Archive | News

Southwest Colorado Update

As winter yielded to spring, crews from San Juan Trail Riders (SJTR) worked with the U.S. Forest Service, clearing downfall from OHV and single-track trails in Southwest Colorado. By early June, the task was nearly complete, and everyone was looking forward to riding beautiful, cleared high mountain trails.

This trail maintained by San Juan Trail Riders sign

Mother Nature had other plans, as reported at Coloradoan.com:

A derecho is a line of intense, widespread and fast-moving windstorms and sometimes thunderstorms that moves across a great distance and is characterized by damaging winds.

The weather service reported the derecho started at 9 a.m. Saturday in southern Utah and produced severe wind gusts for 750 miles into southwestern North Dakota. The storm raced along the line at 60 mph and produced severe winds for nearly 12 hours.

motorcycle on trail

After the derecho passed through on June 6th, Southwest Colorado trails were again littered with downed trees. The Echo Basin and Transfer areas near Mancos, including the Aspen Loop, were especially hard hit by the high winds, seriously impeding riding in that area!

SJTR crews were back at it the day following the derecho. The cooperative efforts of crews from SJTR, Mancos Fire Department and U.S.F.S Dolores Ranger District removed approximately one thousand downed trees in less than a week, reopening Aspen Loop, West Mancos, Chicken Creek, Bear Creek, Rim, Morrison, Helmut Creek, Echo Basin, Aspen Spur, Coyote Park, Coyote Park South, North Rampart, Ramparts Loop, Old Gold Run, and Red Arrow. Deric Hook lead a team (Dean Howard, Joseph Farmer, and Bruce Bleakman) to finish clearing Goldconda and Box Canyon, the last of the area trails to be cleared for the second time this season.

The week of June 7th SJTR members cleared Lower Hermosa Creek, Jones Creek, Pinkerton-Flagstaff, and Dutch Creek trails in the U.S.F.S Columbine Ranger District. Because of their proximity to Durango, these trails are heavily used and enjoyed by many non-motorized users as well. In the following weeks, the remaining motorized trails in the Hermosa drainage were cleared.

The Rico area trails were also severely impacted, so SJTR’s members Scott Steffens and Tara Morey established a basecamp at the intersection of Priest Gulch Trail and Taylor Creek Road the weekend of June 12th. This provided volunteer clearing crews a place to rest, eat and refuel to continue on with the work the Dolores District F.S. saw crews had started the previous week. Friday, a twelve-person SJTR crew, supported by Arizona Trail Riders, removed over three hundred trees from Lower Stoner Mesa on the first day. Saturday, a crew of four from SJTR supported by two WESTCORE riders worked their way up the bottom five miles of Priest GulchTrail removing seventy-eight large trees. On Sunday, a four-person crew removed trees from Upper Priest Gulch, Eagle, and Calico.

Together, Boot Hill Motorcycle Club and SJTR members cleared forty-eight trees from Pole Creek, Middle Pole, Lower East Fork Middle Pole, and West Lost Trail in the U.S.F.S. Rio Grande District.

The Middle Mountain network of trails north of Vallecito Reservoir — Middle Mountain, Beri, Bear Creek, Runlett Park, Vallecito View, Dark Canyon — was not as severely impacted by the high winds. But some trails, such as Bear Creek Spur, still needed a bit of maintenance. SJTR’s crew were still up to the task

.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the individuals and organizations that contributed to executing this tremendous effort to clear trails in Southwest Colorado to improve the experiences for all trail users.

 

Continue Reading

Motorcycle Trail Riders Clear Snow and Open Popular Trail

The Monarch Crest Trail is now open a little earlier thanks to Yon Iaccio’s efforts with an organized shovel party.  Yon, owner of Tomichi Creek Trading Post and founding member of the Tomichi Trail Riders (TTR) in Sargents, CO. rounded up 4 of his guests and a fellow TTR member, who were all in Sargents on riding vacations, to begin the effort.  They were relieved by a couple of the Salida, CO. based Central Colorado Mountain Riders (CCMR) members to help get to the finish line on this monster cornice.

The Monarch Crest Trail is part of the Continental Divide Trail, Colorado Trail, and arguably one of the busiest Mountain Bike trails in the state.  Mt. Bikers are the heaviest users of this trail and despite the resource damage caused by riding and walking around this cornice, little is done to mitigate the problem.  While some abide and walk over the snow, many do not and it has been the local motorcycle clubs that have been clearing the snow to keep users from riding around the drift and causing more damage to the sensitive high alpine vegetation.

This is a historic event as the trail is scheduled for a reroute around the cornice later this summer.  Thank you to Yon, TTR and CCMR for doing their part to protect this valuable heavily used resource especially before a busy 4th of July weekend.

Motorcycle Trail Riders clear snow and open popular trail June 29, 2020

Motorcycle Trail Riders clear snow and open popular trail June 29, 2020

Motorcycle Trail Riders clear snow and open popular trail June 29, 2020

Motorcycle Trail Riders clear snow and open popular trail June 29, 2020

Motorcycle Trail Riders clear snow and open popular trail June 29, 2020

Motorcycle Trail Riders clear snow and open popular trail June 29, 2020

Continue Reading

Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind

Introduction:

TPA’s role in helping to develop Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW), Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind Guide and the Advisory Group for the development of the Guide.

The TPA was selected to help represent motorized interests and motorized recreational uses in the development of CPW’s revised guide for Planning Trails with Wildlife Mind and participate in the Planning Trails Advisory Group.  The original document was titled Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind (A handbook for Trail Planners) and was developed in 1998.  Goals of this revised and updated document include helping people, organizations and groups to be proactive in considering wildlife when thinking about trails, trail planning, and management.  The document will also include guidance for what wildlife issues should be considered for trails grant applications.  The TPA is one of many organizations and representatives selected to participate on the Advisory Group.  Below are the comments submitted by the TPA regarding the initial draft Outline for the Planning Trails with Wildlife Mind Guide:

Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind

Comments for the

Draft Planning with Wildlife in Mind Outline

 

  • The document/guide simply needs to provide a balanced range of options for projects, as the current edition fails to provide reasons to build trails or discuss minimal impact options. Resources such as The Great Trails Handbook by Dick Dufourd and NOHVCC must be listed and utilized as a reference and source of information.  The vast amount of interagency trail planning and building expertise contained in this reference and the quality of information therein cannot simply be disregarded or ignored.
  • The draft document/guide should address the benefits of the motorized trails program – this is a huge resource that has a proven track record of mitigating impacts from all types of recreational activity. The guide could assist in building support for similar programs from other interests.
  • To facilitate clarity, prevent the possibility of confusion and to avoid an inappropriate hierarchy of biased priorities, it will be important to state early in this document/guide that Wildlife is not “the” priority or the “only” resource to be considered when planning trails. Wildlife is “a” resource, just like all of the many other resources upon the landscape that must be sustained, managed and appreciated when planning, developing and maintaining trails for human recreation.
  • The document/guide should address some level of a social component of the relationship. There is not enough emphasis in the document/guide on restoring and re-building trust between managers (e.g., wildlife specialists, resources managers, land managers, government agencies, etc.) and the affected recreational user groups.  Based upon past decisions and actions, there is undoubtedly disparity between different recreational trail user groups and their perceived level of trust and confidence in processes such as this one to fairly consider and honestly balance wildlife concerns with human recreation pursuits.  In order to garner future public collaboration and ensure effective, open communication, there absolutely must be trust restored between the public (especially affected recreational user groups) and managers.
  • Seasonal closures must apply to ALL user groups and not discriminate against any single user group or class of user(s). If closure is indeed necessary and important, than closer must apply to ALL users, not just some.
  • How can “The Science” be challenged, refuted, updated, revised or appealed? A process for challenging “The Science” must be addressed, outlined and specified in this document/guide since science, technology and opinions will evolve and change over time and this document/guide must contain provisions for challenging and updating “The Science”.
  • Chapter 2 states “ Engage Biologist Advisors”. It is equally important to “Engage Recreation Advisors and Users”.
  • Chapter 1 states “Be open to a “no-trail” option. Concerned stakeholders must be equally OPEN minded to other options (i.e., a sustainable, high quality trail option) and work as diligently and conscientiously to find a trail based solution as a “no-trail” solution.  This is an example of a situation where balanced solutions must be provided.
  • The document/guide should also address issues or challenges where recreation is not the primary threat, but rather a marginal or low-level threat. The level of response needs to be related to and correlate to the level of threat of the activity to the species.  This should apply fairly and consistently to all real or perceived threats and not just for recreation.
  • How will this document work to enable for the enhancement, and improved quality of recreation along with growing and expanding recreational opportunities and not just be used to curtail, limit or restrict recreational opportunities?
  • A trail and or trail based recreation is also a resource (just like all of the many other “resources” upon the landscape). Multiple-use, trail based recreation must have parity with all of the other resources in a program.  Elimination and closure of trails or failure to meet a growing demand for trail based recreation will simply invite and encourage bad human behavior.
Continue Reading

Proposed regulations of Electric Bicycles RN 1004-AE72

US Department of Interior Director,
BLM Mail Stop 2134 LM
1849 C St. NW
ATT: RN 1004-AE72
Washington, DC 20240

Re: Proposed regulations of Electric Bicycles – RN 1004-AE72

Dear Director Pendley:

The above Organizations welcome the opportunity to provide input around the use of electric bicycles on federal public lands (“The Proposal”) and we are aware of the long and highly conflicted nature of discussions around e-bikes. There are many aspects of the Proposal that the Organizations can support. The Organizations support the use of electric bicycles on motorized trails, as e-bikes are by definition a motorized off highway vehicle. The Organizations also support one of the foundational conclusions that appears to be driving the e-bike discussion, mainly that there are insufficient opportunities provided for multiple use trails in many locations. We also could support the expansion of the existing trail network for the benefit of all users of these trails and we have to believe these opportunities would be vigorously supported by the OHV programs in western states that are major partners with federal land managers for basic operations.

The Organizations would vigorously oppose the loss of any existing motorized trails for the exclusive use of bicycles or e-bikes or the acceptance of any costs for management of e-bikes in terms of signage or other restrictions around the implementation of a new e-bike regulation. The Organizations would also be opposed to any regulations being prepared that could create the appearance of increased levels of violations from traditional motorized vehicles when e-bikes are used in violation of the proposed exception to the existing Executive Orders. The Organizations are concerned that while the traditional motorized community has avoided this discussion, and obtains no benefits under the current Proposal, these partners will be left to pick up the pieces from a poorly developed proposal. That should be concerning to everyone. The Organizations submit that the foundational issue in the discussion, mainly the lack of authority to create what is really a low power vehicle exception to the Executive Orders for the benefit of the E-bike community.

The Organizations also believe it is critical to clarify that we are assuming the Proposal is excluding the use of e-bikes from winter groomed routes traditionally used by OSVs. If the use of e-bikes on these winter groomed routes is within the scope of the Proposal, we would welcome a discussion of that issue as we have serious concerns around that usage given the challenges this type of recreation has encountered with the USFS over the last decade.

The Organizations would welcome discussions with DOI regarding the management and operation of e-bikes on federal public lands and more importantly how to expand access for all forms of recreation in a more efficient and effective manner.

1. Who we are.

Prior to addressing the specific concerns of the Organizations regarding the Proposal, we believe a brief summary of each Organization is needed. The Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (“COHVCO”) is a grassroots advocacy organization of approximately 250,000 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 ensure that the USFS and BLM allocate to trail riding a fair and equitable percentage of access to public lands. Colorado Snowmobile Association (“CSA”) was founded in 1970 to unite the more than 30,000 winter motorized recreationists across the state to enjoy their passion. CSA has also become the voice of organized snowmobiling seeking to advance, promote and preserve the sport of snowmobiling through work with Federal and state land management agencies and local, state and federal legislators telling the truth about our sport. The Idaho Recreation Council (“IRC”) is a recognized, statewide, collaboration of Idaho recreation enthusiasts and others that will identify and work together on recreation issues in cooperation with land managers, legislators and the public to ensure a positive future for responsible outdoor recreation access for everyone, now and into the future. For purposes of this correspondence TPA, COHVCO, CSA, and IRC will be referred to as “The Organizations”.

The Organizations and our members have also partnered with the USFS/BLM/other federal managers and state level parks and recreation programs (generally referred to as “land managers” for purposes of these comments) for decades in addressing trail related maintenance issues of all sizes through the voluntary registration fees for OHVs and OSVs that have been adopted in the several states. These registration programs started around grooming of winter trails for OSV recreation in the 1970’s and remain the only source of funding for winter grooming of routes generally on USFS lands. Seeing the success of these programs the OHV community soon adopted similar voluntary registration programs in the 1980s. These programs are some of the longest, largest and strongest partnerships in place with land managers. As an example, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife motorized program provides between $5 and $6 million in direct funding to projects that results in almost 60 maintenance crews for summer and winter trails and extensive project specific funding. The California OHMVR program easily provides five times this amount of funding to the land manager offices in California. The State of Idaho program also provides land managers more than $1 for every resident of the state to support trail maintenance. Each of these State level partnerships is leveraged with countless volunteer hours and support, in a huge range of roles from volunteer labor on projects, to engineers volunteering time to design bridges and heavy equipment businesses working for the cost of fuel from the programs and many of the programs funded would simply cease to exist without this volunteer support. This volunteer support which multiplies the impact of this funding to have an impact on the ground of spending several times more money that comes from these programs. This intangible benefit is a critical component of the success of these programs and protecting this intangible would be a major benefit of an e-bike policy that avoided conflict and benefitted all uses.

These programs are often becoming the only funding that is available for recreational maintenance efforts on many districts/offices and as a result these programs are being asked to do more and more work with a somewhat consistent funding stream. As a result, the efficiency of efforts and expanding partners in these efforts are becoming a larger and larger priority every day in order to continue to provide basic access to all users. The Organizations believe that the Proposal would be a step towards achieving this efficiency and strengthening the partnerships.

2. Executive Summary.

  1. The Organizations are not opposed to the use of electric bicycles on motorized trails but cannot overlook the fact that e-bikes are a motorized off-highway vehicle under the definition provided in EO 11644 and 11989 making the current proposal problematic if there should be a legal challenge. The Organizations are simply unaware of any Congressional or Presidential grant or designation of authority to land managers that would allow the creation of a low power vehicle type exception in the EO addressing Travel Management. Courts reviewing rule making under the EO have been very consistent in applying a very strict level of interpretation to the EO, and this simply cannot be overlooked. Unlike Congressional designations for classification of e-bikes as low power vehicles for on road usage, there are no similar provisions provided in the EO.
  2. Rather than creating additional user conflict, on an issue that has already been the basis of explosive conflict between many user groups, the Organizations submit the regulations should focus on common grounds between all user groups, which is the lack of high-quality trails in significant portions of the country. From the motorized perspective there are very few areas of the country that provide high quality trail experiences on a large scale. While the Organizations appreciate the use of old roads for motorized opportunities, these simply are not a trail and for our users the experiences are significantly different. In addition to significant demand for more dedicated trail opportunities, the Organizations would note that our users have access to the resources to partner with land managers to build and maintain new trails, unlike many other user groups.
  3. The Organizations are opposed to the loss of any motorized trails in an attempt to create e-bike only trail networks in a manner similar to the Tahoe NF.
  4. We are unable to support the distinction provided around the use of off-highway vehicles that is proposed in Secretarial Order 3376 based on a consumer product safety commission decision regarding the use of e-bikes on highways. Most traditional OHVs have never been identified as motor vehicles for purposes of on road usage but have never been excluded from the application of the travel management rules. The Organizations submit that the basic definitions of motorized off-highway vehicles provided in the EO must be updated and could possibly include a provision that excluded low power vehicles from the application of the EO moving forward.
  5. Any regulation for the use of e-bikes must be simple and easy to use so the public will understand the regulations and the current proposal is neither. This is a significant concern for the Organizations as currently any e-bike being used outside the regulations would be a “motor vehicle off trail” and create the appearance of a significant increase in traditional motorized vehicle improper use, which will immediately renew assertions for needs for further restrictions. This situation is unacceptable to the Organizations.
  6. The Organizations support a single definition for e-bikes as it has been our experience that most e-bikes do not conform to the existing classes in some manner or another and often determining the basic information about a particular unit is exceptionally difficult as the information is not provided on the unit. This type of issue will make any enforcement of classes very difficult. The Organizations believe that a simple and consistent definition will help reduce the astronomical user conflict that has surrounded these discussions since it has started. The effective and simple definition of these vehicles avoids the situation where the traditional motorized community is drawn into additional rounds of travel management or enforcement as a result of e-bike usage being outside their class on a particular route being recorded as a motor vehicle off trail.

