV usage in Pitkin County to OHV usage. We apologize for not being able to attend recent public meetings on this issue but we wanted to provide the relevant information we have from other communities who have adopted similar proposals. Prior to addressing the specifics of this Proposal, we believe a brief summary of each Organization is needed. The Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (“COHVCO”) is a grassroots advocacy organization the 150,000 registered OHV users in Colorado seeking to represent, assist, educate, and empower all OHV recreationists in the protection and promotion of off-highway motorized recreation throughout Colorado. COHVCO is an environmental organization that advocates and promotes the responsible use and conservation of our public lands and natural resources to preserve their aesthetic and recreational qualities for future generations.

The Trail Preservation Alliance (“TPA”) is a 100 percent volunteer organization whose intention is to be a viable partner, working with the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to preserve the sport of trail riding. The TPA acts as an advocate of the sport and takes the necessary action to insure that the USFS and BLM allocate to trail riding a fair and equitable percentage of access to public lands. For purposes of this correspondence, TPA and COHVCO will be collectively referred to as “the Organizations”.

Our Organizations vigorously support proposed expansion of roads that are legal to use OHVs in Pitkin County as it has been our experience that these expanded routes can significantly improve the recreational experiences of users, who are now able to connect many trails that currently exist in isolation from parking areas and other support facilities. The opening of municipal roads has allowed these isolated trails to become networks with parking and other support facilities, which greatly improves the recreational experience. Some communities have also opened routes into communities to allow for increased access to other resources such as fuel stations and restaurants. The Organizations submit there are many routes in Pitkin County that could provide these opportunities to recreational users of the exceptional trail networks in the County.

The Organizations would also encourage a review of the level of traffic usage of county roads where OHV recreation would be permitted, which is currently placed at 100 vehicles per day. The USFS Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District has performed extensive research on several forest service roads on that district with usages far in excess of 100 vehicles per day and reopened those routes to OHV usage without issue.

OHV recreation is an Economic Driver.

OHV recreation is a major economic contributor to Colorado communities. COHVCO recently commissioned a cooperative analysis of the economic contributions of OHV recreation in Colorado with Pinyon Environmental and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. This multi-year study concluded that OHV recreation contributed more than $2.3 Billion dollars in economic contribution to Colorado communities, which resulted in more than 16,000 jobs and more than $100 million in tax revenue to local communities. In Central Colorado OHV recreation contributed more than $224 million in economic contribution which resulted in almost 3,000 jobs and more than $41 million in tax revenues. We have included a complete copy of this research for your reference with these comments as Exhibit “1”. This research also found that the motorized community is also one of the highest per day spending groups in all recreation. The Organizations believe it is important to many local communities to understand not only increased visitation to recreational opportunities but also how to increase revenues from this increased visitation.

The Organizations would also note that many localities in Colorado have opened municipal roads in order to improve recreational opportunities in their community. We have enclosed a complete copy of this list to date as Exhibit “2” and each community has seen significant increases in business and tax revenues with the increased visitation to their community. Representatives of Silverton, Colorado estimate a bump in tax revenues of almost $100,000 since opening a portion of their community roads to OHV usage. We have also included a summary of the experiences of the Paiute Trail network in Utah, where multiple communities have opened routes to create a regional trail network to further support the economic benefits that are available to local communities from OHV recreation.


The Organizations would like to address safety of usage of OHVs in conjunction with motor vehicles on county roads as this is also frequently a concern in discussions around opening county roads to OHV usage. Determining the proper levels of traffic usage of these roads appears to be a factor being reviewed in the Pitkin County discussions. The Organizations are aware that opening any county roads can be HIGHLY sight specific in nature due to the road surface, visibility and numerous other factors and that decisions must reflect these site specific issues. The Organizations are aware that there are many communities in Colorado that have already opened all or part of their municipal road network to OHV usage. None of these communities have identified significant increases in OHV related injuries after opening routes and we are not aware of a deterioration of recreational value of the route to other users as these roads are open to motor vehicle traffic currently. These conclusions are consistent with the experiences of states such as Arizona and Wyoming who have allowed large scale usage of OHVs on municipal roads for an extended period of time.

