After months of discord between U.S. Forest Service officials and members of the public, the Dolores Public Lands Office is reopening the public comment period for the Boggy-Glade Travel Management Plan.
A statement released by the office last week said the reasoning behind the decision is to more fully involve our community.
The 30-day comment period will begin Monday and end July 20.
The Boggy-Glade landscape encompasses approximately 245,800 acres of national forest north of Dolores. The area includes nearly 450 miles of forest system roads plus old logging roads and user-created routes. The final plan released Aug. 12, 2010, immediately drew criticism from community members as well as Dolores and Montezuma county commissioners for eliminating motorized off-road game retrieval and closing frequently used routes.
The Forest Service now is seeking comment about which routes are most important to the community, which routes are redundant or should not be used and whether mechanized equipment such as mountain bikes should use only designated roads and trails.
Under the plan preferred by the Forest Service, called Modified Alternative B, 427 miles of motorized routes would be open to the general public, including 359 miles of roads and 68 miles of off-highway vehicle trails. The plan calls for the decommissioning of 93 miles of administrative use roads and 62 miles of ungraveled high-clearance roads.
Roads that would be closed under the plan are mostly routes that were not engineered for long-term use and remained open roads as a result of mismanagement, said Connie Clementson of the Dolores Public Lands Office.
We are going to have to take some responsibility for some of those routes, Clementson said. We closed roads, but we did not enforce those closures, and we need to ensure that the routes that were and are intended for closure are enforced.
Cross country travel is heavily affected by the plan with the elimination of motorized cross country travel, including for game-retrieval purposes, and cross country travel by mountain bike. Off-road motorized travel for camping would be allowed 300 feet from designated roads.
Reconsideration of motorized game retrieval is not part of the new comment period.
The preferred alternative does not allow motorized game retrieval, but we will take comments on it, Clementson said. There is not intent to change that aspect of the plan, but we are willing to consider all comments.