2a. E-bike discussions to date have created huge amounts of new user conflict.

Prior to addressing more specific concerns the Organizations have around the Proposal, the Organizations would like to address some of the larger landscape level concerns that have been encountered on this issue to date. These are: 1. The huge amounts of user conflicts around e-bikes; 2. Poor engagement of agency leadership on the e-bike issue; and 3. The vigorous desire of the Organizations not to lose existing opportunities in the e-bike efforts.

Historically, the Organizations have avoided the large and ugly fights that have resulted from the mention of possible usage of e-bikes on trails that have historically been “hike or bike” or “bike only” at the local and state levels. These are geographic areas that the motorized community has generally never expect to be providing any access for traditional motorized usage as these areas often have been urban parks or greenway areas. Despite the limited difference between an e-bike and traditional bicycle, we will say the conflict around this issue has been astonishing. Members of the Organizations have been approached by both e-bike advocates and traditional cycling groups in the attempt to build coalitions on the e-bike issue, which we have declined to date. Simply declining to take a position has resulted in conflicts.

The Organizations are concerned about possible impacts to traditional motorized access and would also like to avoid being involved in the large fights that are involving e-bike proposals such as the legal challenges to the NPS proposal and Tahoe NF decisions. While our efforts to engage with the federal decision makers on the e-bike issues have met with little response, the decision-making process around e-bikes has continued. The forest level decision via a Categorical Exclusion (“CE”) to treat certain electric motor vehicles differently than traditional motor vehicles is exemplified by the Tahoe National Forest recently proposing to add more than 200 miles of trails for certain classes of e-bikes to their trail network with no public input or analysis. This was highly frustrating to the traditional motorized users for two reasons. The first reason was that when the CE was published our users called the forest and were informed the 200 plus miles of trails were e-bike only trail. Frustration was immediate as a significant portion of these routes were historically motorized routes and been the basis of extensive NEPA analysis. While this was subsequently corrected, the damage to relationships was done.

The second concern around the Tahoe NF use of a CE is this created significant consternation for many in the motorized community given the decades of effort to preserve multiple use access of all forms on the forest. This includes multiple law suits, some of which the Organizations intervened in defense of the agency decision on, the development of multiple forest level EIS that have gone into preserving any motorized access to the forest for summer and winter usage. Conflict between the use of a CE creating an entirely new trail network and the current situation around winter motorized usage on the Tahoe NF is astonishing and creating huge conflict as the very usage of winter motorized equipment on the Tahoe NF has been the subject of decades of litigation and EIS development that remains unresolved. The motorized community submits this basic inequity in process must be avoided in the future and it is often these unintended consequences of e-bike efforts that directly and materially negatively impact the traditional motorized community. We would like to avoid these issues moving forward as strong messages can be sent to groups outside of the direct scope of discussions. Basic fairness should require a consistent application of regulations expanding or restricting access. While the Organizations are aware that the USFS and DOI are separate agencies, the message was troubling on the e-bike issue and public engagement.

2b. Poor engagement of federal managers to date must change.

The Organizations have also had extensive discussions around the use of e-bikes with local and regional staff in a variety of agencies outside of federal lands, and these discussions have been reasonably open and candid when the conflict between other user groups is removed. While these discussions have been open with state and local government managers, discussions around e-bikes with federal managers addressing this issue has proven to be more difficult, especially moving up the management chains of these agencies. While we have welcomed some discussions with leadership in the last year, these have been highly conceptual and outside formal processes. The Organizations have also been consistently approached by more localized federal land managers, such as Ranger District or Field Office staff, who are seeking to obtain basic information on proposals that might be under development in their agency. This is both unusual and troubling and generally not how the process is supposed to work.

The above Organizations have attempted to engage in the more formalized discussions around this issue for almost 2 years now, including broadly issuing a correspondence to President Trump and various land managers asking to participate in the discussions on this issue. We did not receive any response on this effort. 1 The Organizations were provided information from State Partners around the collaborative efforts that had been ongoing with the Department of Transportation discussing the usage and management of e-bikes. These meetings were seeing wide ranging participation from USFS and DOI representatives. We immediately asked DOT to participate in these efforts and they immediately ceased without explanation. While the Organizations are aware that DOT and DOI are entirely separate agencies, this decision did not alter the unique and troubling course that the e-bike discussions have taken to date.

While the failure of federal decisionmakers to engage partners on the e-bike issue is an anomaly, as the Organizations have enjoyed closer working relationships with federal decision makers on almost all other issues than ever before, this anomaly is highly frustrating none the less. The Organizations would ask to become actively and meaningfully involved in formal efforts around e-bike usage moving forward, as we do have concerns on the issue.

2c. The Organizations are opposed to the loss of any trails for e-bike only opportunities

The Organizations must clearly state we are vigorously opposed to the loss of ANY motorized trails for designated e-bike usage. The traditional motorized community has endured too many decades of trail loss and restriction through the travel management process to support any loss of further trails. While the Proposal clearly states that there are no on the ground changes being made, the Organizations must state this is an overly narrow and short-sited view on this issue. The rulemaking is going to trigger huge amounts of NEPA analysis, extend comically limited federal land manager budgets, often reopen painful decisions previously made around trail networks and create user conflict in areas the motorized community has hoped were settled. The Organizations are opposed to this summary of the Proposal and are very opposed to the possible designation of existing motorized opportunities for the use of e-bikes only.

3a. Definition of an off-highway motor vehicle is VERY broad in EO.

The Organizations believe the first component of common ground is the desire to build a trail network that provides quality trail based opportunities for all. The Organizations believe there is a second component of common ground around resolution of the e-bike discussion and is the need to revise and update the Executive Orders governing the use of motorized off-highway vehicles on federal lands. These Executive Orders are simply out of date in a large number of issues, such as low power vehicles and the minimization criteria. The motorized community has offered to partner on this issue with e-bike advocates but to date these offers have not been accepted. Most parties we have reached out to do not seem to even understand that the Executive Orders, not agency regulations are the source of the E-bike issues. Rather than partnering to address this foundational challenge, e-bike access has sought to be achieved by trying to “work around” this issue. To date this has not worked and the Organizations do not believe there is a work around for e-bikes on this issue due to the exceptionally broad nature of these definitions. Under current definitions in the EO, an e-bike is an off-highway motor vehicle and the EO lack nay ability to provide for an exclusion for low power vehicles, similar to those often provided for in the federal highway systems or state level vehicle management provisions, such as titling and registration.

The Organizations submit that it is important to start the discussion around e-bikes from the origins of Travel Management as a concept, as the foundation of travel management as a concept is where e-bike challenges must be addressed. Travel Management originated with President Richard Nixon’s issuance of Executive Order 11644 in 1972. EO 11644 provides as follows:

“(3) “off-road vehicle” means any motorized vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain; except that such term excludes (A) any registered motorboat, (B) any fire, military, emergency or law enforcement vehicle when used for emergency purposes, and any combat or combat support vehicle when used for national defense purposes, and (C) any vehicle whose use is expressly authorized by the respective agency head under a permit, lease, license, or contract; and”2

Given the exceptionally broad and encompassing definition of a motorized off-highway vehicle that is provided in the EO, the Organizations are not able to create a legally defensible path forward for a determination that an e-bike is not a motorized off-highway vehicle. While we could support the concept of a low power vehicle exception for travel management, the current EO have no basis for such a designation.

There has been a lot of effort directed towards finding a path around this definition for e-bikes or relying on an exception that has been created in agency regulations applying the EO, such as BLM travel provisions in 43 CFR 8340, the Organizations are not optimistic on the long-term success of such an effort when the inevitable court challenge to the rule is brought. Courts have been very strict in the interpretation of the EO on Travel Management making any agency-based exceptions, such as those found in BLM travel management regulations, problematic. The Organizations would submit that finding a permanent resolution of this issue is preferred to simply trying to carve an exception to the rule that lack factual basis.

The most recent interpretation of the Executive Orders the Organizations are aware of involves a court challenge to the USFS Winter Travel Management Rule. The USFS winter travel rule sought to carve a very limited exception in the EO that allowed only forests that received enough snow to warrant winter travel management to have to comply with this portion of the rule. In our interpretation, the flexibility of implementation made a huge amount of sense both on the ground and for efficiency. When the implementation of the Winter Travel Rule was challenged, the Court struck the rule down and forced the USFS to prepare a new Winter Travel Rule.3 In the Organizations opinion, the USFS distinction made sense on the ground and was rationally based and had a stronger legal defense than any of the exceptions in the BLM travel management regulations that are being relied on in the e-bike discussions. 4 Given this strict application of the EO in rulemaking and related interpretations, the Organizations are not optimistic on the success of BLM regulations allowing the agency to declare vehicles not a motor vehicle when the inevitable court challenge starts as there is no provision in the EO that allow such a decision. This is a major basis for concern as the Organizations would like to see a path forward on the e-bike question that has a strong degree of success should there be a court challenge.

The Organizations are aware that there has been a lot of discussion around the e-bike issue and possible resolution of the issues based on a theory that land managers have the authority to carve an exception to the EO in a manner similar to that of the low power scooter exceptions for on road usage. While this might be appealing, this direction also fails to address one critical distinction in the discussion. Management of low power scooters and vehicles has a Congressional authorization for this exception to the general regulation of vehicles.5 Low power scooter requirements for on road usage have an extensive legislative delegation of authority to address the registration and usage of a low power scooters for on road usage.6  The Organizations are not aware of any similar delegation of authority for the regulation of e-bikes under the EO. This is a foundational issue that again must be addressed. The Organizations support the use of e-bikes on motorized routes but again must express concern over this foundational position in the e-bike discussion.

3b. Creating exceptions to the Executive Order is inferior to the creation of a new Order as there will be extensive unintended consequences to the exceptions model.

Under current proposal, agencies are seeking to create an exception to the Travel Management Rule rather than addressing the restrictions and requirement of the Travel Management EO directly. The unintended consequences of this model of management to other user groups could be significant and must not be overlooked. The impacts of such a management model are very concerning to the Organizations due to the impacts of user attempting to use the exception and then failing to comply with the requirements. The traditional motorized community has little interest in reopening many of the issues in the travel management process that have generally been resolved. This interest is even less when the reopening painful decisions could result in significant unintended consequence of management decisions that are targeting uses that don’t identify as motorized and may create the appearance of expanded bad behavior from the traditional motorized community.

Currently, the Proposal seeks to create an exception to a very broad rule. The Proposal fails to address the fact that even with the exception that is created, an e-bike remains a motorized off-highway vehicle by definition. This default management position opens the door for significant unintended consequences to other users. If an e-bike user is outside the exception created by the Proposal for whatever reason, they will be managed and recorded as a “motor vehicle off trail.” The Organizations are very concerned that this will create the appearance of a large number of new violations being present in the traditional motorized community and that such a perceived spike in violations will reopen fights and conflicts around areas and issues that we have already resolved.

In addition to the possible spike in perceived violations from e-bikes being operated outside the exception that has been created, education of motorized users to “stay on the trail” has been a priority for the motorized community for decades. These efforts have included partnerships with the Tread Lightly efforts, around their “Ride On” efforts for all motorized users and the role out of the “Are you certifiable?” educational efforts targeting the side by side community, to creating the Stay the Trail Program in Colorado. These partnerships have received millions of dollars directly from the industry, millions more in direct funding from state level OHV programs and huge amounts of volunteer labor from the end users. These efforts have been very successful and as a result we would like to see these positive benefits not eroded or diminished. We would also be hesitant to lead any discussion around management and education of e-bike users as these users simply do not identify as a motorized user. The Organizations are not aware of any other user group that has directed the direct funding and labor towards the education of their users and this partnership has not only been highly valued by land managers but also by users and industry as no other user group has approached this type of partnership.

The Organizations submit that creating a new rule and Executive Order that permit the management of low power type vehicles, in a manner similar to the management of low power vehicles for on road usage, will create a more effective management model that will mitigate many of these concerns. The Organizations would welcome discussions on this issue, but right not the authority is not provided for in the outdated Executive Orders and as a result could easily create the appearance of issues where there really are none.

3c. CPSC determinations have never had bearing on the scope of an off-highway motor vehicle for travel management purposes.

Throughout the e-bike discussions the have had with advocates and some land managers, the fact that the CPSC has determined e-bikes are not motor vehicles for on-highway usage purposes is frequently identified as dispositive for the management of e-bikes in an off-highway situation. The Organizations are simply not able to identify the relevance of this determination, governing the use of e-bikes in an on-highway situation to the use of off-highway vehicles on federal public lands. These are generally mutually exclusive designations. Most vehicles, such as snowmobiles, ATVs, side by side vehicles and off-road motorcycles that have always been subject to the travel management rules, have also been consistently identified as not being motor vehicles for CPSC management purposes.

The Organizations support the decision that e-bikes are generally outside the traditional requirements of a motor vehicle for on road usage. Any assertion that an e-bike should have windshields, mirrors and crumple zones for use on highway, and emissions requirements in a manner similar to a full motor vehicle, makes little sense. This makes no more sense than requiring a side by side designed for off-highway usage to comply with all emissions and protection equipment required for on-highway usage. They simply are different usages.

Recognition of such an arbitrary decision not only fails to address the underlying issues with e-bikes, which is the lack of Congressional or Executive Authority for the exception proposed. This arbitrary recognition of an on-highway decision governing off-highway usage creates user conflict between the e-bike community and all other trail users. This is a major concern for the Organizations as one of the consistent messages we hear from land managers is the desire to reduce and avoid user conflict on trails. Here we are presented with a situation that appears to be creating user conflict and the Organizations submit that is an indication that there are better manners to expand access to public lands. This is less than optimal and the Organizations submit that all trails user should be treated similarly under existing law.

3d. State registration programs for OHVs for off-highway is not relevant to decisions around the motorized nature of an e-bike for use on federal public lands.

The Organizations are forced to address the consistent and wildly incorrect summaries of many of the State OHV programmatic requirements for the registration of OHVs for use on public lands. These summaries are often then asserted to be a basis for the designation of an e-bike as a non-motorized vehicle. These summaries are simply offensive to the Organizations and our many member groups that helped craft these OHV registration programs and regulations and we believe must be accurately addressed in these comments to ensure these decisions do not become the basis for inaccurate decision making.

Generally, most state regulations requiring the registration of OHVs for use on public lands do not address the propulsion of the vehicle or if the vehicle is or is not a motorized vehicle with regard to on-highway usage. Most of these programs and statutes create a separate method to register OHVs as “Off-highway motor vehicles” to avoid any discussion about use of these vehicles on federal and state highways regardless of how the vehicle is propelled. Similar to the CPSC, these programs recognize OHVs are motorized vehicles but are only allowed off-highway and are subject to entirely separate regulations from on-highway usage.