The Organizations are aware that this issue can be difficult to obtain information on and as a result we have included site specific research on this issue that was conducted on the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District in 2014 with traffic volumes ranging from 50 vehicles per day to almost 200 vehicles per day on average. Peak usage levels of these routes frequently exceeded 500 vehicles per day. This research indicates that there was no significant safety issue with mixed usage of these Forest Service roads. This research was very important in reopening the routes identified and more than 150 miles more of forest service roads on the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District. We have included the route specific analysis with these comments as we believe this is the most relevant information as Exhibit “3”. A complete version of the environmental assessment and related decision documents on this project can be found here.


The Organizations are also aware that frequently sound levels from OHV usage of county roads is also a concern when municipalities are reviewing opening routes. At the landscape level, the Organizations would note that OHVs in Colorado are subject to very restrictive levels of sound and the Colorado testing procedure is far more vigorous than national standards. We have included background information on this lower level and new testing procedure with this correspondence as Exhibit “4”.

The Organizations would also like to provide you with a copy of site specific sound testing that was done outside Dillon Colorado in conjunction with the US Forest Service proposals to expand motorized usage in the area. This study was done in conjunction with Summit County in response to landowner concerns about the new trail system as Exhibit “5”. The Organizations are aware that this information is highly site specific and does not address areas within Pitkin County but we believe the research is also very insightful into actual sound levels at locations. The study concluded that sound levels at each location did not exceed state levels and most sound at locations was the result of heavy truck traffic on high speed arterial roads in the area. We believe these conclusions are highly consistent with the experiences throughout the state and should provide additional levels of comfort to citizens who may be concerned about this issue. We have included a copy of this research with these comments for your reference.


The Organizations vigorously ask for your support in expanding OHV opportunities in your community. Our Organizations vigorously support proposed expansion of roads that are legal to use OHVs in Pitkin County as it has been our experience that these expanded routes can significantly improve the recreational experiences of users, who are now able to connect many trails that currently exist in isolation from parking areas and other support facilities. The opening of municipal roads has allowed these isolated trails to become networks with parking and other support facilities, which greatly improves the recreational experience. Some communities have also opened routes into communities to allow for increased access to other resources such as fuel stations and restaurants. The Organizations submit there are many routes in Pitkin County that could provide these opportunities to recreational users of the exceptional trail networks in the County.

The Organizations would also encourage a review of the level of traffic usage of county roads where OHV recreation would be permitted, which is currently placed at 100 vehicles per day. The USFS Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District has performed extensive research on several forest service roads on that district with usages far in excess of 100 vehicles per day and reopened those routes to OHV usage without issue.

Please feel free to contact Scott Jones at 518-281-5810 or by mail at 508 Ashford Drive, Longmont, CO 80504 if you should wish to discuss any of the concerns raised in this correspondence further.

Respectfully Submitted,
Scott Jones, Esq.
COHVCO, TPA Authorized Representative

Don Riggle
Director of Operations
Trails Preservation Alliance

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RE: 2016 Colorado State Forest Service Forest Health Report

Colorado Forest Service - 2016  REPORT ON THE HEALTH OF COLORADO’S FORESTSThe Colorado State Forest Service recently issued their annual Forest Health report for the state and the conclusions of these impacts are staggering especially on water quality.  The Highlights of the 2016 report are as follows:

  • 8% of ALL trees in the state are dead and the rate of mortality is increasing;[1]
  • the total number of dead trees has increased 30% in the last 8 years;[2]
  • Research has shown that in mid-elevation forests on Colorado’s Front Range, hillslope sediment production rates after recent, high-severity wildfire can be up to 200 times greater than for areas burned at moderate to low severity.[3]
  • A 2011 study involved monthly monitoring of stream chemistry and sediment in South Platte River tributaries before and after fire,  and showed that basins that burned at high severity on more than 45 percent of their area had streams containing four times the amount of suspended sediments as basins burned less severely. This effect also remained for at least five years post-fire.[4]
  • High-severity wildfires responsible for negative outcomes are more common in  unmanaged forests with heavy fuel loads than in forests that have experienced naturally recurrent, low-intensity wildfires or prior forest treatments, such as thinning. It is far easier to keep water in a basin clean, from the source headwaters and through each usage by recipients downstream, than to try and restore water quality once it is degraded.[5]
  • During 2016’s Beaver Creek Fire, which burned 38,380 acres northwest of Walden, foresters and firefighters were given a glimpse into likely future challenges facing wildfire suppression and forest management efforts. These include longer duration wildfires due to the amount and arrangement of heavy fuels. Observations from fire managers indicated that instead of small branches  on live trees, the larger, dead fuels in jackstraw stands were the primary driver of fire spread…. “The hazards and fire behavior associated with this fuel type greatly reduce where firefighters can safely engage in suppression operations”[6]

