For years, there have been three unlocked gates across Road 41 in Weber Canyon south of Mancos.
But Monteuzma County has ruled the gates are not authorized because they cross a public road.
At the county’s prompting, one of the gates was removed by the landowner, and the other two were secured open, said county road supervisor Rob Englehart.
“They are used to hold cattle, but the landowners must install cattle guards instead,” he said.
Locals have long known to drive through and close the gates to access private and public Bureau of Land Management land. The section of road used to be a rough, two-track jeep road, but has since been improved by local residents and the county as more people use it to access subdivisions.
The issue was brought to the forefront by a report from a disabled veteran who was blocked by one of the gates and was unable to open it.
“The landowners have been cooperative about keeping the gates open now,” Englehart said.
Another issue for the area are smartphone GPS map applications that direct tourists to Mesa Verde National Park via Road 41. Homeowners in Weber Canyon have been informing the wayward travelers that the road is not a legal access point to the nearby park, and have installed a sign as well.
Road 41 does provide access to the Weber Mountain and Menefee Mountain Wilderness Study Areas. Those BLM lands are open to hiking and horseback riding.