Archive | May, 2017

Letter to Sec. Zinke – Re: Browns Canyon National Monument

Review of the Browns Canyon National Monument, Colorado

The Honorable Ryan Zinke
Secretary of the Interior
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Monument Review, MS-1530
Submitted online to: DOI-2017-0002

RE:  Review of the Browns Canyon National Monument, Colorado


Dear Secretary Zinke;

Please accept this correspondence as a request and comments of the above Organizations with regard to a review of the National Monument designation of the Browns Canyon area in Central Colorado.  Browns Canyon was designated by former President Barack Obama as a National Monument on February 19, 2015 using the Antiquities Act of 1906.  The Browns Canyon National Monument, including the Browns Canyon Wilderness Study Area (WSA), covers approximately 22,000 acres of federally- and state-managed public lands located in Chaffee County, Colorado (includes 11,836 acres of the San Isabel National Forest and 9,750 acres of Bureau of Land Management land).

Prior to addressing our issues with the 2015 designation of Browns Canyon as a National Monument, we believe a brief summary of each Organization is needed.  The Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (“COHVCO”) is a grassroots advocacy organization for the 170,000 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 volunteer based organization whose purpose 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 multiple-use trail riding.  The TPA acts as an advocate of the sport and takes the necessary action to insure that the USFS and BLM allocate for trail riding a fair and equitable percentage of access to public lands. For purposes of this document COHVCO and TPA are identified as “the Organizations”.

The Organizations are very familiar with the recreational opportunities and scenic qualities that are provided by Browns Canyon and do not question the unique merits and assets of the area and a need for some level of preservation and potential protection.  However, the Organizations contend that the designation of the Browns Canyon area as a National Monument has now relegated this area to a de facto Wilderness area and is now unavailable and closed to any citizen needing or desiring to visit the area or use any sort of motorized means to access and enjoy Browns Canyon and the surrounding landscape.  The Browns Canyon area and the lands immediately adjoining the Monument once saw extensive railroad activity in very close proximity to the river and was the main access terminal for the many mines in the Turret Mining Area (examples of historic sites include the Calumet Mine, Chloride Camp, Hematite, Camp Jeffery and Hecla Junction of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad’s former Calumet Branch line).  The entire area has been historically interlaced with railroad grades and access roads that have now been lost to use by the public under the current protections as a National Monument.

The Organizations are requesting that a review of the National Monument designation of the Browns Canyon area be included with the nationwide review of other National Monuments as directed by the President’s Executive Order 13792, issued on April 26, 2017.  Specifically the Organizations request that motorized access and multiple-use recreation be re-established in the Browns Canyon area especially from the eastern boundary.  The designation should be amended to recognize outdoor recreation, including motorized trail riding and historic permitted OHV events, as allowed uses and/or purposes of the Monument.  The Organization’s request is based in fact that during the original proposal by Colorado’s Senator Mark Udall to designate the area with the Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act, that the substantial public input and comment to maintain motorized and multiple-use access to the Browns Canyon area was knowingly ignored and simply put aside.  And further, when Senator Udall’s Bill failed to pass, a unilateral decision was made by the Obama Administration to designate the area as a National Monument, which was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders and failed to conform with the policy set forth in section 1 of the recent Presidential order.  The Organizations also contend that the designation of the Browns Canyon area as a National Monument and the associated closure to motorized and multiple-use recreation failed to properly consider the multiple-use policy of section 102(a)(7) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1701(a)(7)), as well as the effects on the available uses of Federal lands beyond the monument’s eastern boundaries (i.e., the Aspen Ridge area and other adjoining areas of the Pike and San Isabel National Forest).  Specific, established recreation corridors should be specifically identified and re-established for continuing use, including motorized recreation.

The Organizations have a lengthy history of cooperating and collaborating with groups and elected officials desiring to impart some level of protection to the Browns Canyon area.  We have consistently supported the concerns and comments of a truly diverse range of stakeholders, including affected counties, property owners, businesses, permit holders, residents and elected officials.  To this end, we were participants in numerous meetings with Senator Udall’s staff during the development of the originally proposed Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act.  The mission of the Organizations initial involvement was to ensure a fair and balanced spectrum of uses and sensible public access to the area.  With the subsequent failure of the Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act to pass, and the unilateral designation by President Obama, the efforts of our Organizations to preserve fair use and shared public access has been “shut out”, resulting in an area that is now designated for the privileged use of a small and elite group of users.  The unilateral National Monument designation by the Obama Administration essentially sabotaged a precious opportunity to resolve public-land disputes more collaboratively. We stand by our principle that legislation is always preferable to unilateral Executive action.

The Organizations would also offer that the designation of the Browns Canyon area offers benefits only to a very small and limited group of the population while now excluding the mainstream public.  Since the monument designation was made in 2015, the users of this now restricted area are predominately river rafters on commercial (i.e., for profit) rafting trips, and select high-end commercially guided (i.e., for profit) fishing and seasonal hunting entourages.

Local special interest groups and local publications have lauded and praised the designation of the Browns Canyon area as promoting the solace and preserving the area solely for “quite uses”.  However, this is mere supposition as the primary use of the area is now exploited by very prolific and abundant chains of commercial and private rafting groups – a user group that is often anything but serene and quite in their use of the river and area.

If you have questions please feel free to contact Scott Jones, Esq. at 508 Ashford Drive, Longmont, CO 80504.  His phone is (518) 281-5810 and his email is

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Denver Post: Recreation’s diverse interests galvanize…

By JASON BLEVINS | | The Denver Post

Article reposted with permission:

BRECKENRIDGE — The recreation community is a fractured lot. Knobby tires versus skinny. Lure versus fly. Motorized versus human-powered. Wilderness versus multiple use. Over decades, the tribes of recreation have flourished as individual identities trumped the collective.

That’s changing. The threats and challenges emerging from outside the recreation community are eclipsing long-held internal conflicts. Efforts to change the nature of public lands as well as dwindling budgets for federal and state land managers are threatening the recreation way of life. Imperiled access and the mounting dangers facing wildlife, conservation and habitat protection are tearing down decades-old barriers between recreational cliques that are finding they can better protect lifestyles, businesses and natural resources if they band together.

Imagine wilderness advocates at the table with mountain bikers, who agree to consider a licensing program like motorcycles to help pay for land management, access and trails, which are maintained by a growing cadre of volunteer steward groups made up of hunters, anglers, conservationists, hikers, bikers, skiers and snowmobilers.

It’s a Utopian vision that requires a lot of cooperation among groups that have never united. And it’s a becoming a reality.

“This collaboration is a new progress point that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in my lifetime in terms of different modalities of recreation coming together toward a common goal and cause,” says Luis Benitez, the director of the Colorado Office of Recreation Industry.

Benitez took the helm of the country’s second-ever state recreation office with a mission to unify Colorado’s broad outdoor interests in hopes of fostering an integrated recreation economy. His 22-member advisory committee is a rowdy blend of motorized users, shop owners, gear makers and conservationists. Their clarion call is unity, trying to set an example of how recreation’s notoriously fragmented clans can come together with a singular voice.

That push for solidarity comes as the U.S. Department of Commerce prepares a first-ever analysis and assessment of the outdoor recreationindustry’s impact to the nation’s GDP. It comes as myriad recreation and conservation groups, advocates and businesses mobilize to defend public lands under review by the Trump Administration. It comes as legislation to thwart a pending budget crisis at Colorado Parks and Wildlife failed to pass through the statehouse. It comes as Colorado’s population booms with a surge of newcomers eager to explore the state’s public lands, further stressing both financial and natural resources.

At the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s annual Partners in the Outdoors Conference in Breckenridge earlier this month, the theme was an increasingly urgent call for cooperation. If outdoor recreation — an expansive camp that includes basically everyone who plays outside — is going to be the political, social and economic powerhouse it aspires to be, the time for rallying under one big tent has come.

“It’s imperative for all these groups to understand they are not just playing for the same team, but they are playing for the same segment of that team,” said Dan Gates, the president of the Colorado Trappers and Predator Hunters Association who also leads the new coalition called Coloradans for Responsible Wildlife Management. Gates is enlisting the help of organizations beyond the insular hook-and-bullet fellowship by mustering water managers, land owners and species groups to protect the North American model of wildlife conservation.

“We are at a crossroads, resource and outdoor recreation-wise, where we need to be able to provide a legitimate level of outdoor recreation without compromising the resource of wildlife, water and habitats for now and future generations. We are only going to get one chance to get this right,” Gates says. “We need to get together. I don’t want to play for the Cleveland Browns.”

This isn’t a naively optimistic kumbaya moment, where sundry recreation brokers are embracing amnesty after decades of animosity. Right now, it’s a call-to-arms search for common ground.

“Look at that,” says Benitez, following a recent meeting of his advisory council, pointing at two men huddled in conversation.

The first member of his council, Don Riggle, who as the head of the Trails Preservation Alliance is dedicated to protecting motorcycle access to public lands, is talking with Jason Bertolacci, the former Colorado chief of the International Mountain Bike Association.