Why does this matter to the motorized community?  Too often we are told that motorized recreation is a major threat to forest health and that route closure is needed to protect resources.   This type of a position completely lacks factual basis when compared with these threats.  There is simply no way motorized usage of any trail network can create 200 times more impact than a moderate intensity wildfire.  Land managers should be managing the primary threats to Colorado public lands rather than chasing artificially elevated priorities that will simply never off-set these impacts.



[2] 2016 Forest Health Report at pg 6

[3] 2016 Forest Health Report at pg 24

[4] 2016 Forest Health Report at pg 24

[5] 2016 Forest Health Report at pg 24

[6] 2016 Forest Health Report at pg 5

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Issues at a Glance


This section is designed to highlight various issues where COHVCO, TPA, CSA and their partners and local clubs are defending public access to public lands. This glance at the issues is not an exhaustive list of the issues we are involved with, but rather is highlighting issues of statewide importance or interest. Many local issues have been favorably resolved with recent efforts but are not listed here due to space limitations. We have identified the user groups most directly impacted by each issue with a logo next to each issue.


1. State Legislation providing increased protections to clubs performing land stewardship activity on public lands – NEW
While this issue has not been completely passed into law at the time of this update, the Proposal has moved through committee in both houses with strong support from Legislators and we anticipate favorable votes of both houses of the Legislature in the near future. SB17-100 provides an increased level of negligence protections and removes several contracting requirements related to state grants for clubs performing land stewardship activities on public lands. Many clubs were not able to cost effectively obtain insurance required for OHV grants. This Legislation makes it easier for clubs to get insurance at reasonable rates and continue the great work for the benefit of the public.

2. BLM Planning 2.0 withdrawn – NEW
The Bureau of Land Management recently developed a new planning process that governed how much of their local planning process (Field Office Resource Plans and similar) would proceed. The Organizations expressed serious concerns regarding the lack of public input
surrounding the development of the Proposal and about the imbalance of resource protection in the plan with multiple uses. While citizen inventory for Wilderness and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern would be much easier to submit, public time to respond to these proposals was seriously limited. Several Field Offices moving forward under the new planning rule were proposing major closures and only brief public comment opportunities. This would have been a serious burden on multiple uses. Congressman Tipton championed a resolution of non-support for the BLM Planning Rule in the US House and this resolution has passed both the House and Senate (supported by Sen Gardner). We anticipate signature of the Resolution by the new President. Hopefully a far more balanced rule can be developed in the future.

3a. HB 1030 allows expanded OHV usage of County Roads – Updated
COHVCO efforts at the Capitol spearheaded passage of new Legislation (HB 1030) in Colorado expanding usage of OHV’s on county roads. This was a multiple year effort that should bring greater consistency between counties allowing OHV usage of county roads to connect trailheads. Often time’s county roads provide important connectivity for trail networks and allow riders to come into town for fuel, supplies and lodging.

3b. Local communities expand access under HB 1030 – Updated
The groundswell of local community support for HB 1030 has been overwhelming as more than two dozen municipalities have opened some or all county roads to OHV usage. Every day we learn of more communities seeing the value of OHV recreation and improving access to their community. This local groundswell has moved to the point that communities that are not improving OHV access are falling behind the normal level of access for the OHV community and may lose economic contributions as users move to communities that have addressed access limitations. Several communities have also turned down Proposals that would have closed county roads to OHV traffic.

4. State Legislation defeated allowing E15 tax credits –
COHVCO efforts during the last State Legislative cycle were critical in defeating proposed legislation that would provide tax credits to support expanded distribution of motor fuels with increased levels of ethanol (E15) in Colorado. This proposal was defeated at its first hearing in the Senate. Even small amounts of motor fuels with increased levels of ethanol severely damages most small engines, decreases performance, increases emissions in addition to requiring significant subsidies which impact many other facets of the Colorado community.

