Draft EIS for Public Comment for Rico West Dolores Roads and Trails

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by The Fist, May 5, 2016.

  1. The Fist

    The Fist Knulp

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    So..the powers that be have provided their draft EIS statement available now for public comment.

    No matter how you feel about the various alternatives, my humble advice is to comment.

    The DEIS document including maps and an electronic comment form are available on the Forest Service website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=44918

    If commenting in writing, send written comments to the Dolores Public Lands Office at 29211 Hwy 184, Dolores, CO 81323. Comments may also be hand delivered to this address between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Comments may also be emailed to Debbie Kill, at dkill@fs.fed.us
    #1
  2. trailwerks

    trailwerks Missing Two Wheels

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    Yes, I received my notice from the agency a few minutes ago. I have downloaded the maps and documents but have not had time to digest them yet. One interesting item of note, however, is that the agency is now using an full EIS rather than the EA that was in the proposed action. That is usually a sign of a high degree of controversy and might be a tip of the hat to the many comments they received from riders on the proposed action. An EIS also increases the comment period from 30 days to 45 days which is always a good thing.

    We are in the midst of several other comment efforts (Santa Fe National Forest Wilderness Inventory and Cedro Landscape Restoration Project) but NMOHVA will be reviewing the documents and providing draft comments/thoughts/ideas to the masses for use in their own comments. Our draft comments will probably be released toward the end of May due to those other commitments so we would encourage riders to not wait for us. You can always add a 2nd set of comments toward the very end of the comment period (estimated to be June 20th).

    We will be putting out a formal Access Alert to all of our members tomorrow.
    #2
  3. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    I've been reviewing the proposed alternatives. One of the less restrictive proposals for single track has the greatest restriction in seasonal use, (9/9 - 6/30) which is I'm sure unacceptable to almost everyone. Will let more knowledgable riders weigh in before I submit comments. Also of note, there is no mention of "quiet use" and impact to Town of Rico and just one of the alternatives would close Burnet Creek. I think the previous round of comments from Rico residents had some significant impact.
    #3
  4. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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    At this point Alternative C seems best from a riding season/milage standpointbut i havent had a chance to review the documents in detail. Best case scenario we lose 14 miles though :(
    #4
  5. enduro-ince

    enduro-ince dirtslave

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    What are your thoughts regarding Derek withdrawing the application for OHV funds to fix northern Calico? He claims using OHV funds is "pre decisional" to the new TMP. I feel NOT using those funds is pre decisional. As in he doesn't want to be the guy to use a bunch of OHV money fixing a trail right before HE closes it.

    I also feel that we are about to get royaly fucked on this whole thing. I can't even think straight i'm so pissed..
    #5
  6. singletrackslayer

    singletrackslayer Legalize singletrack

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    It's all bs. The game is rigged worse the the elections.
    #6
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  7. trailwerks

    trailwerks Missing Two Wheels

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    Thought 1) He is probably right. They typically won't apply for funding for trails that haven't yet completed the Travel Management designation process. I would note that three of the four alternatives keep North Calico open to MC use. From the way the EIS is written, I don't think there is a high likelihood that Alt E (the one that closes it) will be selected but it could still happen. The North Calico trail does get singled out for more remedial work in this EIS than it did in the proposed action so maybe his project will have changed somewhat. A lot will depend on how specific his original application was. I can give you some other thoughts about that aspect via a PM if you would like.

    Thought 2) But the north end of Calico is in the same "status" (open to Moto) as when he applied for the funds. At this point, nothing has changed.

    Thought 3) He could probably make a successful (and logical) argument either way.

    One additional (but very important) reminder. Alternatives, as presented in the EIS, are not strictly an "either/or" thing. In other words, the agency decision maker can pick and choose items out the alternatives (kind of like a menu). The elements just need to have been included (and analyzed) in the alternatives. In other words, you could push for the trails in Alt B combined with the seasonal closures of Alt C. It gives the agency a lot more flexibility than it sometimes appears in the document. Again, more specific info offline if you desire.....
    #7
  8. MountainsandRivers

    MountainsandRivers loves dirty things!

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    I need to keep reading it all. Hard to do and keep a level head! I don't like any of it, except for alternative A, no change, really. Losing access to Bear Creek drainage would be hugely devastating. The way you can connect to the Mancos trails that way is pretty fantastic currently. The Burnett changes to route around Rico seems odd, but those few houses when you first come out are bothered by Moto noise. I know the few businesses and any of the locals I know there are pro Moto, even Mtn bikers see us as a benefit, not a burden. Time to beat the street again shortly, rally more support..
    #8
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  9. doc_ricketts

    doc_ricketts Thumper jockey

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    Thank you guys for working on this. Hopefully something can be saved.
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  10. Singletrack200