Those two groups are not friendly. A bike trail on public land that bans motorcycles — a trail that very likely was first forged by dirt bike riders — irks often ostracized motorized users. But there they are. Discussing how mountain bikers might be able to kick-in for trails, just like more than 170,000 off-road motorized users in Colorado do with their tags and licenses.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife legislation that just failed to reach the Colorado Senate would have given the state wildlife commission more ability to raise residential hunting and fishing fees as part of a plan to foil a looming budget mess that promises closures, lost access and fewer licenses. Part of that legislation required the study of “non-consumptive” users of division-managed lands — namely cyclists, paddlers and hikers. The hope is those other recreational users might be tapped — or even volunteer — to ease the financial burden long carried by sportsmen paying for licenses and fees. It’s part of a larger pay-to-play plan that, once hugely taboo, is gaining traction as federal and state land management budgets wither and recreational use multiplies and mutates.

“We know we need to do something with the funding issue and we know we are probably OK with it if the money is returned to trails,” says Bertolacci, a member of Benitez’s advisory committee, which plans to soon amplify its pay-to-play mission. “So let’s get to details. It’s time to start the conversation.”

Emerging from adolescence with growing brawn, fortitude and tenacity, the outdoor recreation industry is ready to sit at the grown-ups’ table when it comes to making policy and funding decisions. Financially, it deserves the seat. The Outdoor Industry Association’s recent economic impact report showed Americans spending as much as $887 billion a year on outdoor recreation gear and travel, more than spending on household utilities and pharmaceuticals combined.

But the divisive nature of the outdoor recreation industry is an obstacle. Categorical parceling weakens the collective voice. While timber, grazing and extractive energy interests speak with a singular, powerful roar when it comes to shaping land management policy and lobbying lawmakers, recreational land users offer a cacophony of similar yet diluted missives.

“I think we all have reached a frustration level where our little voice wasn’t really doing anything,” says David Leinweber, owner of the Angler’s Covey flyfishing shop in Colorado Springs who helped form the diverse Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance, a collaboration that includes politicians, tourism promoters, land managers, gear makers, conservationists and outfitters.

It’s that cognizance of clout and commonality that is reconciling recreation’s cleft castes. The conflicts aren’t over but a shared appreciation of the outdoors is a place to start an accord.

“We are looking at how we begin the conversation that says, ‘Hey, there is a responsibility that comes with recreation in the woods. Part of the responsibility is being more accepting of a wider array of activities,’” says Scott Fitzwilliams, the seven-year boss of the White River National Forest, the most heavily recreated national forest in the country, with more than 12 million visitors a year.

Still, there’s some water that needs to pass under the bridge for a lot of these groups. Talk to hunters and motorized advocates long enough and they invariably turn to hot-button history that forever precludes a hug — or even a truce — with myriad other groups.

“Yes the silos are getting broken down but … there is some residual anger and it’s based in facts,” says Riggle, citing how off-road motorized access has dwindled across the state despite motorized users contributing $2.3 billion to the state’s economy, including more than $150 million in state and federal taxes. “Don’t go painting too rosy a picture. We’ve got a lot of hard work to do.”

You don’t even know, says Jim Bedwell, the 38-year Forest Service veteran whose legacy is a relentless fight to elevate recreation as one of the most sustainable uses of public lands.

“I appreciate this conversation is becoming more widespread but it’s a very complex conversation,” says Bedwell, the director of Recreation, Lands and Minerals for the U.S. Forest Service’s most trafficked Rocky Mountain region. “Don’t let your head explode. This is the kind of thing that takes years of dialogue.”

Then it’s time get busy, says Colorado Parks and Wildlife director Bob Broscheid.

“Let’s use what unites us and not what divides us. And what unites us is habitat and wildlife and open space and appropriate access to these areas,” he says. “Whether you are a hunter or angler or mountain biker or bird watcher, we have a common thread running through all of us. Once we find that united approach, all the other stuff starts to fall away and it gives us a much better focus on what’s most important.”

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Letter to Sec Ryan Zinke – Re: Bears Ears National Monument Utah

Review of the Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

The Honorable Ryan Zinke
Secretary of the Interior
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

RE:  Review of the Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

Dear Secretary Zinke:

Please accept this correspondence as comments from the Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) with regard to the review of the National Monument designation for the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

The TPA is a volunteer organization whose mission 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 multiple-use trail riding.  The TPA acts as an advocate of the sport and takes the necessary action to insure that the USFS and BLM allocate for trail riding to receive a fair and equitable percentage of access to public lands.  The TPA stands in unity with our partner organization, Ride with Respect in Utah and fully and completely supports their comments regarding the inappropriate designation of the Bears Ears National Monument.

From its inception, the Bears Ears monument proposal has been a lose-lose for all stakeholders. The Antiquities Act states that monuments “shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” Nationwide, the acreage not already proclaimed as a monument or other protective designation is shrinking; yet the acreage added to the national-monument system has grown in recent administrations.

Hoping to capitalize on this trend, wilderness expansion groups seeking to greatly expand wilderness and de facto designations sabotaged a precious opportunity to resolve public-land disputes more collaboratively.  Unfortunately the wilderness-expansion groups’ gamble paid off, as the Obama administration adopted most of the Bears Ears proposed acreage. However, it didn’t pay off for our Native Americans, as the Bears Ears proclamation offers the tribes no more substantive influence than they already had. We are now left with a monument that goes far beyond the antiquities surrounding Cedar Mesa to cover most of the Abajo Mountains with its talus slopes, and most of western San Juan County all the way up to the outskirts of Moab. Monument proponents praise Bears Ears NM for being merely 70,000 acres larger than the Utah Public Lands Initiative’s (UPLI) Bears Ears and Indian Creek National Conservation Areas (NCA’s). However, 70,000 acres equates to over a hundred square miles, and it includes the upper Indian Creek motorized singletrack, Shay Mountain, and Gooseberry ATV trail, all of which have been cared for by our partner organization, Ride with Respect. Further, the UPLI proposed NCA’s with more inclusive management than a monument. For OHV trail riders, the NCA’s would have effectively provided no net loss of recreational opportunity by limiting travel planning to temporarily close or permanently relocate routes on an as-needed basis. Above all, the UPLI proposed many other benefits beyond these NCA’s to provide balance. Rather than legitimizing the Bears Ears National Monument, the fact that the UPLI offered millions of acres of additional protections (with modest gains for recreation and development in other areas) only makes this latest monument all the more offensive.

Instead of assuming the motives of wilderness-expansion groups, we’ll share with you our view and that of our partner Ride with Respect. Bears Ears NM has actually steamrolled conservationists who prefer a diplomatic approach, it has discouraged multiple-use advocates from future collaboration, it has damaged relationships within Native American and other communities, and it has alienated the people who live closest to the land. We can’t blame San Juan County for recommending that Bears Ears NM be rescinded altogether. For one thing, rescinding monuments may be the only way to get wilderness-expansion groups to meaningfully negotiate. For another thing, since passage of the Antiquities Act, subsequent laws have already bolstered the protection of cultural resources. Western San Juan County had faced no overwhelming, imminent threats. Cultural sites can be effectively preserved by the BLM with its cooperating agencies such as tribes and counties, provided adequate support. It simply takes proactive management, as Ride with Respect has managed to do with a meager budget on OHV trails.

Despite that no monument is needed to protect the Bears Ears area; both the TPA and Ride with Respect have a bias toward resolving controversy. We recognize that areas surrounding Cedar Mesa contain many cultural sites of significance. Therefore, while we recommend releasing most of the current acreage from Bears Ears National Monument, the TPA and Ride with Respect supports monument status for those areas that the Antiquities Act was truly designed to preserve. Upon releasing acreage from monument status, we hope you will implore Congress to pass a bill with more appropriate designations for the many other areas like Indian Creek that deserve additional protections in San Juan County and preferably the entire state of Utah. Like the UPLI, the bill should also benefit recreation and development interests in terms of providing longevity. Just as preservation advocates deserve to know that their gains won’t be stripped by a future president, recreation and development interests would need to know that their gains won’t be jeopardized by another monument proclamation. So long as the threat of unilateral mega-monuments looms, public-land disputes will worsen, and our nation will suffer.

Whether people are of Native American or other heritage, we respect the wide range of opinions about Bears Ears National Monument so long as they are grounded by truth. Unfortunately, the majority of pro-monument comments are based on profound misunderstandings about how the land is managed. Even more unfortunate is the fact that wilderness-expansion groups deliberately propagate this misinformation along with their proxies, which include masquerading sportsman groups. For example, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance insists that “Bears Ears rectifies a history of racism towards the tribes” even though its lack of co-management actually repeats a history of false promises made to Native Americans. Just today, a Facebook post sponsored by The Wilderness Society claims “URGENT: The Trump administration is threatening to shrink more than 20 national monuments including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Speak now! Once they’re lost, they’re gone forever.” As a result, the well-meaning public writes letters opposing the loss of these places as if they’ll be privatized, strip mined, developed, or somehow dropped off the face of the earth. Although such letters are based on sincere concern, they are undermined by a false premise. Therefore it is key for you to prioritize comments that are in touch with reality, whether they support or oppose the Bears Ears National Monument.

In reality, responsible OHV access is frequently under attack, and monument designations have historically added another “hammer” for preservationists to wield. Even in BLM-managed monuments like Grand Staircase and Canyons of the Ancients, OHV riders have had to fight for the existing roads, let alone trails. If those who peddled for Bears Ears are any indication, this monument would be more of the same. The National Parks Conservation Association urged closing Lockhart Basin 4WD road to all vehicles that are not registered for highway use, which would exclude all ATV’s. Utah Dine Bikeyah endorsed designating the majority of western San Juan County as wilderness, which excludes all motorized and even mechanized use. The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition recommended the monument proclamation to limit all motorized use to roads, only.

