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West End Chapter Comments on BLM Uncompahgre Field Office Draft RMP

October 30, 2016
22 October 2016                                                               
 
BLM- Uncompahgre Field Office
2465 South Townsend Ave.
Montrose, CO  81401
 
Re: Comments on the UFO- Resource Management Plan
 
The West End Trails Alliance (WETA) is a local grass roots advocacy group committed to developing and promoting Public Lands access in western San Miguel and Montrose Counties plus the area in Mesa County surrounding Gateway, much of which is covered in the Uncompaghre Field Office- Resource Management Plan.  The entire West End of the UFO offers a very large and unique area featuring three large tracts currently being administered as Wilderness plus thousands of acres more of wilderness like lands that have historically seen mineral exploration and extraction activity. The existing trails and roads, which were created offer locals and visitors alike a relatively easy opportunity to explore and enjoy these wild places with minimal impact.  Public lands use policy greatly effect our small West End communities specifically when it comes to economic development.  As you know, the West End contains hundreds of miles of old mining trails and two track, most of which are visible from satellite imagery and found on the BLM Surface Management maps. During the initial scoping process in Naturita, participants were told by UFO staff members that trails visible from the air would be considered as existing travel routes. On the ground exploration of many of these trails have resulted in a growing number of routes that have become popular with many mountain bike and hiking enthusiasts.
           
West End communities currently face an impending economic disaster with the scheduled closing of the Nucla Station power plant and supplying coalmine by 2022.  The State of Colorado, Montrose County, Region 10 and the Department of Local Affairs among others have already begun the discussion about diversification of these local economies. One of the most promising is the development of outdoor recreation. We are currently involved with an initiative called Blueprint 2.0 which will create a plan to develop an outdoor recreation industry here in the West End based on successful trail models implemented in other Colorado communities.  We believe a working relationship with the BLM-UFO is necessary in order to develop recreational features such as camp sites, trail signage, kiosks, trail connectors and stacked loop trail systems which will enhance current efforts to identify existing trails for area residents and visitors. The resource Management Plan should address these efforts that local communities, impacted by surrounding Public Lands, are currently undertaking.
           
The RMP’s travel management sections allows for identification of trails to be considered. We have listed many of the popular trails currently being used and to be proposed.  We would like to see these routes recognized and considered in the future for their unique historic and recreational values. This is not a complete list, as more are being considered, explored and mapped on an ongoing basis.
           
Thank you for considering our comments.

Sincerely,
 
West End Trails Alliance
Board of Directors
PO Box 281
Nucla, CO 81424 
 
West End Trails for consideration in the UFO- Resource Management Plan
Note: Not a complete list
 
Trail Name                                                                   
 
Y-11 or Shamrock Trail
Paradox Trail with Spradlin Park Bypass (under construction)
Blue Mesa Loop
North Bench Trail (south rim Third Park)
Saucer Basin Loop
Sawtooth Ridge Loop
Nyswonger Mesa Loop
Catch em Up Trail (Bedrock)
Dry Creek Trail
North Spradlin Park Boundary Trail (hiking only- to be proposed)
Naturita Public Lands Access (south)
Martin Mesa Canyon (hiking only)
Horse Collar Arch Trail (hiking only
Beehive Canyon Trail (hiking only)
North Nucla Trail System (multi use - to be proposed)
East Nucla trail System (multi use- to be proposed)
Sew Em Up Mesa Trail (County Line)
Sew Em Up Mesa Trail ( Roc Creek)
Long Park Trail- West End
Naturita to Nucla Trail (to be proposed)
Burn Canyon Trail System (under construction)
 
 
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