The management of OHVs in Colorado, which is frequently identified as an example registration program is a perfect example of where these inaccurate summaries by many interest groups are immediately evident. The Organizations are aware that this model is consistently applied for the management of OHVs in most states with a registration program. In Colorado, usage of e-bikes for on road usage are governed by Colorado Vehicle and Traffic laws pursuant to CRS 42-1-101 et seq. Colorado provisions for the usage of e-bikes do allow them to be recognized as low power vehicles under the statutory provisions for these types of vehicles and requires several provisions of law be complied with for their usage such as insurance and driver’s licenses. E-bikes are also specifically identified as a low power motor vehicle and not a motor vehicle for purposes of registration for on road usage. They are a separate class of vehicles for on-road usage.

The registration of OHVs for recreational usage on public lands is an entirely separate statutory process administered by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife agency and governed under CRS 33-14.5-101 et seq. Colorado only requires registrations for recreational usage of these units on public lands and does not require registration for usage on private property or for units that are used for agricultural purposes and many other usages outlined in 33-14.5-102(6). In Colorado, registered OHVs are not required to have insurance and operators are not required to possess a rivers license. It is interesting to note that while there is a low power vehicle exception in provisions for use of vehicles on road, there is no similar provision in the OHV program legislation.

The Organizations are also aware that there have been discussions about the possible registration of e-bikes under the OHV program and the applicability of existing reduced requirements around the registration requirements for E-bikes for on-road usage. These groups and programs have not pursued registration of e-bikes for off-road usage simply due to a desire of our members and state agencies to avoid the massive amounts of user conflicts and fighting that has surrounded e-bikes since their inception. There simply are not registration stickers to be sold to offset the conflict and years of effort that would be required to address the issue. This should not be taken as an acceptance that an e-bike used for recreation on public lands is not a motor vehicle as these are two entirely separate decisions and concerns.

The Organizations submit that inaccurate summaries of the usage of OHVs and associated registration programs created by our members provide a compelling reason for significantly expanded involvement of the motorized community in e-bike discussions moving forward. Often it is our members that have created the OHV programs and can explain the technical nature of provisions of these programs in great detail. Almost unanimously, the reasons and provisions around the inclusion or exclusion of e-bikes in State registration programs are very different than those outlined in discussions on e-bikes by those not involved with these programs. For this reason alone, the Organizations submit that the involvement of the motorized community in these discussions moving forward. Managers simply need accurate information around why decisions are made in state registration programs for off-highway motor vehicles and our members generally are the experts on the program history and direction.

4. Equity of all electrical usages should be addressed.

As the Organizations have noted throughout these comments, the e-bike discussion has triggered an exceptional amount of user conflict with many groups. While most of this conflict has been centered around the e-bike community and mechanized and foot-based interests, there is one facet of the discussion that touches on the more traditional motorized community. This conflict has been based around the disparate treatment of some forms of electric vehicles when compared to the wide range of electric vehicles on the market currently. Electric forms of many vehicles are available and possess many of the same benefits as an electric bicycle, such as reduced sound, easier maintenance and improved access to public lands for many of the owners. It is worth noting that off road electric golf carts have been around for extended periods of time and we are not aware of any discussion about managing those vehicles outside the travel management requirements.

Electric vehicles are currently present in every form of traditional OHV and despite some being on the market for extended periods of time, the Organizations are not aware of any discussion around altering the travel management requirements to expand access for these e-vehicles. Some of these vehicles have become common place in many areas, where comparable gasoline powered vehicles would be unheard of, such as maintenance operations of urban parks and outdoor shopping centers.

These vehicles have included golf cart manufacturers improving suspension on a traditional golf cart:

Electric Golf Cart7

Tesla offers a more off-road targeted vehicle similar to a side by side that is electrically powered:

Electric Tesla side by side8

Traditional manufacturers such as Polaris has been in the electric side by side market for an extended period of time.

Electric Poloris side by side9

KTM offers an electric off-road motorcycle:

KTM electric motorcycle10

Recently electric snowmobiles have come to the marketplace and the viability of these units is being explored by several large ski operations, such as Vail Resorts:

Electric Snowmobile11

The Proposal to allow the expanded use of e-bikes in areas historically closed to motor vehicles or close existing trails open to all to allow for e-bike only usage sets a precedent. The precedent being set is causing conflict, that does not exist currently. The Organizations would ask about the scope of precedent being set; mainly will federal land managers reopen travel management to allow for expanded access for other electric recreational users? Will winter travel decisions be reopened to allow for expanded access for electric snowmobiles? Will we allow expanded access for electric motorcycles or side by side vehicles? We are simply unable to envision a situation where expanded access would only be allowed for e-bikes, as many of the benefits from electric vehicles occur without regard to the type of vehicle is being propelled. While these benefits appear to be only accruing around e-bikes, electric side by sides, atvs, snowmobiles and full size 4×4 vehicles have been present in the market for extended periods of time already without planning for expanded access. Can this distinction be supported based on sound policy and rational?

5a. One rule for e-bikes on federal land would avoid the complications of the three class e-bike system.

The Organizations were surprised when separate rules were identified for the BLM, Bureau of Reclamation and USFWS, and that there were differences between the rules, such as some agencies specifically recognizing three wheeled versions of e-bikes while others were silent. This is in addition to the efforts that have been already undertaken by the National Park Service, US Forest Service and a multitude of state and local regulations for usage. This situation will result in an e-bike standard that varies widely based entirely on land management agency and that is simply impossible to educate users regarding and simply must be avoided. As the Organizations have noted in other portions of these comments, a simple, understandable and consistent rule for all vehicle is a priority for the Organizations.

Throughout the Proposal, 3 classes of e-bikes defined and are discussed but at no point is there any distinctions made for the application of these classes on the ground. This begs the question of why have classes at all? It has been our experience that most e-bikes are not really in conformity with any of the classes and those that are can be so easily modified as to render the entire class system useless. If the class system is not an important component of the Proposal, why would the additional complexity of the classes be required as the classes will be tough to educate the public regarding and difficult to enforce on the ground.

5B. Strict adherence to characteristics of the proposed classes of E-bikes is often highly variable.

The Organizations have had the opportunity the ride a wide range of e-bikes through our interactions at various trade shows, friends purchasing units and presentations at meetings with land managers or trails-based interests. Generally, the e-bikes we have interacted with have covered a wide range of capability and costs and have evolved quickly over the last several years. These units have ranged from: 1. A traditional bicycle originally created as an e-bike; 2. Kits to adapt an existing bicycle to an e-bike; and 3. Units many of our members thought reminded them of the small to medium sized motorcycle that they might have ridden as a child, when capability of suspension and size of the unit are compared. While there are a wide range of e-bikes available, this diversity really creates a lot of concern around the hard criteria that are proposed for the management of these units.

In this portion of the comments, we would like to summarize our experiences with these units on the ground and allow for explanation of why these experiences cause concern around the idea of classes of e-bikes as at no point have we found any unit that actually complies with these categories. The Organizations are not intending this list to be exhaustive by any means and would submit that this list is evolving quickly based on technology available. Our experiences are:

  1. We are unable to identify the wattage on most units we have seen. It is basically not labeled on the unit, which presents an initial challenge for the class system that appears to rely on a 750-watt maximum. Many manufacturers offer bicycles that look identical but have a wide range of motors, some of which comply with requirements of 750 watts and others that far exceed this limit with minimal visual differences. If wattage is such an important component of the classes, why would this not be clearly labelled on the units?
  2. “Pedaling” of these units to create forward motion appears to have a wide range of interpretation when various manufacturers are building units. Most of the units we have encountered rely on pedals in only an academic sense, as an exceptionally small amount of pedal effort allows full use of the electrical assist components of the e-bike. Rather than being an assist to pedaling the pedal set appears to be a switch allowing use of the electrical assist and often the pedal speed in no way relates to the speed of the unit on the ground.
  3. The enforceability of the class principals is further complicated by the fact that almost every unit we have encountered can be easy modified in an almost infinite manner, pedals can be added, speed limiters alter or removed entirely, wattage increased to allow for improved performance at the cost of reduced range etc. Often appearances at trade shows have allowed us to inspect a particular e-bike in one booth and then talk to a vendor modifying that e-bike immediately next to the booth. Sometimes these vendors appear to be related.
  4. Numerous e-bike manufacturers are offering multi-speed transmissions for their units. 12 While we can see a valid use of a transmission in these units, as it greatly expands the efficiency of the unit, the insertion of a transmission in the equation complicates management as speed is far less a function of the size of the motor but is more a function of the number of gears and gear ratios available.

While the Organizations are not submitting this list as exhaustive, but rather are using these issues as examples of why we are concerned with the overall class models that are proposed. The Organizations submit that these are generally issues that must be addressed with the e-bike community but the Organizations are concerned this flexibility of the classes can create the appearance of motor vehicles off trail as units operated outside their respective class will be cited as a motor vehicle off trail. The Organizations submit that amending and updating the EO mandating travel management to permit low power vehicles more generally is a better resolution of the expanded usage of these units than the proposed class system.

5c. Education and Enforceability must be priorities moving forward.

Introducing some type of separate e-bike classification system for trails, such as the Tahoe NF proposes, fails to address basic questions such as how would these routes be signed on the ground and who pays for this signage? We are not even aware of an e-bike sign that has been adopted by the USFS. While signage might appear to be a minor issue it is not for the motorized community, who provides extensive funding annually to land managers to ensure appropriate signage is available to educate motorized users where they can and cannot go on the ground. Since the motorized community has provided extensive funding for signage, we would like to be involved in discussions proposing a large-scale revision of existing sign standards. This would also be a major factor that is causing us concern around the impacts of a possible spike in the recording of motorized vehicles off trail.

6a. The Organizations are opposed to hard deadlines for completion of e-bike planning.

In section 6 of these comments, the Organizations would like to address a few of the more specific proposals that have been raised in discussions around the DOI E-bike proposals. The Organizations are aware of significant discussion around the need for a hard deadline or timeframe for the completion of NEPA around the e-bike discussion. The Organizations are vigorously opposed to the creation of any timeframe for the completion of e-bike related planning as there are too many variables in such a proposal. The Organizations are aware of significant portion of Department of Interior public lands that have not adopted a travel management plan in any form, and often for good reasons that are localized in nature. The ability of local managers to deal with local issues in a timely and effective manner should not be limited as in some offices the ability to use an e-bike is very limited simply due to topography or other natural conditions, such as Imperial Sand Dunes or St. Anthony Sand Dunes. Imposing an e-bike regulation in these areas would create exactly the type of overly generalized regulation that the DOI and Dept of Agriculture have worked hard over the last several years to avoid.

The Organizations would note that this lack of a timeline for completion of NEPA planning on an issue is not unprecedented. The USFS recently mandated no completion date for the review of winter travel management plans or creation of new winter travel management plans as a result of the settlement of winter travel rule litigation and subsequent rule making. This has been a point of discussion since this rulemaking but the Organizations vigorously support this conclusion and submit the precedent should be applied in e-bike discussions as well.

6b. Limiting motorized trails based on types of propulsion is a violation of the EO.

It has come to the Organizations attention that several groups are asserting that e-bikes should be managed under a limited motorized route, which the Organizations submit is probably a violation of the open closed or restricted to routes mandate of the EO. While the Organizations are aware that some offices have made the decision to restrict access to certain routes based on a natural characteristic, such as narrow terrain or to provide a specific recreational experience, such as a trail width of 36 inches or less to provide a single-track trail experience. The Organizations are not aware of any designations of this type that focus on how a vehicle is propelled.

7. Conclusion.

There are many aspects of the Proposal that the Organizations can support. The Organizations support the use of electric bicycles on motorized trails, as e-bikes are by definition a motorized off highway vehicle. The Organizations also support one of the foundational conclusions that appears to be driving the e-bike discussion, mainly that there are insufficient opportunities provided for multiple use trails in many locations. We also could support the expansion of the existing trail network for the benefit of all users of these trails and we have to believe these opportunities would be vigorously supported by the OHV programs in western states that are major partners with federal land managers for basic operations.

The Organizations would vigorously oppose the loss of any existing motorized trails for the exclusive use of bicycles or e-bikes or the acceptance of any costs for management of e-bikes in terms of signage or other restrictions around the implementation of a new e-bike regulation. The Organizations would also be opposed to any regulations being prepared that could create the appearance of increased levels of violations from traditional motorized vehicles when e-bikes are used in violation of the proposed exception to the existing Executive Orders. The Organizations are concerned that while the traditional motorized community has avoided this discussion, and obtains no benefits under the current Proposal, these partners will be left to pick up the pieces from a poorly developed proposal. That should be concerning to everyone. The Organizations submit that the foundational issue in the discussion, mainly the lack of authority to create what is really a low power vehicle exception to the Executive Orders for the benefit of the E-bike community.

  1. The Organizations are not opposed to the use of electric bicycles on motorized trails but cannot overlook the fact that e-bikes are a motorized off-highway vehicle under the definition provided in EO 11644 and 11989 making the current proposal problematic if there should be a legal challenge. The Organizations are simply unaware of any Congressional or Presidential grant or designation of authority to land managers that would allow the creation of a low power vehicle type exception in the EO addressing Travel Management. Courts reviewing rule making under the EO have been very consistent in applying a very strict level of interpretation to the EO, and this simply cannot be overlooked. Unlike Congressional designations for classification of e-bikes as low power vehicles for on road usage, there are no similar provisions provided in the EO.
  2. Rather than creating additional user conflict, on an issue that has already been the basis of explosive conflict between many user groups, the Organizations submit the regulations should focus on common grounds between all user groups, which is the lack of high-quality trails in significant portions of the country. From the motorized perspective there are very few areas of the country that provide high quality trail experiences on a large scale. While the Organizations appreciate the use of old roads for motorized opportunities, these simply are not a trail and for our users the experiences are significantly different. In addition to significant demand for more dedicated trail opportunities, the Organizations would note that our users have access to the resources to partner with land managers to build and maintain new trails, unlike many other user groups.
  3. The Organizations are opposed to the loss of any motorized trails in an attempt to create e-bike only trail networks in a manner similar to the Tahoe NF.
  4. We are unable to support the distinction provided around the use of off-highway vehicles that is proposed in Secretarial Order 3376 based on a consumer product safety commission decision regarding the use of e-bikes on highways. Most traditional OHVs have never been identified as motor vehicles for purposes of on road usage but have never been excluded from the application of the travel management rules. The Organizations submit that the basic definitions of motorized off-highway vehicles provided in the EO must be updated and could possibly include a provision that excluded low power vehicles from the application of the EO moving forward.
  5. Any regulation for the use of e-bikes must be simple and easy to use so the public will understand the regulations and the current proposal is neither. This is a significant concern for the Organizations as currently any e-bike being used outside the regulations would be a “motor vehicle off trail” and create the appearance of a significant increase in traditional motorized vehicle improper use, which will immediately renew assertions for needs for further restrictions. This situation is unacceptable to the Organizations.
  6. The Organizations support a single definition for e-bikes as it has been our experience that most e-bikes do not conform to the existing classes in some manner or another and often determining the basic information about a particular unit is exceptionally difficult as the information is not provided on the unit. This type of issue will make any enforcement of classes very difficult. The Organizations believe that a simple and consistent definition will help reduce the astronomical user conflict that has surrounded these discussions since it has started. The effective and simple definition of these vehicles avoids the situation where the traditional motorized community is drawn into additional rounds of travel management or enforcement as a result of e-bike usage being outside their class on a particular route being recorded as a motor vehicle off trail.