More importantly, the Bears Ears campaign was intended to be a short cut, but it wound up causing deep wounds in southeast Utah. Spending over twenty million dollars, the campaign certainly won over some people. Backed by the same people who orchestrated Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Conservation Lands Foundation created Utah Dine Bikeyah and funded the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. The Grand Canyon Trust alone has spent millions of dollars on its “Native America education” project. While aspects of it may be commendable, the thrust appears to be pushing Bears Ears upon San Juan County with an utter disregard for its residents. This cannot provide a foundation for healing among cultures, as the Bears Ears campaign purports. We sincerely hope that some of these aspirations can be realized through a more inclusive process.

To promote a more thorough process for Congress, the new administration could help by tempering some of the quick fixes that got us into this mess in the first place. When formulating the Bears Ears campaign, wilderness-expansion groups stated, “The more land the better.” In response, many other stakeholders are now calling to rescind Bears Ears National Monument, and to take further steps. To deescalate the situation, scaling the monument back to reflect its outstanding objects of antiquity is the right thing to do for this land and its people.


Don Riggle
Director of Operations
Trails Preservation Alliance

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Comments on Bears Ears National Monument

Comments on Bears Ears National Monument
By Rainer Huck,  Ph.D.

I have lived in Utah since 1949 and have been a public lands access-for-all activist since 1987.   I was president of the Utah Trail Machine Association for 10 years and founder and president of the Utah Shared Access Alliance for 7 years.    Since 1990, I have traveled approximately 10,000 miles of back country roads and trails each year, giving me an unmatched personal insight into just what is at stake due to the special interest land management practices that have devastated public land access for the vast majority of our people.

Access to and use of Utah Public lands has been under attack since the formation of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in 1985.   This greatly intensified in 1994 with the passage of the California Desert Closure Act which created over 8 million acres of Wilderness in formerly multiple use BLM lands.   This allowed the Sierra Club to focus its effort outside California, specifically Utah, where they pumped up SUWA with millions of 501(c)3 tax free dollars.    With this new found wealth, SUWA was able to squeeze out all competing “environmental” groups and gain dominance in the business of converting multiple use public lands into single use Wilderness.

Because I have been an advocate for motor assisted access to our public lands, I will confine my comments to just this aspect of the current review process. The Bears Ears National Monument is just the latest example of the relentless drive by the political environmentalists to eliminate people who either require or desire to use motor transport for access from the public lands.

In this enterprise their success has been nothing short of prodigious.  In 1985 over 95% of Utah’s BLM lands were available for travel by motor vehicle.  Now, over 95% is closed to such use.   This has occurred because the political environmentalists (SUWA, Sierra Club, and others) have taken complete control of the land management agencies and the courts.   They are aided in this endeavor by so called main stream media which will always supports their unsubstantiated claims of damage caused by vehicle users as a pretext for closure and they never acknowledge competing views or offer balanced coverage.  Many of their stories are shameless propaganda.

The political environmentalists acting through the Agencies and the Courts have created endless means of restricting travel on public lands with the primary purpose of preparing these lands for future Wilderness designation.    They demand this, the most restrictive of all possible options, because it is irreversible and removes the land from any future discussion or changes in management.    Once land is so designated, only an Act of Congress signed by the President can restore multiple use.  Thus, Wilderness designation is analogous to a cosmic black hole:   Whatever enters can never escape.

Many Utah politicians, including the majority of the Congressional Delegation, have recognized the harm Wilderness will bring to Utah’s economic future and have mostly resisted the demands of the political environmentalists.   As a result, they have resorted to a number of other methods to circumvent the will of the people of Utah to determine the management of their public lands.  The illicit designation of national monuments under the pretext of the Antiquities Act is just one of these.

SUWA was the driving force behind the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996 to stop the Kaiparowits coal mine which would have provided vast amounts of low Sulphur coal at a low cost and revitalized the economy in Kane County.  Because they have failed in their efforts to gain additional Wilderness designations, they have resorted to an end-run around Congress by persuading an agenda driven President Obama to do their work. They like national monuments because they always upgrade to national parks eventually which are almost as good as Wilderness in their eyes.

While the esoteric values of Wilderness and National Monuments reside mostly in the realms of philosophy or religion, one outcome of their designation directly and negatively impacts legally protected populations: The elderly, the disabled, and the mobility impaired.    In this way, these kind of public land management violates numerous constitutional and statuary protections.

The primary impact of these designations is the elimination or vast reduction of access through motor powered vehicles.  This means that all persons who lack the strength, stamina, or health to hike or walk for long distances, often under difficult conditions, are effectively BANNED from these formerly public lands.

It is interesting to note that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, our government has forced the expenditure of Hundreds of billions of dollars by private property owners to insure access to all persons. Yet, this same government has spent billions of dollars to actively deny access to our most vulnerable populations to public lands.

The Bears Ears National Monument is just the most recent example of this process of removing the public lands from the public and gifting them to the political environmentalists.  There is no “damage” being done to this land (if that where even possible) and no purpose is being served other than the creation of a new and expensive bureaucracy.

I would ask that you recommend the complete rescission of not only the Bears Ears National Monument, but also the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. These BLM lands should be managed according to the congressional mandate of Multiple Use and not be set aside as a private playground of the elite environmentalists.

Many thanks for your consideration,

Dr. Rainer Huck
1680 E. Atkin Ave.
Salt Lake City, Utah  84105
Ph.   801 467 3795

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Signal Peak Trails Plan

Signal Peak Trails Plan

Gunnison Field Office
Att:  Jim Lovelace
210 West Spencer Ave, Suite A
Gunnison CO 81230

RE:  Signal Peak Trails Plan

Dear Mr. Lovelace;

Please accept this correspondence as the comments of the above Organizations with regard to the Signal Peak Trail Proposal. At the landscape level, the Organizations vigorously support two foundational principals: 1. that development of multiple use trails; and 2.trails should not be developed only to benefit a small user group. These foundational principals cause serious concerns with the specific trail development allocation in the Signal Peak Proposal, especially when the Gunnison FO has had such success with multiple use areas such as the Hartman Rocks area.  The Organizations vigorously support the development of multiple use single track trails in the Proposal.  While we support the multiple use trails there is serious concern with both the basic need and direction that has been adopted for the management of other routes in the Proposal. There simply needs to be a far more balanced allocation of routes being developed. This balance can be achieved by allowing multiple use on routes proposed or by working with local motorized users to determine where additional trails would be appropriate.

The development of what is essentially an advanced mountain bike trail network is very concerning in the Proposal given the tenuous position of funding for all recreational activities on federal lands, the heavy usage of the Signal Peak area already, limited benefit from the trail network to the overall recreational experience in the area.  The Organizations would note that single track trail is some of the most sought after recreational opportunities and also some of the hardest to find in Colorado due to very limited amounts being available.  It is the Organizations position that if trails are developed in the Proposal area, they must be overwhelmingly multiple use, as there is simply insufficient funding  available to allow each user group to have a separate trail system on public lands and such  a model does not reflect the multiple use model in place on public lands.

Prior to addressing the 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 for trail riding to receive a fair and equitable percentage of access to public lands. For purposes of this document COHVCO and TPA are identified as “the Organizations”.

1a. History.

The Organizations are very familiar with the recreational opportunities that are provided by the Gunnison Planning area and the heavy utilization of these opportunities that is currently being experienced for all recreational activities when compared to even 5 years ago. The Proposal references the significant increases in all types of usage for this area in the introduction and this increased visitation would be consistent with our experiences. It has also been our experience that usage of this area is from a widely diverse group of users including the OHV community, those camping, fishing, picnicking and generally relaxing.  It has been the Organizations experience that the Gunnison Planning is an overwhelmingly multiple use area.  The Organizations must also state that it has been our experience that while there are clearly mountain biking visitors to the Gunnison Planning area, this visitation is certainly not disproportionate to other usages of the area.  It has also been our experience that most of the mountain bikers utilizing the Gunnison Planning area are families and at best intermediate riders. The Organizations are very concerned that while the expanded usage of the area for a very small user group is identified, the Proposal simply never addresses how the basic management issues is the  Signal Peak area will be improved when the Proposal is implemented. The Organizations submit that any project in this area must benefit all users as this is truly a multiple use area.

The Organizations must express a high level of frustration at both the lack of funding for development and operation of the trail network.   Merely drawing routes on a map does not make a successful trail network in the long run. The Organizations are further concerned  that the desires of a small user group have been placed well ahead of other long term partners who have directly funded and supported the greater good of all recreational usage in Colorado for decades.  The Organizations have been highly supportive of a wide range of programs and efforts through the CPW trails and OHV grant programs, such as the law enforcement program and good management crews, which directly fund more than $8,000,000 per year to land managers to benefit all recreational efforts. We are aware that the Gunnison Field Office has participated in each of these programs for an extended period of time. The multiple use organizations have also been annually identified as the single largest source of volunteer labor for trail maintenance.

