The Bureau of Land Management Tres Rios Field Office is seeking public comment on a proposal for new motorized and nonmotorized trails in Montezuma, La Plata and Archuleta counties.
In Montezuma County several projects are proposed, said BLM planner Keith Fox.
At Muds Springs in McElmo Canyon, a new parking area off Road 21 just south of the current one will be installed to accommodate larger vehicles carrying off-road vehicles. From the new parking lot, a motorized trail will lead to an open driving area in an old gravel mine.
Northwest of Mancos, 12-miles of single-track, nonmotorized trails are proposed on BLM land known as the Aqueduct area. A new parking area would also be installed off Road 39.
The town of Mancos and the Mancos Trails Group are especially interested in developing nonmotorized trails at Aqueduct.
The 1,000-acre area is defined by two prominent ridges separated by a scenic valley. A historic ditch crosses the land on the eastern end.
“The views from the ridge are spectacular,” said Todd Kearns, of the Mancos Trail Group. “Trails there would relieve the pressure at Phil’s World and it’s good for our economic development. The plan has a lot of momentum, so we should keep it going.”
Some changes and improvements are proposed for the Chutes and Ladders trail system northwest of Mesa Verde National Park. A new parking area would be built off Road 34 allowing room for larger vehicles. A one-mile section of trail would be closed to accommodate an active wildlife corridor. A new section of trail would be built so users do not have not have to walk along the road on loop sections.
A new parking area is also proposed for accessing the Weber Mountain Wilderness Study Area off Road 41 south of Mancos. The primitive area has no developed trails, and none is planned. The wilderness study area is nonmotorized.
“We are working very closely with our communities and partners to provide a network of roads and trails that everyone can use to access and enjoy their public lands,” said Acting Tres Rios Field Manager Elijah Waters.
The BLM is accepting comments through May 22, 2019. Comments must be submitted through the BLM ePlanning site at https://go.usa.gov/xE6ZU. The BLM proposed action and associated maps are also available on the ePlanning site and available for review at the Tres Rios Field Office, 29211 Highway 184 in Dolores.
Comments will be collected and analyzed, then an environmental study is conducted that may include plan alternatives.
The BLM scoping plan for recreation does not include Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.