The Organizations would welcome discussions with DOI regarding the management and operation of e-bikes on federal public lands and more importantly how to expand access for all forms of recreation in a more efficient and effective manner. Please feel free to contact Don Riggle at 725 Palomar Lane, Colorado Springs, 80906, Cell (719) 338- 4106 or Scott Jones, Esq. at 508 Ashford Drive, Longmont, CO 80504. His phone is (518)281-5810 and his email is scott.jones46@yahoo.com.

Respectfully Submitted,
Scott Jones, Esq.
CSA Executive Director
IRC, TPA & COHVCO Authorized Representative

1 A copy of this correspondence is attached as Exhibit “1” to these comments.
2 See, EO 11644 §2
3 See, Winter Wildlands Alliance v. US Forest Service; Case No 1:11-CV-586-REB; March 29, 2013. We have enclosed a complete copy of this decision for your reference as Exhibit “2”.
4 See, 43 CFR 8340.0-5 (a)(3).
5 See, 15 USC 2085 et seq.
6 https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/low-power-scooter
7 https://www.trackeroffroad.com/all-purpose-cart.html
8 https://nikolamotor.com/powersports
9 https://ranger.polaris.com/en-us/ranger-ev-avalanche-gray/specs/
10 https://www.ktm.com/en/e-ride/freeride-e-xc/
11 https://taigamotors.ca/snowmobiles/
12 https://electricboardingco.com/products/himiway-cruiser-electric-bike?variant=31476868022339&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Google%20Shopping

Continue Reading

TPA Request for Additional Single-Track – Royal Gorge Field Office

Sent via email to:

Recreation Planning Staff
Attn: Linda Skinner
Royal Gorge Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
3028 E. Main St.
Canyon City, CO 81212

Request for additional multiple-use, motorized single-track recreational opportunities within the Royal Gorge Field Office’s areas of responsibility

Dear Linda:

Please accept this letter on behalf of the Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) requesting consideration by the Bureau of Land Management’s, Royal Gorge Field Office (RGFO) for additional recreational opportunities within the jurisdictional boundaries of the RGFO, specifically for multiple use, motorized single-track trails.

The TPA is a volunteer organization created to be a viable partner to public land managers, working with the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to preserve the sport of trail riding and multi-use recreation. The TPA acts as an advocate for recreational trail riding and takes action to ensure that the USFS and BLM allocate a fair and equitable percentage of public lands access to diverse trail multi-use recreational opportunities.

Albeit this letter has been unsolicited by the RGFO, the TPA would like to offer our suggestion for enhanced recreational opportunities available for motorized single-track riding opportunities in OHV recreational spaces such as the Seep Springs, Penrose Commons, Big Bend OHV Park and Texas Creek areas.

The TPA is offering these comments because we believe it is fundamental and important to highlight and emphasize that multiple-use, motorized single-track is a very unique and special recreational experience just like a “downhill mountain bike trail”. That riding motorized single-track is no different than the cherished single-track trail riding experience that is embraced by the mountain bike community. It is well documented through multiple local sources, maps and guides (e.g., BLM’s Colorado Recreation Guide 2017, Backyard to Backcountry,) that the trail network and associated recreational spectrum of recreational infrastructure within the Colorado Front Range has very sparse multiple-use, motorized single-track riding opportunities on both USFS and BLM lands. Most conspicuously, there exists very few motorized single-track riding/trail opportunities designated for beginners or intermediate level riders looking for that very special recreational experience of “riding single-track”. As stated earlier, motorcyclists appreciate and cherish the single-track riding experience just like mountain bike and horseback riders do.

The TPA would offer our support for the RGFO’s consideration of any additional multiple-use, motorized single-track riding opportunities within the RGFO’s jurisdiction. The TPA is available to provide our technical expertise in planning, selecting and designing new multiple-use, motorized single-track trails and enhancing the recreational experiences of off-highway motorcyclists. The TPA is also willing to provide letters of support in the future should the RGFO decide to apply for CPW OHV grant funding to plan and or construct multiple use, motorized single-track trails. The TPA also has limited financial resources of our own that we could be willing to commit to the RGFO for the construction of new or additional multiple-use, motorized single-track trails.

In summary the TPA requests and supports the RGFO’s consideration of new and additional multiple-use, motorized single-track trails. Please feel free to contact myself, Don Riggle at 719-338-4106 or info@coloradotpa.org.

Sincerely,
D.E. Riggle
Director of Operations
Trails Preservation Alliance

Continue Reading

Letter of support for HR 5797 – The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Full Funding Act of 2020

Chairman Peter Defazio
2165 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

Ranking Member Sam Graves
2165 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

RE: Support for HR 5797 “The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Full Funding Act of 2020”

Dear Chairman Defazio and Ranking Member Graves:

Please accept this correspondence as the vigorous support of the Organizations above for HR 5797 “The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Full Funding Act of 2020” (“The Proposal”). Prior to addressing our support for the Proposal, we believe a brief summary of each Organization is needed. The Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (“COHVCO”) is a grassroots advocacy organization of approximately 250,000 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 ensure that the USFS and BLM allocate to trail riding a fair and equitable percentage of access to public lands. Colorado Snowmobile Association (“CSA”) was founded in 1970 to unite the more than 30,000 winter motorized recreationists across the state to enjoy their passion. CSA has also become the voice of organized snowmobiling seeking to advance, promote and preserve the sport of snowmobiling through work with Federal and state land management agencies and local, state and federal legislators telling the truth about our sport. The Idaho Recreation Council (“IRC”) is a recognized, statewide, collaboration of Idaho recreation enthusiasts and others that will identify and work together on recreation issues in cooperation with land managers, legislators and the public to ensure a positive future for responsible outdoor recreation access for everyone, now and into the future. For purposes of this correspondence TPA, COHVCO, CSA, and IRC will be referred to as “The Organizations”.

We are writing to request that HR 5797, “The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Full Funding Act of 2020” sponsored by Congressman Welch of VT and Congressman Curtis of UT be included in the transportation reauthorization bill currently being drafted in your committee. Without Congressional approval before September 30th, the program is at risk of going dormant, creating a huge void for recreational trail development and maintenance funding.

A. RTP funding is a catalyst for significant matching of funding from outside sources.

For more than a quarter-century the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) has been the key source of funding for recreational trails across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Based on the “user-pay, user-benefit” model of the Highway Trust Fund, the RTP is funded from gas taxes paid by nonhighway recreational vehicles. The RTP is currently funded at $84 million annually but it is estimated that federal gas taxes paid by nonhighway recreational vehicles amounts to more than $270 million annually. HR 5797 would correct this inequity and return more of the gas tax dollars for off-road recreation and be directing this funding to hugely successful programs that could direct this money immediately on to the ground for the benefit of all recreational uses. The Organizations are also intimately aware that often small amounts of RTP funding are major catalysts for matching efforts from partners on projects.

In Colorado, the Organizations are intimately familiar with the benefits of the RTP program as our RTP monies are pooled with the voluntary registration program funds from OHV registrations through Colorado Parks and Wildlife Trails Program. As you are aware, most states do not apply RTP monies in this way but rather administer the RTP program through their Department of Transportation. The Organizations note these programmatic differences not to assert one administration model is better than another but rather to allow you to understand why we are able to identify these benefits so clearly. The result of this programmatic leveraging inn Colorado is the approximately $1.5 million in funding currently provided through RTP becomes more than $6 million in funding on the ground. While this leveraging significantly magnifies the impacts of the RTP program, funding of multiple use recreational access still falls well short of the funding needs on the ground, as we are facing unprecedented challenges such as poor forest health, in many of the recreational areas throughout the western United States. The existing RTP funding is critical in providing basic maintenance of trails throughout the State of Colorado and fully funding the RTP program would allow these maintenance efforts to significantly expand almost immediately for all types of usages. It has been our experience that the RTP model of funding provides the most flexibility in use of these monies, while LWCF monies have more restrictions in their funding and sometimes remain unused as a result. The flexibility of the funding in the RTP program is a major reason we are asking for the program to be fully funded. This funding is the easiest and fastest money to be able to use and provides basic safety for all users of these recreational opportunities as maintained trails are safe trails.

In Idaho, similar leveraging of RTP funding without registration based funding occurs consistently as well as Idaho administers the RTP program in conjunction with their user registration program. We would like to highlight three projects where RTP money was leveraged with registration funds and projects were able to undertaken that are much larger in scale than could ever be undertaken with RTP money alone.

1. Bear Valley Lakes National Recreation Trail Heavy Maintenance

This project completed significant maintenance on the Bear Valley Lakes National Recreation Trail, a motorized single-track trail in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Lemhi County, the project sponsor, was awarded an RTP grant of $27,920 with $9,405 in matching funds. The trail was cleared of trees and rocks, the trail tread was maintained, and areas with erosion and drainage issues were addressed to improve the riding experience and reduce stream sedimentation. The county, along with the Youth Employment Program, US Forest Service staff and volunteers from a local user group completed the project.

2. Beaver Creek Trail Reroute

This current project in the Sawtooth National Forest was awarded $43,000 in RTP funds with a match of $30,000. A major component of the project is re-opening the Beaver Creek Trail. This motorized single-track trail has been impacted by recent fires and flooding, and the grant is funding crews and materials to reroute and reconstruct the trail to allow better motorized accessibility. The grant also provides funding for crews to clear and maintain Off-Highway Vehicle trails in the district to continue to provide OHV access. The project is being completed by US Forest Service Staff, local motorized user groups, and contracted trail crews.

3. Upper Boardman Creek Trail Bridge Replacement

This recently funded project will replace a trail bridge crossing Boardman Creek in the Sawtooth National Forest. This bridge, recently closed due to its unsafe condition, is located at a popular access point for more than 150 miles of trails in the area. It is also 100 yards up the trail from a trail bridge constructed in 2014 using RTP funds that spans the South Fork of the Boise River. This project benefits single-track motorized trail users and will be completed by the US Forest Service in the summer of 2020. The Forest Service was awarded $28,500 in RTP grant funding, with a match of $7,500.
The Organizations submit that fully funding of RTP would trigger far larger amounts of matching and leveraging of funds from outside sources. Often partner and outside funding continues well beyond the matching capacity of RTP money, but the lack of RTP funding to focus these efforts around means this money may not be as fully utilized as it could be. The RTP is always a catalyst for efforts and the Organizations vigorously submit that a fully funded RTP program would create benefits on the ground from this increased leveraging of funding that would far exceed the value of the increase in RTP funding.

It is worth noting that the RTP provides funding for motorized and non-motorized trails alike and is administered by the states who select the projects to fund. By law, 30% of the funding goes to motorized trails, 30% goes to non-motorized trails, and 40% goes to mixed-use trails in the states. The Organizations are intimately aware that a loss of the RTP program funding would directly negatively impact our efforts but the Organizations do not rely exclusively on RTP monies to operate. The same cannot be said of other large groups of recreational users. Without RTP funding the non-motorized portions of the CPW Trails program simply would cease to function as there is no other source of funding available for these efforts.

B. Economic benefits and jobs from the RTP program are more important than ever with the challenges from COVID.

The Organizations are aware there is not the high level of controversy around the RTP program that there has been with the several stimulus bills that have been passed in response to COVID. RTP funds, leveraged with registration monies, provide direct funding which is important to the long-term economic recovery of the country from the COVID. In Colorado this funding hires more than 400 seasonal employees for shovel ready maintenance projects protecting natural resources, through federal, state and local agencies. The Organizations could not envision a more effective manner to provide economic stimulus than this, as these jobs are critically sought after in these times of unprecedented unemployment throughout the Country. Unprecedented unemployment has resulted in many positions receiving dozens of applicants, instead of being difficult to fill. This is a clear indication of the challenges Americans in Colorado are facing in providing basic resources. Failing to hire these 400 people would be in addition to the CPW staff salaries reflected in the cash fund balance and these staff would be the first employees within CPW to have experienced any job loss as part of the COVID response. Without these funds, these 400 plus people will not be hired. Again, these factors weigh in favor of allocating existing funds faster rather than rescinding funding.

These employees and related volunteer support for these programs results in almost 60 dedicated and well-equipped maintenance crews providing recreational access to public lands throughout the year. Last year these crews cut more than 12,000 dead trees off the trail network in the state. While this is an impressive number of trees cut, in many areas this is insufficient to maintain access due to the huge number of dead trees in many areas. More funding is critically needed to maintain recreational opportunities.

The economic contributions that result from this funding are exemplified by the fact that the $1.3 million in combined RTP funding and user registration monies from the snowmobile community allows for a vigorous winter backcountry recreational community in Colorado. In 2017, the Dept of Commerce estimated the economic contribution from this recreational activity to be more than $475 million dollars. The Organizations submit that with the challenges being faced in the post-COVID response, benefits such as this are more important than ever.

Thank you for your consideration. It is absolutely critical that HR 5797 be included in the upcoming transportation reauthorization bill.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Scott Jones, Esq.
CSA Executive Director
IRC, TPA & COHVCO Authorized Representative

Trails Preservation Alliance logo COHVCO logo CSA logo Idaho Recreation Council logo

 

Continue Reading

UPDATE: ACTION ALERT $5 Million In Colorado OHV Funds At Stake

Action Alert Update

We wanted to provide an update on the OHV fund situation after a week of hearings with the Joint Budget Committee…

RIGHT NOW WE ARE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC.

Here is why:

You were heard
Your comments were definitely heard by the JBC, so thanks to everyone that commented, we think they made a difference!

Issues are still on-going
Things are very unsettled in general in Denver and this issue is a long way from being completely resolved.

The OHV fund is a known resource
The OHV fund has come up with the JBC once and was declined to pursue. This could come back up as there is a large shortfall in the state budget.

If you’re not aware of the situation, please read the initial Action Alert. Be assured, we will continue monitoring the situation and keep you updated!

Continue Reading

A Call to Action for all Outdoorsmen Across America – AZ Backcountry Explorers

Article dated January 12, 2020 from the Arizona Backcountry Explorers website.

There is a lot of good information and recommendations – check out the entire article on their site.

 

Arizona Backcountry Explorers logoThe future of outdoor recreation lies in your hands

We are rapidly losing recreational opportunities across the west. I am not asking for your money. Nor am I asking you to attend any meetings or submit comments on a terrible land-use issue. We are reaching out to you to gain support and send a message to our Congressmen. It’s time to take this to Washington for a real solution.

Introduction

As you may know, we have been talking a lot about the recent changes in the Tonto National Forest. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re probably concerned.

In this article, I will reach out to members of the outdoor community across the US. I will give you the solution to the land use issues we have been fighting for so many years. But first, I must tell you a little history about how we beat BLM. I will tell you how it works, what to do, and who supports this effort.

After reading this article, you will ask yourself, “why hasn’t my club or organization done this before?” It can only be one of two things, greed or ignorance. From this article, you will have the tools to bring our federal land managers to their knees and force them into compliance. You will be able to bring the power back to the state, in other words, the people. You will level the playing field for your club or organization.

Continue reading the article on their website: https://www.azbackcountryexplorers.com/2020/01/a-call-to-action-for-all-outdoorsmen.html

Continue Reading

2020 Colorado OHV Program Grant Awards Announced

2020 OHV Grant Award Program cover imageSince the OHV Program started in 1991, more than $62 million from OHV registration fees have been allocated for “on the ground” improvements for motorized recreation.

In 2020, $4,456,258 was allocated to motorized recreation projects across the state!

This PDF highlights the grants that were awarded for 2020. Work on these projects will begin in the summer of 2020. Look for the OHV Program’s acknowledgment of your “OHV Registration Dollars at Work” on your favorite trail.

Download the full PDF of grants awarded here:
Colorado Parks & Wildlife 2020 Off-Highway Vehicle Grant Awards

Thinking your club should get in on this?
We think so too!

