West End

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 Quick read more or view full article 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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West End Chapter Report 10/17/16

October 26, 2016
COPMOBA Board Meeting !
Ridgeway, Colorado!
17 October 2016! !
West End Chapter Report!
Paul Koski, WETA Treasurer! !
1. WETA last met on September 22nd in Naturita where we had 8 members in attendance. We
currently have over $6,235.45 in the MWR account of which $5,406.19 is restricted to the
ongoing mapping initiative. The remaining $829.26 reflects our growing $5.00 memberships
(40) and ongoing fundraisers such as the M2D road ride where we made $160.00.
Currently we have 7 COPMOBA members in WETA.!
2. The Bring Your Thunder trails event on July 30th Quick read more or view full article was a big success with 30! !
participants, enough to create two trail crews on Saturday. I think we impressed the
Norwood Forest Service office staff with the whole event plus everyone had a great time
riding the 19 mile system.!
3. Work has been ongoing at the Burn Canyon Recreation Area west of Norwood with
another 6 miles of single track trail created this summer. The large dispersed recreation
area will feature motorized and non motorized trail systems with over 30 miles of trails on its
completion.!
4. Work has begun on the Paradox Trail Reroute with over 1.5 miles of new single track
created as we build north toward Coal Canyon with volunteers. We hope to have this
section signed and opened first which will bring the PT once again off the west edge of Pinto
Mesa to where the new trail crosses the Delta Nucla Road 2.5 miles east of Nucla. To date
we have 47 volunteer man hours constructing trail. Samantha Andrews, our local trail
builder, has the one mile SE traverse section pin flagged and will be starting on that section
soon with her crew while the BLM is allowing the volunteers to work under her supervision.!
5. Our new website: westendtrails.org should be up and running soon. We saw a demo of the
site at our last WETA meeting and it will be interactive with mapping overlays that can be
enlarged and printed plus photos of each trail with detailed descriptions. We thought we
would start with just 15 or so trails but the last I heard we are over 30 hiking and biking
routes at this time. The printed version should be out by February 2017 with hopefully even
more trails featured. !
6. Tuesday, I am meeting with a team from the UCBoulder- Leeds School of Business. We are
all participating in the Blueprint 2.0 Initiative to “Grow Your Own Outdoor Recreation
Industry” for the WestEnd communities. This program, offered by the Office of Economic
Development and Trade (OEDIT) and Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry will
hopefully offer a plan and ideas specific to our remote area for outdoor recreation
development. There is a lot of outside interest in the WestEnd from the State now with the
annoucement of the closing of TriState’s Nucla Station and coal mine by 2022. We have
less than six years to plan and implement some form of economic diversification including
outdoor recreation. Our own Chris Muhr and Jen Taylor might find themselves in the middle
of this discussion with their proposed Adreneline Trail Initiative which has come up as part of
that mix. Stay tuned!

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