While the Organizations are aware these efforts are targeting all recreational usage, the Organizations would expect that all other user groups would be brought into alignment with the concept of greater good of recreation in their proposals.   If one partner is forced to pay the lion’s share of the bills and others are allowed to develop proposals that exclude the other partner, that is simply not a partnership.   This type of alignment simply has not been provided in this Proposal given the overwhelming benefit of the Proposal to a single user group.

1b.  The continued large scale expansion of single user group trails is creating significant user conflict in areas where there has not been conflict before.

The Organizations vigorously assert that motorized single track is one of the most sought after recreational experiences in the state due to the limited number of miles available.  Frustration at intention exclusion of numerous user groups from development of the Signal Peak initial project Proposal.

“Motorized vs Non-Motorized Gunnison Trails prefers that the proposed singletrack trails in the Signal Peak trail system be non-motorized. However, this determination will be made exclusively by the BLM. The BLM also asked Gunnison Trails to confine outreach to Gunnison Trails constituents and not try to engage the broader interested community, including motorized trail users and sportsmen.”[1]

The Organizations must express high levels of frustration at the intentional lack of collaboration on the development of this Proposal as in many areas collaborative efforts that are supported by the land managers have been effective at developing a quality recreational opportunity that can be supported by all and avoiding unnecessary conflict between users, such as the Gunnison FO has shown with the Hartman Rocks area. The Grand Valley Trails Alliance in Grand Junction would be another such collaborative effort.  When single usage trail proposals are moved forward without significant collaborative efforts across user groups that have already partnered, the progress across user groups from efforts such as Hartman Rocks can be lost very easily.

The Organizations are also concerned that the entire Gunnison Planning area has been managed as designated routes for motorized and mechanized since 2010.[2] As a result of this decision there is significant  concern that we are moving many illegal non-system trails on to the system in direct contradiction of decisions to close these routes as they are illegal in many instances. Again this type of a decision could easily be construed as favoring one group over another and create user conflict that is entirely unnecessary.

The Organizations would like to be able to support all trails proposals from all user groups but this simply is not realistic given agency budgets and the unwillingness of many user groups to self tax in a manner similar to the programs that have been in place as a result of the motorize users self taxing a long time ago. This failure to provide a funding stream for site development has impaired these user groups ability to partner in development of projects such as the project now sought to be developed. Collaboration of all user groups, such as has already occurred in the Hartman Rocks area, is the model we feel will be the norm moving forward.

1c. More than 2 dozen communities have opened all or part of their county road network since passage of HB 1030 two years ago.

The Organizations are also aware that many communities (almost all ) in the GFO planning area have voted to open all or part of their county road network to OHV travel and this list is growing daily. A complete list of these communities is included with these comments for your reference.  The Organizations submit that these decisions express a clear desire in these communities to embrace all recreational opportunities. These communities have noted significant economic drivers for local businesses and expanded tax revenue. They have not noted major negative impacts from the expanded access, such as ordinance violations, noise or other concerns. Clearly there is a demand for OHV opportunities in Colorado.

2a. Funding must be identified for development and management of the proposed trail network.

The Organizations are aware that there is a funding crisis in terms of recreational activities on public lands and the motorized community is the only user group that has partnered with federal land managers to attempt to offset these issues. These efforts have resulted in a program that is approaching an annual budget of $8 million annually  that overwhelmingly benefits federal land managers from the registration of OHVs. The motorized community has also been consistently identified as the largest source of volunteer labor for maintenance and development of trails in Colorado. No other user group has approached this type of active support for recreation. Given the current funding situation for federal land managers, the Organizations must express serious concerns when funding for both development and maintenance  for all facets of any Proposal is not clearly identified.

The lack of  funding for trail systems and recreational usage of public lands  is an issue that has been extensively addressed in recent years.   A GAO review of the USFS has identified that there is a $314 million dollar national backlog on trail maintenance on USFS lands. [3] The GAO also concluded that only 25% of the existing trail network is financially sustainable. While this report specifically identified the major role that OHV grant programs play in mitigating  this issue, the report specifically found that a lack of funding for non-motorized trails is a major contributor to the issue.  While the GAO report  does involve analysis of issues not relevant to the current proposal,  like trail maintenance in Wilderness, the basic determination of the report must not be overlooked.  Routes that are exclusively non-motorized are entirely unsustainable financially and the OHV communities efforts in maintaining multiple use routes is an important tool in addressing this issue.   It is the Organizations position that the current proposal exacerbates a know and unresolved problem and fails to integrate a known and effective funding source. This simply makes no sense.

In addition to the GAO report, the Organizations are also aware that many other user groups have identified the complete lack of funding for basic maintenance that is currently facing trails in Colorado.  The Colorado 14ers group recently issued a statewide report card that gave front range trails to 14,000 ft. peaks a “D” in terms of maintenance. [4] While volunteers have worked hard on these trails, this report again highlights the need for ongoing funding to support these trail networks.  If existing non-motorized routes are not being maintained with volunteers, the Organizations must question why this model would be allowed to be the basis for new trail development.  The basic model appears to be broken.  The Organizations submit that making these routes multiple use would expand volunteer support and directly make significant funding available to perform basic maintenance and off-set operational expenses.

2b. Soils in the Gunnison Planning area are decomposed granite and will need ongoing maintenance.

The Organizations  are aware of several mountain bike only proposals that have been built and then not maintained in Colorado already as was expressly recognized by BLM representatives  in recent news coverage of the Oil Well Flats trail system outside Canon City [5] Weekly trash removal and toilet cleaning are often projects not well supported by any volunteer community. The Organizations submit that directing funds to a project that has not been clearly identified as successful is putting those limited funds at risk of loss if the project should fail.

The Organizations are very familiar with the Gunnison Planning area and are aware that most of the soil is made up of decomposed granite.  The Organizations are aware that even the best designed trails are going to need ongoing maintenance in these soil conditions and that without maintenance the Signal Peak area could quickly proceed the direction of the Oil Well Flats network and this would be unfortunate  as there is such a broad scale demand for recreation in Colorado and limited funds.

3a. The purpose and need of the Proposal does not reflect limited demand for bicycle routes on federal public lands.

Compounding  the Organizations concerns about a lack of funding for the project is the fact that the Proposal provides a very grim picture when looked at purely from a cost/benefit analysis for any money that might be available from the agency.  The Organizations must question that even if agency funding is identified for the Proposal, is the development of an extensive trail network for the benefit of a very small user group the best allocation of the funding.   We submit that it is not as the benefits of the Proposal are very limited for most users as the overwhelming percentage of visitors to the Gunnison Planning area are multiple users and not dedicated mountain bikers.

The Organizations are aware that the USFS has an active monitoring system in place for the monitoring of all types of recreational visitation to public lands.  This information is now highly relevant to adjacent BLM lands as USFS and BLM have adopted an interagency memorandum adopting NVUM as the official visitation measure on both USFS and BLM lands.[6]  A review of this information at the regional level reveals that ALL bicycle usage is 10th on the list of why people visit federal lands.  The 2014 regional level NVUM research provides the following breakdown of visitation to federal public lands:

Table 1 - % Main Activity

Given that all bicycle usage is 10th on the regional list of reasons people visit federal public lands, the basic direction of the Proposal seeking to primarily benefit a small user group becomes an immediate cause for concern as almost every other user group ahead of bicycle users on the visitation scale is excluded from using the proposed trail network.  This makes any cost benefit or compelling need for single use trails difficult to justify as research indicates there are not a lot of users seeking these opportunities in the region.

The Organizations submit that a major reason for the low visitation of bicycle users to federal public lands is that many local communities have developed high quality bicycle based recreational opportunities with greenway trails and urban corridor based trail systems.  While local communities have been very effective in developing these bicycle based opportunities, the desired recreational experiences of many other users groups simply do not match well with recreational opportunities in these urban interface areas.  Given the large opportunity for this type of recreation already in place, many of the public simply own bicycles that are not able or not well suited to be ridden off a paved or smooth hard surface trail. Many of the public simply have limited desire to ride in the backcountry due to their desire to ride with family members making opportunities on federal lands a poor match to the recreational opportunities they are seeking.

As the Organizations have already identified, there is limited demand for bicycle opportunities on federal public lands in the region, which will result in limited benefit from a single user group trail network.  When more localized data is reviewed, the NVUM research clearly indicates that demand for bicycle recreation is lower on the Pike/San Isabel NF that it is on the regional level.

% Main Activity


Given the comparatively low demand for bicycle trails on federal public lands, the Organizations vigorously assert that the current allocation of routes simply cannot be defended when it is looked at from a cost benefit analysis.  The Organizations submit that the purpose and need of the project must be realigned to reflect the multiple use nature of the area and to return a positive cost benefit analysis of any agency money that might be allocated to the project. Research simply does not support the current allocation of routes.

3b. Benefits from the Proposal will be further limited by the advanced nature of the trails to be developed.

The possible benefit of the Proposal to the general public becomes more of a concern when the nature of the trails to be developed are reviewed.  Many of the public own bicycles and frequently use them for recreation, but most are far from a more or most advanced type of rider. While most bicycle users are intermediate at best,  the overwhelming portion of the trails to be constructed are “more advanced” or “most advanced” given the longer loops and somewhat remote nature of the trails.  This means that the overwhelming portion of the public will simply be unable or not equipped to ever traverse these routes.  Again this small target market gives the Organizations significant concerns that any funding that might be directed towards the project would result in very limited benefits.  Given the huge demand for opportunities in the Gunnison Planning area and budget issues facing federal land managers, such an allocation of resources should be a concern.  Any federal funding must be applied in a manner that benefits the most users. It is the Organizations position that a multiple use trail network in the area would significantly alter the cost benefit analysis in favor of developing a network.