Continue Reading

Colorado Trails Program Funding Rescission – Letter to the JBC

Colorado Trails Program Funding Rescission 

Sent via email to:
Senator Dominick Moreno
dominick.moreno.senate@state.co.us

Representative Daneya Esgar
Daneya.esgar.senate@state.co.us

Representative Julie McCluskie
Julie.mccluskie.house@state.co.us

Senator Bob Rankin
bob.rankin.senate@state.co.us

Representative Kim Ransom
kim.ransom.house@state.co.us

Senator Rachel Zenzinger
senatorrachelz@gmail.com

 

Dear Senators and Representatives:

The Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) is providing this letter to express our vigorous opposition to any possible rescission of funds from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Trails Program.  We understand the possibility of fund rescission is due to ongoing budget issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 multi-use recreation.  The TPA acts as an advocate for recreational trail riding and takes the action to ensure that the USFS and BLM allocate a fair and equitable percentage of public lands access to diverse trail multi-use recreational opportunities.

The TPA must strongly object to rescission of funds that have been collected through the “voluntarily” created user fund specifically for the registration of Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) and snowmobiles and are clearly not general tax revenues.

Governor Polis has repeatedly stated that the COVID-19 response is a statewide issue and that our collective response should be unified across all residents of the State. All Coloradans are equally responding to the COVID-19 challenge together and by asking one community (e.g., the OHV & Snowmobile users) to bear disproportionate costs of recovery, simply because funding from a voluntarily created user fund is available, directly contradicts the unified response that has been professed thus far.  As the Governor has repeatedly and consistently stated in his response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will only work when the state moves in a unified manner and any proposed rescission of CPW Trails Program funding is in direct contradiction to a unified response.

Records may indicate that funds are residing in the OHV cash fund, however, a large portion of this money has already been spent and is awaiting reimbursement or is allocated for operations of the program and overhead. Most trail projects are reimbursed only after work is completed and as a result, the many small nonprofit organizations that accomplish this work are unable to cover these costs outside of grant funding. Under federal contracting requirements, even federal agencies can only cover these costs for a short period of time, to allow for the processing of reimbursement paperwork.  This creates the appearance that there is more funding available than there actually is as reimbursement is often a very protracted process. Declining this contractually obligated reimbursement will destroy most grant applicants.  Failing to provide contractually obligated reimbursements will also put the Program in direct violation of federal, state or local contracting laws.  Even if money was returned later to the Program, these violations could not be corrected or remedied.

The TPA must also emphasize that the Trails Program funding is important to the long-term economic recovery in Colorado from the COVID-19 pandemic, as this funding hires more than 400 seasonal employees for trail maintenance projects protecting natural resources, through federal, state and local agencies.  The TPA can not envision a more effective manner to provide economic stimulus than this CPW grant program, as these jobs are likely to be critically sought after in these times of unprecedented unemployment throughout our State. Unprecedented unemployment has resulted in many positions receiving multiple applicants.  This is a clear indication of the challenges Coloradans are facing in providing basic resources for the sustainment of their well-being. Failing to hire these 400 people would be in addition to the CPW staff salaries reflected in the cash fund balance as these staff would be the first employees within CPW to have experienced any job loss as part of the COVID-19 response. Without these funds, these 400 plus people will not be hired.

This funding provides recreational opportunities for all Coloradans, a priority for protection in the Governor’s response to COVID-19, and provides protection for natural resources involved in recreation.  The Trail Program funds provides over 90% of the monies that maintain trails, provide signage, fund enforcement, and mitigate environmental impacts.  Federal budgets for recreational trails are nearly nonexistent.  Diverting those funds will only exacerbate the backlog, noting that non-motorized recreationists are beneficiaries of the CPW Recreational Trails Committee’s; OHV Grant Program considering that all “motorized trails” are open to non-motorized users. Education of all users to avoid impacts to natural resources from trail braiding when users attempt to social distance while recreating is critically time-sensitive. Avoiding impacts all together protects critical natural resources and costly restoration efforts at some point in the future.

The TPA strongly urges the JBC to reassess the possible rescission of funding as we believe the proper question must be “how do we get the money out to the clubs and agencies faster?” rather than” how much do we rescind?”.  While the Trails Program might appear a valid source of funds to respond to COVID-19, most of this money has already been encumbered to projects that align well with the recovery. Ensuring the economic recovery from the current pandemic and protecting recreational opportunities are both critical to our state’s response to the crisis.  If funding is rescinded, people who are currently employed will lose their employment because of this decision.

 

Sincerely,

D.E. Riggle
Director of Operations
Trails Preservation Alliance

 

Continue Reading

ACTION ALERT! $5 Million In Colorado OHV Funds At Stake

Action Alert

We need your help to protect the OHV funding program!

It has come to our attention that the Colorado Joint Budget Committee (JBC) is looking at rescinding all or part of the funding for the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) program in response to the COVID outbreak. This is the fund that is created from your OHV dollars and it will be used for other purposes despite the fact it is not general tax revenues.

This would mean millions of your registration dollars would be lost!

While we are all concerned about the COVID issues and response, redirecting the OHV fund is not the way to solve this problem.

You can help by emailing the Colorado Joint Budget Committee members!

We need you to email the JBC members (politely) and let them know this is not acceptable. Here are some points that you can cut and paste – but we encourage you to rewrite or add personal experiences with the program.

Comment suggestions to use in opposition to the rescission:

  1. The OHV is a voluntarily collected fund for the benefits of the trails community and should not be reallocated for other uses as the program benefits all trail use, both motorized and nonmotorized; in fact, it outstrips all funding from other sources set aside for trails by a factor of 5! This is motorized money that is protected by Colorado law. This is not general tax revenues.
  2. The Governor has repeatedly stated the COVID response is a statewide issue and response should be unified across all residents of the State. It is unfair to place additional burdens or costs on certain user groups simply because there is money available – this rescission would do just that.
  3. The funding challenges are being encountered in the trails’ community at record levels, given the record visitation to the many dispersed recreational facilities after recreational activity was allowed in the Governor’s COVID orders. This money will be critical to maintaining these facilities in response to the record usages that have resulted from the Governor’s exceptions to the stay at home orders for recreation. It will create another year’s backlog for trail maintenance.
  4. The OHV program hires more than 400 seasonal employees for shovel ready maintenance projects protecting natural resources, through federal, state, and local agencies. These jobs are critical to the recovery and have already received dozens of applicants for each position as a result of the record levels of unemployment.
  5. OHV grants are contractual obligations and must be honored as most require the grantee to outlay money and then apply to be reimbursed from the grant. This reimbursement process can take time and as a result, much of the fund may have already been spent and simply awaiting reimbursement from the program. Failing to reimburse grantees is a “double lose” situation as money has already been spent and then could never be reimbursed.
  6. OHV grants are contractual obligations and governed by Federal, State, and Local procurement statutes and have taken decades of effort to align. Once a reimbursement does not happen these laws are violated and returning the money does not cure these violations in the short term
  7. JBC members should be asking is not “How do we redirect the OHV fund?” but rather “How do we get the OHV program funds on the ground faster?”

Email JBC members (politely) at the addresses below:

Senator Dominick Moreno – dominick.moreno.senate@state.co.us
Representative Daneya Esgar – Daneya.esgar.senate@state.co.us
Representative Julie McCluskie – Julie.mccluskie.house@state.co.us
Senator Bob Rankin – bob.rankin.senate@state.co.us
Representative Kim Ransom – kim.ransom.house@state.co.us
Senator Rachel Zenzinger – senatorrachelz@gmail.com

Easily copy all email addresses to place into your email here: dominick.moreno.senate@state.co.us, Daneya.esgar.senate@state.co.us, Julie.mccluskie.house@state.co.us, bob.rankin.senate@state.co.us, kim.ransom.house@state.co.us, senatorrachelz@gmail.com

 


CSA, TPA, COHVCO logos

Continue Reading

The TPA is excited to Introduce our New Legal Team!

The TPA Board of Directors has recently entered into an agreement with the Holsinger Law LLC to begin representing the TPA and provide legal support as needed.

Kent Holsinger

Kent Holsinger is the founder and managing partner of Holsinger Law, LLC.  Based in Denver, Colorado, the firm has four attorneys and two paralegals and specializes in natural resources issues including public lands, wildlife, and water law.  Other practice areas include estate planning, real estate, corporate, and litigation.  Kent’s efforts have been recognized in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and on National Public Radio among many others.

Kent comes from a ranching family in Colorado’s North Park.  Prior to starting the firm, he served as the Assistant Director for Water at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and worked in Washington, D.C. for U.S. Senator Wayne Allard and Congressman Bob Schaffer.

He has received many honors including 5280’s Top Lawyers for Agricultural and Rural Law; Who’s Who in Energy; and Who’s Who in Agriculture.  Kent served as president of the Colorado Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society and as Vice-Chair to Colorado’s Conservation Easement Oversight Commission.  He is Secretary to the Board of Directors for Western Energy Alliance and a recent appointee to Colorado’s Aeronautical Board.  On June 1, 2019, Kent broke a world record (cert. pending) for fastest flight in the category between North America’s highest airport (Leadville, Colo.) and its lowest (Death Valley, Calif.).

Kent is admitted to practice in the State of Colorado; U.S. District Court for Colorado; the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the U.S. Supreme Court.  Kent has represented clients in federal courts in Colorado, Wyoming, California, and Washington, D.C. as well as the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court.  He has testified before Congress many times on topics including the Colorado River; settlement of Tribal reserved water rights; proposed improvements to the Endangered Species Act; and curtailing excessive and abusive environmental litigation.

Kent HolsingerAn avid motorcycle rider since age 5, Kent is passionate about enjoying the outdoors and preserving and improving access for multiple uses.  He currently rides a Kawasaki KLX 350 and a BMW GS1200. 

“It is an honor and pleasure to represent the Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) in all of its important work and legal needs,” said Holsinger.  He is enjoying getting to know TPA members and affiliates and is carefully considering the Rico-West Dolores litigation.  Kent is committed to helping maintain public access to public lands for all types of recreation.  All forms of OHV recreation provide tremendous economic benefits to Colorado communities.

The TPA is certainly glad that he’s on board! Welcome, Kent!

Continue Reading

Arizona Trails Economic Study – 2020

Arizona Trails Economic Study 2020 cover mountains and sky

Click image to download PDF

THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF TRAILS IN ARIZONA
A Travel Cost Method Study – TECHNICAL REPORT
Dari Duval, George Frisvold, Ashley Bickel
March 2020

The University of Arizona, Cooperative Extension
Collect of Agriculture & Life Sciences Agricultural & Resource Economics
© 2020 The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, The University of Arizona.

Executive Summary

What’s the issue?

Outdoor recreation supports the quality of life and health of individuals, communities, and local economies. Trail access for non-motorized and motorized recreation enriches the lives of community residents and visitors, providing an outlet for exercise, outdoor recreation, and transportation. The inherent value and enjoyment derived from outdoor recreation is not directly monetized, for example, through consumer spending or property values, yet it is the driver behind the outdoor recreation economy. The economic value that individuals place on amenities like trails can be measured in terms of consumer surplus. Consumer surplus is a monetary measure of how well-off individuals are as a result of consuming or using a particular good, service, or resource. In other words, it estimates the value of a good based on the benefits that individuals derive from using the good, service, or resource. For goods that are not bought and sold in markets, such as natural amenities, the value of a particular resource can be estimated indirectly using what is known as the travel cost method. In this method, benefits of an amenity are estimated based on how much individuals spend in time and money to travel to enjoy a particular amenity.

Estimating the economic value associated with use of natural resources and amenities is important in understanding how society is impacted by changes in the quality of or access to those resources. It can help to guide public policy and investments by informing our understanding of the benefits and costs of different actions affecting natural resources and amenities valued by the public.

As a complement to the Arizona State Parks 2020 Trails Plan, this study estimates the economic value of non-motorized and motorized trail use to Arizona residents using the travel cost method. Trail use includes use of trails managed by Arizona State Parks, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and other land management agencies for both non-motorized and motorized uses. Non-motorized uses include walking, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding/equestrian use, among others. Motorized trail uses include dirt biking, ATV, UTV, side-by-side, and four wheeling, among others. In addition to the economic value of trail use in Arizona to in-state residents, we also estimate total annual trail use for both non-motorized and motorized recreation, presenting the results in an origin-destination matrix that captures the estimated flow of in-state travel between counties for non-motorized and motorized trail recreation. Finally, we examine the importance of trail amenities to Arizona residents in their decisions of where to live and where to travel for leisure, both with important implications for community development.

What did the study find?

Total trail use

  • In the past year, Arizonans used trails in the state for non-motorized recreation an estimated 83,110,000 times, and for motorized recreation an estimated 20,117,000 times.
  • An estimated 59.2% of Arizona’s adult population (or 3,073,100 Arizonans) engaged in non-motorized trail use in the past year, and an estimated 24.4% of the adult population (1,263,600 Arizonans) engaged in motorized trail use in the past year. Some trail users participate in both non-motorized and motorized trail recreation.
  • Non-motorized trail users averaged 27.0 trail visits in the past year, and motorized trail users averaged 15.9 trail visits.

Economic value of trails in Arizona

  • The economic value (consumer surplus) derived from non-motorized trail use in Arizona by in-state residents, based on a midpoint estimate, is $8.3 billion per year, with model estimates ranging between $6.2 billion and $10.6 billion. The economic value (consumer surplus) derived from motorized trail use in Arizona by in-state residents is an estimated $5.2 billion per year.
  • Per visit consumer surplus for non-motorized trail use ranged between $90.32 and $128.03, depending on travel cost model assumptions, with a midpoint estimate of $100.06.
  • Per visit consumer surplus for motorized trail use was an estimated $259.17.

Importance of trails in Arizonans’ decision of where to live and visit

  • When asked the importance of having trails nearby in deciding where to live:
    • More than 77% of respondents that participated in non-motorized trail recreation in Arizona report trail proximity as somewhat or very important. This remains true whether the respondent has participated in the past year or has ever participated in non-motorized trail recreation at some point in the past.
    • Roughly 80% of respondents that have ever used motorized trails or have used motorized trails in the past year report that trail proximity is somewhat or very important.
  • When asked the importance of having trails nearby in their decision of where to visit:
    • Roughly 83% of respondents who have ever used non-motorized trails or who have used them in the past year consider trails somewhat or very important in their decision of where to visit. For individuals that have never used trails for non-motorized recreation or that haven’t used them in the past year, these percentages are slightly lower, ranging between 67% and 71%.
    • Close to 85% of respondents that have ever used motorized trails or have used motorized trails in the past year report that trail proximity is somewhat or very important. For those respondents that have never participated in motorized trail use or that haven’t in the past year, these figures ranged between 75% and 80%.

Top non-motorized and motorized trail destinations

  • Based on survey responses, top non-motorized trail use destinations include Phoenix, Tucson, Sedona, Apache Junction, Scottsdale, and Flagstaff. These top destinations are heavily reflective of popular trail use areas near major metro areas with large populations.
  • Top motorized trail use destinations, though still influenced by major metro areas, are more reflective of areas of the state that attract motorized trail users. Top motorized trail use areas include Apache Junction, Yuma, Buckeye, Black Canyon City, and Carefree.

How was the study conducted?

This study relies on data from a stratified random sample survey of Arizona residents eighteen years of age and older collected as part of Arizona’s 2020 Trails Plan. The survey collected information on respondents’ non-motorized and motorized trail use in the past year, the location of their favorite, most frequently-used, and furthest traveled to trails, as well as individuals’ demographics, including their home zip code. The analysis uses the travel cost method to estimate per-visit consumer surplus associated with non-motorized and motorized trail use. Trail use demand is modeled using a zero-inflated Poisson distribution, controlling for respondent socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The estimates of consumer surplus from non-motorized trail use vary based on assumptions about trail use of high-frequency trail users. This is why a midpoint, low, and high range of estimates are reported. For motorized trail use, data from secondary sources were used to develop a single, central estimate of consumer surplus. In addition, the analysis developed a trail user origin-destination matrix, capturing where trail users from around the state travel to for non-motorized and motorized trail recreation. The origin-destination results were used to develop profiles for each county in Arizona, examining the most popular non-motorized and motorized trail use destinations, and where users travel from to each county for trail-based recreation (see Appendix B).