5. Rico/West DeLores Travel plan legal challenge –
This was a suit involving grandfathered routes on the existing MVUM in the Rico West Dolores/alpine triangle area of the San Juan Forest was brought by Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers seeking closure of 14 trails which have a long history of motorized travel. COHVCO, TPA, Blue Ribbon Coalition, the San Juan Trail Riders and the Public Access Preservation Association have intervened to defend this matter with the Forest Service. The complaint was dismissed by the trial court and access was maintained. The trial court’s decision was recently confirmed on appeal.

6. Endangered Species Act reform – NEW
The Organizations remain involved in a wide range of efforts to revise and improve the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act. While we all support the goals of the Act, the Act has become a cottage industry for certain anti-access groups to sue land managers. In addition several class action lawsuit settlements have caused a huge degree of uncertainty into any decision making. As a result land managers are afraid to undertake basic maintenance and often close trails simply to appear proactive on issues.

The Organizations were thrilled to be invited to recent efforts being undertaken by the Western Governors Association regarding species conservation and reform of the Endangered Species act. We have provided extensive comments on these issues and were thrilled when much of the concerns in these comments were adopted into the WGA resolution on ESA reform.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service recently increased the threshold to be achieved in order to petition the Service to list a species, which should avoid the ongoing resubmission of the same information on a species simply because the petitioner did not like the answer they got regarding their last petition.

The US Fish and Wildlife service has been revising their internal handling of the ESA petitioning process. This new process should make it easier to protect species where there is good science supporting the concerns and avoid listing of species where the scientific basis for decline is unclear and avoid listing due to a need to appear to “do something” to protect a species. COHVCO/TPA vigorously supported these efforts.

Additionally, the Government Accounting Office recently completed a report that the “Sue and Settle” mentality around ESA listings has become a major barrier to the FWS being able to move forward with listings and benefit species on the ground. This report will be a major tool moving forward.

7. Greater Sage Grouse was not listed as threatened or endangered
The Organizations were thrilled with recent determinations that the Greater Sage Grouse did not warrant listing on the Endangered Species list. Such a listing could have had a profound effect on all forms of recreation on public lands in Colorado. While we are thrilled with the non-listing, the Organizations will remain vigilant as new planning standards are implemented.

8. Federal Economic Legislation- NEW
COHVCO and partners were thrilled with the passage of federal legislation (Sponsored by Sen Gardner) requiring development of a report to Congress regarding the national economic contribution of outdoor recreation. This report would be a joint project between land managers and the Department of Commerce, which should result in an accurate calculation and avoid the tragic undervaluation of recreation in federal lands planning that has become all too common.


1. Bear Creek Trail
This lawsuit was served on the Forest Service and Colorado Springs utilities by the Center for Biological Diversity and others seeking exclusion of trails in the vicinity of cutthroat trout habitat in the Bear Creek watershed outside Colorado Springs. This suit sought a blanket exclusion of trails from areas adjacent to streams with genetically pure greenback cutthroat trout. COHVCO and TPA have intervened and making sure the best resolution for motorized recreation is obtained. Terms of settlement have been reached that would permit new trails to be created in the area and close the habitat area to all threats. TPA and COHVCO are working to insure the closures are applied per the terms of the agreement with the submission of a notice of intent to sue if the terms of the settlement agreement are not complied with.

The motorized community has also been working with the USFS and El Paso County to develop trails in the area that are outside the watershed. We are hoping that construction of these trails should be completed early this summer after several unexpected issues arose which delayed completion of the project last summer.

2. Pike /San Isabel MVUM challenge-
The first suit was filed on January 31, 2011 by anti-access plaintiffs including The Wilderness Society, Quiet Use Coalition, Wildlands CPR, and Center for Native Ecosystems and Great Old Broads for Wilderness regarding the Pike and San Isabel Forests. COHVCO and TPA intervened with the Forest Service to defend this lawsuit, which could impact every MVUM that has
grandfathered existing routes. These defense expenses are being born solely by Colorado OHV advocacy groups. This case seeks to remove any trails that predated NEPA and were grandfathered in the creation of PSI MVUMs. This lawsuit has been settled – more information is available on next steps in the usage and concerns section.

Recreational usage issues and concerns:

1. UFO BLM Resource Plan – NEW
The BLM Uncompahgre Field Office is developing a new resource management plan for the Field Office. While the UFO has been providing balanced recreational opportunities for an extended period of time, the Organizations submitted extensive comments regarding major expansions of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and Wilderness Characteristics areas in the Proposal. The Organizations are hopeful these concerns can be resolved and the UFO will continue to provide the high quality multiple use recreational opportunities it has provided in the past.

