The US Forest Service has released a draft management plan for the Hermosa Creek Special Management area on the Columbine Ranger District of the San Juan NF. This area was specifically designated in the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Legislation of 2014, which recognized the importance of continued motorized recreation in the planning area and removed various Wilderness review standards in the area. Right now the preferred Alternative is Alternative 2. Alternative 3 would improve multiple us opportunities to a greater extent. The specific talking points for your comments are below.
San Juan Public Lands Center
15 Burnett Court, Durango
June 22, 2017
6pm to 8pm
Columbine Ranger District
ATTN: Hermosa Comments
POB 439 / 367 South Pearl Street
Bayfield CO, 81122
July 10, 2017
- Alternative 3 should be VIGOROUSLY supported! Here is why:
- It provides 7 miles of new Side by Side trails adjacent to Pasture Creek Area that are badly needed;
- It provides for an significant new single track looped trail network around the Dutch/Pinkerton area based on existing logging roads in the area, which would be highly valuable to the motorized community;
- It avoids the no net gain trails standards provided for in all other alternatives;
- Alt 3 provides the most dispersed camping opportunities in the area.
- Allows the Coral Draw Trail s to be added to motorized inventory.
- The Proposed connector trail to Purgatory Ski area in the summer would allow the unique opportunity for recreational users to access the ski area for dining and other resources.
- Up to date science should be relied on in the analysis of the Project- too often the draft plan analyzes the Project to most restrictive or most cautious scientific study and often these standards have been specifically superseded by new management documents which were designed to address the reasons for previous caution in analysis. As a result of the advancing nature of scientific analysis, impacts are noted in the Plan on issues that best available science has determined are unrelated to challenges facing the species.
- Alternative 4 should be opposed due to unnecessarily restrictive motorized standards that only technically comply with the Legislation, which provided quiet recreational opportunities in the newly created Wilderness area.
- Snowfall instead of dates are relied on for triggering snowmobile travel in the planning area, and expanded OSV travel is supported as it more accurately reflects usage of the area now and in the future.
- While the motorized community is sensitive to the ever reducing USFS budgets, the motorized community has been a major funding partner with the Columbine Ranger District through CPW OHV grants provided to the District.
- The Financial benefits of multiple use recreation are not recognized and are clearly important to local communities as evidenced in public meetings around the Hermosa Creek Legislation. OHV recreation is a major economic driver for local Colorado communities as research indicates 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.
- Multiple use access is a major factor involved in many other activities, such as hunting, fishing and private lands ownership. OHV recreation is predominately a family sport.