Introduction

AZ study - list of trail use by typeOutdoor recreation supports the quality of life and health of individuals, communities, and local economies. As part of the Arizona State Parks 2020 Trails Plan, this study estimates the economic value of non-motorized and motorized trail use to Arizona residents, as well as statewide demand for in-state trail use. Trail use includes use of trails managed by Arizona State Parks, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and other land management agencies for non-motorized and motorized uses. Non-motorized uses include walking, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding/equestrian use, among others, and motorized uses include dirt biking, ATV, UTV, side-by-side, and four wheeling, among others. Economic value, also known as consumer surplus, measures how well-off individuals are made by consuming (or in this case, using) a particular good, service, or resource. For goods that are not bought and sold in markets, such as natural amenities, the value of a particular resource can be estimated indirectly. This can be done based upon how much an individual would be willing to spend in order to travel to a particular location, using what is known as the travel cost method (Parsons, 2003). This type of analysis is different from measures of consumer spending, and is well-suited to valuation of amenities like trails where individuals do not necessarily have to spend significant amounts of their income to engage in recreation.

This study relies on a statewide survey of Arizona residents eighteen years of age and older to estimate non-motorized and motorized trail use demand, willingness to pay for travel to trail destinations, and aggregate consumer surplus. The analysis covers trail user attitudes regarding the importance of trail infrastructure in their decisions of where to live and travel – questions with important implications for community development and policy. Additionally, the analysis includes development of a trail user origin-destination matrix, capturing where trail users from around the state travel to for non-motorized and motorized trail recreation.

The study begins with a summary of different strategies for valuation of natural resource-based amenities, followed by a specific description of the study’s data and methods, including the travel cost analysis and origin-destination matrix. Consumer surplus and origin-destination matrix results are presented separately for non-motorized and motorized trail users. We conclude with a discussion of the results and potential extensions of the research to inform state and community-level planning and policy.

Continued…

Download the PDF to read the entire study.

Continue Reading

Gila National Forest revised draft RMP/Planning

Gila National Forest
Att: Plan Revision
3005 E. Camino del Bosque
Silver City, NM 88061

Re: Gila NF revised draft RMP/Planning

Dear Sirs:

Please accept this correspondence as the comments of the Trail Preservation Alliance (“TPA”) and the Off-Road Business Association(“ORBA”) with regard to the Gila National Forests Resource Management Plan revision (“the Proposal”). The TPA and ORBA will be collectively referred to as the Organizations for purposes of these comments. The Organizations would like to address two specific issues in the revised draft, which are: 1. Shorter RMP are better; and 2. CDNST management must be aligned with multiple use recreational requirements specifically provided in the National Trails System Act. The Organizations have not included a detailed discussion of our interests and backgrounds as those were discussed in detail in our first round of comments.

1. Shorter is Better

The Organizations welcome the generalized and shorter nature of the RMP when compared to the former Gila RMP plan, and we would support additional streamlining of the proposal. While the Organizations understand the desire to insert numerous small plans into a larger planning process, it has been the Organizations experience that merely combining numerous small plans into a single large plan results in poor analysis of issues facing these projects, poor coordination of planning efforts and an exceptionally complex plan that results in large barriers when landscape-level plans issues are addressed. Often some of the complexity is the result of a desire to combine numerous small issues into the RMP in the belief that the RMP will expedite these projects. This should be avoided as we are aware of a very limited number of site-specific projects that have been completed as the result of their inclusion in landscape-level plans. Almost every one of the projects has required extensive site-specific analysis to complete and rarely has the landscape plan streamlined subsequent site-specific plans to levels that would justify the landscape level efforts.

The consolidation of multiple site-specific plans also yields a landscape plan that is VERY long and detailed. This length has proven to be a significant barrier to public participation in the planning process as most of the public lack the time or resources to review such a large planning document. This causes the public to oppose the plan even when there are very good things for the public in the plan. These overly complex and detailed plans also shorten the life and value of the plan as the plan simply lacks flexibility to adapt to changes in science or unforeseen challenges at the time of development. When these changes are encountered, the plan is simply irrelevant factually or recommending management that simply makes no sense in addressing on the ground issues. The current forest health situation on the Gila provides a perfect example of why RMPs must be flexible and avoid overly detailed analysis, mainly that the Gila is dealing with areas of the forest where tree mortality is easily at or above 90%. The Organizations submit that the current RMP has been a significant barrier to addressing this challenge, as planners in the 1980s were simply unable to understand the scope of the challenges that the forest could be facing almost 40 years after the plan was adopted. Again, these types of over-detailed analyses represent a situation that should be avoided in the development of the new Gila RMP. Shorter is better.

2. CDNST Management

Our second item of new information is the objection decision regarding the Rio Grande NF proposed management of their portions of the CDNST for horse and hike usage and not allowing non-conforming usages to approach or cross the CDNST. The objection decision required management of CDNST designated routes to be managed pursuant to the National Trails System Act on a segment by segment basis. We have not included the entire opinion as it is 88 pages in length but only the portions addressing multiple use restrictions proposed on the trail and areas adjacent to the CDNST. We are sharing this decision with your office as the Rio Grande NF had proposed to restrict access to Horse and Hike only on the entire forest in their RMP and not allow uses approaching or crossing the CDNST that were inconsistent with the Horse and Hike restrictions in a manner very similar to the Gila Proposal.

The Objection Officer’s decision overturning the Rio Grande proposed management for Horse and Hike usage with a direct application of the provisions of the NTSA allowing multiple uses on the trail is attached as Exhibit 1. The Organizations believe the decision generally speaks for itself. The Organizations have also attached a copy of the Rio Grande Objection to these comments, which addresses the multiple-use protections, and the reasoning that restrictions on usages such as those proposed were not adopted as Exhibit 2. In addition to the similarity of challenges that remain on the Gila when compared to the times that CDNST management documents were developed is highly relevant to the discussion of management changes.
Given the challenges that are being faced on the CDNST and similarity of management proposals between the Forests, we thought the direct application of the NTSA provisions for the uses on the trail would be highly relevant to your discussions moving forward. If you would like additional information on this decision or its supporting documentation please let us know and we would be happy to share it with you.

3. Conclusion

The Organizations are aware that often the lack of basic access to public lands due to management restrictions is a major management challenge when addressing large scale issues, such as poor forest health or drought. Providing a brief and balanced management goal and objective for the Forest would allow for future managers to address challenges from population growth and meaningfully address challenges to the Forest that simply might not even be thought of at this time. Why are The Organizations concerned? Too often recreational access to public lands is lost when maintenance cannot be performed in a cost-effective manner. Adding additional management standards that will at a minimum need an additional round of NEPA planning to address future management challenges simply makes no sense.

The Organizations are very concerned that as exclusionary corridors around the CDT and other National Trail System Act routes have moved forward in resource planning, often these corridors immediately become non-motorized corridors without addressing existing usages of these corridor areas as exemplified by the multiple forests in California moving forward with winter travel planning and the adoption of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan in Southern California by the BLM and numerous forests in the Rocky Mountains. The Organizations are pleased to have been provided this opportunity to provide input on the Gila NF planning process and looks forward to working to resolve any issues as the plan moves forward. Please feel free to contact either Don Riggle at 719-338-4106 or by mail at 725 Palomar Lane, Colorado Springs CO 80906 or Scott Jones, Esq at 518-281-5810 or by mail at 508 Ashford Drive, Longmont, CO 80504 for copies of any documentation that is relied on in this appeal or if you should wish to discuss any of the concerns raised further.

Scott Jones, Esq.
TPA/ORBA Authorized Representative

Don Riggle
Director of Operations
Trails Preservation Alliance

Fred Wiley
CNSA Past President ORBA President and CEO
One Voice Authorized Representative

Continue Reading

TPA Mid-Season Report – Spring 2020

Rider on trail

Photo: Don Nickels

Message from the TPA Board of Directors

The Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) Board of Directors sincerely hopes that this newsletter finds you safe and doing well. The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging our society in a multitude of ways and we want to sincerely thank the men and women who are serving on the front lines of this epidemic and making personal sacrifices to provide care to those in need.

The TPA’s work to preserve the sport of motorized trail riding and keeping our access to public lands open has continued unfettered during these challenging times for our nation. Your TPA staff and consultants have continued to monitor the many ongoing projects and representing our interests in new or emerging projects.


TPA Ongoing Projects

Due to the current national situation to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the TPA expects that most ongoing projects and actions with the USFS, BLM, CPW, etc. will experience some sort of delay in the weeks and months ahead with decision making or execution of actions. Below is a summary of current projects based upon what we knew prior to the COVID-19 response and restrictions.

Executive Director Search
The formal search for an Executive Director to lead the TPA into the future is continuing. There has been some interest, and a few folks have submitted their qualifications for consideration. The TPA recognizes that the right person is more important than having all of the experience and skills coming into this position. The TPA Board of Directors are willing to participate in the development of the right candidate to start work as an advocate and then develop various areas of expertise, culminating in the ability to be an effective Executive Director. Read more…

Pike & San Isabel National Forests (PSI), Public Motor Vehicle Use Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
Recent conversations with the PSI staff and District Rangers has indicated that the Final EIS is expected to be released sometime in July 2020. Note that Final EIS does not typically have a public comment period, but will have an opportunity for formal “Objections” for those that have “standing”. Currently, there is a court specified project completion date set by the litigation agreement that requires the Decision to be made by the end of 2020. If the EIS and associated Decision are not completed on time, the USFS will be required to go back to the court and ask for an extension.

Rio Grande National Forest, Forest Plan Revision
The draft Forest Plan Revision has been completed and presented to the Chief of the USFS and staff. The release of the Final Plan could come at any time.

Multiple-use access to Continental Divide Trail has been protected, WE WON!
A broad coalition of motorized trail users, including TPA, COHVCO, and Colorado Snowmobile Association are celebrating a successful objection of the Rio Grande Forest Plan management of the Continental Divide Trail (“CDNST”).

The Forest had proposed to restrict usage to horseback and hiking only despite a long history of multiple-use of the CDNST. In the Objection decision, the Forest was instructed to correct their decision to reflect the multiple-use nature of the trail as specified in the National Trails System Act.

This is a HUGE deal on the Rio Grande National Forest as the CDNST is the entire western boundary of the Rio Grande National Forest. With the restriction of horse and hike only that was proposed in the Resource Management Plan (RMP), motorized usage could not approach or cross the CDNST within 1 mile of the CDNST. This would have closed Stony Pass, Wolf Creek Pass and numerous other passes to all motorized usage, despite the hugely important nature of the routes in those areas to all users and the irreplaceable nature of these areas to connect longer distance trails that cross these areas. There would have been a myriad of trails within the 1-mile corridor and three important snowmobile grooming programs at risk of loss as well.

The precedent set with this decision will impact many other areas as we see similar attempts to restrict access to the CDNST on the GMUG and numerous other forests in New Mexico.

GMUG National Forest, Forest Plan Revision
To the TPA’s knowledge, this plan revision has yet to be presented and reviewed by the Chief of the USFS and staff. The TPA expects that the GMUG Draft Forest Plan Revision will be briefed to the Chief of the USFS sometime this summer and subsequently should be available for additional public review and comment during the fall of 2020.

Rico West Dolores litigation
The Federal Court’s decision on this action could be made and posted at any time. The TPA has been told that most pending court cases will likely be delayed due to the COVID-19 response. The TPA has asked for the opportunity to provide an oral argument in the case. However, we do not believe we will receive a favorable decision on this request and suspect that an oral argument will not be allowed. Read more…

New Legal Firm selected to represent the TPA
The TPA has selected a Denver based law firm, Holsinger Law (www.holsingerlaw.com), to represent the TPA on the Rico West Dolores litigation and be the TPA’s legal counsel on future actions and projects.

Silverton Area, Reestablish the Minnie Trail Project
This a new project in development with the BLM Field Office in Gunnison. The TPA initiated this project in partnership with the San Juan Trail Riders club, the Public Access Preservation Association (PAPA) and the Colorado 500 Organization. A Decision on the project is expected this spring. Read more…

 


2020 Colorado 600
Trails Awareness Symposium

motorcycle in woods + Colorado 600 logo

The TPA’s signature annual event is still on! Join us 13-18 September 2020 in Crested Butte Colorado. Crested Butte was selected for this year’s event because of the terrific and wonderful diversity of riding in the area (both single-track and dual-sport), a First Class hotel and venue and close proximity to the town of Crested Butte and it’s adjacent historic mining area.

A reminder that the Colorado 600 is the TPA’s primary fundraiser and provides funding for all of our ongoing actions and projects. Like most everyone else, the COVID-19 situation has adversely affected the TPA’s strategic investments (i.e. Stock Market) for operating funds. Continued donations will be even more critical to help ensure continued TPA operations and actions.

Special features planned for this year’s Colorado 600 include attendance by racing legend Destry Abbott, a long time friend and supporter of the 600. A special speaker for this year will be the District Ranger for the Gunnison National Forest and an added feature will include “An Evening with Andrew Short”. Shorty will discuss and take questions about his participation in the recent 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. This will be a special opportunity for the Colorado 600 riders to get a first-hand account of what it is like to compete as a Factory Rider in the Dakar Rally.

Visit the Colorado 600 website for additional info.
NOTE: Registration will close soon – we are almost at the rider limit!

Register for the Colorado 600 Now!

 

 


The Changing Landscape of Local Involvement for Clubs Associated with Motorized Recreation

By Scott Jones
Scott is a legal and land-use consultant that supports the TPA, COHVCO and the Colorado Snowmobile Association.

3 motorcycles on trail, forest in background

Photo: Sean Klinger

 

Our local clubs are the backbone of the motorized community here in Colorado. They are at the forefront in dealing with many local issues and relationships with local officials.
Read more…

 


Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) OHV Grant Program

By Jason Elliott and Scott Bright
Both Jason and Scott work with the TPA and serve on CPW’s State Trails and OHV Subcommittee.

trail, mountains, blue sky

Photo: Don Riggle

 

Being able to ride on public land is a constant fight – we need to continue to work together to preserve our sport!

Each and every year, CPW’s OHV Grant program is assembled to review grant applications and how your OHV sticker funds will be best used in the State of Colorado.

The grants come in different forms, as they can be for a new trail, equipment, supplies, or all of the above. Currently, the Forest Service and BLM have direction to put more emphasis on recreation opportunities within their designated area, both motorized and non-motorized.

Read more…

 


Summary

Trail sign - closed to motorcycles

Photo: Tim Nixon

Being able to ride on public land is a constant fight – we need to continue to work together to preserve our sport!

The TPA, each of the Board of Directors, and our dedicated consultants are all available to assist our local clubs and supporters by helping each of you preserve and expand the sport of motorcycle trail riding and motorized recreation on public lands. If you or your club want additional information on any of the topics presented in this newsletter, please feel free to contact Don Riggle (info@coloradotpa.org). We will put you in direct contact with the appropriate subject matter expert or staff member best able to assist.

The coming months will undoubtedly be challenging for all of us in many different and new ways. We are all in this together, and each of us has a role to play, even if it is simply staying home and staying healthy to protect others. The TPA sincerely hopes that we will are all back out riding our motorcycles and returning to normal life soon.

