This End of Year Report provides an overview of the TPA’s 2018 activities, significant accomplishments and events. For a more detailed review, please visit our “News” tab on the TPA website (http://www.coloradotpa.org). This has been a challenging year for TPA and its partners to continue to keep access to public lands open and available for multiple-use recreation, especially off-road motorcycles and OHVs. However, 2018 has also been an exciting year with the TPA’s Colorado 600 and several accomplishments that we know will help maintain our freedom to recreate on public lands.
2018 Success Stories
TPA begins 2018 with a new Board of Directors – Early in 2018 the TPA designated a new Board of Directors composed of:
2018 Colorado 600 (http://www.colorado600.org)
This year’s event once again brought riders to South Fork, CO, in mid September for a week of trail and adventure riding. Former AMA National Motocross Champion and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee Broc Glover attended this year and provided his insightful and entertaining remarks and to the annual banquet gathering. Also attending this year’s 600 was Chad de Alva, a writer and photographer for Upshift Online magazine. You can check out Chad’s excellent article at https://www.upshiftonline.com in the magazine’s October issue.
The TPA and every Colorado 600 participant over the past 10 years owes the Texas Sidewinders Motorcycle Club a huge “THANKS” for its decade-long support of the TPA and specifically the Colorado 600. Members of the Sidewinders have selflessly volunteered to lead, organize and perform all of the many tasks, duties and responsibilities it takes to put on a first class event like the Colorado 600.
To see a video from the 2018 Colorado 600, visit: https://www.coloradotpa.org/2018/12/01/colorado-600-video/
Partners in the Outdoors Conference with Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Presented by CPW, the annual Partners in the Outdoors Conference brings together stakeholders engaged in the future of Colorado’s conservation and recreational opportunities. The conference provides a platform to network, collaborate, and create initiatives that connect coalitions of organizations, agencies, schools, businesses, and communities. TPA representatives attended the conference in 2017 and was one of the only organizations advocating for multi-use and motorized recreation at the conference. In 2018, the TPA was selected to increase its participation and support of motorized recreation by leading one of the conference’s “break out” sessions. The TPA’s session was titled “Management of Multiple-use Recreation on Public Lands”.
New efforts to increase motorized recreational opportunities on Colorado’s West Slope
The TPA has engaged David Lykke to be the TPA’s Representative for Western Colorado and partner on the ground with the BLM, local clubs and other organizations in the Grand Junction area. Due in large part to Lykke’s efforts, the Grand Junction BLM Field Office has been supportive of TPA’s request for the development of additional motorized single-track trails. The BLM is on task to plan and construct one new route per year and is making positive progress to accomplish this goal. In 2018, the BLM opened a 3-mile section of new technical single-track just to the south of Grand Junction. This is very close to town and conveniently ties into an 8-mile section of trail built about nine years ago. The BLM is also finishing construction of a 15-mile section of trail that connects to a larger 60-mile loop to the north of the Grand Junction valley. With a $1000 donation from the TPA and an additional $900 from two local motorcycle clubs, the BLM trail crew has almost completed the trail and is expected to open in early 2019. Project planning is similarly underway for another single-track trail south of Grand Junction and is expected to be open to motorcycle riders in 2020.
Finally, TPA has been providing advice and expertise as the Grand Junction airport expands and encroaches on existing OHV recreation areas. To mitigate the loss of OHV opportunities immediately adjacent to the airport, the expansion project is directly paying for OHV facility improvements next to the old MX track. The project and improvements will include gravel parking areas, fencing, toilets and overall track improvements.
TPA partners with Back Country Discovery Routes
Over the past year, TPA has solidified a teaming relationship and partnership with the Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDR), a non- profit organization (ridebdr.com). Similar to TPA, the BDR’s mission is to establish and preserve off-highway routes for dual- sport and adventure motorcycles. Through education, advocacy, and promotion of responsible motorcycle travel, BDR seeks to preserve backcountry motorcycling opportunities for generations to come. Since the two organizations have complementary missions, the TPA and BDR have formed a joint partnership to save the sport for all off-road motorcycle riding for future generations.