3c.  A lack of access is a major barrier to Hunters in the Gunnison Planning area as well.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation recently released an extensive study on the factors limiting persons from entering or continuing to participate in hunting related activities.  The NSSF report specifically concluded a lack of motorized access is the single most important factor for agency influence, stating as follows:

“Difficulty with access to lands for hunting has become not just a point of frustration, but a very real barrier to recruiting and retaining sportsmen. Indeed, access is the most important factor associated with hunting participation that is not a time-related or demographic factor—in other words, the most important factor over which agencies and organizations can have an important influence (Responsive Management/NSSF, 2008a).”[9]

The NSSF report also specifically identified that motorized access is largest mode of hunting transportation, as the following percentages of hunters relied on the following modes of transportation:

  1. Car & truck 70%
  2. Walking 51%
  3. ATVs 16%[10]

The NSSF report further found that 56% of hunters experienced hunting related restrictions due to limitations on motorized access  and that 54% of hunters states that closures of public lands by government agencies.  Similar sentiments to the NSSF report are echoed by the CPW herd management plans for both deer and elk in the planning areas, which identify that continued limitations on access due to private land development are a major concern.  [11]

These are issues that could be resolved in the Proposal area by addressing true multiple use recreational access issues, rather than advancing a single user group. The Organizations would note that any bike related travel means failed to make this list of hunter related transportation devices. The Organizations would note that mountain biking only routes will result in a minimal benefit to the hunting community, as these routes would be very difficult to retrieve game across.

4a.  OHV recreation is a major economic driver for local Colorado communities as research indicates more than $2.3 billion in economic contribution.

The Organizations have included a copy of the new released research done regarding the economic benefit of OHV recreation to Colorado communities.   This study performed in partnership between COHVCO, the US Forest Service, BLM and Colorado Parks and Wildlife found that more than $2.3 Billion in economic contribution results from OHV recreation which results in more than 16,000 jobs and more than $100 million in badly needed tax revenue to local communities.  This research concluded that more than $322 million is spent in the GFO planning area on motorized recreation which accounts for more than 3600 jobs and more than $53 million in tax revenue to all forms of government. [12]

Multiple use access is a major factor involved in many other activities, such as hunting, fishing and private lands ownership. By limiting the scope to just mountain bike trails, the economic benefit of any new trails in the planning area is artificially limited and limits the amount of resources that might be available to support the area long term.

BLM scoping documents clearly identify that economic benefits to the Signal Peak area are also an objective of the Proposal.  Again the Organizations must question how the Proposal relates to this objective as the Organizations are intimately aware that for an activity to be an economic driver, the resource must be utilized by a large number of visitors and these visitors must spend money. The Organizations are very concerned that accurate economic analysis be relied on for the proposal as resources that might be otherwise available for multiple use recreation are being diverted towards the Proposal in a manner that simply will never achieve this goal. As the Organizations have already identified, extreme mountain biking is not a large sport in terms of the number of participants.  When the spending profile of the mountain biking community is addressed, there are many other user groups that spend far more per day than mountain bikers who will be excluded from the trail network. These issues directly undermine any chance of the Proposal becoming a true economic driver.

The Organizations are intimately aware that multiple use is true driver.   The Colorado Office of Tourism has also undertaken a review of the economic contribution of tourism in the planning area.  This report found that multiple use tourism results in Chafee County alone results in $82 million in revenue and 995 jobs. [13]CPW undertaken a review of the economic contributions of hunting and fishing in Colorado which determined that $55 million in spending and 385 jobs result from these activities in the Gunnison Planning planning area.[14]   The hunting and fishing community has also identified that a lack of access is the single largest barrier to the development of new participants in hunting and fishing and also the largest barrier to those wanting to undertake these activities. These are user groups that currently would basically be precluded from obtaining any benefit from the Proposal.

As part of the NVUM process the USFS has a developed analysis process for comparative spending profiles of recreation activity and visitation in the NVUM analysis process.  The low levels of visitation to federal public lands from mountain bike recreation has already been addressed in previous portions of these comments.  The conclusions of NVUM research regarding the comparative spending profiles of user groups  are summarized as follows:

Table 3. Visitor spending for high, average, and low spending areas by activity, $ per party per trip 2007


The Organizations vigorously assert that these spending conclusions support significantly lower economic benefits from mountain bike recreation and correspond to the significantly higher economic benefits that accrue from other visitation to the planning area. The Organizations submit that creating a single use trail network for a small user group that spends significantly less than the user groups that are being excluded will not result in the activity being an economic driver.  Rather this type of planning could actually result in lower economic benefits flowing to the planning area after the proposal.

Many motorized and multiple use trail based projects have been highly effective in driving local economies,  such as Paiute Trail System in Utah and Hatfield McCoy Trails in West Virginia. The Paiute Trail System has experienced over $1 million in annual contribution from the trails network  and the Hatfield McCoy trail network provides approximately $8 million per year to those local communities .  Given the concrete contributions of these highly successful multiple use trail projects, the Organizations would be hesitant to support the projected $81 million that the Proposal asserts as a benefit, given these differences and the differences that are clearly evident between this estimate and the benefits that have accrued to the City of Whisler.  Again the Organizations believe this type of accurate information and analysis is the cornerstone to any partnerships that might be developed in the future.

4b. Economic analysis of mountain biking recreation must be carefully reviewed.

The Organizations are very aware that the mountain biking community likes to rely on an economic contribution study from Whisler BC to establish that mountain bike based recreation is a significant economic driver.   The Organizations have reviewed this document and have serious concerns regarding the relevancy of this document to most trails development proposals and that the study often is simply not accurately summarized.

The Organizations obtained a copy of the Western Canada Mountain Bike Study of mountain bike recreation (“Whisler study”) that was the basis for the economic analysis portions of the Proposal. A complete copy of this study has been included with these comments for your review.  After reviewing the Whisler Study, the Organizations are very concerned about the accuracy of the contributions estimated in the Proposal, as the Whisler conclusions that generate contributions at $133 per day are based on significantly different types of recreational activities than the usage to be developed in the Proposal. The Organizations believe the Proposal has provided significantly misleading economic analysis by  not correlating the usages addressed in the Whisler Study with the usages in the Proposal.

A brief outline of the Whisler Study will exemplify these concerns.  The Whisler Study addressed four distinct riding areas and recreational mountain bike experiences in and around Whisler, BC.  The Study refers to these areas as the Whistler Bike Park, Whisler Valley, Squamish and the North Shore and briefly summarizes these areas as follows:

“Trails on ‘the Shore’ are challenging for even the most experienced freeriders, Squamish has a multitude of trails for epic cross-country rides as well as freeride trails. Whistler features both cross-country trails throughout the Whistler Valley and the Whistler Bike Park features 44 lift accessed downhill trails for all skill levels.”[16]

The Whisler study specifically states that the Whisler Bike Park is significantly different recreational experience than the other three riding areas and that there is little cross over between users of the Whisler Bike Park with other areas.  The Organizations do not contest that Whisler Bike Park generates $16.5 million annually as a result of the 44 lift accessible bike runs and that  this spending accrues at an average rate of $133 per night per user. [17] The Organizations do question the relevance of these conclusions to the Proposal, as the Organizations  are unable to find any reference to the use of ski lifts or other high developed facilities available in the  Proposal area.

The Whisler study clearly finds there are very different levels of economic contribution that result from usage of the other three riding areas that are far more relevant to the Proposal in terms of levels of development.  The economic benefits that result from the less intensively  developed trail network in the Whisler area only results in $10.3 million in economic benefit, [18] which accrues at significantly lower per day rates ($39 to $93) than more intensive development and usage. [19]  These spending profiles range from 25% to 70% of the estimates that are relied on for all usage in the Proposal.  The Organizations vigorously assert that the economic contributions of the Proposal must be based on the spending profiles found in the less developed areas researched in the Whisler analysis  as this most accurately reflects the direction and intent of the Proposal.

4c.  Single use trail development projects have had limited success as an economic driver.

The Organizations are aware that many communities have targeted an overly narrow vision for economic development based on downhill mountain biking and that these economic development projects have become somewhat less successful than anticipated.  Several  such examples would be such as Mt Snow and Killington ski areas in Vermont or Mammoth Mountain in California.  These ski areas embraced extreme  mountain biking to the exclusions of other user groups in an effort to stimulate summer economic activities.   These efforts did not yield anticipated results and Killington is now actively seeking out the motorized community for events such as the Jeepers Jamboree, now held annually at Killington.

The Organizations would be concerned that any single minded economic development plan that would be based on mountain biking to the exclusion of other uses would be significantly limited by the high quality opportunities that area already available in other locations in Colorado.  Unlike Whisler BC, where there is little competition for  mountain bike visitation, the Organizations would also note that there are many other mountain bike specific trail networks in the vicinity of Planning area, such as Moab, Utah, Crested Butte resort, portions of the Colorado River Valley BLM Office  and Fruita, Colorado. These exceptional alternatives will impair the ability to draw any mountain bikers in numbers to offset lost revenues from user groups who may leave the Gunnison Planning area.