2. State Trails Strategic plan- NEW
The Organizations were heavily involved in CPW processes regarding the development of a new strategic plan for the State Trails Program. This Project was recently completed and clearly identified that all trails in the state will be held to a single standard in terms of review and analysis for funding from the Program. This is a good thing.

3. White River BLM Resource/Travel Plan- NEW
The Organizations submitted vigorous extensive comments opposing much of the proposed closures and restrictions in this plan, which resulted from major expansions of Wilderness Characteristics areas and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. This directly contradicted many local community planning efforts that directly targeted development of these areas for multiple use recreation. This Proposal was moving forward under the BLM Planning 2.0 process, which was recently withdrawn. This Proposal was a poster child for our concerns under the new Planning rule their existing rule was finalized in the late 1990s. In 2004 a citizen inventory of ACEC and WCA was submitted, but the agency never moved on this document as it was not timely in relation to their planning process. The Field Office then adopts these inventory as objections to a 2012 Oil and Gas Amendment to the 1990s Plan. These ACEC and WCA proposals were then included in the travel plan being developed for the Office without notice required for the public.

4. New COHVCO Economic Contribution study released- NEW
COHVCO has obtained a grant from the CPW OHV grant program to undertake a complete review of their 2001 Economic Contribution study. While this study has been periodically updated, concerns arose about its age and changing spending profiles of the OHV community, such as side by sides costing 5x or more the cost of an ATV in 2001. This study has been completed and is now available to the public, and may be downloaded on the COHVCO website. This study concludes that OHV recreation contributes more than $2 Billion annually to the Colorado economy (more than double last estimates) and accounts for more than 16,000 jobs in the state.

5. Front Range Flooding closures/Lefthand Canyon area of Boulder Ranger District.
TPA/COHVCO have been working with the USFS to streamline reopening of many recreational sites that were damaged by flooding along the Front Range last year including the Lefthand Canyon area. Reopening any of the facilities has been a challenge due to the scale of damage that has occurred. Simply estimating the costs to repair each site has been a significant challenge and COHVCO/TPA is working with the USFS to get these estimates and reopen sites as soon as possible.

COHVCO/TPA in partnership with local clubs has been able to get some headway on reopening the Lefthand Canyon area of Boulder Ranger District. This area has received significant motorized funding and was damaged by flooding. USFS has plans in place to fully inventory the area, which would be a significant step towards reopening the area and is exploring reopening other access points to the area as well.

6. The USFS has released a new proposed winter travel management rule.
The Proposed Rule recognizes: 1.Off trail snowmobile riding is a valid usage of NFS lands that should be continued, and is highly valued especially in the Western United States; 2. The proposed rule continues existing management decisions regarding over the snow vehicles, which means the riding area boundaries will not change as a result of the new rule and riding opportunities you will have this year are the same areas as you had last year; and 3. The proposed rule recognizes that open riding area boundaries are significantly larger for winter travel than summer travel.

Extensive comments were submitted and we are optimistic that the final rule will be similar to the proposal. CSA is exploring the development of winter travel maps and dissemination of these maps through smart phone and Garmin applications with the USFS and local clubs.

7. Magnolia Proposal on Boulder Ranger District – UPDATED
COHVCO, TPA and CSA are opposed to the preclusion of multiple use recreation under this Proposal on the Boulder Ranger District. This area has a long history of high quality multiple use trails and recreation and the Organizations believe the proposal is simply off base. It is also difficult to reconcile the funding issues that are cited as a barrier to reopening Lefthand Canyon area with a proposal similar to this moving forward.

The USFS has asserted that a new collaborative process will be developed to resolve the many outstanding concerns from numerous sources regarding this Proposal before the project moves forward.

8. Bear Creek trail watershed
As noted this area has been the basis for litigation. The Organizations have submitted extensive scoping comments subject to the settlement of the litigation to insure that actual threats to the cutthroat trout are addressed in planning and that closures to do target motorized usage. Research indicates that most routes are not a threat to the cutthroat, and as a result should not be closed. The USFS anticipates moving forward with development of these rerouted trails funded with OHV grant money outside the watershed this summer.