TPA & Partners file Lawsuit
The TPA, San Juan Trail Riders, and the Public Access Preservation Association (PAPA) jointly filed a lawsuit in September challenging the Forest Service’s Rico/West Dolores Travel Management Project Decision in the San Juan National Forest. The three partners filing the lawsuit have long enjoyed motorcycle access along prized single-track trails within the Project area. The USFS’ Decision would roughly close 30 percent of the trails, and impose seasonal restrictions eliminating motorcycle use between Nov. 1 and May 31 each year. The case was filed in federal court for the U.S. District of Colorado, bringing claims under the National Forest Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, various regulations and the Administrative Procedure Act. The trails at issue are found in an area along the Dolores River, generally between Durango and Telluride in southwestern Colorado. The case is in its early stages, and will likely proceed into 2019 under the Court’s Administrative Procedure docket. For more information, be sure to visit TPA’s website at: https://www.coloradotpa.org/2018/09/18/trail- riders-bring-suit-challenging-rico-west-dolores-plan/
Continental Divide Wilderness/Gunnison Public Lands/ San Juan Wilderness Proposals
The TPA along with the Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO) provided extensive comments to all elected officials involved in these discussions addressing concerns about existing protections of multiple usage in proposed Wilderness and the proximity of new boundaries to existing trails. In addition to these formal comments, a huge public response was received opposing each of these Proposals. The Proposals continue to languish and our efforts and comments on the San Juan and Continental Divide avoided designation of these proposed Wilderness areas.
Limited club immunity legislation passage in Colorado
Additional protection for clubs performing public stewardship projects was obtained in Colorado, which will hopefully reduce
insurance costs to these clubs and allowed OHV grant funds to flow to these clubs more quickly. This legislation passed the entire Colorado Legislature with only two “no” votes.
County Road Safety legislation undergoes significant revisions prior to passage in Colorado
Legislation had been proposed that would have given local communities wide authority to require safety equipment for OHVs used on local community roads, some of which was prohibited by the manufacturer. The legislation was amended to require only manufacturer approved safety equipment.
Endangered Species Act Reform efforts
The OHV community has been working with both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Western Governors Association to reform the Endangered Species Act and related regulations to make this act both more efficient in protecting species and to avoid unintended impacts to many activities, including trails.
Fire Borrowing fix with US Forest Service
The motorized community worked with a large number of partners to address how the USFS funds firefighting efforts. Agreed upon language was adopted and should be in the 2020 budget. We are optimistic that this should expand or at least slow the decline of recreation budgets.
Exclusionary Corridors for Continental Divide Scenic Trail
Wilderness advocates and others continue to push for motorized exclusionary corridors around trails identified under the National Trails System Act. The corridors are proposed for National Forests such as the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison, Rio Grande, Santa Fe and many others in California, as well. A California forest recently returned a successful appeal on a winter travel plan regarding designations of exclusionary corridors around the Pacific Crest Trail.
Renewed calls for larger identifiable license numbers on all vehicles
In an effort very similar to one proposed by Responsible Trails America a few years ago, several groups opposed to motorized recreation again were pressing for larger registration stickers and full-sized license plates on OHVs. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted this down as a result of TPA’s efforts
Miscellaneous Legislative Actions in 2018:
- TPA supported federal legislative efforts to withdraw several Wilderness Study Area (WSA) designations on several important OHV accessible areas in Colorado
- Supported reauthorization/renewal of the Land and Water Conservation Fund
- Detailed involvement in a variety of recreational legislative pieces, such as Recreation Not Red Tape Act, GO Act, Endangered Species Act Reform and many others
- Extensive input and discussion with National leadership on the fire borrowing fix, which changes how the USFS funds fire fighting and hopefully will expand funding to the agency as 56 percent of the USFS budget was used for fire fighting in 2017;
- Active participation in ongoing efforts to allow OHV recreation around Bears Ears National Monument in Utah
TPA Affiliated Clubs fight to maintain motorized access
The Tomichi Trail Riders and Gunnison Valley OHV Alliance of Trailriders (The GOATs) have both been participating and representing motorized trail riding in the Gunnison Public Land Initiative (GPLI). The GPLI has been less than supportive toward motorized recreation and is working to stymie future trails and reasonable expansions of motorized recreational opportunities in the Gunnison area.
Similarly, in the Durango and southwest corner of the state, the San Juan Trail Riders, along with the Public Access Preservation Association (PAPA) are both representing motorized trail riders to ensure fair and equitable access and recreational opportunities are considered and included in the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act.
TPA continues to support PPORA
The Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance (PPORA) is a collaboration of businesses, nonprofits, land management entities, and individuals who recognize the value of the Pikes Peak region’s incredible natural and recreation assets. The TPA was a founding member of the PPORA and continues to participate in PPORA functions, often with the Colorado Motorcycle Trail Riders Association and provides advice and expertise on multiple-use recreation and campaigns for increased opportunities for motorized recreation in the Pikes Peak area.
