Trails 2000, a bicycle advocacy group, understands very well that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
The San Juan National Forest recently overturned a key decision that would have required a winter closure for recreation trails in the Hermosa Special Management Area that is critical winter habitat for elk and deer. During an objection period, a Senator Bennet “collaborative” group was convened. Apparently the objection period is an opportunity for non-transparent negotiations.
For those of us who participated throughout the planning process and agreed with the agency’s original stance for wildlife protection, we were later informed a revised decision has been finalized. Furthermore, this “collaborative” group will remain intact into 2019 to advocate for a new “southern connector route” for bicycle riders to connect the Colorado Trail to the Hermosa Creek Trail.
Today, the Forest Service waffles on its decision to say it needs more understanding of elk concentration areas in Hermosa. Yet in 2008, they had adequate understanding to develop a partnership to use funding from hunting license dollars to conduct an extensive prescribed burn in Lower Hermosa. The goal in mind was to improve winter habitat for elk and deer to stand on public lands rather than on the high-speed roadway in the Animas Valley north of Durango.
This planning process is flawed. People who insist bicycle access should be allowed everywhere, every day are shameful.