9. Efforts to insure that grant funding is timely and easy for clubs to use.

In conjunction with SB17-100 development, the Organizations have worked with CPW to streamline the entire OHV grant process. This has resulted in the grants often being received by recipients months sooner than the year before. This funding is becoming more and more important to trails programs with the rapid declines in money that is available through the federal agencies for recreation.

10. Grand Junction BLM Resource Plan-

The Grand Junction BLM office released a draft resource plan that proposed to close over 2,000 miles (60-70%) of routes in the office. The Organizations submitted extensive comments, participated in numerous meetings with BLM managers and federal, state and local government officials to highlight the numerous critical flaws that are present in the plan. These efforts resulted in more than 500 miles of routes being reopened.

The plan also proposed a massive expansion of closures for cultural sites in violation of federal law and sought to automatically close any sites located in the future. Currently there are 50 sites on the National register of historic places in the planning area, the plan proposed to add almost 1,900 sites to the list. The Organizations do not believe these sites are suitable for inclusion on the national register, which is a defining criteria for closures of cultural areas. The Organizations have appealed the decision on this basis and are optimistic of a positive outcome.

11. Wilderness Proposals- UPDATED
The Organizations remain heavily involved in the numerous Wilderness proposals that threaten continued recreational access to large portions of the state, including Hidden Gems, and its variations, the San Juan Wilderness proposals and others. Meaningful analysis of these issues and proposals finds that Wilderness creates more trouble than it resolves and negatively impacts most users.

The Organizations just released a new publication highlighting the stark contrasts between the benefits that Wilderness advocates assert in their proposals and the negative impacts that disinterested third parties find result from Wilderness designations. That document is available here:

The Organizations have also developed a draft proposal opposing many of the site specific Wilderness Proposals and seeking to affirmatively protect multiple use recreation on many areas that have been withdrawn from earlier Wilderness legislation with Legislative Protections of multiple usage as a priority usage of the areas. Additionally this Proposal would release several Wilderness Study areas and protect multiple use in several areas where significant closures in the planning process are being considered.

10. OHV permits on plated vehicles.
Refer to State Parks website for details at

11. FLREA site specific fees – NEW
The Organizations have recently been heavily involved in discussions regarding the future process to be used to review site specific fee increases for users of developed recreational sites in Colorado. This has included significant public review and process being required before any fee increase could be implemented. The Organizations also vigorously asserted that the imposition of any fee for use of facilities developed or maintained with OHV grant funding was completely unacceptable to the motorized community, as these programs are now providing approximately $1.25 to federal land managers for every resident of the state. It is unfair to ask the motorized community to increase support further when other user groups provide no funding at all. Protections were put in place to insure these types of issues were avoided in the future.

12. Pike/San Isabel litigation implementation meetings
TPA is leading this effort for the entire Colorado OHV community response to the FS on this issue. TPA has hired a consultant to coordinate efforts with the USFS on implementation of the recent settlement of a lawsuit by the Wilderness Society and others challenging the Pike San Isabel National Forests Motor Vehicle Use maps. The USFS has consented to conduct NEPA on all these routes to address a variety of issues. This issue is rapidly developing and we will keep everyone in the loop on what the issues are, when to comment and how to comment or be involved in public meetings.

Originally there was an aggressive timeline laid out for the implementation of the settlement. Right now that timeline appears to be optimistic but the USFS is working hard to meet May of the early deadlines. When public input opportunities become available we will let you know.

13. Revision of the Rio Grande National Forest Plan – UPDATED
The Rio Grande National forest has begun collaborative efforts moving towards the development of a new resource management plan for the forest, which will take at least 3-5 years. Travel Plan The Organizations have been heavily involved in these public meetings to insure that the high quality motorized recreational opportunities in the area are maintained. COHVCO/TPA/CSA was thrilled to see that the purpose and need for the new Forest Plan does not seek to limit or reduce motorized access to the Rio Grande planning area as this area has exceptional riding opportunities and with closures in other areas have become more valuable by the year.

14. Rico/West Delores Travel Plan -UPDATED
The Rico/Delores Ranger district of the San Juan NF is developing travel plans for the Rico/Delores area of the forest. COHVCO/TPA applauds their efforts to develop multiple use trails in an area that often has been guided by a small vocal anti-motorized group. COHVCO/TPA is concerned that some trails have been converted from single track motorcycle type trails to wider ATV and SxS trails, as single track motorized trail opportunities are exceptionally limited in Colorado. Extensive comments have been submitted in conjunction with local clubs opposing trail closures and voicing our concerns about lost single track opportunities.