Colorado Governor’s Outdoor Recreation Council
Three years ago, the TPA was selected to be one of the founding members of the Governor’s Outdoor Recreation Council. Of the 29 members on the Governor’s Council, the TPA is the only member that is associated with any type of motorized/OHV recreation. The TPA has assumed this responsibility to help educate and remind other Council members that multiple-use and diverse forms of outdoor recreation all benefit from the efforts and funding provided by the CPW OHV Registration and Grant program. The TPA is also actively supporting a registration or “use fee” for mountain bikes in Colorado similar to the existing CPW OHV Registration program.
RGNF Forest Plan Revision
The Rio Grande National Forest is currently revising its 1996 forest plan. The forest plan is the overarching document that guides all management decisions and activities on the entire Rio Grande National Forest, including activities such as wildfire management, grazing, timber production, recreation, wildlife management, and firewood cutting. The recently finalized 2012 Planning Rule for all national forests governs this Revision process. The Rio Grande is the first forest in the Rocky Mountain Region to undertake this effort. The TPA has been a stakeholder and participant in the Forest Plan revision since the project began. The TPA, partnering with COHVCO, has been the principal advocate for multiple-use and motorized recreation and has been routinely providing review and input to the Forest Plan revision process to ensure recreational opportunities are maintained and hopefully increased for off-road motorcycles, OHVs and other forms of motorized recreation.
GMUG Forest Plan Revision
Similar to the RGNF Forest Plan Revision, the TPA and COHVCO are also partnered stakeholders and advocates for multiple-use and motorized recreation as the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests work to revise and update their Forest Plan. In 2006, the GMUG put a multi-year plan revision effort on hold until the Colorado Roadless Areas were defined and a final planning rule was established for the Forest Service. The GMUG’s prior planning effort was extensive, between February 2002 and November 2003 and the public comments were many. The GMUG Forest Planning team will use the previous work as a springboard for the current process incorporating new science, requirements and previous public input.
New Club is Making a Difference in Salida
The Central Colorado Mountain Riders (CCMR) is a non-profit 501(c)3 motorcycle club based out of Salida, CO. The club’s mission is to preserve, maintain and create motorized trail opportunities in the Central Colorado area through cooperation, education, etiquette and stewardship. Founded in 2016 with seed money from the TPA, CCMR has experienced many successes in its short existence. The club’s most notable accomplishment to date has been the “sign project” that aims to educate users on the nature of multiple-use trails and proper trail etiquette. These signs, first installed on Monarch Pass on the North end of the Monarch Crest Trail, will ultimately end up on all multiple-use trails within the Salida Ranger District.
New Club in Montrose gets rolling
Western Colorado Riders & Enthusiasts (WESTCORE) was established in the Montrose area of western Colorado. WESTCORE’s mission is to keep public lands accessible to all user groups in Western Colorado. Notable 2018 accomplishments include:
- Club cleanup day on BLM lands with the collection of over 10,000 lbs. of trash.
- Clearing over 400 trees and logs from multiple-use trails.
- Signed a volunteer agreement and adopted trails with the USFS
- Began planning with the USFS Ouray Ranger District to replace trail signs on multiple-use trails on the Uncompahgre Plateau, Lou Creek and Alpine Trail
- Established a working relationship with the local power company to donate the use of a hydraulic dump trailer for club projects.
- Check out WESTCORE’s website at www.westcore.co
Pike and San Isabel National Forest Public Motor Vehicle Use Environmental Impact Study (EIS)
The TPA in partnership with COHVCO continues to monitor the progress of the Pike and San Isabel National Forest Public Motor Vehicle Use Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The Draft EIS is expected to be completed in early 2019. The Draft EIS will be available for public review and comment, followed by a Draft Record of Decision, which will be subject to objections. The TPA previously prepared and submitted extensive comments for this project (https://www.coloradotpa.org/2016/09/07/pike-san-isabel- national-forest-travel-management-eis/). Over 30 percent of the existing multiple use trails and roads throughout the Pike and San Isabel National Forests are at risk of closure and lost to multiple- use and OHV use. It will be very important for all multiple-use/OHV users to review the draft EIS in detail and submit their individual comments. The TPA generally supports the proposed Alternative D with modifications.