 


Thanks to Our Industry Supporters

 

Sponsor logos - KLIM, Dunlop, KTM , Rocky Mountain ATV, Elite Motorsports, Motion Pro

Continue Reading

The Changing Landscape of Local Involvement for Clubs Associated with Motorized Recreation

By Scott Jones
Scott is a legal and land-use consultant that supports the TPA, COHVCO and the Colorado Snowmobile Association.

3 motorcycles on trail, forest in background

Photo: Sean Klinger

 

Our local clubs are the backbone of the motorized community here in Colorado. They are at the forefront in dealing with many local issues and relationships with local officials.

These are the folks who are volunteering to fix trails, getting grants, paying their registration fees, providing local knowledge and insights to resolve issues, organizing the end of the year barbeques, and generally serving as the glue for all trail users. We have done this really well for a very long time, and sometimes we do it so well that it embarrasses other users of the routes we maintain. Every year your $6 million in motorized funding becomes more and more critical to the operation of the entire trail community, often if other people are not aware of the contribution. While our local clubs have been working hard to keep trails open, the challenges we are facing have changed and evolved.

One of the major evolutions that our clubs are going to have to embrace is the development of local collaboratives throughout the state to address trails, and often these collaboratives are not directly addressing motorized trails. Rather they may be seeking to address recreation more generally. These collaboratives are often not convened by your local land manager, but by local government entities or not-for-profits. Even if the collaborative does not want to address motorized trails, their decisions impact your access to motorized opportunities. The convening body presents an interesting hurdle to the local motorized club, which is that often these bodies are not the traditional groups that you have worked with when doing trail maintenance. Our clubs have always worked with the land managers as our trails are overwhelmingly on federal lands.

These local collaborative efforts are here to stay. They are only picking up steam in many communities, and it would be foolish not to recognize this.

There are two good reasons we need to evolve. We cannot let the practice of only working with federal land managers guide us as we move forward, as many local collaboratives are seeking to manage lands that the entity may not have direct control over. We still have to be at the table to participate in the decision, and if we are not there, the decision will be made for us, and sometimes by folks that don’t like us. We already have examples of these collaboratives failing to reflect motorized interests and make generalized assertions of benefits that are often offensively short of what the local motorized community wants.

The second reason is these collaboratives are a great place to tell our stories about what we do for all trail users and have done for more than 30 years. In most Ranger Districts, we provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for maintenance and operation of recreational opportunities for the benefit of all; this includes direct funding of staff for the office, equipment for trail maintenance, and funding for a wide range of other projects. In addition to this funding, at a scale that no one else provides, we are often the largest source of volunteer labor for these projects.

While we have worked hard for decades to maintain our access, this discussion has changed. Our efforts simply must change along with this new direction, or we will lose trails. Your club participation in these local efforts is going to be one of the necessary changes. We all value the opportunities we have and recognize what we don’t want Colorado and the west to become.

Continue Reading

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) OHV Grant Program

By Jason Elliott and Scott Bright
Jason and Scott work with the TPA and serve on CPW’s State Trails and OHV Subcommittee.

trail, mountains, blue sky

Photo: Don Riggle

 

Each and every year, CPW’s OHV Grant program is assembled to review grant applications and how your OHV sticker funds will be best used in the State of Colorado.

The grants come in different forms, as they can be for a new trail, equipment, supplies, or all of the above. Currently, the Forest Service and BLM have direction to put more emphasis on recreation opportunities within their designated area, both motorized and non-motorized.

OHV Stickers generate about 4.2 million dollars per year in Colorado, and that’s just for the motorized community. Approximately 1.7 million dollars of this money goes into the Good Management trail maintenance. These are trail crews affiliated with Forest Service Districts and BLM Field Offices that help maintain trails within their respective areas. This money is only for motorized or multiple-use trails. The rest is there for organizations – like clubs – to apply for and put back into your area.

Nervous? Don’t be.

You don’t have to try to get a 50-mile loop into your riding area on your first go-around. Your grant could be a section of the current trail that needs repair or re-alignment due to damage. It could also be a connector to another trail to make a loop, or extend a loop that currently exists. Clubs can also apply for equipment purchases or materials to do trail maintenance. The best way is to start with a couple of people in your club and identify what you want to get done.

Check out examples of past grants to see what is getting done around the state at cpw.state.co.us. Search for grants. All past grants are on this website. Work with your local land or recreational manager to identify needs as you will need these land managers involved with whatever projects you’ll want to do.

Applications are completed a year in advance. Applications for 2021-2022 are due in late November early December of 2020. The grants are reviewed for completeness and eligibility and posted for comment in early December. After the public comment period, the OHV sub-committee reviews grants and will ask for questions to be addressed during the grant application presentations.

Grant presentations are heard in March and scored by the sub-committee. The scores are then presented to the State Trails Committee and subsequently approved. Money is made available during the following next calendar year.

The TPA wants to see clubs to get more involved in how their areas are managed. It will connect you with your local land manager and help you be a better partner to the district or field office. The money you apply for and use in your area through the grant process is less money the local land managers will need from their limited agency budgets.

The TPA is here to help with questions and guidance. Get in touch if you are thinking of applying for a grant.

We are here to help.

Continue Reading

Great American Outdoors Act S3422

Senator Corey Gardner
354 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Re: Great American Outdoors Act S3422

Dear Senator Gardner:
The above Organizations (Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, Trail Preservation Alliance, Colorado Snowmobile Association, Idaho Recreation Council) welcome the opportunity to voice our limited support and hope for revisions to the Great American Outdoor Act (S 3422) (hereinafter referred to as “the Proposal”) to make the Proposal both more effective on the ground and more valuable to a wider range of communities. The Organizations submit this economic benefit that could result from the implementation of the Proposal should not be overlooked given the current economic uncertainty that many small communities are facing as a result of the Covid outbreak.

While the Organizations are supportive of any additional funding becoming available to address basic maintenance of resources and opportunities on public lands, the Organizations submit that with some minor changes the impact of the Proposal could generate significantly more benefit for resources and opportunities on public lands and economic benefits to a larger number of communities throughout the country. These revisions would include better equity in the allocation of funds across the land management agencies, more flexibility in the administration of these funds and a small revision of the criteria for a project or effort to become eligible for funding. While the communities we represent have partnered with land managers for approaching 50 years and are now providing almost $100 million in annual funding for maintenance and operations to land managers that benefits all users, the Organizations are concerned that this model of operations and partnership would struggle to be eligible for any funding under the current criteria of the Proposal. That simply sends the wrong message to these partners and programs.

1. Who we are.

Prior to addressing the specific concerns, the Organizations have regarding the Proposal, we believe a brief summary of each Organization is needed. The Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (“COHVCO”) is a grassroots advocacy organization of approximately 250,000 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 ensure that the USFS and BLM allocate to trail riding a fair and equitable percentage of access to public lands. Colorado Snowmobile Association (“CSA”) was founded in 1970 to unite the more than 30,000 winter motorized recreationists across the state to enjoy their passion. CSA has also become the voice of organized snowmobiling seeking to advance, promote and preserve the sport of snowmobiling through work with Federal and state land management agencies and local, state and federal legislators telling the truth about our sport. The Idaho Recreation Council (“IRC”) is a recognized, statewide, collaboration of Idaho recreation enthusiasts and others that will identify and work together on recreation issues in cooperation with land managers, legislators and the public to ensure a positive future for responsible outdoor recreation access for everyone, now and into the future. For purposes of this correspondence TPA, COHVCO, CSA, and IRC will be referred to as “The Organizations”. The Organizations have actively participated in all types of projects ranging from localized efforts to maintain or reroute portions of trails to large regional or national efforts, such as: The Desert Renewable Energy Efforts in California; Sage Grouse management efforts in the Rocky Mountains; recent revisions of the new USFS planning rule; development and revocation of the BLM 2.0 Planning Rule; and development of the USFS winter travel rule.

The Organizations have also partnered with the USFS/BLM/other federal managers and state level parks and recreation programs (generally referred to as “land managers” for purposes of these comments) for decades in addressing trail related maintenance issues of all sizes through the voluntary registration fees for OHVs and OSVs that have been adopted in numerous states. These registration programs started around grooming of winter trails for OSV recreation in the 1970’s and remain basically the only source of funding for winter grooming of routes generally on public lands. Seeing the success of these programs the OHV community soon adopted similar voluntary registration programs in the 1980s. These are some of the longest, largest and strongest partnerships in place with land managers.

As an example, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife motorized program provides between $5 and $6 million in direct funding to projects that results in almost 60 maintenance crews for summer and winter trails and extensive project specific funding. The California OHMVR program easily provides five times this amount of funding to the land manager offices in California much of which provides the major source of funding for maintenance and operations of recreational facilities on public lands. The State of Idaho program also provides land managers more than $1 for every resident of the state to support trail maintenance. Each of these State level partnerships is leveraged with countless volunteer hours and support, addressing a huge range of roles including basic volunteer labor on projects, to engineers volunteering time to design bridges and heavy equipment businesses working for the cost of fuel from the programs and many of the programs funded would simply cease to exist without this volunteer support. This volunteer support which multiplies the impact of this funding to have an impact on the ground of spending several times more money that comes from these programs. This intangible benefit is a critical component of the success of these programs and protecting this intangible would be a major benefit of reforming the Proposal.

Over the last decade, these programs have become the only funding that is available for recreational maintenance efforts on many districts and as a result these programs are being asked to do more and more work with a somewhat consistent funding stream. As a result, the efficiency of efforts and ability to leverage outside resources becoming a larger and larger priority every day in order to continue to provide basic access to all users. While these programs have become major partners of all land managers in basic operations, the Organizations are concerned that these programs and efforts do not fit the funding allocation model provided and would struggle to leverage these new resources provided in the Proposal. The Organizations do not believe this impact is intentional and believe with minor adjustments in the Proposal could be remedied and allow for leveraging of these resources and infrastructure to greatly improve benefits to all recreational uses on the ground.

1. Improved equity of funding across federal land management agencies will provide value to a much larger number of communities.

The Organizations believe there should be better equity in the allocation of funding in the Proposal across the land management agencies as this equity would broaden the scope of local communities that could benefit from the economic contributions of the Proposal. The Organizations vigorously support opportunities on NPS lands but we also value and support the wider range of recreational opportunities on other federal lands. These lands provide recreational opportunities, such as OHV usage, dispersed camping, shooting and other opportunities that are not available on NPS lands. These uses provide a significant portion of the almost $400 billion of annual economic contribution that the Dept of Commerce has identified flowing from outdoor recreation in the United States.

The Proposal would provide $2 billion in funding over 5 years which would directly provide a major economic windfall to many small communities. Improving access for a wider range of uses would allow the economic impact of this funding to be multiplied significantly when the benefits of higher spending users result from the Proposal benefits. While only a small portion of communities have direct access to a National Park adjacent to them, an exponently larger number of communities are adjacent to USFS and BLM lands. Even with access to a NPS facility and BLM or USFS lands, it has been the Organizations experience that most small community residents will only visit the park on a limited basis but will choose to recreate on BLM or USFS lands due to the more dispersed nature of the experience and much wider range of recreational opportunities that are provided. A more equitable allocation of these funds would directly benefit a much larger number of persons on the ground and this type of stimulus may be very valuable in light of the economic uncertainty we are currently facing with the Covid outbreak. These communities will be a primary source of resources for projects, employees and subsequent sale of goods and services once the Proposal benefits are felt on lands adjacent to the communities.

The Organizations would ask for better equity across the various land management agencies as we were surprised that the National Park Service would receive 70% of the proposed funding despite the fact the NPS only manages 84 million acres or 12% of public lands. By comparison, the US Fish and Wildlife Service manages 150 million acres or 22% of federal public lands, the US Forest Service manages 193 million acres or 29% of federal public lands and the BLM manages 245 million acres or 36% of the federal estate. The Organizations assert that the basic allocation of 70% of the programmatic funding to 12% of the federal lands is concerning. While we are aware that the NPS does see significant visitation to many of their locations when compared to other land management agencies we are concerned that the current allocation would leave the remaining 30% of funding to manage more than 588 million acres of federal lands.

The current allocation of 70% of the fund proceeds to NPS also overlooks the fact that the NPS is able to charge for every visitor that attends these lands, which is absolutely not the typical management situation encountered using BLM or USFS recreational opportunities. This is a major revenue source that is not generally available to USFS or BLM. This fee-based model also allows the NPS to capture their visitation numbers far more accurately than BLM or USFS, which results in a disproportional appearance of visitation to lands under a particular agency management.

2. The Proposal needs greater flexibility of uses permitted and allocation processes.

Many of the Organizations members have actively participated in the state-level administration of numerous funding efforts that are targeting recreational opportunities including allocation of federal funding including Recreational Trails Program monies, Land and Water Conservation monies and funding from voluntary registration programs. It has been our experience that the RTP model of funding provides the most flexibility in use of these monies, while LWCF monies have more restrictions in their funding and sometimes remain unused as a result. The last thing the Organizations want to see is passage of the Proposal and then limited benefits accruing simply due to difficulties in the administration of these funds.

An example of the flexibility that may be needed to make administration of any funding from the Proposal would be provided by the restrictions in the Proposal that 65% of the funding be provided to non-transportation projects1. While we understand the desire to obtain a broad allocation of the funds across uses, we are also aware of numerous large-scale planning efforts that do not distinguish between roads and trails and have chosen to merely identify routes inn their travel planning process. Is this a hurdle that cannot be resolved? No but it is a barrier to the efficient allocation of possible funding.

The Organizations believe that additional flexibility is warranted given uncertainty of corona virus situation. As we have previously noted, greater flexibility could allow for larger economic impact to larger number of communities from this funding and could provide an additional round of stimulus money to many communities throughout the country.

3. Leveraging of partner resources and funding should be reflected in the mandatory list of projects instead of merely accepting donations to the fund.

While the Organizations appreciate the ability of the fund created under the Proposal to accept donations, the Organizations are concerned that this limitation is a major barrier to one of the largest partners and funding sources for this effort. The Organizations believe that this provision of the Proposal is intended to foster collaborations and partnerships, which we completely support but the Organizations vigorously assert there is a better method to build collaboration and partnerships.

As the Organizations have noted previously, our members have self-taxed in numerous states through their voluntary registration programs for vehicles used on public lands and these voluntary registration programs are now directly funding extensive programs to support basic operations and maintenance on public lands. The value of these programs could be approaching $100 million per year and probably far exceeds any donations that could reasonably be expected over the life of the fund.
While these programs provide significant steady funding for maintenance and recreation on public lands, these are funds that simply cannot be donated as they are administered under strict guidelines in federal law. The Organizations would respectfully request that the Proposal be amended to reflect the ability to leverage existing funding that cannot be donated as a factor to be addressed in the analysis process.

4. Conflict between the Dingell Act and the Proposal

The Organizations have been actively involved in the implementation of the Dingell Act, Public law 116-9, which pursuant to §4105 required land managers to identify priority parcels for acquisition that allowed for improvements in access to public lands for the egress and ingress for a variety of recreational activity. The Organizations are concerned that this effort does not have a direct funding source and many that we have spoken to around the Dingell Act efforts were expecting the funding to obtain these parcels to be provided by the Great American Outdoors Act. Many of our discussions have been relying on this funding to leverage state level resources in this process. This assumption appears to have changed given the prohibit on land acquisitions provided in §200402(f) of the Proposal.

5. Conclusion.

The above Organizations welcome the opportunity to voice our limited support and hope for revisions to the Great American Outdoor Act (S 3422) (hereinafter referred to as “the Proposal”) to make the Proposal both more effective on the ground and more valuable to a wider range of communities. The Organizations submit this economic benefit should not be overlooked given the current economic uncertainty that many small communities are facing as a result of the Covid outbreak.