5. Conclusion.

At the landscape level, the Organizations vigorously support two foundational principals: 1. that development of multiple use trails; and 2.trails should not be developed only to benefit a small user group. These foundational principals cause serious concerns with the specific trail development allocation in the Signal Peak Proposal especially when the Gunnison FO has had such success with multiple use areas such as the Hartman Rocks area.  The Organizations vigorously support the development of multiple use single track trails in the Proposal, more specifically the Sleeping Indian trail.  While we support the multiple use trails there is serious concern with both the basic need and direction that has been adopted for the management of other routes in the Proposal. There simply needs to be a far more balanced allocation of routes being developed. This balance can be achieved by allowing multiple use on routes proposed or by working with local motorized users to determine where additional trails would be appropriate.

The development of what is essentially an advanced mountain bike trail network is very concerning in the Proposal given the tenuous position of funding for all recreational activities on federal lands, the heavy usage of the Gunnison Planning area already, limited benefit from the trail network.  The Organizations would note that single track trail is some of the most sought after recreational opportunities and also some of the hardest to find in Colorado due to very limited amounts being available.  It is the Organizations position that if trails are developed in the Proposal area, they must be overwhelmingly multiple use, as there is simply insufficient funding  available to allow each user group to have a separate trail system on public lands and such  a model does not reflect the multiple use model in place on public lands.

If you have questions please feel free to contact  Scott Jones, Esq. at 508 Ashford Drive, Longmont, CO 80504.  His phone is (518)281-5810 and his email is

Scott Jones, Esq.
COHVCO &TPA Authorized Representative


[1] See, Gunnison Trails – Signal Peak Master Plan December 2016 at pg


[3] See, Government Accountability Office report to Congressional Requestors GAO-13-618; Forest Service Trails- Long and Short term improvements could reduce maintenance backlog and enhance system sustainability; June 2013 at pg.



[6] A summary of these efforts is available here:

[7] See, USDA Forest Service; National Visitor Use Monitoring Report for USFS Region 2, Round 2, Last Updated May 23, 2012 pg 21.


[9] See, National Shooting Sports Foundation; Issues related to hunting access in the United States; Final Report 2010 at pg 7.  This document will be referred to as the NSSF report for purposes of these comments.

[10] See, NSSF Report at pg 56

[11] See, Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Jack Vayhinger CRIPPLE CREEK DEER MANAGEMENT PLAN DATA ANALYSIS UNIT D-16; GAME MANAGEMENT UNITS 49, 57, 58, 581 November, 2007.

[12] See, Pinyon Environmental; Economic Contribution of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation-2014-2015 Season in Colorado at pg 20.

[13] See, Colorado Tourism Office Study Dean Runyan and Associates at pg. 38.

[14] See , CDOW study the economic impact of hunting, fishing and wildlife watching  performed by BBC Research and Consulting (September 2008) section IV at pg 16.

[15] See, UDSA Forest Service NVUM Analysis; Stynes and White; Updated Spending Profiles for National Forest Service Visitors by recreational activity;  November 2010 at pg 6.

[16] See, Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association; Sea to Sky Mountain Biking Economic Impact Study- Overall Results (undated) at pg 5.  For purposes of these comments this document will be referred to as the Whisler Study.

[17] See, Whisler Study at pg 5.

[18] See, Whisler Study at pg 1.

[19] See, Whisler Study at pg 11.

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2016 Ride with Respect Year in Review

Ride with Respect Year in Review

Ride with Respect
395 McGill Avenue
Moab, UT 84532

Ride with Respect

Sometimes even when you’re in the middle of nowhere, the world has a way of finding you.

For Ride with Respect, 2016 marked several new trail projects, plus engaging in the national debate that has found its way to the canyon country of eastern Utah. Despite rising challenges, RwR is still effectively advocating responsible recreation and pragmatic conservation.

If you have yet to contribute this year, and want to help balance our books, please send a tax-deductible donation to Ride with Respect at 395 McGill Avenue, Moab, UT 84532. We are still supported by government grants like Utah State Parks and Grand County, as well as non-government grants like the Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance and the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative, but they need to be matched by individual residents and visitors of Moab.

RwR’s staff, volunteers, and trail patrollers maintained the trail systems at Dubinky (White Wash), Upper Two Mile (La Sal Mountains), and Behind The Rocks (see first photo). Additionally, let us highlight half a dozen other projects of interest.

Westwater (Utah Rims)

The trails west of Rabbit Valley get a lot of use, but they’re a long way from Moab. Fortunately, the Motorcycle Trail Riders Association and Bookcliff Rattlers Motorcycle Club joined BLM staff to implement and refine the travel plan for this area, which includes (a) blocking off closed routes like the Middle Link of Mel’s Loop, (b) delineating open routes like the east end of Thompson Trail and the Bitter Trail (see second photo),and (c) improving connectivity by adding previously-overlooked routes like the North Link and South Link of Mel’s Loop. Despite the area’s remote reach, when the Grand Junction clubs and BLM meet in the middle both literally and figuratively, we can improve trail access and the surrounding natural resources.

Fallen Peace Officer Trail

The Utah Peace Officers Association had run an annual ride for three years, but the loop was a bit short and a bit too rocky. By rerouting it up out of Young Canyon, RwR added a couple miles and bypassed a lot of loose rocks as well as bypassing wildlife habitat. We applied the same approach to a riparian stretch of Klondike Wash, and used highway-size signs to clearly indicate where to enter and exit the wash. In both cases, the new 4WD routes were laid out for flow and scenic viewpoints along the way (see third photo). The viewpoints have become the mile markers each year to honor a different officer who died in the line of duty.

Sovereign Trail

From Klondike BluffsRoad down to Archview Resort, RwR mitigated the impacts of increased use. Also, to improve range management, we installed a swing fence across Courthouse Wash (see fourth photo). Spanning a hundred feet with cable wound up requiring the help of a nearby dozer from Williams NW Pipeline. On SITLA property, RwR provides trail work for free, but the swing-fence project was actually funded by SITLA.

We appreciate it because, even though Courthouse Wash is not claimed as a road by the county, SITLA provided a cattle guard for installation next to the swing fence to accommodate continued OHV use of the wash bottom.


In fifteen years of maintaining Sovereign Trail, riders have stuck to the designated routes until this year, when we had to spend several days cleaning up after a group of people who started treating sovereign state land like it’s their own private playground. Delineating the designated route, blocking off the nondesignated route, and placing custom signs that explain the restriction have not persuaded this group to stay on the designated routes like everyone else. If you recognize these individuals (see 7th, 8th, and 9th photo’s), please let RwR know so we can more effectively get through to them.

A variety of wildlife call this area home (see 10th, 11th, and 12th photo’s), and it even hosts a raptor nest. To understand how this misuse jeopardizes Sovereign Trail, put yourself in the land manager’s shoes. State agencies had accepted RwR’s development of Sovereign Trail because it would get riders to stay on designated routes, thereby preserving the surrounding land. Please help RwR maintain compliance by providing any information you may have about the individuals shown.

2016 Ride wit hRespect Year in Review

Abajo Mountains

RwR began in the middle of Red Ledges Trail to follow up with a reroute we had done a half-dozen years earlier. Then we moved down Red Ledges to where a landslide had caused a spring to run along the trail. We were able to construct a climbing turn to avoid crossing the spring altogether. Finally, where Red Ledges crosses Indian Creek, beaver dams had flooded the whole area. Since beavers are a native species that actually improve water quality and habitat for other species, we rerouted the trail up and away from the ponds for several-hundred yards to reach a crossing point that should remain stable for years to come. The slope was rocky, so it was a relief when USFS provided a crew from the Canyon Country Conservation Corps to dig the bench (see fifth photo).

Utah Public Lands Initiative

For the fourth year in a row, RwR participated in developing a comprehensive bill that could provide stability across eastern Utah for natural-resource conservation, recreation, and economic development opportunities. After the first draft was released, we consulted with BlueRibbon Coalition, met at the state capitol, and followed up with other OHV groups, other stakeholders, and elected officials to develop a second draft that would be worthy of widespread support.

On a field trip in the San Rafael Swell in July, we conveyed the mutual benefits of the PLI directly to Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. We also expressed to her our concerns with administrative action that’s heavy handed, such as proclaiming a national monument that’s long on acreage andshort on local support. A few days later, we reiterated this message at Secretary Jewell’s listening session in Bluff, and again at Senator Lee’s congressional field hearing in Blanding. RwR summarized virtues of the PLI in our local newspaper:

Also a founding board member of RwR provided his local perspective on the competing proposal for a Bears Ears National Monument:

In September, RwR testified before the Public Lands Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives (see sixth photo). We also met with staff from eight congressional offices as well as the Department of Interior,thanks to the guidance of Duane Taylor from the Motorcycle Industry Council. In fact, MIC made this trip possible, along with assistance from the Off-Road Business Association.

It’s been an honor to support the PLI. Although the bill could be further refined for OHV and conservation interests, the fact remains that it’s the greatest attempt we’ve seen to resolve Utah’s public-land conflicts in the Twenty-first Century.