The OHV community has completed two NOHVCC inspired Great Trails training workshops, one in Canon City/Royal Gorge area and one in Silverthorne, CO that brought OHV users and land management maintenance crews together to educate all parties on the best methods to build and maintain trails. Efforts are moving forward to conduct a third workshop to address strategic trails issues.
Economic Contributions from Motorized Recreation
The TPA is aware of a large conflict between the Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) estimates and the new Colorado Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) documenting motorized recreational spending from all sources, including new research from the Department of Commerce (DoC). While the DoC recently identified motorized recreation as the largest spending category, with motorcycles and ATVs as the fastest growing segments of the recreation economy, OIA says that motorized recreation has declined by almost 50 percent over the last several years. The TPA, in partnership with COHVCO, is working to clarify this rather comical conflict, but anticipates this discrepancy will be hard to resolve.
Collaborative Meetings with Land Managers – TPA has been an active participant in:
- Personal meetings in Washington, DC, with top USFS and BLM leadership on a wide range of motorized recreational issues including limited funding, reducing the “sue and settle” culture of litigation against the agencies on motorized issues; streamlining planning and limited trail access with expanding state and regional populations
- Meetings with the new BLM state director to address the strength of registration/motorized funding program and needs of motorized users moving forward
- Continuing to maintain and expand our Memorandum of Understanding with the BLM State Office
- Meetings with individual Field Offices to address and improve motorized opportunities in that Field Office, such as the meeting with the Royal Gorge FO which was attended by more than 40 OHV users and established goals and objectives from motorized users for the FO
- Meetings with the Regional Office of USFS on expansion of stewardship programs and motorized trail access throughout the state and implementation of the 2015 National Trails Stewardship Act requirements
- Meetings with USFS Forest Supervisors both coordinated and individually to expand motorized opportunities on the Forests and specific projects such as Lefthand Canyon project in the Boulder Ranger District and the South Rampart Travel Management Plans on the Pikes Peak Ranger District
- Providing advice to the State Trails Committee/ Program and guiding both motorized and non-motorized grant program funding
- Providing detailed presentations and actively participating in panels on trails at annual Partners in Outdoors meetings with CPW, which is attended by more than 500 recreational leaders
- Continuing active involvement in the CO-OP meetings with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The CO-OP convenes approximately two dozen leaders in the recreational community quarterly in order to create larger understanding of the motorized/OHV grant process and maintenance program and aligning support for state and federal legislation such as the Future Generations Act, which altered how CPW funded recreation and renewal of the Colorado Lottery, which provides significant funding for recreation in Colorado
- Representing motorized recreation interests in the Forest Health Advisory Committee to allow for greater understanding of land management decisions and challenges that are faced by the recreational community due to poor forest health and how the exceptionally poor forest health relates to Wilderness Proposals
- Continued involvement in Department of Commerce (DoC) efforts to develop detailed analysis of economic impacts from motorized recreation and understanding why there is such a difference between DoC and Outdoor Industry Association analysis.
Forest/Field office/Collaborative Planning
TPA provided extensive comments on national efforts such as US Forest Service NEPA streamlining and the Council on Environmental Quality regarding our experiences with NEPA failures and the need to update the Wilderness Inventory process and Travel Management Orders from the 1970s.
TPA provided extensive comments on Rio Grande and GMUG NF in Colorado and Gila and Santa Fe NF in New Mexico on a wide range of issues including economics; Illegal nature of corridors around Continental Divide Trail; Economics; previous releases of lands for non- wilderness multiple use by Congress;
Provided extensive comments regarding the revision of the Endangered Species Act implementation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service;
Actively commented and monitored Gunnison Public Lands efforts which failed to address fire risks, significantly expanded Wilderness recommendations and failed to engage with most user groups;
Provided extensive comments opposing the Teton Public Lands efforts outside Jackson Hole, WY.
New Off-road Motorcycle Clubs
In addition to the two clubs mentioned before, the TPA also was able to assist in the forming of two new off road motorcycle clubs this year, one in Colorado and one in northern New Mexico.
- In the Steamboat Springs area, Mountain Trails Access (MTA) was formed to assist in preserving riding in and around the Steamboat area.
- The TPA also had the opportunity to assist with the establishment the Enchanted Circle Trails Alliance (ECTA), which will focus its advocacy efforts to protecting motorcycle trail riding opportunities in Northern New Mexico.