15. 2017 COHVCO Workshop – NEW
We are changing things up a little this year for our OHV workshop. We are going to be providing a very technical trail building workshop this year and only giving quick updates on many other issues. The workshop will be based on the new Great Trails book from NOHVCC,
which is available here for download here: so you can understand the direction the workshop is headed
We will still do a classroom portion and an “in the field” portion, which will be very hands on and of limited value if you are not operating a trail dozer. While attendance at the classroom portion can accommodate a larger groups similar to previous years, the maximum number of people is about 30 for the “in the field” portion of the workshops at each location.

May 5-7, 2017

Grand Junction, CO
July 14-17, 2017
Rampart Range outside Denver CO

16. NOHVCC Trails handbook –
NOHVCC (One of the Organizations’ strong national partners) has developed an exceptional new resource for land managers which is a 300 page color manual for the development and maintenance of motorized routes and trails. TPA has secured 60 copies of this book and is currently circulating them to land managers throughout the State to allow them to effectively protect trails and prove the quality of the design in protecting resources.

17. Wildlife mitigation credits –
The US Fish and Wildlife agency is proposing a credit exchange program for wildlife habitat projects that improve the quality of habitat areas. The Organizations are exploring the possibility of credits being earned and banked through the CPW OHV trails program to allow for their future use to preserve and protect trails. CPW OHV grants provide a significant amount of funding to protect and preserve wildlife habitat along with trails and credits being provided could allow expanded trails in the future by avoiding concerns about possible wildlife impacts.

18. Taylor Pass closure to camping- NEW
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests leaders are proposing to close the Irwin area, north of Crested Butte, and the Tincup area, southeast of Taylor Reservoir, to dispersed camping from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Camping in campgrounds will still be allowed at the Lake Irwin and Mirror Lake campgrounds. These areas are receiving increasing numbers of dispersed campers, user-created roads and spurs and successional occupation during the summer months, U.S. Forest Service leaders say. Additionally, increased use of motor vehicles off the designated roads, trailers and motorhomes with associated group camping are causing significant impacts. The Organizations were vigorously opposed to this Proposal are seeking alternatives to be developed to avoid closure.

19. Silverton Heli-ski permit expansion – NEW

20. Travel Management should be properly balanced with other issues facing land managers – NEW
The Organizations were surprised when several national groups, including some motorized, took the position that completing travel management should remain a priority for land managers. The Organizations opposed travel management being arbitrarily elevated above other management concerns, some of which are of farther ranging and more significant impact that travel management could ever be. Land managers must be able to prioritize threats in their locality based on the scale of the threats rather than to conform to national objectives.

An example of why elevating travel management above other concerns makes little sense in Colorado would be based on recent research on the poor forest health in Colorado, which found 17% of all trees in Colorado are dead. This results in greatly increased risk to recreational usage of these lands due to catastrophic wildfire and significantly increased risk to the health safety and welfare of communities surrounded by forests of dead tree s and relying on these lands for basic resources such as water. Any assertion that completing a travel plan in landscapes decimated by exceptionally poor forest should be a higher priority than providing basic sustainability would lack factual basis and not be supported by the public in these areas. Managers should be allowed to look at threats to public lands in relation to the priority of threats and not to comply with concerns of particular user groups.

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Off-highway recreation big business in Colorado

Article excerpt from The Colorado Springs Business Journal

With more attention being paid regionally to outdoor recreation (to include a State of the Outdoors event scheduled for this month), an economic-impact picture would be incomplete without considering a study published in December and commissioned by the Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition and Trails Preservation Alliance. The study determined $2.3 billion makes its way annually into Colorado’s economy thanks to tourism and sales activity linked to off-highway vehicle recreation.

“This report is illustrative of the large economic impact benefitting all Coloradans from the sales and recreational use of OHVs and the local jobs created by the OHV industry,” said COHVCO spokesman Jim Bensberg. Bensberg said about 15,000 OHVs are registered and permitted in El Paso County. Colorado Parks and Wildlife reports that more than 170,000 OHV registrations and use permits were issued in 2015. Each annual registration for an OHV costs $25.25.

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