Bears Ears National-Monument Proposal

Four years ago, industry and public-land users were compelled to the negotiating table by the threat of a Greater Canyonlands monument proposal. This past year, wilderness-expansion advocates turned their backs on negotiation in favor of a Bears Ears monument proposal. So, while the president’s authority to proclaim monuments through the Antiquities Act of 1906 spawned the Utah Public Lands Initiative, this same authority appears to be paralyzing the legislative process.

The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and wilderness-expansion groups are funded by the same foundations, some of which contractually obligate them to advocate a 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears monument proposal in the western half of San Juan County. BEITC complained that the PLI wouldn’t allow tribes to co-manage the western half of San Juan County alongside the federal government. Receptive to the concept, Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz requested co-management language to adopt in the PLI. BEITC said they would send the language, but finally by the last day of November, BEITC said itwouldn’t send the language unless the congressmen agreed to a 1.9 million-acre boundary and many other demands that go way beyond what could be offered even by a national monument.

The wilderness-expansion advocates who fund BEITC know that a Bears Earsmonument would do nothing in the other Utah counties, but they explicitly expect the other counties to become monuments with successive administrations. It appears that they’ll patiently accept the piecemeal approach because it ultimately requires no compromise on their part. Never mind that the Antiquities Act was originally written to proclaim national monuments of less than 640 acres, that the act was revised at the eleventh hour to read “the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected,” or that subsequent laws have provided many other layers of protection to antiquities, and non-antiquities for that matter. So long as the Antiquities Act can be exploited, apparently wilderness-expansion groups won’t bother dealing with that messy process called democracy.

For his part, the President is supposedly poised to proclaim a “mini” Bears Ears monument that is a mere 1.3 million-acres based on boundaries in the PLI. Unfortunately the proclamation is unlikely to protect the net value of OHV opportunities within these boundaries, let alone the PLI’s benefits beyond those boundaries such as designated recreation zones and the limitation of future presidents to exercisethe Antiquities Act within the affected counties. Not to mention, monuments further alienate those living closest to the land by providing no special input despite that local residents are disproportionately affected. Therefore, while a Bears Ears monument would not leave a legacy of tribal co-management, nor any more assurance for the actual resources within western San Juan County, it would become the most compelling reason yet to reform the Antiquities Act toward its original intent.

More importantly, a Bears Ears monument would only entrench controversy. Two decades after the controversial proclamation of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the PLI finally brought stakeholders together to advance conservation, recreation, and other land uses where appropriate. These issues are too important to have to wait another couple decades. Hopefully our president will decide to tell the wilderness-expansion advocates that they need to go through Congress just like everyone else.


When RwR is busy working on the trail, and then we have to go as far as D.C. to defend those trails, it can feel like spinning wheels. However articles, interviews, and awards allow us to step back and notice what’s been achieved or averted, even if only part-way. BlueRibbon Magazine provided an avenue to convey the broad approach that’s needed to effectively advocate for responsible recreation:

American Motorcyclist had interviewed me (Clif) for a segment on young advocates, with a focus on how they got involved and how we might get others to do so. The editors turned it into a stand-alone article after realizing that I’m not exactly young! Still it retains that focus on what compels someone to get active:

At its annual conference this past October, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council wound up issuing its thirtieth Hall Of Fame award to me for my work through RwR. To be recognized by people whom I admire was truly humbling. Of course these accomplishments have been done through RwR, so all of its contributors deserve a piece of this award:

NOHVCC’s next annual conference will be held in Manchester, NH:

Also NOHVCC will help the BLM develop a National Motorized Recreation Action Plan by hosting several meetings in Arizona:

Finally NOHVCC will help COHVCO instruct trail-building workshops in Grand Junction (May 5-7, 2017) and Denver (July 14-17, 2017):


Recreation enables us to escape to the middle of nowhere, but in order to keep the trails accessible and beautiful, we must routinely engage with the issues of the day. With the SUWA lawsuit against BLM’s resource-management plans on the horizon, next year will present even more challenges, but also more opportunities. Supporting your local, state, and national OHV groups is key, but so is rejuvenating yourself by returning to nowhere. Whether you’re on a horse or an iron horse, that combination of some exercise, adversity,flow, and fresh air is good for the body and mind alike. Thanks for your support of healthy people to enjoy healthy landscapes.


Clif Koontz
Executive Director

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Bureau of Land Management – Eastern Colorado RMP Comments

Bureau of Land Management – Eastern Colorado RMP Comments

Royal Gorge Field Office
3028 E. Main St.
Cañon City, CO 81212

Please accept these comments regarding the Bureau of Land Management – Eastern Colorado RMP Project on behalf of the Trails Preservation Alliance (“TPA”) and the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (“COHVCO”). The TPA is a volunteer organization created to be a viable partner to public lands managers, working with the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to preserve the sport of trail riding and multiple-use recreation.  The TPA acts as an advocate for the sport and takes the necessary action to insure that the USFS and BLM allocate a fair and equitable percentage of public lands access to diverse trail multiple-use recreational opportunities. COHVCO is a grassroots advocacy organization representing approximately 170,000 registered off-highway vehicle (“OHV”), snowmobile and 4WD users in Colorado seeking to represent, assist, educate, and empower all motorized recreationists in the protection and promotion of multiple-use and 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.  TPA and COHVCO are referred to collectively in this correspondence as “The  Organizations.”  The  Organizations offer the following comments and concerns regarding this project and will focus our comments primarily on Travel Management  topics.   