Major Projects for 2019
Following is a list of projects that will be the focus of the TPA, the Board of Directors and the TPA’s team of consultants moving forward in 2019. The list is not meant to be all-inclusive but represents the majority of significant efforts that are currently being funded, worked and tracked by the TPA. As new challenges emerge and develop, the TPA will mobilize and advise our local affiliated clubs and organizations to engage with their local land managers and task our consultants to research and prepare relevant documentation as directed by the Board of Directors.
- 2019 TPA Winter Meeting – the TPA will be hosting the first annual Winter Strategic Planning Meeting for TPA associated clubs, and select individuals who help the TPA accomplish its mission. The goal of this first meeting will be to introduce organizations across the state, offer support from the TPA, and refine common goals and objectives for the coming year and beyond. The meeting will be held in Frisco, CO, on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. For more information visit the TOA’s website at: https://www.coloradotpa.org/news/.
- Continue to pursue and support the litigation for the Rico/ West Dolores Travel Management Project Decision on the Dolores District of the San Juan National Forest until an amicable solution has been developed and agreed upon.
- Continue to monitor and participate in the Pike and San Isabel National Forest Public Motor Vehicle Use Environmental Impact Study (EIS) (aka PSI) to ensure that off-road motorcycle and OHV recreational opportunities are preserved, protected and expanded to meet the public’s needs for access and recreation.
- Resume evaluation of different areas in Colorado for hosting the Colorado 600/Trails Awareness Symposium.
- Continue the TPA’s participation and engagement in the Forest Plan revisions for the RGNF and GMUG.
- Conduct an annual meeting for TPA affiliated off-road motorcycle clubs and organizations to share information and coordinate our collective efforts to preserve the sport of off-road motorcycle travel on public lands.
- Continue to develop and build enhanced relationships with Federal and State land mangers throughout the State.
- Seek to improve the TPA’s reputation and relationship with leaders and staff at the USFS’ Region 2 Headquarters in Denver.
- The TPA in partnership with the SJTR and PAPA will pursue re-opening several historic motorcycle single-track trials in and around the Silverton area. The area containing these trails has recently come under the supervision of the Gunnison Field Office of the BLM after a transfer from the USFS.
- Development of a State Motorized Action Plan – This project is in its infancy and would seek a series of meetings throughout the state to identify the needs and desires of the motorized community. This would be similar to efforts that BLM offices in several other states and would provide determinations of the meetings be reduced to actionable order signed by the DC office. The Forest Service has expressed significant interest in participating in these meetings as well.
During 2018 the TPA made donations to several motorcycle organizations that included:
Mountain Trails Access (MTNAXSS)
Motorized Trails Riders (MTA)
Ride with Respect (Utah) (https://www.ridewithrespect.org)
The annual Colorado 600 Trails Awareness Symposium has been our most significant fundraising activity over the years and will be held 8-13 September 2019 at the Monarch Mountain Lodge, 16 miles west of Salida, CO in 2019. The new venue at Monarch Mountain will provide many new and varied opportunities for single-track, Dual Sport and “Big Bike” riding and exploring. The 2019 KTM Adventure Rally returns to Colorado in 2018 and will immediately follow the 2018 Colorado 600 in Breckenridge.
The TPA appreciates our ongoing multi-year support agreement with KLIM (http://www.klim.com). Having the support of the #1 Off-Road apparel manufacturer has been a major endorsement of the TPA mission.
The TPA is also very grateful for the sustained generous support provided by Rocky Mountain ATV/MC (https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com) which continues to be a major financial supporter of our work.
We are also extremely thankful to our corporate sponsors: KTM, USA, Motion Pro, Centura, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires and our newest partner, Elite Motorsports in Loveland, CO. (https://www.elitektm.com).
The TPA encourages all of our friends and followers to support these businesses and manufacturers who help the TPA fight for your rights and work diligently to keep your motorized trails open and accessible.
The TPA could not survive without all of the donations provided by individuals, riders and other off-road businesses that have supported the TPA for the past 10 years!
The TPA continues to be a volunteer-led organization, placing the vast majority of our annual donations for direct use in saving our sport and recreational activities. The TPA Board of Directors thanks all of our supporters: individuals, corporations and clubs. Without their support and your donations, we could not enjoy all of the accomplishments that we have achieved thus far. The future will undoubtedly continue to demand our collective teamwork, vigilance, resolve and dedication, and donations.
Please contact us for suggestions concerning how you can help with the ongoing work TPA is pursuing on your behalf to save our sport in the Rocky Mountain Region.
Your TPA Board of Directors