    Singletrack200 Singletrack

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    I've perused the EIS statement and proposed alternatives. Like most of you, I am surprised and disappointed. At this point, Alternative C is least damaging but it is by no means acceptable. Please keep in mind that the EIS alternatives are not unchangeable. The agency decision makers can pick and choose items, elements or trails out of the various alternatives in their final decision. The elements or trail needs have been analyzed and included in the various alternatives. In your feedback comments, it is important to tell the agency that the Final Decision should include motorized access to various sections and why. For example, cutting off motorized trails to Bear Creek, Ryman and Winter areas is not practical and acceptable. Also, connecting trails with highway (requiring licensed vehicle) is not practical. You should include route specific trails. In other words, add or remove trails from Alt A to the basic Alt C proposal. The agency has this flexibility. Don't just pick Alt C and say it is acceptable. Another VERY IMPORTANT point to include in your feedback is that there should be a "clause stating use of existing trails may be added in a future decision". COHVCO, BRC, TPA, SJTR, PAPA and other organizations and individuals are looking at the alternatives closely. It is extremely important that we all send comments by around June 20th.
    #10
  11. MountainsandRivers

    MountainsandRivers loves dirty things!

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    I am working on headway in Rico. One of my friends, an avid mountain biker, is on the planning commission. That board is 3 cyclists and 1 motorhead. I know he is pro-moto because he sees the benefit that PAPA does for trail clearing, etc and he knows our use keeps the trails in better shape. He is going to have deeper discussions with them, but it sounds like we should be able to get the planning commission to send favorable support for alternatives in our support, both for trails and for economy. I am also going to see what alternative plan or variation thereof PAPA is getting behind, so there can be a more unified front. I hope to catch up with the motorhead on the commission to get his read as well. Benny is a good dude, I have sledded with him a few times, he rides and has raced ATVS in Baja. This support can help break some of the ideals that Rico is against moto. There are some residents, for sure, but I do believe it is a vocal minority.
    #11
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  12. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    Appreciate your effort; I'll be up there soon to get the support of my friends and neighbors there. In meantime, we need to establish whether to provisionally support Alt C so that if and when this goes into litigation, we will have the best (least bad) outcome if the legal action is not successful. I'm sitting back and waiting for a consensus to emerge.
    #12
  13. MountainsandRivers

    MountainsandRivers loves dirty things!

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    Me too. I don't like any of it, I want nothing closed, but additional connectors. We still have less trails than the non Moto crowd, and they he to use everything. Also, its not really that crowded on the single track, at least compared to Taylor or the front range.

    Also, I was just on PAPA's website. It looks like the Forest Service will have an open house June 2nd, from 5-8pm at the Dolores Community Center
    #13
  14. MountainsandRivers

    MountainsandRivers loves dirty things!

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    Update. It sounds like SJTR is requesting more info from Forest Service on some of the studies done to come up with these alternatives. They are wanting more info before weighing in on most favorable options. It probably wont hurt to comment now, but do take the time to comment again if we get better/ new info.
    #14
  15. enduro-ince

    enduro-ince dirtslave

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    Heres the letter requesting more info, I like where they are going with this.


    Thanks so much for the forwarding of the recent RWD EIS Draft Alternatives document to all of our Board Members and many other of our constituents. It has been very helpful for our most expedited review.

    Our initial review has generated an interest in some additional information, if it can be provided, to assist in our ability to provide appropriate responses during the comment period. If an official FOIA request is required, please advise and we will take that step. In the past you have not required that we do so, so we are taking this more informal approach. The additional information requested would be as follows:

    1. Previous justification and funding utilized to re-route the Morrison 610 connector Trail from the Robinson Ranch easement South and East away from the old original Stock Driveway route to improve motorized travel grade and sustainability. If memory serves us correctly, this should be recorded as a project somewhere in the early to mid 90's.

    2. Previous justification and funding for the move of the Bear Creek Trailhead to its current location from the old Trailhead which was closer to resident locations near Bear Creek.

    3. Soil sample analysis's taken for Ryman Creek Trail (on the current motorized route) that has been used to determine that it is not suitable for motorized or any other trail use. In addition, a comparative soil analysis of the adjacent Salt Creek Trail and Wildcat Trail that was used to determine they are an identical soil type and not acceptable for recreation use by motorcycles or any other recreation type. Any historical (other than normal) maintenance information/documents and costs that have been incurred over the last 5 years for Ryman Creek Trail to keep it serviceable.

    4. Because it is not clear in the RWD EIS Draft Alternative document, could you describe how the Burnett Creek Trail can/will be accessed through the town of Rico by anyone other than motorcycle traffic? Will the access to Rico be closed at a point where the new re-route (to RR right of way) connects to Burnett Creek trail? The reason for the clarification is that it is identified in the document that the RR ROW can be utilized by "licensed" motorcycles to travel into Rico for food, fuel, etc. Since a majority of all trail motorcycles will not have a street legal license plate, will there be a "walk into Rico" route that most riders will have to use if they are not licensed to ride into Rico on the state highway should food, fuel or an emergency need to be addressed?

    5. Was the intended motorcycle trail connection from the Rio Grande ROW Trail, considered by the ID Team as a "loop" opportunity, be 3 miles of highway 145 to Tenderfoot Trail ? Or, would trail motorcycles be expected to turn around at the end of the Rio Grande ROW Trail and go back up Burnett Trail as just an "out and back" route?