While the Organizations are supportive of any additional funding becoming available to address basic maintenance of resources and opportunities on public lands, the Organizations submit that with some minor changes, the impact of the Proposal could generate significantly more benefit for resources and opportunities on public lands and economic benefits to a larger number of communities throughout the country. These revisions would include better equity in the allocation of funds across the land management agencies, more flexibility in the administration of these funds and a small revision of the criteria for a project or effort to become eligible for funding. While the communities we represent have partnered with land managers for approaching 50 years and are now providing almost $100 million in annual funding for maintenance and operations to land managers that benefits all users, the Organizations are concerned that this model of operations and partnership would struggle to be eligible for any funding under the current criteria of the Proposal. That simply sends the wrong message to these partners and programs.

Please feel free to contact Don Riggle at 725 Palomar Lane, Colorado Springs, 80906, Cell (719)
338- 4106 or Scott Jones, Esq. at 508 Ashford Drive, Longmont, CO 80504. His phone is (518)281-
5810 and his email is scott.jones46@yahoo.com.

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

D. E. Riggle
Director of Operations
Trails Preservation Alliance

 

1 See, Proposal @ §200402(e)(2)(B)

Continue Reading

Rico West Dolores Trails Project Draft Environmental Assessment comments

San Juan National Forest
Dolores Field Office
Dolores, CO 81323-9308

Re: Rico Trails Project 56748

To: Tom Rice

Introduction:

Please accept these comments to the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Rico Trails Project released in February 2020 (the EA). Please direct any questions or further communications regarding these comments to Heather Hormell at:heather.hormell@gmail.com 970-317-1741.

The comments are submitted by three leading motorized recreation groups who will be significantly impacted by decisions of the Rico Trails Project. These organizations are: San Juan Trail Riders (SJTR), Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA), and Public Access Preservation Association (PAPA) (Collectively the Groups).

  • San Juan Trail Riders (SJTR) is a single-track motorized trail user group that has a membership of nearly 400 members within the Four Corners Area, California and Texas. These members provide significant positive economic impacts to a broad range of businesses and communities in cities and towns throughout the region. The organization has for over 30 years provided significant support to agencies like the BLM and USFS for recreational single-track motorized trail construction, maintenance and repair. Additionally, this agency is responsible for helping to establish special grant applications from existing state OHV Funds. SJTR has headquarters in Durango, CO.
  • The Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) is an IRS 501c3 organization and one of the largest single-track motorized recreation support organizations in the State of Colorado. It annually organizes, directs and supports efforts and activities by smaller clubs and motorcycle recreation groups in Colorado which provide thousands of dollars of revenue to each community in which they recreate. TPA maintains strong communications with both the BLM and USFS to keep abreast of all processes that may impact single-track recreation user groups throughout Colorado. TPA has headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO.
  • Public Access Preservation Association (PAPA) is a single-track motorized recreation user group with membership in excess of over 200 members. PAPA has maintained strong relationships across SW Colorado with the BLM and USFS to ensure that single-track motorized recreation opportunities remain available for both local users as well as the many out-of-state single-track motorized users that visit the State of Colorado for holidays and vacations. Their efforts have helped to bring thousands of dollars of revenue to businesses and communities in which opportunities for this type of recreation are popular and available.

The Groups take exception that the Agency has made efforts to move forward and expend resources on trails currently involved in the Rico West Dolores (RWD) litigation process.

The Groups comments will sequentially address the relevant sections of the EA.

Comment Submissions:

Introduction – Comment

The introduction paragraph (page 4) states that the proposed action of this project is consistent with the 2013 Forest Plan. While The Groups agrees with this we also feel that this project, the RWD Travel Management Plan (TMP), and the Forest Plan fail to recognize, or accommodate, the need for motorized trail users to have a safe, legal way to access the town of Rico for services be it of a normal or emergency need.

With the elimination of legal access to the town of Rico for services, there is significant risk to the town to lose financial benefit of the patronage by motorized users. The elimination of legal/safe ways to access the town of Rico may also promote illegal and unsafe access to the town of Rico. THE GROUPS also see that this situation could potentially make an emergency situation (where access to the town of Rico is the best possible way to react to an emergency) exponentially worse. This was properly addressed in the first RWD TMP but was refused during the most recent RWD TMP Record of Decision. The rationale given was that there are private property issues on one existing route and that the other route was not consistent with the desire of the Town of Rico to have only limited motorized access to the Town. The Group’s members recreate on trails subject to the proposed action in this EA, along the RWD TMP Record of Decision, does nothing to provide any motorized/multi-use access to Rico, even on a limited scale. The Groups feel the Agency should have taken the safety access into consideration and/or given it more weight regardless of comments of some to eliminate motorized (or multi-use) access to Rico for possible nuisance considerations. The 2013 Forest Plan even states that the Rico Regional Plan lists “limited motorized recreation” as a future us (2013 Forest Plan, Appendix W, section 3.6,) yet the Agency has rejected every plan submitted by The Groups to provide even limited access to the town. Sometimes common sense and safety must prevail. By law, these public lands must be managed for multiple uses.

Purpose and Need: Comment

The Groups continue to support the purpose and the need. There is an existing need for motorized connectivity and loop opportunities and the availability of existing trail segments todo so.

Alternatives Development: Comment

Modified Alternatives – Spring Creek modified alternative pg2.

The Groups fully supports the relocation of 3.4 miles of trail and 2.7 of existing single-track motorized trail for creating the new Spring Creek Trail route as a part of the Rico Trails Project EA. This was an identified action of the most recent EIS Record of Decision for the area. These changes help to replace some of the trail miles lost in the most recent Rico West Dolores Record of Decision and makes very important single-track motorized connections between Stoner Mesa, Taylor Mesa and the Calico/Priest Gulch trails.

The Groups disagree with the following aspects of the modified alternatives suggested.

1. “ ..additional alternative to decrease impacts to wildlife would be to remove motorized use from the segment of the Stoner Mesa Trail between East and West Twin Springs trail.”

The Groups vehemently oppose the closing of any portion of the Stoner Mesa Trail to motorized single track users and recommends keeping the trail in its current multi-user status (thus allowing all users-including motorized). Even closing a small portion of it would cut off the opportunity to access other trails in the system and have a serious negative impact on the motorized users experience of this area as a whole and would not decrease the impacts to wildlife. As stated by the Agency, (pg 16, paragraph 1 of the Rico Trails Draft EA) “Although non-motorized trails are not considered in the definition of a security area, nonmotorized recreation has the potential to displace animals to the same degree as motorized recreation.” This statement indicates that closure to motorized recreation is not the solution in securing game populations and can question previous decisions by the Agency base on motorized recreation potentially displacing animals. Further studies have shown that motorized use has minimal impact on wildlife, specifically big game, as noted in the draft EA, pg. 16, paragraph 1. For example, temporary displacement does not equate to population declines. To fully understand the concern, studies used in this Draft EA should be made available for review. Taking action to close trails to motorized use in efforts of preserving the elk populations appears to be the wrong way to make preservation efforts, while limiting hunting seems to be a more appropriate response.

2. “decommission the southern portion of the lower Stoner Creek Trail (NFSR #625) from the intersection with the proposed Spring Creek trail as well as the segment of the Stoner Mesa Trail (NFSR #625)”.

The Groups do not support the closing/decommissioning of the 1.9 miles of the Stoner Creek Trail as mentioned above. This 1.9 miles of motorized single-track trail is valuable to the motorized users experience, has been used historically for decades, and will help offset some of the lost trail miles that our user group has experienced in the past (RWD TMP Record of Decision), and continually faces at each TMP (which no other user group has experienced in kind or scale). Furthermore, the EA also states “The proposed project area is managed for a variety of uses including grazing and timber. However, the landscape is best known for its recreational appeal.” (Draft EA page 11, P 9) Keeping this section of trail (as a multi-use/motorized system trail) will support that recreational appeal.

The Agency also proposes reduction of trail miles to reduce inventory and maintenance loads. The Agency has historically received, and will continue to receive community support, specifically from These Groups. Such support has been through Volunteer Agreements, grant support and funding, and also via individual motorized users providing tools and labor to help maintain multi-use trails to the benefit of all user groups. The motorized community (The Groups as well as individuals) are best known for its logging out efforts to ensure multi-use trails are open for all user groups. Closing recreational opportunities for the stated reason is a failure in keeping and maintaining public lands open and accessible. In addition, closure of Lower Stoner Creek Trail could potentially cause an increase use of other surrounding trails, ultimately causing overuse which will increase trail maintenance efforts.

Furthermore, the Agency will be decommissioning the 6.2 miles at the south end of this trail which we feel serves to meet the Agency goals while preserving the great recreational opportunity (including access to Spring Creek) for all users. It should be noted that any trail designated as motorized can be enjoyed by ALL users (multi-use), not just motorized, and any trail that is designated as non-motorized will actually exclude an entire group of users (even more if you include e-bikes).

Modified Alternatives – Ryman Creek Modified Alternative pg3 – Comment

The Groups question why trails involved in current litigation can be open for comment and proposed action in the EA. Since the Agency has done so we offer the following comments:

The Groups urges the Agency to change the designation back to multi-use (open to all users including motorized) and support re-routes and improvements to the trail that would protect the resource. Ryman Creek provides essential connector capabilities from the Columbine district to the Dolores district.

The Columbine district has recently changed a portion of the Colorado Trail (between Coral Draw Trail and Ryman Creek Trail) to allow multi-user access between the (2) districts. This demonstrates the importance of this route as a multi-user trail. The 2013 Forest Plan directs the Agency to create consistency between landscapes and returning Ryman Creek Trail to the multi-user designation does this.

The Groups support changing the 2018 TMP designation of Ryman Creek from Non-motorized back to Motorized/Multi-use to include the building of alternative routes, and/or improvements to the trail to preserve the multi-use designation.

Proposed Action – Rio Grande Southern Trail – Comment

The Groups are unable to support the development and designation of the Rio Grande Southern Trail (ROW) as a non-motorized use route only. This route could offer excellent safe trail access for riders utilizing Scotch Creek from the Hermosa Area and riders from the Haycamp Mesa Area who now have only one access route from Rough Canyon Trail to highway 145 into Rico, CO. Our user groups continually ask the agency to refer to the Forest Plan which directs all actions to provide safety and safe access to everyone recreating on the San Juan National Forest and designate this route for multiple-use (including motorized use) designation. Unless the goal of the Rico Trails Project is to ensure that motorized recreation is completely isolated and blocked from access to Rico, CO, then this should be a reasonable request.

Proposed Action – Circle Trial – Comment

The Groups do not object to the incorporating of a non-system trail that has many years of known use into the designated system. Motorized users appreciate that the agency has embraced the concept of incorporating non-system trails with identified long term use into the designated system. This principle and appropriate consideration should be equally applied to requests to incorporate non-system motorized multiple-use trails into the designated system throughout the District also. There should be no differentiation between the speed of which a non-system non-motorized trail is incorporated into the designated system over how a nonsystem motorized trial is incorporated into the designated system.

Conclusion:

The Groups appreciate the opportunity to provide comments and urge the Agency to maintain these trails for all users.

Submitted by:

Heather Hormell – Chair
San Juan Trail Riders
970-317-1741
heather.hormell@gmail.com

Don Riggle, Director
Trails Preservation Alliance

Tom Thomas, Director
Public Access Preservation Association

Continue Reading

Central Colorado Mountain Riders (CCMR) – Spring Update

This is a recent email sent out by the Central Colorado Mountain Riders (CCMR) club – their Spring update to their members.  CCMR is responsible for the great riding on the Monarch Crest Trail!  – TPA 

 

Hello CCMR!

It’s been a while since the last update but now that the weather is a bit nicer and some snow is melting I know riding is on most of our minds. Hopefully some you have had a chance to get out and enjoy some laps around Big Bend or a cruise down the re-opened river road between Wellsville and Howard. It’s getting closer but with most North facing slopes at low elevation still holding snow, you will likely find some should you venture too far out of the valley floor. If your itching to go riding the Western Slope, Montrose, Delta, Grand Junction are all good to go.

Central Colorado Mountain Riders logo

On to CCMR business! The CCMR team has been meeting regularly planning for the 2020 riding season. Since our last membership meeting, we have been working on extremely exciting things such as BOD insurance and various other insurance requirements needed to be awarded the grant for Chinamans Gulch ST! Also the ongoing process of our organizing CCMR documents and paperwork. Boring- yes but all part of it. Probably the most exciting thing we worked on over the dark days of winter was getting CCMR Hats!! You will all need one to go with your T-shirts this season. And in other CCMR business.

Trail Cents – As many of you may or may not know Arlie Dales’ Jug Liquors, “The Jug,” collects a voluntary 1% donation on all sales which is split and distributed as .5% to Salida Mountain Trails and .5% to CCMR. March will mark the end of the first year of this program. Collections for the first 11 months totaled $3,291.52 for each organization!!

CCMR Spring Membership Drive – Saturday, May, 2nd 2020 5:30 PM at the Salida Golf Clubhouse. This is always our biggest event of the year with big prizes, auction items, etc. This year will be no different and we will most likely have some of the grandest prizes yet! Stay tuned for details but put it on your calendar now!!!

Chinaman Gulch ST & Grant – All our ducks are in a row to be funded. Once the snow clears stay tuned for some last-minute trail workdays on this BRAND NEW single track! With any luck, we will be riding this bad boy in the late summer/fall of 2020.

Work Days

  • 3rd Thursdays will begin April 16th with a re-installation of the Multi-use sign panel at FR 110 and the Rainbow Trail East Bound that was lost in the Decker Fire
  • Chinaman Gulch- TBD but we will be hitting this hard this year
  • Headwaters Hill- Early August. Located just west of Silver Creek on the CT/CDT this section is CCMR’s adopted section through the Colorado Trail Foundation. We will be stockpiling material for the CTF crew that will be doing the trail work late August.
  • Of coarse ongoing trail patrols of all our adopted sections.
  • And possibly a collaboration with SMT on the Rainbow Trail between 110 and Sands Gulch TBA.

Other Updates

  • Texas Creek ST. The final orientation is very close. Once the snow is clear a small section will be finalized and then sent to the BLM for final approval. CCMR will then seek OHV Grant money for trail construction most likely in 2022.
  • Rainbow Trail Hayden burn area. This July marks 4 years since the fire. Major re-routing, multiple agency, and private landowners coming to agreement on details is our current hold-up. Once a plan everyone can live with is agreed upon CCMR will pursue grant money for the re-route.
  • Kevin and Michelle Busch are at it again! Headed to their 5th Mexican 1000 this April! Check out this article from advpulse.com and wish them luck! https://www.advpulse.com/adv-news/this-couple-racing-two-up-is-racking-up-wins-in-baja/
  • Congratulations to Dani Cook and Greg Hamilton on their new positions. Dani is back at the SRD with a full-time position. While she won’t be on her bike day in day out she will be overseeing the OHV crew- awesome news for all of us!!! Greg moved over to a full-time position with the BLM. He will also be overseeing many OHV projects with the BLM including most of the Rainbow Trail re-route and Texas Creek ST. He is also hoping to re-vamp the gear for the Canon City office. If anyone has extra gear they would like to donate please contact Greg directly at ghamilton@blm.gov.
  • Rainbow Trail Decker Fire burn area. This is a big question mark for everyone- what will happen to locations affected by the Decker Fire? Trees were cleared for a fire break on much of the area so one thing is for certain- it will not be the same! The FS and OHV crews will need as many updates as possible on the conditions as the season goes on. Feel free to contact me with issues and I can send them on to the right people.

 

That’s all for now!

Chad Hixon
Board of Directors President
Central Colorado Mountain Riders (CCMR)
www.centralcoloradomountainriders.com

Continue Reading