The public has been weighing in on where they would like to see additional parking lots and trails on the Tres Rios district of the Bureau of Land Management.
During community meetings in Cortez and Durango, citizens met with BLM officials and went over maps as part of a preliminary travel management plan process. The maps identify where individuals and recreation groups would like improvements.
In the Montezuma County area, there is interest in creating parking and non-motorized trails in the Aqueduct area northwest of Mancos and in the Chutes and Ladders area, northwest of Mesa Verde National Park.
County officials also are advocating for BLM help on the proposed Paths to Mesa Verde trail between Cortez and Mancos, which crosses BLM lands in various potential routes.
South of Mancos, a parking area large enough for horse trailers has been requested off County Road 41 where it passes through BLM land between the Weber and Menefee Mountain Wilderness Study Areas. The rugged areas have no designated trails but are open to cross-country hiking and experienced horseback riding.
“Where the road bisects BLM lands would be a perfect spot to carve out some parking, nothing fancy, just enough room to pull our trailers off into,” said Tif Rodriguez, of Mesa Verde Back Country Horsemen.
Citizens and recreation groups also urged better public access to isolated BLM parcels that are landlocked by private property, including the large parcel south of Summit Lake, and along the northern escarpment of Mesa Verde.
In the La Plata County area, citizens and recreation groups desire additional trails at the Turtle Lake and Animas Mountain area and in the Grandview and Skyline areas.
Improved parking is also needed at popular BLM parcels east of Durango, including one off County Road 225, and one at Rabbit Mountain, citizens say. Additional parking is also being sought on BLM lands for more access to the Horse Gulch area.
There have been no new road proposals from the public for the Tres Rios District, officials said.
The preliminary BLM mapping exercise is part of a district-wide road and trail inventory process that will soon undergo public scoping, proposed alternatives, and environmental reviews before becoming an official travel management plan.
“No decisions have been made, this is a collection of what people have brought to us,” said BLM recreation planner Jeff Christenson.
The travel-network planning process is a communication tool for the public to let the BLM know what areas need improvement, added BLM planner Keith Fox.
He said some of the comments have been that there are a lot of local BLM lands that are not accessible to the public, and that trail systems need to be designed to avoid user conflicts.
To review the interactive map on Tres Rios BLM lands, visit http://arcg.is/2oE3cSH. Comments on roads, trails, or parking areas can be made by contacting BLM recreation planners at 970-882-6800.