    6. Was the intended trail motorcycle connection considered by the ID Team from Grindstone Trail, to motorized trails on the North side of Highway 145, down Rough Canyon Trail to highway 145 then up or down the highway to either Priest Gulch or up to Tenderfoot Trail? Or, was the intention that trail motorcyclists would ride down Rough Canyon Trail to highway 145 and turn back as an "out and back" route?

    These clarifications would be most helpful to help our Board Members and Constituents craft appropriate responses to the Draft Alternatives.
    #15
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  16. georet

    georet Adventurer

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    #16
  17. MountainsandRivers

    MountainsandRivers loves dirty things!

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    I drove down to the open house the Forest Service held for this last night in Dolores. Great reason to drive a great road, and stare at the river a bit. The Stoner Stampede was going off.. Need to get a boat down there shortly!

    Anyway. It was good to go. I put some names to faces. I spoke with Derek Padilla, trying not to get too many jabs in. He is not a rider, just mtn bike and mostly hiking, but he tried to make it clear he is not against them. I did tell him I didn't like any of the options, and that by keeping more trails open, or even adding more, since we are still not high moto user #s (IMO) compared to elsewhere, by spreading us out more than condensing will improve everyone's experience. I also asked him again to contact the Forest Service up in Bozeman to look at alternating days and how that has worked for them. I don't know everyone else opinion on this approach, but to me, instead of losing a trail completely, knowing that on Fridays and Sundays I can ride it, that is better than nothing. This should only be for a few trails, the ones on the chopping block currently. He was taking notes actually. Making Corral Draw a legal connection, which really won't be anything more than a sign, is a cheap/easy way to help spread people out more. We spoke about Rico. He said their board of trustees are the ones who have come out as against having motorcycles in town. He knows the businesses there feel otherwise. I also told him the planning commission was seeming to be in support. I need to study this more. It seems like the Rio Grand Trail they are proposing to bring access close to town, instead of Burnett, is a waste of time. It seems like a lot of money to be spent to get basically what we already have with Burnett. Burnett is there already. Both options put you on the edge of town. If you choose to ride in on an unplated bike, that is your choice for gas, but Burnett stays on dirt. Maybe just signage to remind riders to be respectful, throttle down in town.
    I spoke with Chris Boutan, who is one of the main ones for trail maintenance. He rides a little, for work. If seasonal closures were put in, he thinks they could work arrangements with trail groups to allow access for clearing, so that wouldn't affect early season too much since that is what a lot of June is, but does us no good for late season.

    On the seasonal closures, I spoke with their wildlife person and learned a lot. Ivan Messenger (??) may have been his name. It sounds like from their studies, the "security" areas, which is basically take all roads and trails, add a 1/2 mile buffer on either side and the land in between is the safe, "security" area for the elk. What currently exists is almost twice the size for what is recommended for the elk herds in the area, so even Alt A isn't impacting them, plenty room for them to move around as needed.

    I don't see why they are trying to kill Ryman. I know there are issues with the soil study. Chris made it sound like it is costly to maintain due to the drainage. I suggested identifying ways that volunteer groups could help on that trail, to ease their burden, since we don't want it lost.

    I also talked with them about the upper section of East Fork, where it goes through the wet meadow. It wasn't clear to me online or on their maps how it was changing. In speaking with Chris, basically when you are on the left side hill, instead of turning into the meadow there, it will continue along the edge of the forest there until it regains with the road. I can't argue with that. That area would be hard to not have a high impact on due to the marshy nature, short of building a few bridges.

    What I heard all of them is to write in suggestions. Nothing is set in stone, there can be combinations of Alternatives possibly. It was repeated to be specific, articulate as to reasoning behind suggestions.

    I am still waiting to see what PAPA is choosing to go with and there are several issues with the way this whole deal was handled that might put it to court no matter how it goes. Time will tell.
    #17
  18. Sladep

    Sladep Adventurer

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    Attached is my response I sent to Ranger Padilla and Debbie Kill @USFS. I have sent it to my riding buddies, about 25 total, in Colorado and a group of good friends in W.V. who bring a many here annually and encouraged everyone to get up off their footpegs to petition on our behalf. If you find it useful, you are welcome to use parts of it or all the content in its entirety if you like to submit one yourself, and forward it to your friends for the same purpose. (This is my first post using Dropbox as a means to provide access to a document - if it doesn't work, let me know and I'll try something else.)

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/b1apo3vbbrm9kzy/Rico DEIS.docx?dl=0
    #18
  19. gee

    gee Safety First

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    SladeP,

    I was able to view the doc and you bring up some good points. Kudos for encouraging others to voice their opinions, hopefully some good will come from all of our collective comments.
    #19
  20. enduro-ince

    enduro-ince dirtslave

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    The FS has extended the comment period to july 15th, at the request of Dunton Hotsprings. They must not have been getting enough anti moto comments. Dunton also put out a mailer about the same time they made the request. I've read it and its full of shit. I wonder if the FS would of extended the comment period if we requested it? Doubtful.
    #20