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Pitkin Travel Proposal Draft Decision Released

Contact(s): Pamela King 970-641-0471, Matthew McCombs 970-642-4404

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests’ Gunnison Ranger District has issued a draft decision on the Pitkin Travel Proposal project, in response to a request submitted by the Pitkin Trail Advocates to reconsider travel designations made through the 2010 Gunnison Basin Federal Lands Travel Management Plan (TMP).

The draft decision would authorize the Agency Preferred Alternative which includes:

  • Reopening 4.86 miles of Powderhouse (NFSR 763.1C) to full-sized vehicle
  • Changing the designation for 2.58 miles of the South Quartz Creek Trail (NFSR 769.2C/NFST 483) from a trail open to vehicles to 50” or less in width to a trail open to all vehicles
  • Closing and reclaiming 1.4 miles of the North Bald Pitkin Cutoff Trail (NFST 649)
  • Physically closing and reclaiming any illegal user-created spur routes in the project area

An important part of the draft decision is an adaptive management plan for Powderhouse Road (NFSR #763.1C). Under this approach a decision trigger will be met, if after three years, Powderhouse Road’s illegal, user-created routes persist despite agency and partner efforts to close and enforce them. A trigger could result in the permanent closure and/or decommissioning of the route at the discretion of the Gunnison District Ranger.

“Travel management is one of the toughest issues facing the district, however, this decision represents that even when dealing with tough issues we can still reach broadly-supported and implementable outcomes,” said Matt McCombs, District Ranger for the Gunnison Ranger District.  “I hope folks take away from this decision that I take very seriously, and want to be held accountable to, our responsibility of continually advancing towards a high-quality, sustainable and well managed motorized recreation system.”

For more information on the proposed decision or the supporting analysis see: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=47149 or contact Pamela King, NEPA Specialist, at 970-641-0471 or prking@fs.fed.us.