San Juan National Forest Announces Release of Decision for the Rico West Dolores Roads and Trails (Travel Management) Project

Release Date: Jul 30, 2018  

 

The San Juan National Forest has signed the decision which finalizes the Rico West Dolores Roads and Trails (Travel Management) Project. The Forest Service wishes to thank community members, stakeholders and partners who put in comments, visited the office, attended open houses and/or participated in the process. The resulting decision provides an assortment of recreational opportunities while protecting the values that make the Rico West Dolores area treasured by visitors.

The final Record of Decision includes:

1) Designations for roads and motorized trails by type of motor vehicle and season of use

2) Locations and maintenance of roads that will make up the minimum Forest Service road system

3) Identification of roads or motorized trails to decommission

4) Plans for conversion of roads to motorized trails

5) Location, trail class, allowed uses, realignments and trail developments for motorized trails

The final Record of Decision document has a detailed account of each change and is organized by area to make it easier to identify a particular location. Briefly, the road system will be reduced by 51 miles. This will result in 324 miles of road with 192 miles open to motorized use and 125 miles of closed road kept for future vegetation management needs and 7 miles closed for administrative use only. Five miles of road are converted to motorized trail. There will be 19 miles of trails for 62-inch vehicles (ATVs and UTVs) that connect to Forest Service roads also available for ATV/UTV riding.

Single track motorized trail opportunities are reduced in some areas, continue in others, and motorized designations are added to one non-motorized trail. The result is a change of 30 miles of single track trail to non-motorized use and a continuation of 84 miles of motorized trail riding, including the opportunity to enjoy the high vistas of the Calico National Recreation Trail and connections to adjacent landscapes. Trail improvements and realignments are also identified that will improve trail sustainability and user experience for both motorized and non-motorized uses. Seasonal restrictions on motor vehicle use would occur on trails but not roads.

Full implementation of all the aspects of this decision will depend on the availability of funds and staffing. Placing of boulders in the meadow at Lizard Head pass to manage dispersed camping will be done in August. Signs will be changed, beginning October 1st, for trails that switch from motorized to non-motorized and the public is asked to follow the new trail designations beginning October 1st. Use of new trails must not occur until the trails are constructed, signed, and the Dolores District issues a public service announcement regarding the availability of the new trail.

Temporary closures on the Calico Trail, the Burro/416 Fire area and the Plateau complex area and associated trails and roads will continue until further notice.

There are no further formal opportunities for public comment or objections related to this planning process. The final Record of Decision, and the Final Environmental Impact Statement, are available online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=44918 . For paper copies of the documents please contact Debbie Kill at 970-882-6822 or the Dolores Ranger District at 970-882-7296 and allow 1-2 days for copying.

For additional information, please contact District Ranger Derek Padilla or Project Leader Deborah Kill at the Dolores Ranger District at 970-882-7296.

-USDA-

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.