SEASONAL CLOSURE AT HAND - RAT PLANS MORE TRAILS ON USFS LAND
Dear Friends of Ridgway Area Trails,
It is that time of year when we recount what we are grateful for. As those of you who use the Ridgway Area Trails (RAT) know, several new trails have opened this year with another trail (North Mesa) poised to open in May, 2017. These trails have helped to round out the trail network and have made the RAT experience much more enjoyable. Many, very favorable reports from first time users who rave about the fantastic trails give us a lot of encouragement and indicate that we are on the correct (single) track with the objective of creating a very fun trail experience!
The BLM Travel Management Plan for the RAT System requires Seasonal Closure of the System from December 1 through April 30. The closure applies to all users (including foot travel) to preserve winter wildlife habitat. Because this area is critical to Colorado Parks and Wildlife for management of winter big game habitat, RAT urges all users to adhere strictly to the closure. Failure of users to respect the closure could degrade the habitat and adversely impact RAT’s continuing efforts to open other nearby public lands for single track development. Trails get approved for development on public lands only if all users cooperate with the managing agencies.
Local MTB user alternatives to the main RAT trails are primarily the Dennis Weaver Trails. Other nearby opportunities include:
1) Local dirt roads (low traffic, lovely views, etc.)
2) Buzzard Gulch - Montrose
3) Sidewinder - Delta/Montrose
4) Paradox Valley
5) Phil's World and Sand Canyon - Cortez
6) Grand Junction and Fruita
To leave you with some encouraging news... RAT met with the USFS on 11/15/16 about the possibility of building additional trails in the Ridgway vicinity. The request was met with a great deal of enthusiasm for the concept. USFS asked RAT to bring the Forest Service a conceptual map of the trail layout. RAT also requested permission to assume some responsibility for the maintenance of the Dallas Trail and and to design and implement reroutes of several, fall-line sections of the trail. USFS also received this proposal enthusiastically. USFS asked that RAT prepare an inventory of trail maintenance issues and needed re-routes be made such that they can review and approve for implementation when the trail clears in 2017. A group of volunteers hope to start this inventory this Wednesday. (If you would like to volunteer to assist with this inventory, please contact Bill Lindler at email@example.com)
The RAT committee plans a public event in early 2017 to report on 2016 progress, grant status and what to expect for 2017. Stay tuned here for more information on this topic.
Thank you for your support during 2016 and may you have a wonderful holiday season!
The RAT/COPMOBA Committee