Trails draft decision a good compromise

Thursday, April 12, 2018 5:29 PM

The recent draft decision regarding trails and roads in the Rico-West Dolores area of the San Juan National Forest was a very good compromise, considering the increasing demands on this finite resource.

District Ranger Derek Padilla reached his decision many months (in fact, several years) into the process, after listening to various user groups such as backcountry hunters and fishermen, hikers, bicyclists, horsemen, ATV riders, outfitters and guides, and motorcycle enthusiasts. The desires of all these users were heard and considered, along with the recommendations of professional natural resource managers. The draft outcome is a compromise.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, one user group – with the support of the Montezuma County commissioners – is objecting to this compromise. As The Journal printed on its front page (Journal, March 21), these single-track motorcyclists are complaining that they don’t have enough access to high-elevation motorized trail and loop networks.

I say baloney. Under the draft decision, they can still access parts of Bear Creek from Gold Run and connect to Little Bear to get to Rough Canyon. They can also still take the Calico Trail from the Dolores River to the boundary of the Lizard Head Wilderness. Their argument is misleading, and they need to learn to compromise.

County commissioners should be replaced if they favor one user group over another and don’t respect or can’t work with federal land managers who have a lot more natural resource knowledge and expertise than they have.

Fred Bird