  1. We acknowledge that the BLM in Eastern Colorado has wrestled with some propagation of non- system trails on BLM lands. However, we feel much of this stems from an increasing need and demand for multiple-use recreational opportunities on public lands in general and especially near urbanized areas along the Front Range of Colorado.  The Decision Area of the Eastern Colorado Resource Management is unique in that most of the area is within close proximity to major population centers along Colorado’s Front Range. As the State of Colorado’s population has grown, so have the sales of Off Highway Vehicles (OHV’s), bicycles, hiking equipment, camping units and other forms of outdoor recreation increasing the demand for recreation sites within lands managed by the BLM. It is estimated that approximately 8.5% of the households in Colorado participate in OHV recreation and that between 2000 and 2014, resident OHV registrations have increased by 119% with Non-resident permits increasing by over 1,607%!1 The need and demand for OHV recreational opportunities are growing and will continue to grow, please consider roads and trails as critical infrastructure for recreation.
  2. The economic impacts of multiple-use and motorized recreation within the counties and communities encompassed by the BLM lands included in the Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan cannot be overlooked. Many of the visitors that choose to visit these BLM lands combine their recreational activities and often include using BLM routes to access camping sites, setting up a camp and then employing motorized means to travel and explore the surrounding environment. Significant economic benefits are realized by all of the lands included in the Decision Area as the public travels to and from their valued destinations within the BLM managed lands. As an example, motorized recreational enthusiasts were responsible for approximately $1.6 billion in direct expenditures relating to motorized recreation in Colorado during the 2014-2015 season2. As popular as motorized recreation is within many of the lands managed by the BLM, the economic benefits to local economies and nearby communities must not be undervalued by the Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan.
  3. The Organizations believe that continued multiple-use access and motorized recreation within the lands managed by the BLM is vitally important to the preservation and conservation of our public lands and the well being of our citizens, and easily fits with the BLM’s mission to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Organizations acknowledge that as America becomes more urbanized and populations rise, our younger citizens are becoming less connected to and are less likely to identify with the outdoors in their daily lives. Our organizations have worked diligently and continuously to help Coloradans and visitors to our State to be able to access and enjoy our public lands in a safe and responsible manner. We recognize that there is a bona fide correlation between an individual’s personal health and their participation in outdoor activities. We continually strive to get youth and families excited about visiting, seeing and experiencing all that our public lands have to offer. We have a history of partnering with the BLM to protect our public land resources while reducing and eliminating barriers that are continuing to make it difficult for Americans to get outside and travel on a multiple-use trail or share a road as part of their outdoor recreational experience. The organizations feel that this project must work diligently to ensure that a balanced spectrum of opportunities are provided in the Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan to properly serve the diverse cross section of our population and meet their recreational needs. This Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan must fairly and adequately improve the management of motor vehicle use while providing an Environmentally, Economically and Socially sustainable end state.
  4. It is well recognized that the average age of our country’s population is increasing and the number of persons aged 50 and older is steadily increasing. As the average age grows, so is the number of people still choosing to recreate outdoors but more and more will be less able to use non-motorized methods of travel or participate in high-energy, high-skill sports.  As this demographic group grows, so will their needs for access BLM lands by motorized or other assisted methods. If we collectively fail to recognize and plan for this changing demographic, we will be deliberately excluding a significant and growing segment of the population from the opportunities to experience and enjoy public lands managed by the BLM. Many of us hope to retain our individual mobility into the “Golden Years”, but many will not, and they will need to rely upon some sort of motorized assistance to access the places we all enjoy and cherish.
  5. With few exceptions, the roads and trails within the Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan have been in existence and providing public benefits for decades. History has shown that each of these routes provides a level of tangible recreational, economic and/or public lands access value.
  6. The Organizations feel the following general comments are important and relevant to the Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan in meeting the purpose of this project along with protecting the environment and minimizing impacts:
    1. We feel it is important to spotlight the following principles regarding multiple-use recreation and are important considerations when evaluating any modifications to the existing routes and networks3:
      1. Generally visitors participating in multiple-use activities on BLM lands will use routes that exist and adequately satisfy their needs and desires.
      2. Route networks and multiple-use trail systems should meet local needs, provide the desired recreational opportunities and offer a variety of quality experiences. We are not asking that this be done at the expense of other important concerns, but a system of routes that does not meet user needs will not be used properly and will not be supported by the users.  Occurrences of off-route use, other management issues and enforcement problems will likely increase if the system routes do not provide an appropriate and enjoyable opportunity.
      3. Recreational enthusiasts look for variety in their various pursuits.  For multiple- use to include motorized/OHV users, this means looped routes are a priority. An in-and-out route may be satisfactory if the destination is so desirable that it overshadows the fact that public lands visitors must use the same route in both directions (e.g., access to dispersed camping sites, overlooks, historic sites, etc.). However, even in these cases, loop systems will always provide better experiences.
      4. Adequate legal parking and dispersed camping areas are necessary to fulfill the needs and desires of the motorized recreation community
    2. Not all dead end roads are necessarily of low value and in need of closure. Many dead end spurs and “low value” routes provide access to picnic areas, dispersed camping sites, overlooks, etc. Although the values of these roads is less than that of main roads, connectors and loops, (i.e., ”higher value” routes) their individual, overall benefit and value must be individually considered. We acknowledge that these roads will likely not generate much positive public interest and comment, however these routes can still have substantial importance to the public.
    3. Duplicative roads and trails may on the surface appear redundant and not needed. This is often the cry from those unfamiliar with multiple-use and motorized recreation (an activity some of those individuals choose not to participate in) or simply seeking to eliminate or reduce public use of these routes. However, we would challenge that some duplicative routes may in fact offer unique benefits for distributing the use rather than concentrating use to a single route or may offer looping and other recreational opportunities. Therefore, any proposed route closures need to be evaluated not only at the level of the individual route or habitat, but also at a broader level of evaluating where a potential closure would displace affected users to and the resultant impact to both/all areas.
    4. “Desired Recreational Experiences” is subjective and will vary from individual to individual. A call to decommission roads to return areas into more natural states and enhance recreational experiences is certainly subjective. Very few will be able to enjoy BLM Lands and all of the resources these lands have to offer if adequate motorized access is not provided.  Multiple-use and motorized recreation is indeed a bona fide form of recreation and not one to be minimized or eliminated on public lands. Just as it is important to maintain the quality of visitor experiences for non-motorized use, it is equally important to maintain the quality of visitor experiences for motorized use.
    5. The Organizations would offer that the BLM should shift from an attitude and policy of segregating users and providing infrastructure for select groups at the cost of others, the landscape is just not big enough for each and every user group (i.e. hikers, mountain bikes, equestrians, motorized users, etc.) to have their own exclusive set of trails and associated infrastructure. The BLM can set the example in the Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan for the coexisting of users, promoting tolerance and diversity of users on true multiple-use trails.
    6. An adequate network roads and trails on BLM lands will be necessary to provide access in times of emergency. The BLM is one of country’s experts on wildland firefighting and knows firsthand the importance of good access, redundant routes and routes in key places and the impact of those routes on the safety of the firefighters, the public and successful wildland firefighting. The demands for reduced road inventory, for reduced route density and increased decommissioning of roads is not collectively and universally in the best interest of neither the public lands nor the public. The demand for more and more closures of multiple-use and motorized access is often based upon self-serving desires and an unwillingness to share our natural resources with others, intolerance of mixed public lands uses and an unwillingness to coexist in our individual pursuits of recreation. Likewise the premise that decommissioning roads will reduce human caused fires is absolutely unfounded and unsubstantiated and should not be utilized as criteria for any decisions regarding the elimination or closure of any multiple-use or motorized route.
    7. In the past there have been unfounded concerns for American elk and mule deer as a reason to close and limit multiple-use and motorized recreation on public lands.  The premise that “large animals, especially deer and elk, are sensitive to traffic and activity  along roads” is not supported  by published  scientific research.   Extensive  studies completed as recently as 2005 by the National Park Service (NPS) in Yellowstone Park stated that “Effects of winter disturbances on ungulates from motorized and non- motorized uses more likely accrue at the individual animal level than  at the  population scale”.   Even  the  biologist  performing  the  research  stated  that  the  debate  regarding effects on human recreation on wildlife is largely a “social issue” as opposed to a wildlife management issue.  This  NPS  research  would  certainly  seem  relevant  to  wildlife  in  the some lands included in the Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan and does not support a premise for closures and reductions in multiple-use recreational opportunities.4 Additional research published by Mark Rumble, Lahkdar Benkobi and Scott Gamo in 2005 has also found that hunting invokes a more significant response in elk than other factors in the same habitat area (e.g. roads or trails).5 Likewise research by Connor, White and Freddy in 2001 has even demonstrated that elk population increases on private land in response to hunting activities.6 This research again brings into question why multiple-use trail recreation (specifically motorized recreation) might be cited and used as the justification for any closures or modification to public access.
    8. The Organizations are aware of demands regarding a perceived inadequacy of the BLM to provide enforcement of regulations pertaining to multiple-use and motorized recreation in particular. We would challenge that based upon several studies, pilot projects, etc. by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division, the USFS and the BLM to analyze if indeed an enforcement issue exists, and without exception those projects have shown there are minimal problems due to a lack of enforcement. Unauthorized off-route travel can be an issue for law enforcement, but the answer for this comes by providing an adequate system of routes that meets the needs of the motorized recreation community. The State of Colorado’s OHV funds have been used to subsidize law enforcement programs and the detailing of law enforcement officers to OHV areas only to come back with consistent results that this cry for the need for enforcement is unfounded, unsubstantiated and just plain inaccurate. In 2011 the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division initiated an OHV Law Enforcement Pilot program to address the accusations, questions and concerns raised by critics of OHV recreation on public lands in Colorado. The data and observations gathered from this Pilot program in 2011, 2012, and 2013 repeatedly demonstrated excellent compliance with OHV rules and regulations throughout Colorado by OHV users. It was estimated that over 10,000 individual OHV users were stopped and inspected during the Pilot Program and 94% of those users were found to be fully compliant with Colorado OHV laws and regulations.7
    9. Sound.  Motorized and non-motorized uses are equally legitimate uses of public lands and especially on BLM roads and multiple-use/motorized trails.  Sound from motorized use is to be expected in areas open to motorized use. The Organizations would offer that the State of Colorado already has strict standards for any and all sound emanating from OHV’s. This very detailed standard has proven to be effective since 2006 and governs vehicles produced as far back as 1971. OHV users themselves have funded efforts to educate, test and “police” themselves for sound level compliance. We feel that complaints of noise and demands for sound reduction are once again unfounded and will often be used as a selfish excuse to try and reduce or eliminate motorized access and use of public lands.
    10. Climate Change. There has been little actual research quantifying how outdoor, public lands based recreation will be affected by climate change and how to mitigate for climate alterations in a meaningful and productive manner. There is little scientific research, and more opinion, on how climate change should be regarded, planned for and implemented. Some benefits may actually be realized through climate change such as an increased number of recreation days per year, longer growing seasons, etc. The analysis of the effects of climate change, specifically upon public lands recreation, and how to properly address effects (if indeed there are any) remains a fledgling science at best, and subject to individual opinions. As a change in climate occurs (as it has in the past) there is no doubt that the ecosystems on BLM lands will adapt and our socioeconomic habits and factors will also change and adapt. To restrict or limit accessibility and the recreational use of lands included in the Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan would be impulsive, unjustified, reckless and impossible to enforce. The shear growth of our population, uncertainty about incomes and spending, changes in future building materials, and the demand for natural resources (domestic and imported) just to name a few will likely have far more impacts on lands managed by the BLM compared to the effects of climate change. Minor adjustments to BLM design criteria to include values such as Design Storm Frequency, Rainfall Intensity, Runoff Coefficients coupled with appropriate sizing of the supporting drainage infrastructure (e.g. ditch sizing, culvert sizing, rip rap sizing, re-vegetation practices, trail/road alignment, etc.) can all be used to mitigate more extreme weather events and any increased flows that might be attributed to climate change.
  7. The TPA, along with COHVCO, fully intends and hopes to be a cooperative and constructive partner with the BLM as the Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan continues forward.

We thank you for reviewing and considering these comments and suggestions.  The Organizations would welcome a discussion of these comments at your convenience.  Our point of contact for this project will be William Alspach, PE at 675 Pembrook Dr., Woodland Park, CO, cell 719-660-1259.


Scott Jones, Esq.
COHVCO, TPA Authorized Representative

Don Riggle
Director of Operations
Trails Preservation Alliance


  1. DRAFT Economic Contribution of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation in Colorado, July 2016
  2. DRAFT Economic Contribution of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation in Colorado, July 2016
  3. Management Guidelines for OHV Recreation, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, 2006
  4. Wildlife Response to Motorized Winter Recreation in Yellowstone, 2005 Annual Report, White, Davis & Borkowski
  5. Rumble, Mark A; Benkobi, Lahkdar; Gamo, Scott R; 2005. Elk Responses to Humans in a Densely Roaded Area; Intermountain Journal of Sciences”
  6. Connor, White & Freddy; Elk Movement in response to early-season hunting in Northwest Colorado; The Journal of Wildlife Management; Volume 65, Number 4; October 2001
  7. The 2014 Off-Highway Vehicle Law Enforcement & Field Presence Program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division, March 2014
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